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New Byways And Roads To Explore On Your Next RV Trip

Published on March 29th, 2021 by Natalie Henley
This post was updated on April 23rd, 2021

Scenic mountain road with no vehicles.

New Byways And Roads To Explore On Your Next RV Trip

Start your engines! There are even more national wonders to discover on your next RV trip! This past February 2021, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced 49 new designations to America’s Byways collection. These include 15 All-American Roads and 34 National Scenic Byways across 28 states. (Lists of new designations included at the end of the article.)

This monumental feat was due in part to organizations like Scenic America and RV Industry Association (RVIA).

“We’re proud to have supported legislation that led to the announcement of 49 new Scenic Byways and All-American Roads, the first additions since 2009,” said RV Industry Association Senior Manager of Government Affairs Samantha Rocci. “RVing is about many things—freedom, flexibility, exploration— but it all comes back to the majesty of the open road. The revitalization of this program ensures that millions of RVers will continue to be able to experience the magic of roads like Historic Route 66, Skyline Drive, and the Blue Ridge Parkway for years to come.”

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Map graphic of America's Byways.
America’s Byways

What’s the story behind the National Scenic Byway Program?

The National Scenic Byway Program started in 1991 and is administered by the FHWA of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). The initiative recognizes U.S. roads that have unique features not found anywhere else in the country. For this reason, they often attract tourists and, in turn, help with the area’s economic development. As part of the program, these routes are protected and enhanced.

Congress stopped funding for the program in 2012. With the actions of groups like RVIA and Scenic America, the America’s Scenic Byways Act was signed into law in September 2019.  The FHWA’s announcement of 49 additional roadway designations is the result of the act.  The increase in the number of America’s Byways has brought this prestigious list to 184 byways spanning 48 states (all except Hawaii and Texas).

How are National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads chosen?

Under the umbrella of America’s Byways, the USDOT discerns roads based on six qualities: archaeological, scenic, natural, cultural, recreational, and historic. National Scenic Byways must meet at least one of these qualities. All-American Roads must meet two or more of the criteria.

Scenic highway through red canyons with no vehicles.

Why should your next RV trip include one of these roadways?

“Through their many unique qualities, each of these new additions to the National Scenic Byways program helps America’s roads tell our national story,” FHWA Executive Director Tom Everett said. “These special routes offer travelers exciting new opportunities to explore the nation, from coast to coast or close to home.”

In the following news bite by CBS Sunday Morning, reporter Conor Knighton takes viewers on a virtual road trip across several scenic byways, stretching from Oregon to Louisiana. 

He reminds all of us travelers to stop and smell the roses. “It’s easy to get caught up in getting to where you want to go, while missing all the beauty and intrigue you pass along your journey.”

2021 All American Roads and National Scenic Byway Designations

All-American Roads (AAR)

ArkansasGreat River Road National Scenic Byway
FloridaA1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway
IowaGreat River Road National Scenic Byway
IllinoisGreat River Road National Scenic Byway
KentuckyGreat River Road National Scenic Byway
LouisianaGreat River Road National Scenic Byway
MassachusettsThe Battle Road Scenic Byway
MarylandChesapeake Country
MinnesotaGreat River Road National Scenic Byway
MissouriHistoric Route 66 Missouri
North CarolinaNewfound Gap Road Byway
TennesseeNewfound Gap Road Byway
TennesseeGreat River Road National Scenic Byway
WisconsinGreat River Road National Scenic Byway
WyomingFlaming Gorge – Green River Basin Scenic Byway
Chart obtained from U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

National Scenic Byways (NSB)

CaliforniaCalifornia Historic Route 66 Needles to Barstow Scenic Byway
ColoradoScenic Highway of Legends
ColoradoSilver Thread Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway
DelawareDelaware Bayshore Byway
FloridaRiver of Lakes Heritage Corridor
FloridaScenic Highway 30A
IowaLincoln Highway Heritage Byway
IndianaWhitewater Canal Scenic Byway
KentuckyOld Frankfort Pike Historic and Scenic Byway
LouisianaBoom or Bust Byway
LouisianaBayou Teche Scenic Byway
MassachusettsMohawk Trail Scenic Byway
MassachusettsOld King’s Highway (Route 6A)
MaineKatahdin Woods and Waters Scenic Byway
MaineSt. John Valley Cultural Byway/Fish River Scenic Byway
MaineBold Coast Scenic Byway
NebraskaSandhills Journey Scenic Byway
NebraskaLincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway
New JerseyWestern Highlands Scenic Byway
New JerseyBayshore Heritage Byway
New JerseyPalisades Scenic Byway
New JerseyPine Barrens Byway
New MexicoTrail of the Ancients Scenic Byway – New Mexico
New YorkPalisades Scenic Byway
OhioHocking Hills Scenic Byway
PennsylvaniaBrandywine Valley Scenic Byway
Rhode IslandRevolutionary Heritage Byway
TennesseeSequatchie Valley Scenic Byway
TennesseeCumberland Historic Byway
TennesseeNorris Freeway
UtahZion Scenic Byway
WashingtonCascade Loop
WisconsinDoor County Coastal Byway
WisconsinWisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway
Chart obtained from U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Use RV LIFE Trip Wizard to plan your American byway adventure

Don’t let the scenery pass you by. Use RV LIFE Trip Wizard with the accompanying RV LIFE app to plan your next road trip. The online planning tool makes mapping your route a breeze with RV-friendly directions and tons of campgrounds and other stops to choose from along the way.

See also: RV Camping At America’s New National Park

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