Feeling trapped in your typical routine can make your mood worse and leave you feeling much more stressed than you need to be. Oftentimes, the perfect solution is to just get away from the bustle for a while. Instead of heading over to the nearest theme park, why not take a drive through a scenic location?
There’s something about nature that helps relax us, and Linda Wasmer Andrews from Psychology Today has an idea about why it’s so calming.
Andrews said that research shows spending time in nature reduces stress and anger and also helps restore mental alertness. Another important quality nature possesses is space, and the source of people’s attraction to having room around them might go back to the times our ancestors lived on savannas. Interestingly enough, people today still associate savanna-like environments with tranquility.
If being in the great outdoors helps so much, it might be worth a shot to take a mini road trip and explore your area. Here are some amazing routes you can take to witness breathtaking, natural sights.
Skyline Drive (Virginia)
This route is about 100 miles long and runs through the beautiful Shenandoah National Park. AutoWeek says that if you’re heading south, the drive starts in Font Royal and ends near Waynesboro.
When taking this trip, you can see amazing scenery but it will also provide you the chance to take advantage of plenty of hiking opportunities.
Pacific Coast Highway (California)
This is probably one of the most popular scenic routes in the U.S., but its popularity is for good reason. This 123-mile route starts in Monterey and makes its way through the mountainous Big Sur to create a drive full of ocean views and beautiful mountain sights.
National Geographic (nationalgeographic.com) breaks down how you should approach a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway and warns about winter mudslides. Definitely look up weather conditions before going — natural disasters definitely won’t help you in the stress department.
Going-to-the-Sun Road (Montana)
An article by ShermansTravel names the Sun Road in Montana one of the most scenic places to drive in the United States. It’s about a 50-mile drive that gives you an amazing look at Glacier National Park.
Some parts of the route are open all year, but in its entirety, the road will be open from the middle of June to the middle of September (weather permitting).
Norbeck Scenic Byway (South Dakota)
The Norbeck Scenic Byway stretches 68 miles and even though it’s absolutely picturesque, it also contains sharp curves, narrow tunnels, and other potentially dangerous areas. While you’re enjoying the beauty, make sure whoever’s driving is moving along cautiously.
One of the highlights of this route is the fact that Mount Rushmore isn’t too far off from the byway. You can explore natural landscapes while also getting the chance to fit in a history lesson (or at least pretend like you’re learning).
Bonus: Great Ocean Road (Australia)
All right, so this may not exactly be an easy spur-of-the-moment drive to make, but it’s noted because of its absolute beauty. Named one of the most scenic drives in the world by WildJunket, The Great Ocean Road travels through Torquay, Bell’s Beach, and ends at the spectacular Twelve Apostles, which are large limestone rock stacks jutting out of the water.
This unique site shouldn’t be missed if you find yourself Down Under!