The open road: a temptress that calls to every soul eager to explore. In Alabama, few things top a spring drive through the countryside. Dense forest highways spill into a coastline of creamy white sands. When the moment calls and the horizon beckons, adventure can be found on one of these scenic routes in the Yellowhammer State.

The Natchez Trace Parkway

Boasting 60 miles of lavish trail line, 100 species of wildflowers and the nickname “Devil’s Backbone,” the Natchez Trace Parkway is the grandfather of them all. The stretch of road bridging east Mississippi and west Alabama covers 444 miles and has been a route traveled for 8,000 years. Cyclists skim the highway edges as honeysuckle buds burst around them. Winding curves and turns crescendo naturally alongside flowing rivers and creek bends. As naturally as winter morphs to spring, a morning drive along the trace can easily fold into an evening journey home under the stars.

The Talladega Scenic Drive is a good way to explore the Alabama mountains. (Alabama Byways)

Talladega Scenic Drive

Driving along any road with Talladega in the name can make a Southerner’s heart shift into high gear. The scenic drive with that name is no different. Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in the state, looms over the pathway as a summit to behold. Racing to the top of the Talladega National Forest can be a challenge for those who crave more adventure. Camping sites, hiking trails along the Appalachians and mountain eateries act as wholesome pit stops for drivers looking to stretch their legs. Once at the top, an unmatched view of the mountain range awaits. Speckles of towns in the distance accompany the azure haze created by condensation released from a sea of green trees. It’s peaceful here. That is, until engines begin to rev for the race down.

The Coastal Connection links the charming cities of Alabama’s Gulf Coast. (Alabama’s Coastal Connection/Facebook)

Alabama’s Coastal Connection

For those who live on the state’s peninsula, there is the Coastal Connection. Ocean views, stunning Old South architecture and the blending of traditional and modern cultures abound in this loop from Spanish Fort to Bayou La Batre through the Gulf cities. The beautiful, timeless design of Fairhope rolls into the vibrant, bustling boulevards found in Orange Beach. The still, tranquil Dauphin Island serves as a peaceful finale as you cross the bridge back to the mainland. In the spring, summer or even the dead of winter, this route is always a welcome expedition.

More information on Alabama’s scenic routes can be found at alabamabyways.com.

This story originally appeared on the SoulGrown website.

 



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