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Ultimate Road Trips by Priyanka ,  Jun 14, 2013
Sometimes it's the journey, sometimes it's the destination—and sometimes, it's both. Some Travelers have scoured the globe for the world's most beautiful, interesting, and off-beat road trips. Dive in to get directions, quizzes, photos, and more.
If all the billboards along Alaska's Seward Highway were laid end to end, they'd reach—nowhere. There are no billboards here, no tollbooths, few towns, and fewer gas stations. But if you're looking for whales and waterfalls, blue glaciers and sharp-toothed mountains, calm trout ponds and stormy ocean fjords, there's enough visual overload here to fill a hard drive with digital pictures.
The Costiera Amalfitana, or Amalfi Coast, is widely considered Italy's most scenic stretch of coastline, a landscape of towering bluffs, pastel-hued villages terraced into hillsides, precipitous corniche roads, luxuriant gardens, and expansive vistas over turquoise waters and green-swathed mountains. Deemed by UNESCO "an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape, with exceptional cultural and natural scenic values," the coast was awarded a coveted spot on the World Heritage list in 1997.
If you drive slowly through the village of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on a weekday afternoon, things are so quiet you may hear the Provençal version of the proverbial pin drop: the cork popping off a wine bottle in one of the town's drowsy bistros. Come on a weekend, though, and you'll find parking so tight you may have to leave your own rental car on a country road and hike back into town.
The best way to see Hawaii's Big Island is to drive around it. You'll soon be immersed in a varied landscape unlike any other in the United States. You'll encounter lava desert, jungle, farmland, active lava flows, warm beaches, cool highlands, and views of soaring mountains and plunging valleys. And everywhere, you'll feel the aura of the mysterious Polynesians who landed here more than a thousand years ago and named the island Hawaii.
Home to Big Bend National Park and the adjoining Big Bend Ranch State Park, this borderland is characterized by rugged mountain ranges, grassland, and immense tracts of desert. The region's exotic qualities has long attracted Hollywood: Recent films No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood were filmed in the area, and the landscape prompted one 1930s inhabitant to call it "America's Abyssinia," perhaps for the African-style terrain and abundant wildlife. The route starts in the oil town of Fort Stockton, continues to Alpine—gateway to Big Bend National Park—and through Paisano Pass to the quirky town of Marfa. From here it threads south past the ghost town of Shafter into the border town of Presidio, then continues along scenic River Road (FM-170) through Terlingua to Study Butte. Turning onto Hwy. 118/Maverick Road, the drive unspools into that Texas jewel, Big Bend National Park. From here choices include detours to Chisos, a not-to-miss mountain chain, and the funky old cattle town of Marathon.
An exhilarating driving experience, this twisting, cliff-hugging, 123-mile (198-kilometer) route along the central California coast takes about five hours to complete at a leisurely pace. Designated an All-American Road—among the nation's most scenic—the drive encompasses both the Big Sur Coast Highway and the San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway.
With its whitewashed seaside villages and greener-than-green countryside dotted with Celtic ruins, the Cornish peninsula is a hybrid of historical attractions and natural beauty. From its subtropical gardens to its steep cliffs that cascade into the Atlantic, Cornwall has an island feel, and is, in fact, almost an island, nearly separated from the rest of Britain by the Tamar River.
The 414-mile (666-kilometer) road from Livengood to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, carves a path through forest and tundra, crosses the Yukon River, traverses the towering Brooks Range, and passes over the North Slope to end at the Arctic Ocean.