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America’s Best Sports Car Driving Roads


If you love to drive, a special joy goes with exercising your ride on a fabulous road, unencumbered by traffic. Odds are, you know the hot roads in your area, but what if you're someplace else? Over the next few weeks, we're going to list some of the best sports car roads in the nation, starting with Hawaii, Alaska and the western states. Then, we'll be working our way across the continent for the rest of the month.

Here's the first installment. Any of your favorites among them?

Hawaii: Oahu might get all the love from beachgoers, but if you like to drive, the Big Island is what's happening. The Hawaii Belt Road, consisting of Highways 19, 11 and 190 circumnavigate the island, winding through lush tropical forest and quaint little towns. A nice mix of straights, twisties and highway, the route is also punctuated with scenic ocean vistas and volcanoes.

Alaska: The Parks Highway picks up 35 miles north of Anchorage, at the bottom of the state, and runs to Fairbanks in its central interior. Exceptional views of the continent's highest peak, Mt. McKinley, are but one aspect of the amazing scenery The Parks has to offer. There are some stretches of freeway, but they're a small price to pay for the treasures of the majority of the rest of the road.

California

California

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California:
The Pacific Coast Highway, (AKA Highway 1) running north out of San Francisco offers every variety of curve you can imagine. Clinging tenaciously to the continent's edge for most of its length, absolutely breathtaking scenery is accompanied by a variety of delightful towns and eclectic accommodations. You'll pass though rolling meadows, skirt Redwood forests, and test your mettle on some highly challenging and technical roads.

Oregon: Without question, the Columbia River Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in the world. The lush green trees, cascading waterfalls and ever-present Columbia River might well have you stopping more than driving. Either way, a morning spent on the Columbia River Parkway will put you right back in touch with the reasons you bought your sports car in the first place.

Washington

Washington

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Washington: The Strait of Juan de Fuca Highway is one of those roads that is a destination in and of itself. First of all, you'll be able to boast you've driven farther out into the Pacific Ocean than you can anywhere else on the mainland. Following a glacial fjord that connects Puget Sound to the Pacific Ocean, in addition to the rugged terrain, you'll see eagles and gray whales too.

Idaho: Highway 97 travels south along the eastern shoreline of Lake Coeur d'Alene. Following the shoreline of the lake means lots of nice twists and turns, in addition to bald eagles and the largest population of nesting osprey in the Western states. The road begins where the junction of I-90 meets Idaho 97 and traces the eastern shore of the lake south to Idaho Highway 3.

Nevada: U.S. Highway 50 through Nevada is also known as The Loneliest Road In America. The road got its name from a Life magazine article back in 1986. Running through some of the most desolate country in the nation, roads like Highway 50 was a prime reason no speed limits existed in Nevada prior to mid-1970's. A driver's paradise, 50 has a nice mix of mountainous terrain and rollicking, wide-open straights.

Arizona: Highway 191 is reputed to be the curviest road in the United States. Running north to south in eastern Arizona, near the New Mexico border, the road was also once known as the Devil's Highway because of its numeric designation, 666. Traversing first high desert then Alpine forests, at times you might forget you're in Arizona on Highway 191.

Utah: Highway 12 took nearly forty years to build. Carved through some of the most rugged terrain in the country, Utah's Highway 12 links Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks. The curves we sports car folks love so much are abundant, but so are fossils and dinosaur remains. This is another road that will have you stopping just as much as you're going. Montana: The Big Sky Back Country Byway is comprised of Highways 253 and 13 running between Terry and Wolf Point in the southeastern corner of the state. Running through all the sorts of terrain that make Montana famous, you'll rip along prairies, grasslands and mountain landscapes, taking in buttes and badlands along the way.
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  1. I thought the road to Hana on Maui was supposed to be the better road, though haven't driven to confirm. I actually like Highway 1 from Hearst Castle to Carmel better than 1 north of SF--roads usually drier and sits on the Pacific, too.
     
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