One of the main reasons I love a good road trip is you get to see so much of the country that you would typically miss. Having been to all of the states in the lower 48, I have had the privilege of seeing much of the United States. Some places like 1-70 through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, I knew I was going to love. But other places really impressed me with how beautiful they are. Driving through these five favorite flyover states made me really appreciate that I was able to drive as well as plot out some future trips.
Many people consider eastern Montana a flyover state or just something to get through on your way to the Rocky Mountains. But both times I’ve driven through eastern Montana, I’ve loved every minute of it.
My first trek through eastern Montana was on my way to Glacier National Park. I drove north from Sheridan, Wyoming, through Billings and Great Falls. It felt like every hour the scenery was different, and there was some new natural landscape to marvel at. The wide open spaces are also dotted with old homesteads that give you glimpses into the past.
The second time I drove through eastern Montana, I went south along the North Dakota and South Dakota borders. The scenery is beautiful from Glendale to Devil’s Tower National Monument in northern Wyoming. With Makoshika and Medicine Rocks State Parks, there are plenty of scenic stops along the way.
When you think Florida Panhandle, you think Gulf Coast, Pensacola, or Destin. But driving across the Florida Panhandle along I-10 showcases gently rolling hills, large trees, and open fields.
The drive is very bucolic. The terrain and vegetation are typical of the Gulf Coastal Plain and you can see why many people hike this portion of the Florida Trail.
Driving across southern Oregon and northern Nevada was probably the most I’ve driven without seeing civilization. Being that is it a part of the Great Basin, a cold desert, it doesn’t showcase a lot, but it’s beautiful to see the bareness and understand why you pass so very few residents and towns.
I drove Highways 140 and 95 to I-80, which took me into Utah. Driving along the highway you can see 10,000-foot peaks in the distance. The dramatic desert light makes the landscape looks like a painting.
Iowa is considered another flyover state with nothing but corn fields. But driving through those cornfields dotted with red barns, farmhouses, and silos are one of the most beautiful drives. I drove north on I-29 and then on Highway 75 on my way to Blue Mound State Park in southern Minnesota.
Driving through the middle of America, really shows you how beautiful all that farmland can be.
Northern Pennsylvania and Upstate New York
Interstate 90 between Erie, Pennsylvania, and Buffalo, New York skirts really close to Lake Erie. But I wanted to see the lake, and Highway 5 runs even closer and parallel to I-90. I opted for this slower path because I not only wanted to see the lake, but also the quaint lake towns that dot the shore. By driving along Highway 5, I would get glimpses of the lake and its cerulean shimmer.
The Highway also takes you through several of these small lake towns. I stopped at Barcelona Lighthouse, but there are more state parks and lighthouses along the way.
Five favorite flyover states
Long road trips are not everyone’s cup of tea. But for those who are able to take one, they can have huge payoffs. You never know when you will find your next spot for an adventure. Sometimes the adventure is getting to the destination, and sometimes the journey can be used as a way to gather ideas on where you would like to go next.