When many of us dream of vacationing these days, we picture popular destinations with lively locals and endless excitement all around. Although happening places such as Paris, Bali, and New York City are always at the top of our travel list, sometimes what we need is to break away from the crowd, take some calm road trips, and slow down in an unexpected oasis.
French Lick, Indiana is a quiet place, relatively. Boasting 1,700 in population, the town is filled with historic hotels, and golf courses, even a casino. It’s also the hometown of basketball legend, Larry Bird. It’s a quiet place to visit, for sure.
What makes going to French Lick even more enjoyable is IN-145, a scenic, if forgotten, state road that stretches between French Lick and Tell City, Indiana in the southwest part of the state.
A friend from Indiana told me about how he drove on it one fall afternoon. The sky was especially blue, the leaves were a colorful palette of yellows, reds, and golds, and he was the only driver on it for miles. He said it was the best drive he’d ever had, all because the scenery was gorgeous and the road was quiet.
Driving a route that leads you away from all the sights and sounds of traffic can do wonders for you. A quiet road trip — or even a quiet hour or two off a busy highway — can be a wonderful reset button for your mind. You can be alone with your thoughts, while still seeing some of the hidden treasures of your state.
Being alone on the road isn’t always about escaping noise and traffic, although that’s certainly a big reason for it. It’s also about getting clarity in life and enjoying the ride for yourself. Because there are times that the journey truly is more important than the destination.
What are the quietest roads in your state?
We recently saw an article, America’s Quietest Routes, compiled by Geotab, a telematics company for fleet management.
The article gives you access to each state’s quietest route, as determined by the annual average daily traffic, on routes longer than 10 miles. It also listed the top 10 most scenic routes in the U.S., starting with Alaska’s State Route 11 at #1, through State Route 90003 in Pennsylvania, and State Route 32 in Pennsylvania at #10.
Plus, you can see the quietest route in your own state and even travel along it using Google Earth.
Here are a few of our favorite road trips on America’s Quietest Routes.
Maine is famous for its green scenery, which boasts high hills and endless nature for the eye to see. Stretched from the west to the south is U.S. Route 201. It’s 157 miles long, crossing the Appalachian Mountains which surely provide a breathtaking view for any driver. Maine is not full of congested cities anyway, but it can still get filled with tourists and Sunday drivers. So it’s nice to find a road that allows you to have its sights all to yourself.
Alaska is beautiful all around anyway, but we see why Geotab picked it for its top ranking. Its mountains and valleys are natural subjects for oil paintings for good reason, and we see why Bob Ross was so moved to paint when he lived there. From Fairbanks to Deadhorse, State Route 11 stretches for 414 miles, giving you plenty of quiet roads to travel.
Minnesota’s State Route 32 stretches 144 miles, from Townsend Township to Greenbush, which is just under 7 hours away from the Canadian border. Along the way, you can experience tall cottonwood trees, passing through several rural towns with few traffic lights and where quietness is appreciated. This is one of those road trips that remind you of what small-town USA is all about.
Said to be the quietest route in the US, State Route 19 in Hawaii is very tranquil. Tracing the Aloha State as a continuation of Route 11, Route 19 provides scenes that showcase beautiful waters, sandy beaches, and the Hamakua Coast.
What’s your favorite route for road trips? Do you have a drive you take when you want to get away from it all? What’s the most beautiful drive you’ve ever taken? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.
Photo credit: Thomsonmg2000 (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 0)