Special Report

America's Most Beautiful Seaside Road Trips

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Lake Shore Drive
> Location: Chicago, Illinois

Lake Shore Drive is considered the best urban drive of its kind in America. On one side is Lake Michigan and its beaches, and on the other is the looming wall of modern-day Chicago skyscrapers.

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Cape Perpetua
> Location: Oregon

This part of US 101 skirts a stretch of Oregon’s coastline that is thick with forest. Some portions afford the traveler unimpeded views of the Pacific Ocean, and one leg of the scenic drive takes you through Siuslaw National Forest. Another feature of the route is the Cape Perpetua Day Use area, the highest accessible point along the Oregon Coast.

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Carolina Beach
> Location: North Carolina

Most seaside drives mean the motorist views the shoreland from afar. At Carolina Beach, you can literally drive down onto the sand. Carolina Beach is definitely 4×4 territory, though, and you need a permit to drive on the beach.

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Point Reyes National Seashore
> Location: California

This drive starts north of San Francisco, on the Shoreline Highway through Stinson Beach. The road hugs the coast and provides lots of life-savoring photo opportunities. The trip takes you into the San Andreas Fault zone and the Olema Valley Trail. There are many picturesque, below-the-radar towns with quaint restaurants and B&Bs.

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Crater Lake West Rim Drive
> Location: Oregon

A different but no less spectacular motoring experience is the Crater Lake West Rim Drive, a delight for amateur geologists. The lake was formed from a violent seismic episode almost 8,000 years ago. The 33-mile journey provides about 30 views of the lake, forests, waterfalls, and other landscape features.

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