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Drive Through Destinations in the Say States

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By Madeline Klein on March 31, 2022 in Travel

Do you crave the excitement of a road trip without having to leave the comfort of your car? Well, you’re in luck! Check out these drive through attractions in the Say states and enjoy the exciting (and sometimes unusual) sites from your favorite spot – the passenger, back, or driver seat!

Colorado

Our token snowy state has a whole lot more to offer besides snowboarding and skiing.

Peak to Peak Scenic Byway

The Peak to Peak Scenic Byway is a 3-hour drive that spans 55 miles and takes you from Estes Park, Colorado to Central City, Colorado. As Colorado’s first scenic byway, it offers beautiful views of wildlife like elk and nature like aspen and evergreen trees. You’ll pass retired gold mines, so if you’re feeling ambitious and ready to get out of the car, check out the mines where you can go gold panning!

For the best views and weather, visit in the spring or fall. Also, if you have a Jeep or convertible car – bring it! This is the perfect opportunity to feel the wind in your hair!

Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

You can find Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge just a little north of Denver, Colorado (go Broncos!). This land served many purposes over the years. The Native Americans used it to track bison, farm crops, and grow cattle. In WWII, it became a chemical weapons manufacturing facility. Now, you can enjoy a 12-mile cruise through the 15,000-acre refuge home to deer, bison, birds, and more. Also, important to note, if you decide to get out of the car you can enjoy, fishing, hiking, environmental education, wildlife viewing, and more!

Illinois

Illinois is one of our states that has it all, from booming metropolises to quaint suburbs to vast farmlands, and we love every aspect.

Chicago Skyline and Lake Michigan

The Chicago skyline is breathtaking. We’re pretty sure that’s just a fact. As one of the tallest skylines in the United States, with over 1,300 high-rise buildings, Chicago has tons of sights to offer. Time Out lists the 9 most scenic Chicago drives as, “Wells Street Bridge, Midway Plaisance, Lake Shore Drive, Columbus Drive, Logan Square Boulevards, Historic Route 66, Lower Wacker Drive, Humboldt Drive, and anywhere under the “L” tracks.” After hitting up these top spots, park lakeside to relax and enjoy a scenic view.

Casey, Illinois

Casey, Illinois is home to tons of supersized attractions in a pint-sized town. They have the world’s largest wind chime, golf tee, rocking chair, wooden shoes, pitchfork, mailbox, key, gavel, swizzle spoon, golf driver, barbershop pole, and teeter totter. While not the largest in the world, Casey also has super big versions of antlers, a birdcage, a softball bat, a pokeball and more. Don’t wait to see all of the big things in this small town!

Indiana

Our newest addition to the Say family is here to truly wow drivers without making them get out of the car.

Ohio River Scenic Byway

Located in Southern Indiana, Ohio River Scenic Byway is 302 miles of pure beautiful scenic views along the Ohio River. All the way from Lawrenceburg, Indiana to Mt. Vernon, Indiana, small towns and cities can bring experiences you won’t want to miss. Outside the comfort of your car, there are antique shops, camping spots, caves, and artist studios.

Bonus tip: you can also experience the Ohio River Scenic Byway in Illinois!

Covered Bridges

As the covered bridge capital of the world, Parke County, Indiana, has 31 bridges, most of which are from the 1800s. From Beeson Covered Bridge to Neet Covered Bridge, there are options for driving through the bridges and options only accessible by foot. Although they might require a bit of walking around, the views and historic bridges are well worth the couple extra steps! If you plan your trip in late February or early March, The Annual Parke County Maple Fair would make for the perfect pit stop.

Kansas

Believe it or not, this Midwestern state is home to more than just farmland and cattle.

Frontier Military Scenic Byway

You already know we’re here with another scenic byway, but this time Kansas-themed. The Frontier Military Scenic Byway spans 167 miles from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to the border of Oklahoma. This journey along the eastern most edge of Kansas, features historical, cultural, and natural sites and attractions. These sites include Weston Bend Bottomlands, Wyandotte County Lake, The Prairie Center, and much more!

Don’t stop here. Other scenic byways in Kansas to mention: Flint Hills, Glacial Hills, Gypsum Hills, Native Stone, and Post Rock.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock is unlike any of the other sites we’ve shared with you so far. Well…it does share the driving element, but they all do because these are drive through destinations! However, the Castle Rock drive is a 30-mile drive through canyons, bad lands, and chalk formations. Historians can’t explain why Castle Rock remained when all of the surrounding rock eroded away, and boy, is it a site to see!

Keep an eye out for the wildlife – deer, jackrabbits, coyotes, prairies dogs, birds, and more.

Missouri

Our sweet home state holds a special place near and dear in our heart. Also, home to Arrowhead Stadium and the Gateway Arch, the state has place to visit for every driver!

Blue Buck Knob National Forest Scenic Byway

This one is a tongue twister of a scenic byway. If you can say it 10 times fast, we’ll award you with some serious brownie points. The Blue Buck Knob National Forest Scenic Byway is found in the Mark Twain National Forest. This byway is 24 miles of wooded lands with open pastures mixed in. The closest towns include Cabool, Willow Springs, Pomona, and West Plains if you want to extend your trip or are looking for a bite to eat.

Route 66 Drive-In Theater

Roll up to Carthage, Missouri to visit one of the last operating drive-ins along Route 66. Tickets are only $4 for kids and $8 for adults. The fun doesn’t stop at the showing of 2 movies and a nostalgic intermission trailer, you can also enjoy hot dogs, chili dogs, polish dogs, candy, BBQ sandwiches, nachos, and popcorn. While this hit destination is only open April through September, it’s the perfect evening event!

Tennessee

If your automatic thought when thinking about Tennessee is ONLY country music, we’ll show you there’s much more to see in this breathtaking state.

Great Smoky Mountains Byway

Our final byway of the article is here. Trust us, we know there are a lot, but they’re all so beautiful and each is worth a special trip. The Great Smoky Mountains Byway is a collection of roads that loop throughout the 800-square miles of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. All the way between Sevierville, Tennessee and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, you’ll experience views of the mountains, wildlife, and historic cabins!

The Parthenon

Built in the 1930s in Nashville, Tennessee, this to-scale version of the Athens, Greece Parthenon is home to art exhibitions with the goal of educating Nashvillians and visitors about ancient Greeks. Since the art exhibitions are constantly on rotation, you can check the website before visiting for a little sneak peek of what’s being featured. Around the Parthenon, Centennial Park offers a one-mile walking trail perfect for a road trip break!

Conclusion

Moral of the story? You can see beautiful and entertaining sites in all our Say states…without having to leave your car. That’s what we like to call a win-win!

Take Say along on your next adventure!


Madeline Klein is Say's Digital Content Producer. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism, emphasis in Strategic Communication. Her experience is in writing and digital media. Madeline loves using her creativity to write and design new and exciting pieces of work for Say!

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