Can you remember the last time you chose a route that guided you through lush forests, along the coast, or perhaps through scenic mountain passes? For many of us, the answer is most likely a "no." However, that should not prevent you from embarking on a scenic journey. North America's scenic routes have been carved out from the time the first explorer discovered America. Here are five of New England's most iconic drives that will allow youthe unrestrained freedom the wide open road provides.

Kancamagus Highway

While New England offers countless miles of stunning routes, nothing comes close to the Kancamagus Highway which curves for some 32 miles through the White Mountains along Route 112, linking the towns of Lincoln and Conway.

The route is often considered as one the most popular Autumn drives in America. Approximately 26.5 miles of the highway has been designated a National Scenic Byway providing travelers with a picturesque view of colonial farmhouses, scenic covered bridges, hardwood and evergreen forests extending for miles. Several scenic lookout sites are situated alongside the Kancamagus Highway, most notably one situated near the crest of Kancamagus Pass.

Mount Washington Road

For those who are planning on visiting the White Mountains and have no idea as what to do should look no further than to the Mount Washington Auto Road. This section of the White Mountains is home to the oldest man-made tourist attraction in North America.

It first opened in 1861 with the first vehicle, a genuine Stanley Steamer becoming the first automobile to make the journey to the top in 1899. Ascending some 5,000 feet, the road passes by waterfalls and alpine meadows together with grand vistas prior to reaching the end. From the far side of the peak is the magnificent Mount Washington Hotel located just across from the Bretton Woods Mountain Resort.

Vermont's Route 100

Vermont Route 100 is widely recognized thanks to its beautiful fall foliage as well as Ben & Jerry's, Vermont's most famous ice cream. The route extends through the middle of the state a little over 216 miles in length starting from the town of Stowe and extending south to the Massachusetts border.

The route cuts through the heart of Vermont's great outdoors, allowing travelers a glimpse to some of the most stunning views found anywhere in New England. Among the most beautiful vistas are the communities between Waitsfield and Weston that should not be overlooked.

Connecticut's Merritt Parkway

While years of roadwork and construction have diminished a significant amount of Merritt’s unique beauty, much has remained unchanged allowing it to become one of America's most beautiful highways. With practically no roadside expansion and limited access to certain vehicles, makes the Merritt Parkway the very first of its type to be placed into service. The parkway provides much more than just bends and curves; it welcomes drivers to its beautiful green lush landscape, making driving a real enjoyment.

Don't forget to stop at Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, a 110 year-old family restaurantto treat yourself to one of their juicy burgers.

Acadia National Park Loop

Driving this 27-mile loop offers travelers breathtaking vistas, an experience not soon to be forgotten. Traveling along the loop makes it possible for spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean together with magnificent sunsets. Traveling along the rocky coast of Maine and observing the ocean and mountains gives a person an appreciation of the unspoiled environment. One spot not to be overlooked is Gorham Mountain where an individual can climb to the top while observing Thunder Hole as the waves crash on shore producing a sonic boom. There are a number of observation points where an individual can pull over to view the scenery.

A number of special parking locations can be found along the route most notably the areas at Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, and Otter Cliff.

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