Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
The 469-mile-long Blue Ridge Parkway was designed in the 1930s for car cruising. In fact, it was conceived as a sort of natural museum. But it makes a perfect road for cyclists, too. Start at the southern end in the Great Smokey Mountains for a thrilling 6-mile descent, says Liz Einbinder of Backroads. After that you’ll climb and descend rolling blacktop, alternating vistas of Asheville with tunnels of trees, says Einbinder. As the name implies, the road follows the ridgeline, and there are few flat sections. It’s a much-driven road which cars take at a slow tourist speed, and it’s carefully maintained. You can ride the length of it, or do an out-and-back — either way, carry what you need. Not many developed areas straddle the parkway.