North Carolina
Blue Ridge Parkway by Bev Hollis

North Carolina’s Scenic Byways

North Carolina is home to two All-American Roads: the Blue Ridge Parkway and Newfound Gap Road. All-American Roads are the gold-standard of scenic byways and attract visitors in large numbers. In fact, Blue Ridge Parkway had 14.1 million recreational visitors in 2020, making it the most visited park. North Carolina has some of the most beautiful parks in the country, and the byways play an integral role in visitors’ experiences with the parks. Each byway offers visitors access to local communities, which promotes economic development. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the historically and culturally significant sites of Cherokee cultural heritage to cascading waterfalls, byways are a unique way to experience North Carolina.

Byways Provide Access to Public Lands

North Carolina byways provide access to the state’s most spectacular public lands, including one national park, 34 state parks, two national seashores, two national heritage sites, and 39 national landmarks.

About the National Scenic Byways Program

The National Scenic Byways Program, established by Congress in 1991, recognizes historic, scenic, and culturally important roads, all of which promote economic development and tourism in communities around the U.S. There are more than 1,200 byways in all 50 states.

All scenic byways exhibit one or more of six core intrinsic qualities — scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, archaeological, or natural. For a road to be named a national scenic byway, it must first be designated a state, tribal, or federal agency scenic byway. Once achieving that, a road may apply for national scenic byway designation, but its intrinsic quality must be of regional significance. All-American Roads are the very best of the national scenic byways, demonstrating at least two intrinsic qualities of national significance.