Travel writer Jimmy Im includes the Blue Ridge Parkway as one of those four coveted road trips:
Blue Ridge Parkway: Virginia to North Carolina
Distance: 470 miles
Road trippers can expect lush forestry and some majestic mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 470-mile drive connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. While it averages roughly 10 hours to drive, plenty of highlights along the way ensure you'll want to take several days to explore the route. Locals call the Blue Ridge Parkway a "window" to the region as several cultural and unique towns are right off the highway.
Visitors stop for a photo opp at the Humpback Rocks in Blue Ridge, VA, a natural rock outcrop that has a storied history. Nearby is the Natural Bridge of Virginia in Rockbridge Country, one of the oldest tourist destinations in the country and constantly voted as one of America's best natural wonders. Stop in Roanoke, the largest metropolitan city along the route, to visit charming farmer's markets.
Several attractions await in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, but a road tripper's favorite is the actual Blowing Rock itself, a cliff looming 4,000 feet above sea level, harboring magnificent views of Hawksbill Mountain and Table Rock. For the mother of all views, stop at Waterrock Knob, which, at 7,000-feet high, showcases breathtaking mountain views.