An asphalt ribbon some 469 miles long, the parkway connects the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (the country’s most visited national park) and the Shenandoah National Park (one of the least). The road gets more travelers than any park, in fact, yet it rarely feels crowded. Stop awhile, and then drive awhile. You won’t see many signs or much development. Every turn reveals something special—a split rail fence, an awe-inspiring vista, a stacked-stone bridge.
Driving the parkway can be overwhelming. After all, it covers 469 miles across two states—Virginia and North Carolina. These don’t-miss spots will give you the best of this scenic road. It takes about three days to drive it at a leisurely 45 mph pace with time for stops.