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Top 5 Roads to Drive in the American Southeast

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So far in 2015, spring has sprung, summer heated the country up and the clocks have fallen back, meaning there are just a few weeks left when long drives just for the sake of driving are still possible.

However, that doesn’t necessarily apply to the whole country. The American Southeast benefits from its lower latitude, meaning winter is cold, but nowhere near as snowy as it is in other parts of the nation. Plus, Florida is part of the Southeast, providing ample opportunities to enjoy a day in a convertible no matter what month it is.

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Below are some of the Southeast’s best drives, ranging from challenging roads with extreme changes in elevation and hundreds of switchbacks, to long stretches of asphalt with stunning views on either side. Check them out below before you plan your next road trip, and let us know in the comments if there are any drives south of the Mason-Dixon that you think we missed.

Tail of the Dragon (Tennessee)

tailofthedragon

With 318 curves and turns packed into just 11 miles, the Tail of the Dragon may be one of the best-known spots for an exhilarating drive in the country, let alone the Southeast. It’s both a beautiful and challenging drive that runs along US 129 from North Carolina to Tennessee, or from Tennessee to North Carolina, depending on end you start at. Our editor Ed Jones spent some time on a rally that traveled this route, and was thoroughly impressed; you can read his reactions here. Check out the official website at www.TailoftheDragon.com to learn more.

For the drive:

Ferrari 458 Speciale

458-speciale

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Overseas Highway (Florida)

Overseas Highway

It’s not exactly known for its twists and turns, nor is it a place to test the limits of your speed, but US-1 from Homestead, Florida to Key West is quite possibly one of the most beautiful drives you’ll ever experience. It seems like the majority of the drive is on bridges, and during the day it’ll feel as though you’re actually driving across the ocean, rather than through a chain of islands. The water is actually turquoise, the sands are bright white and when night falls, you’ll be treated to one of the best galactic shows you’ll ever see.

For the drive:

Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder

gallardo-spyder

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The Diamondback Loop (North Carolina)

diamondback

This is a road to take on if you’re looking for a test of your ability to turn. NC 226A is an insane twisting trail of just over 12 miles, with more than 190 curves, many measuring almost 180 degrees. The altitude changes so drastically that you can expect a temperature difference of around 10 degrees Fahrenheit from the summit to the base. Learn more about this drive at www.DiamondbackNC.com.

For the drive:

Porsche 918 Spyder

918-spyder

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Ocala National Forest (Florida)

ocala-natlforest

Route 19 through the Ocala National Forest runs for right around 36 miles through central Florida’s stunning palm hammocks and natural springs. Home to some of the world’s most beautiful springs, Ocala makes for a great place to enjoy a relaxing drive through warm countryside, especially when the weather is getting cold elsewhere. Keep an eye out for off-roading trails while you’re passing through – there are 81 miles of trails dubbed “Tread Lightly! Four Wheel Drive Way” dedicated solely to off-road capable vehicles.

For the drive:

Ford F-150 Raptor

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Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, Route 197 (Georgia)

moccasincreek

Just north of Helen, Georgia, and a few miles west of the South Carolina border, the stretch of Georgia route 197 along Lake Burton is a beautiful drive any time of year. Of course, taking a few twists and turns around these 8 miles of calm switchbacks is best during the fall or spring, when every tree is sporting its best colors.

For the drive:

2015 McLaren 650S Coupe

650s

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(Images via Google Maps)

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