We’ve all heard it a million times. It’s about the journey, not the destination. It may be a cliche, but there is seriously nothing better than taking the best scenic drives in Northern California with the windows rolled down and the wind in your hair.

Here are our 10 favorite backroads that we can’t get enough of in Northern California. Enjoy the drive!

What did you think of this list of some of the best scenic drives in Northern California? Would you add any roads or byways to this list if you could? Share some scenic driving roads near you with us in the comments!

Can’t get enough of the Northern California landscape? Swing by our best historical landmarks for views you won’t be able to resist. One of the most epic ways to enjoy a Northern California road trip is by renting an RV from RVShare and planning a week-long (or longer) trip.

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article.

More to Explore

Best Scenic Drives In Northern California

What are the best roadside attractions in Northern California?

Some of the best roadside attractions in Northern California include:


When you’re driving through NorCal, you just might spot a few things that strike you as odd. After all, the region encompasses the state’s uppermost 48 counties! Along the way, you’ll find all sorts of incredible natural features and landscapes in the area that will knock your socks off. You’ll also spot some oddities that will make you do a double-take. The weirdest roadside attractions in Northern California include a giant olive, a giant Coca-Cola cup, and a huge yoyo. Everything’s bigger in Texas? Try California.

Are there any other scenic backroads to drive along in Northern California?

Why yes, there are plenty of scenic backroads to drive in NorCal. Scenic backroads in Northern California are just part of daily life, quite frankly. Though this region of the state houses more than 15 million residents, there’s all sorts of beauty and open scenery spanning the area. Whether you are exploring a scenic byway or taking a drive to a local landmark like a farm, you are in for a treat. Just remember sunglasses – The Golden State can be truly brilliant.

What are some things to do in Northern California when you have a free afternoon?

Some of the things to do in Northern California when you have a free afternoon include:

  • Explore Yosemite National Park
  • Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Go to Death Valley National Park
  • Hike in Lassen Volcanic National Park


The very best things to do in Northern California are, much like this road trip, free… for the most part! You’ll just need a bit of gas and a desire to spend some time getting to know our magnificent landscape. One of the best ways to spend a day is hiking in a park. We have many! Yosemite National Park is arguably our most famous, although you might also enjoy visits to Lassen Volcanic National Park, Death Valley National Park, or even quaint local parks in our cozy suburbs. There is so much to love about this pretty state, and a day spent hiking is an incredible way to take in its magnificence. Just keep on your toes... we have some interesting animals that are both terrifying and surprising to encounter in person.