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  • Steven Hansen

America's Musical Highways



The road trip is an American tradition – that rolling, days-long adventure highlighted with snacks and trinkets at Stuckey’s stops (they’re still around, yayy!), the license plate game, and oddball attractions like the world’s largest ball of twine (Kansas) or the longest bar in the world (Ohio). It’s all fun when you’re on vacation!


This summer, many of us are planning cross country road trips – perhaps our first big car excursions in a long time. Where will you head for on your vacation this year?


We’ve already written about some amazing highway experiences like the overwater Seven Mile Bridge enroute to Key West, Trail Ridge Road in Colorado, and the longest and shortest covered bridges in the U.S. (both happen to be in Ashtabula County, Ohio) in our Great Passageways post.


There’s always Grand Canyon National Park, topping the A-list of American road trip destinations – a breathtaking experience worth more than a 10-second glance (unless you’re the Griswold family).


There’s also the entire Route 66 experience: the once-in-a-lifetime, 2,278-mile trek from Chicago, IL, to Santa Monica, CA, over the most famous highway in the world, chock full of funky motels, local diners, and kitchy roadside amusements.


Including one of only two “musical highways” in America. It’s located just outside Tijeras, NM, and it plays “America the Beautiful” when you drive across the rumble strips in the right lane at 45 mph. You’ll find it on Hwy 333/Route 66 between mileposts 4 and 5.


Check it out:


By the way, Tijeras is located about an hour southwest of Santa Fe, NM, which has been ranked by Forbes as one of 22 top destinations in the world to visit in 2022.


America’s other “musical highway” is located in Lancaster, CA, about 1.5 hours north of Los Angeles. It plays “The William Tell Overture” when you drive across the rumble strips in the left lane at 55 mph. To find it, travel Hwy 14 north from Lancaster and exit at Avenue G. The Musical Road is located on Avenue G between 30th and 40th Streets West.


Have a listen:


If that sounded a bit out of tune to you, "Amazing Places" host Tom Scott explains why:



Also, a short musical stretch of road leading into Auburn University campus in Auburn, AL, plays the first seven notes of the Auburn University Fight Song:



There are a number of other musical roads located in Europe and Asia.





Photo: BHammond/Alamy



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