It is a bit of an understatement to say that the United States of America is a big country. In this vast and beautiful country exists a plethora of natural and man-made sights dotted through the 50 states. From volcanoes and lakes, to glaciers and waterfalls, these wondrous places in America will surely take your breath away. If you’re not a huge fan of the great outdoors, fret not, we’ve also included some man-made wonders you can enjoy. Some of these beautiful locales are found near towns and well-known cities, while others are found a little further off the beaten road. In this article, we’re going to take you through 20 of the most magnificent places in America you can check out while touring the country.
The highlands of the Appalachian Mountains stretch across the states of Virginia and North Carolina. Many agree that taking a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway is a grand way to appreciate the scenery. This road is named after the mountain and is also a national park that stretches for 469 miles (754.8 km). Traveling along this road allows visitors to marvel at the verdant mountainsides and valleys at different overlook points along the way. In addition, there’s a hefty amount of creeks and trails draped in vivid areas of flowers and forestry that take on a magical quality when the clouds hang low in certain parts.
Blue Ridge Parkway Waterfalls Hiking Tour with Guide
Duration: 5 hours
It’s estimated that five and a half million people come to visit Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona every year. The Grand Canyon is a mile-deep (1.6 km deep) canyon that was carved out by the Colorado River and is approximately 277 miles (445.8 km) long. The views from here are breathtaking to say the least. This is thanks to millions of years of erosion, resulting in the diverse geological expanse of the canyon and the many wildlife species that calls this place home such as the black bear, elks and the California condor. Visitors here tend to frequently visit the South Rim of the park, which offers spectacular views and is less mountainous than the park’s North Rim. One new addition that draws many visitors is The Grand Canyon Skywalk—a cantilever bridge that extends 70 feet (21.3 m) over the canyon. This skywalk was built and operated by the Hualapai Tribe, some of whom still reside within and around the canyon itself.
Grand Canyon South Rim Bus Day Tour from Las Vegas with Optional Upgrades
Duration: 14 Hrs - 15 Hrs Duration
In the northwestern corner of the state of Wyoming is Grand Teton National Park. Founded in 1929, this park spans 310,000 acres (125,452.5 hectares) and attracts many who enjoy the land’s numerous spots for camping and backcountry fishing. Found here are 200 miles (321.8 km) of trails for hiking around creeks and pristine ponds. This park includes the entire Teton Range of mountains such as Grand Teton (the highest mountain in the park) as well as the Jackson Hole Valley. Those visiting Grand Teton can stay at a lodge here such as the Jackson Lake Lodge and the Triple X Ranch. These lodges hold onto the old, frontier ranch traditions.
Grand Teton National Park Day Trip Bus Tour from Jackson Hole
Duration: 8 hours
4. Hamilton Pool Preserve, Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas is a hip city that attracts a lot of visitors for many reasons. One of the more outstanding reasons is to visit the exquisite natural wonder of the Hamilton Pool Preserve. This locale is actually part of an underground river that stretches over 20 miles (32.2 km) west of the city, and was created when a dome in this section collapsed due to soil erosion. The result was a large natural pool surrounded by slabs of limestone, and sizeable stalactites hanging from the ceiling in conjunction with glossy patches of moss and the thick trees. Visitors here should also note that they have to reserve passes to the preserve but it’s worth it to gaze at the tranquil waters and this unspoilt wonder of nature.
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the nation. This lake sits on the border between California and Nevada in the Sierra Madre region. The waters here are so crystal clear that at some point, you can peer into the waters up to 70 feet (21.3 m). Lake Tahoe is surrounded by a rich and dense forest of fir and pine trees, and is a soothing sight to behold no matter the season. The surrounding area has been a long-time tourist destination as well as a resort getaway. This is a great place to visit for those who enjoy skiing during the winter months.
Lake Tahoe Ultimate Photography Scenic Half-Day Tour in Small-Group
Duration: 5 to 6 hours
The City of Charleston found in South Carolina has long been regarded as a magnificent part of the Southern United States. The oldest and largest city in the state, those visiting this area will find an abundance of historical buildings, vast mansions and houses that bear various pastel colors as they walk along the cobblestone streets here. This is especially the case for abodes found in neighborhoods by the shore. Charleston is also home to streets lined with tall palmetto trees and a vibrant mix of people.
Charleston: 90-Minute Historic City Highlights Tour
Duration: 1.5 hour
7. The Wave, Arizona and Utah
The Wave is a sandstone rock formation found in the Coyote Bluffs area of Arizona, just off its border with Utah. Those who make their way here will find that hiking here can be arduous due to the rough trails and terrain, but it winds up being quite the experience if you’re adventurous enough. This challenging hiking terrain is due to the miles of undulating Navajo sandstone formations that take on different hues depending on the time of day, resulting in some stunning natural photography if you feel like taking your camera out to commemorate your time here.
Haleakalā National Park is located on the island of Maui in the state of Hawaii. This park is home to the dormant Haleakalā volcano. Its name translate to “house of the sun” and is featured in local mythology. Visitors can make their way up to the summit, which houses the visitor’s center as well as the Haleakalā Observatory. Many make the arduous climb to catch the amazing vista once the sun rises. In addition, the volcano’s massive crater is a key point of attraction here, along with Hosmer’s Grove—a forest of trees that were brought over by pioneers from Asia and other places.
Maui: Haleakala National Park Sunrise Tour
Duration: 9 hour
Situated just outside of Bar Harbor in the state of Maine is Acadia National Park. It encompasses most of Mount Desert Island and smaller islands in the area. Acadia National Park is the oldest National Park east of the Mississippi River. The lush scenery here is exhilarating, even more so as the season of fall descends upon New England region and all of the foliage turns into splendid shades of gold, red and brown. There’s a series of trails here that are great for hikers and those arriving by car. This is all thanks to the philanthropy of the tycoon John D. Rockefeller.
Narrated Bus Tour of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park (Classic - 2.5 Hours)
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
10. Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks comprise a series of islands found off the coast of North Carolina and Virginia that are highly popular destinations, especially when the temperature gets warmer. These islands span 200 miles (321.9 km) in length and feature a near-tropical climate during much of the year. Visitors come here for a taste of the serene beach life, and to partake in some quality fishing. Notable sights here include the Bodie Island Lighthouse and the Graveyard of The Atlantic Museum. There are also parks and nature preserves dotted throughout the entirety of the Outer Banks.
The scenery found at Arches National Park seems spectacular enough to be out of this world at times. This is mainly because of the 2,000 sandstone arches left behind after millions of years of erosion here. North of the City of Moab, this park has drawn many to gaze at these stone wonders. It has also served as the backdrop for films such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Park officials do caution against getting too close to see these arches since 43 have been lost to them over the past couple of decades when they suddenly collapsed.
Arches National Park 4x4 Adventure Guided Tour from Moab
Duration: 5 hours
12 miles (19.3 km) from the downtown area of the state capital of Alaska sits the Mendenhall Ice Caves. They form part of the Tongass National Forest. These caves can be literally found within the Mendenhall Glacier. In order for visitors to see them, they have to kayak with a guide to the glacier, then climb up the ice. Thereafter, they’ll have to follow an inlet to gain entry. Once inside, the experience is awe-inspiring as you wander through hollowed-out caves bathed in various shades of blue thanks to the light streaming through the ice ceilings.
Mendenhall Glacier Trek
Duration: 8 hours
13. Watkins Glen State Park, New York
This park is the most popular of those in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Watkins Glen State Park takes its name from the town it is adjacent to—the lower section of the park can be found right outside the town limits. The most enthralling part of this 778 acre (314.8 hectare) park is Rainbow Bridge and Falls. It is part of Glen Creek and looks as if it was taken out of a scene from the medieval fantasy franchise “Lord Of The Rings”. The park actually has 19 waterfalls in total, and there’s ample sites for those looking to camp out here amidst the splendor of nature.
14. Thor's Well, Oregon
They say that sometimes beauty goes hand in hand with danger. That axiom is true when it comes to Thor’s Well which is found ensconced in Cape Perpetua on the Oregon Coast. The well itself is a sinkhole that delves 20 feet (6.1 m) into the ground. The appeal of Thor’s Well comes from when the tides rush in and the water drains out before erupting in a fury. Visitors are cautioned to not get too close because of the sheer force of the water as well as the dangers associated with the jagged terrain around the sinkhole. It does make for spectacular pictures, however, especially at sunset.
Niagara Falls is probably the most well-known attraction on this list. After all, it’s been a major tourist destination for years now. Situated on the border between the province of Ontario in Canada and New York, this system of three waterfalls (the Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil) comprise the southern part of the Niagara Gorge. You can marvel at the sheer drop of the falls from observation decks on both sides of the border as well as via boat tours that bring you close to the base of these waterfalls.
Niagara Falls Day Tour from New York
Duration: 19 Hrs Duration
16. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Out in the Gulf of Mexico sits the Dry Tortugas National Park. It is made up of seven islands found 68 miles (109.4 km) west of Key West, Florida. It’s accessible only by boat or via seaplane, but once visitors arrive here, they’re treated to some of the most picturesque sights in this part of the Gulf. Aside from the main island that houses Fort Jefferson, which was built in the 19th century, the rest of the park is composed of fresh coral reefs and beautiful waters. Many come here to take advantage of the bountiful opportunities to swim, snorkel and even scuba dive in these waters. During these trips, they can marvel first hand as they witness the undisturbed shipwrecks found beneath the water’s surface.
Sprawling across three states but found primarily in Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park is arguably one of America’s most recognizable natural sights. Year after year, visitors come by the thousands to check out the park’s lovely features such as “Old Faithful”—a geyser that has never failed to erupt on schedule. Visitors also come from far and wide to hike along the winding, and ever-scenic Yellowstone River. Another attractive feature of this 3,500 acre (1416.4 hectare) park is the Grand Prismatic Spring. It is the third largest hot spring in the world, and its waters comprise a rich shade of turquoise at first glance. It truly is a sight to behold!
Yellowstone National Park Day Trip Bus Tour from Jackson
Duration: 11 hours
18. Punalu'u Beach, Hawaii
Punalu'u Beach is found on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is a striking locale. This is thanks to its black sands which are caused by lava flowing into the ocean, leaving behind basalt and localized pools of brackish water. People come here to walk along the beach and to take note of its unusual features. People also come to check out the variety of endangered species that call this beach their home. These unique wildlife include the hawksbill turtle and the Hawaiian hawk.
Stretching out between the City of San Francisco and Marin County in Northern California is the Golden Gate Bridge—one of the world’s greatest wonders. This suspension bridge, built in 1937 and painted a brilliant shade of orange (not red as some would guess) has been a draw for many. It is arguably the most photographed bridge across the globe. It is particularly more appealing as the banks of fog roll in over the straits, shrouding the bridge artfully, but not totally obscuring it from view.
San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge Catamaran Cruise
Duration: 1.5 hour
20. White Mountains, New Hampshire
The White Mountains comprise one of New England’s most cherished spots. This mountain range stretches from New Hampshire, up to the point where it partially encroaches into the neighboring state of Maine. Many flock here since it’s a short drive from Boston and Montreal, Canada. The land itself is taken up by several parks. One of which is called Mount Washington National Forest. It is named after the highest peak in Northeastern United States.
Before you venture out to visit these beautiful American sights
These twenty sights are by no means all that America has to offer travelers in search of great locales to feast their eyes on, but they are definitely a great and varied collective representation from coast to coast. From mountains and valleys, to glaciers and the volcanic rich soil on Hawaiian beaches, these awe-inspiring wonders will gladden the heart of any adventurer exploring American soil. We hope that this guide will serve you well as a jumping off-point on your journey across the great country of America!
Tell us about some beautiful places you have visited in America down in the comments below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and unique experiences!
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