Looking for the most beautiful places in America to explore and discover? This post has you covered!
The United States of America is one of the most diverse countries on earth. In this one country, you will find beaches, mountains, big cities, oceans, desserts and much more. It is home to some of the world’s most unique and awe-inducing natural attractions making it the perfect place to explore for a plethora of beauty to discover. If you are travelling to the USA and want to see the most beautiful places in America, keep reading!
Discover the 25 most beautiful places in America that you need to add to your bucket list.
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In This Post
25 Most Beautiful Places in America
Monument Valley, Utah
Monument Valley is one of the most beautiful places in America that everyone needs to witness while in this diverse country. It is located on the Arizona-Utah border and is a vast red sand dessert know for its unique land formations. The deep canyons and huge buttes the pop up around the land are something to admire!
This is a very popular place for tapings of many Western films to depict the stereotypical “wild west”. With the red terrain, barren land, and huge unique rock formations it is no wonder. The most famous buttes to view are Mittens buttes which can be viewed from the road or vantage points in the area. If you are on the hunt for one of the most beautiful naturally formed places in America, this is it.
Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming
Grand Prismatic Spring is a stunning naturally beautiful place to venture to, located in Yellowstone National Park. This famous hot spring is a Wyoming must-see, and easily one of the most beautiful places in America. Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the USA and the third-largest in the world.
However, its size is not the only amazing thing about it. The hot springs vibrant rainbow colours make it look almost unreal, which is why it is one of the most popular things to visit in Yellowstone National Park. There is a boardwalk that loops around the hot spring so you can see and smell it up close. Just note that this is an extremely popular tourist attraction and visiting in the afternoon promises crowds of people, but this is when the colours of the spring are most vibrant.
Grand Prismatic Spring is easily one of the most beautiful places in America that is naturally occurring and without any human influence!
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park is a vast national park in South Dakota full of amazing landscapes and natural beauty. The dramatic landscapes are full of steep canyons, large rock towers and more! You will find tons of buttes, canyons, and spires all put together in a maze of beauty. It is the perfect place to explore and hike to see one of the most beautiful places in America that has existed for thousands of years.
In addition to the unique land, Badlands National Park is home to many wild animals like bison, prairie dogs, and bighorn sheep! You will likely come across these wild animals are you drive and hike the park which only adds to the experience.
Carlsbad Cavern, New Mexico
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located in Southern New Mexico right in the Chihuahuan Desert. There are more than 100 caves in Carlsbad Caverns making this an underground goldmine of exciting things to discover and admire. The unique natural formations inside the caves make this one of the most beautiful places in America.
One of the most popular places to visit in Carlsbad Caverns is the Big Room (pictured above) where you will find Stalactites hanging from above. Where Stalactites are icicle like formations that form on the ceiling of caves. In addition to the Big Room there are various other caves below ground to explore and some interesting sights to see above ground!
The Wave, Arizona
The Wave is an awe-inducing sandstone rock formation located in Arizona on the border of Utah. This is an honorary mentioned as one of the most beautiful places in America because although it is so beautiful and mesmerizing you will want to see it ASAP, you might not be able to.
There is a crazy permit process that you need to do in order to see The Wave in person. It is really competitive to get to be one of the select few chosen to see The Wave and if you are not feeling up to filling out forms and spending time waiting to see if you are let in, then this may not be the right time to visit. However, if you get to, prepare to be amazed!
Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
The Bonneville Salt Flats are an awe-inducing place to visit in Utah. These famous salt flats are a super unique natural occurrence that is absolutely breathtaking. Visiting them will show you one of the most beautiful places in America.
The flats stretch over 30,000 acres and offer endless views of the white salt and distant mountains. They were formed when the lake that used to sit here dried up and left salt deposits that still remain. You can walk, drive, and more on the flats which is a super exciting experience. A visit to The Bonneville Salt Flats is a bucket list experience for sure!
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Explored by Debbie Fettback from World Adventurists
Antelope Canyon is one of the most visited and photographed slot canyons in the world. The colours and curves were created through years of erosion from flash floods flowing through cracks of the Navajo sandstone. This breathtaking canyon is a real testament to the power and beauty of nature, making it one of the most beautiful places in America. When visiting Antelope Canyon, seeing the light reflecting off the sandstone is incredible; it is when the colours really come to life!
You are not able to enter the canyon without a tour guide present. If you are visiting in peak season, it is wise to book ahead so that you are not disappointed. You can witness the beauty of both the Upper and Lower Canyon on the same day. For the most favourable light scenarios, most do the Upper Antelope Canyon tour in the morning, followed by the Lower Antelope Canyon tour in the afternoon.
Antelope Canyon is found in Page, a small town within northern Arizona. If you have extra time in the area, do not miss visiting Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell. The easiest way to get to Antelope Canyon is by car. However, you can also find day tours from the surrounding major cities.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Explored by Camila from Travel Cami
Dry Tortugas National Park, located just 70 miles away from the city of Key West, is definitely one of the most beautiful places in America. To get there, there are two main options: taking a ferry boat or flying in a seaplane from Key West.
In the park, there are many fun things to do, but the highlight is snorkelling. Dry Tortugas is one of the best snorkelling spots in the United States and has a super-rich marine life that allows you to see all kinds of fish and even turtles while you snorkel. Apart from snorkelling, you can take a tour of the imponent Fort Jefferson, go fishing, have a picnic, or just enjoy a beautiful day at the beach.
What makes Dry Tortugas so beautiful is its turquoise-coloured water and the beauty of an island that hasn’t really been affected by human activity yet – since only approximately 250 people are allowed to visit per day.
Havasupai Falls, Arizona
Explored by Sam from My Flying Leap
In the remote northwestern area of Arizona on Native American land is Havasu Canyon, home to the stunning Havasupai Falls. It’s not far from the Grand Canyon as the crow flies, but it’s several hours apart driving time.
The Havasu Falls are a group of five brilliant turquoise waterfalls in this striking red rock canyon. There’s only one way to get there—hiking. Visiting the Havasupai Falls is a challenging hike and it’s ten miles from the trailhead to the campground where the two main falls are. It’s well worth it for the effort, though.
Havasu Falls and Moody Falls both drop an incredible 100 feet to a gorgeous crystal blue pool below. You’re required to stay for a few days, but you won’t want to leave when you see how stunning this area is. If it’s not on your US bucket list, it should be!
You can drive to the Havasupai Falls from Phoenix or Las Vegas. You do need a permit to visit for approval from the Havasupai Tribe and they’re not easy to get. Your reward for your patience and for going on this adventure is spending several relaxing days in this blissful oasis off the grid among these gorgeous waterfalls in one of the most beautiful places in America.
Apostle Islands, Wisconsin
Explored by Pauline from Pauline on the Road
Apostle Islands, situated in the extreme north of Wisconsin and southwestern Lake Superior, is a scenic archipelago. The National Lakeshore is a group of 21 islands that are worth visiting. Apostle islands are known to be beautiful as they are covered with high cliffs, reddish sandstones, caverns that form beautiful ice formations in winter. The islands are also surrounded by sandy beaches with fresh cold water.
The Apostle Islands national lakeshore is situated near the city of Bayfield. Travellers can take a cruise from the city to reach the islands. Or they can also reach the airport located on Madeline Island. There are endless things to do on Apostle Islands apart from kayaking.
One of the best things to do is cruise through the islands: There are a lot of cruise tours and shuttles on the island. Travellers can enjoy a 55-mile Grand Tour that passes the lighthouses on Raspberry and popular sea caves. It is also very popular to hike the Lakeshore Trail Hiking through the 4.5-mile trail from Meyers Beach. It goes to the cliffs above the caves and offers scenic views that you might not have experienced before. Finally, it is fun to visit Big Bay State Park on Madeline Island. It has an adventurous campground, hiking trail, and a beautiful beach.
After enjoying these outdoor activities in Wisconsin, you can dine in at Freehands Farm.
Olympic National Park, Washington State
Explored by Candice from CS Ginger
Olympic National Park is nestled against the Pacific Ocean on the northwest corner of Washington State. Mountain Peaks, rocky beaches and rainforest greenery make it one of the prettiest places on the west coast, and easily one of the most beautiful places in America.
The Park is about two hours from Seattle. Whether you are visiting as part of a Seattle weekend trip or driving up Highway 101, spending at least a few days in Olympic National Park is well worth it.
The park is open year-round but you will have the most access to the park in the summer months, usually from May to September. If you can, take a road trip around the Peninsula because attractions can be spread out. Popular cities along the peninsula for accommodation are Forks, Port Angeles and Port Townsend.
Olympic National Park is filled with opportunities for adventure – beaches, hiking, waterfalls, and hot springs. Some of the best views in the park are at Ruby Beach, Cape Flattery, Lake Crescent, and Hurricane Ridge. Rent a canoe and head out on the intense blue colored water at Lake Crescent.
Explored by Daria from The Discovery Nut
One of the most popular destinations in the United States for all things outdoors, Aspen is a gateway to adventure in the heart of Colorado’s Rockies. A trip from Denver to Aspen is about 3 hours via Interstate-70 and is by far one of the most popular road trips from the Mile High City. You can also take a scenic drive via Independence Pass, the highest continuous paved road in North America with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.
Aspen is beautiful at any time of the year. In winter, it transforms into one of the most popular destinations for skiing and snowboarding thanks to its world-class ski resorts. Meanwhile, summer is the perfect time for hiking and mountain biking, and fall brings incredible colours, as surrounding aspen trees light up in gold. While it can be crisp in the morning and chilly at night, daytime temperatures hover around the high 50s mid 60s, offering a perfect opportunity for being outside.
After enjoying the scenery, make sure to visit the city’s quaint downtown with its brick buildings from the mining era and get on the silver Queen Gondola to get a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. And make sure to visit Maroon Bells, one of the most photographed spots in North America. Make sure to spend at least a couple of days in Aspen to explore its wonderful hikes such as Sunnyside Trail, Rio Grande Trail that can be accessed from downtown Aspen
Assateague Island, Maryland
Explored by Taima from Poor In A Private Plane
Located on the east coast of the United States between Maryland and Virginia, Assateague Island is one of the most unique and most beautiful places in America. What makes Assateague Island so unique is that it is home to the Assateague Wild Horses or Chincoteague ponies.
Visitors come from all over the country to see these beautiful animals roaming freely on the beach and the roads. But as beautiful as they are, be careful. These are wild animals. There are signs posted everywhere warning visitors to not approach and get too close to them.
In addition to being home to the wild horses, Assateague offers miles of beaches where you can spend the day sunning and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. You can also go camping on Assateague Island and wake up to the sunrise right on the beach.
For those that like hiking there are miles of trails to be explored. And if you like watersports there is everything from paddle boarding to kayaking to even surfing for those looking for a little bit of an adventure.
Lake Tahoe, California / Nevada
Explored by Britt from Britts Bella Vita
On the Nevada-California border, Lake Tahoe is a world-class outdoor recreation area. During all four seasons of the year, this beautiful lake has plenty to offer everyone. During the winter, many tourists rush to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to ski and snowboard on some of America’s best slopes and take in the breathtaking scenery.
Many people love to visit the lake throughout the summer months to enjoy water activities such as paddle boarding, kayaking, and boating. You are visiting one of the deepest lakes in the United States, as well as the largest alpine lakes in North America.
Flying into Reno Airport, which provides local shuttles to various towns around the lake, is the most convenient way to get to Tahoe. If you want to get away from it all, head to North Lake Tahoe. Plan a trip to South Lake Tahoe to enjoy the nightlife, fine dining, and casinos. It is one of the best destinations to visit because of the crystal-clear water, dense forests, and numerous outdoor recreational activities.
I’ao Valley State Park, Hawaii
Explored by Marcie Cheung from Hawaii Travel with Kids
While Hawaii is arguably the most beautiful state in America, each island offers its own unique places that will make your jaw drop. One of the prettiest (and underrated) spots on the island of Maui is I’ao Valley State Park. It’s located in Wailuku, just 20 minutes from Kahului Airport, but it feels like you’re in the middle of the jungle.
There are lush green mountains, a little river, and a botanical garden. There’s even a paved 0.6-mile hike that’s perfect for families travelling to Maui with kids. The hike takes you up to the lookout to see I’ao Needle, which is a 1,200 foot piece of lava that is covered in vegetation. I’ao Valley State Park is famous for being the site where King Kamehameha I defeated the Maui army as he conquered all the Hawaiian islands.
It’s a great place to learn more about Hawaiian history and culture while experiencing a truly magnificent place. This is one of the most beautiful places in America.
Red Rock Canyon, Nevada
Explored by Nicole Hunter from Go Far Grow Close
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a national park approximately 40 minutes from the Las Vegas strip. It has spectacular natural beauty and offers endless trails for hiking for all levels. Red Rock Canyon is located in Nevada’s Mojave Desert. Accordingly, there are endless plains of beige sand, green cacti and enormous red sandstone peaks next to brown limestone summits, which mend together to make one of the most beautiful places in America.
If you are staying on the Las Vegas strip and want an easy day trip, rental cars are usually easy to find and inexpensive to rent, even at the last minute. Do not take an Uber as there is little to no cell phone service once you reach the park. In addition, there is a stunning 13 mile one way scenic drive around the park which you will want to drive to soak up the scenery or if you want to access the hiking trails. In addition to the scenic drive and amazing hikes, one of the most interesting things to experience is discovering ancient petroglyphs carved into the rocks by prehistoric people.
It gets very hot very early in the morning. Accordingly, don’t forget to pack water and a hat. If you forget, there is a store at the Visitor’s Center near the entrance to the park.
Big Sur, California
Explored by Dhara from Roadtripping California
The Big Sur Coast in Central California, just south of Monterey, is one of the most beautiful places in America you can visit. Whether you want to enjoy Big Sur hikes or you just want to drive the coast, Big Sur makes for a fun destination.
The scenery is some of the most stunning you will see anywhere on the planet, with the Pacific Ocean on one side, and rugged cliffs and the Santa Lucia Mountains on the other. Rivers, waterfalls, and redwoods make the coast a pleasure to visit any time of year and one of the most beautiful places in America.
There are a string of California state parks along the Big Sur Coast that offer lots of outdoor-focused activities, from hiking to wildflower viewing, photography, and birdwatching. Big Sur beaches are beautiful too: although swimming is not advised, they are great for strolling, sunbathing, and sand play. If you just plan to drive through, there are many super scenic overlooks at which to stop, including historic Bixby Creek Bridge and Ragged Point. Stop for lunch with a view at Nepenthe!
Big Sur is located right along California Highway 1, easy to access from San Francisco or Los Angeles. Carmel-by-the-Sea anchors the north end of the coast, and San Simeon the south.
Marthas Vineyard, Massachusetts
Explored by Vicky from Buddy The Traveling Monkey
Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places in America is Martha’s Vineyard. The small island is located about 7 miles south of Cape Cod, on the southeast tip of Massachusetts. The best way to get to Martha’s Vineyard is by a 45-minute ferry ride.
Martha’s Vineyard is beautiful for many reasons. There are rugged and jagged cliffs on the west side of the island, known as the Aquinnah Cliffs. On the cliffs, visitors will find the Gay Head Lighthouse and can enjoy spectacular sunsets. On the east side of the island, in the town of Oak Bluffs, are a lot of attractions.
These include the Flying Horses Carousel, the oldest operating platform carousel in the country, and the colorful Gingerbread Cottages. In Oak Bluffs, visitors can also enjoy Ocean Park. This picturesque park is bordered by Victorian houses on one side, and the ocean on the other. It’s the perfect place for a picnic!
The Oregon Coast, Oregon
Explored by Adria from The Emerald Palate
The Oregon Coast is another one of the most beautiful places to visit in America. You can get to the northern part of the Oregon Coast in just under 1.5 hours from Portland, but the state has 363 miles of coastline from Washington to California. The best part? It’s completely free to visit because the state declared the whole coast as public land.
The Oregon Coast is uniquely beautiful thanks to unique islands and sea stacks dotting the water close to the shoreline. There are 79 state parks with tons of hiking trails. You’ll also find 11 lighthouses, cranberry bogs, and, if you’re lucky, you may spot one of the 18,000 gray whales that migrate to and from Alaska each year.
If you’d like to visit the Oregon Coast, Cannon Beach to the north is a must for seeing famous Haystack Rock. There are also a ton of things to do near Cannon Beach, such as shopping with no sales tax in the quaint downtown area or heading to Ecola State Park for easy hikes and breathtaking viewpoints.
On the central coast, visit the historic town of Newport. You can also visit Yachats Recreational Area or Cape Perpetua for tide pools, where you can see starfish, sea anemones, and other creatures during low tide. Another must-visit spot is the Oregon Dunes Recreational Area.
Lastly on the south coast, stop in Coos Bay for its famous botanical gardens and more stellar views.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, Michigan
Explored by Kris from My Michigan Travel
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a spectacular spot on Michigan’s west coast. With sand dunes towering hundreds of feet above turquoise waters like you’d expect to find in the Caribbean, you’ll be blown away by the scenery. For the best views, take the Pierce-Stocking Scenic Drive, which winds up to the top of one of the tall dunes. From here, you can see out to the horizon, across the other dunes, and out to the two small islands that are part of the park.
In other areas, you can enjoy perfect sandy beaches, climb a dune, or visit a historic Coast Guard station to learn about lifesaving operations in years gone by. Sleeping Bear is located about half an hour west of the resort town Traverse City where you’ll find loads of shopping, dining, and hotels as well as a small airport.
You can also fly into the larger areas of Grand Rapids or Midland which are each about 3 hours from the park. Detroit has the most flight options, but it’s about 4.5 hours on the road. Wherever you fly into, plan to rent a car as public transit to the national lakeshore isn’t an option.
Yosemite National Park, California
Explored by Tatiana from Family Road Trip Guru Blog
The waterfalls of Yosemite National Park in California are a definite must-see as one of the most beautiful places in America. There are 26 waterfalls in the park all in all and each one of them is beautiful in its own way. The best time to see them is in May when the snow is melting in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the water flow is really strong.
Later in the summer and early fall, some waterfalls may almost dry out. Some of the best waterfalls in Yosemite are accessed through the Yosemite Valley part of the park. The smallest waterfall is 100 ft tall (Alder Creek), and the tallest is 2425 ft (Yosemite). Some waterfalls you can see on the scenic drive in the Yosemite Valley, some waterfalls require moderate to strenuous hikes.
But since there are so many waterfalls in the park every person with every physical ability can see at least a couple (Bridal Veil and Yosemite Falls are accessible). This is a spectacle you will never forget. You can get to Yosemite from San Francisco by car, it takes about 4 hours.
Explored by Victoria from Guide your Travel
The Everglades National Park is located in southern Florida at the tip of the peninsula. It’s a vast nature reserve with a unique ecosystem that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. The native wildlife is absolutely stunning. You can see rare birds, alligators and different types of fish that populate the mangrove forests and wetlands.
The Everglades are fantastic for hiking and camping. Make sure you have all the appropriate gear though as it can be easy to underestimate the Everglades. One of the best ways to enjoy the park is from the water. Many tourists choose to do an airboat tour which can be a lot of fun but can also disturb the wildlife and ecosystem.
A much more environmentally friendly way to explore the Everglades is by kayak or canoe. You can join a guided tour with an experienced guide who will explain the beauty of this incredible place.
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State
Explored by Agnes from The Van Escape
Mount Rainier National Park is located in Washington state, only 2 hours driving southeast from Seattle. So, it’s a perfect destination for a weekend trip. Mount Rainier is an active volcano ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level. The snow-capped peak reflecting in the lake’s smooth surface, surrounded by alpine meadows, makes this place a fairy-tale and extremely photogenic. It is an easy addition as one of the most beautiful places in America.
Mount Rainier National Park is an icon of Washington state with amazing hiking possibilities and other activities, like bicycling or climbing. In winter, it’s a perfect place for skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoe walks. So, it’s a perfect place for outdoor activities year-round.
One of the best things to do is capture the reflection of Mount Rainier in Reflection Lake. Another thing is visiting Paradise Inn, built-in 1917 using Alaskan Cedar. Hand-hewn furniture, tables, the piano still grace the lobby of Great Lodge. Easy 1-mile loop Grove of the Patriarchs Trail allows you to admire 1,000-year-old Douglas fir and western red cedar trees tower over you. These trees are wonderful.
You can feel the power of mother nature standing under them. 3 miles round-trip hike to Silver Falls is worth your effort if you like to admire waterfalls.5,5-mile Skyline Trail and 3,5-mile Naches Peak Loop Trail are longer but one of the best hiking trails in the Park, which offers breathtaking views.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
Explored by Constance of The Adventures of Panda Bear
One of the two national parks in the state of Hawaii, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the most unique of the national parks in the United States because this is the only national park where visitors can potentially see fresh lava and active volcanic eruptions. Time your visit when there are volcanoes erupting and you’ll definitely get a glimpse!
Though you might not be able to see active lava, you’ll surely see lava fields of previous eruptions and all of the scarring and destruction it has inflicted on the land. When driving through the park along Chain of Craters scenic drive, you’ll drive past volcanic craters, various dried lava fields, and out towards the Pacific Ocean.
Avid hikers will love walking into volcanic craters and into a lava tube. You can also hike along the craters’ rim though the hike has been cut off at certain points due to the eruption in 2018. Wildlife such as the honeycreeper and nene, a native Hawaiian goose, can also be seen in the park.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is located approximately 2 hours drive away from Kona making it a great day trip or even weekend trip from the popular tourist area.
This list of the most beautiful places in America is nowhere near complete. There are hundreds more stunning places to visit all around the country that will blow you away!
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Such an wonderful list of incredible natural landscapes! Where to go first? This article will definitely help me plan an amazing adventure in the USA! Thanks for sharing!
Paula Martinelli says
This is an INCREDIBLE list of places – I have visited some, others I have on my bucket list. I just pinned it to my Bucket List so I will make sure to go back anytime I am looking for my next destination in the USA. Thank you for sharing it!
Absolutely stunning! I loved scrolling through this post and admiring all the gorgeous photos. I need to add several of these places to my bucket list. Thanks for sharing!
Paula Martinelli says
What a BEAUTIFUL post and so inspiring! I have been to some of these places, and there are so many I really need to visit. Thanks for sharing this gorgeous pictures and amazing ideas.