16 most beautiful places in the US

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  • Post last modified:February 21, 2024
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America is packed with beautiful places to explore from north to south and east to west, ranging from huge waterfalls to majestic rock formations to deep canyons. Take your pick: Which is the winner among these spectacular places in the USA?

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1. Niagara Falls, NY

On the border between the US and Canada, you find the waterfall with the highest flow rate of all the waterfalls on the continent. Niagara Falls offers a powerful experience like no other.

Every minute, millions of cubic feet of water crash down into the deep Niagara Gorge. The spectacular Niagara Falls consists of three falls, but it’s the biggest, most eye-popping Horseshoe Falls that gets the most attention.

A fantastic way to enjoy the jaw-dropping American attraction is to take a boat tour. Getting face-to-face with the power of Niagara Falls is something you never forget.

Misty Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, New York/Ontario.

2. Antelope Canyon, AZ

Year after year Antelope Canyon, was a well-kept secret in Arizona. Today, not so much any longer. Big volumes of tourists find their way to the unique American sight each year.

Antelope Canyon boasts surreal wavy canyon walls, and if you visit during the so called golden months, you might even get to see a light beam or two. However, with or without the light beams, Antelope Canyon is one of the most photogenic places in the US.

Antelope Canyon light beam
Antelope Canyon, Arizona.

3. Horseshoe Bend, AZ

The Arizona city of Page is truly blessed with natural beauty. It’s just a few miles from the wave-like structures of Antelope Canyon to another of the most beautiful places in the US, Horseshoe Bend.

From the overlook at Horseshoe Bend, it’s a sweeping drop of roughly a thousand feet (305 m) down to the Colorado River. The red cliffs and blue or sometimes green water go so well together and create a magnificent view.

Horseshoe Bend in Arizona
Horseshoe Bend, Arizona.

4. Grand Canyon, AZ

Be wowed by the famous Grand Canyon, constantly recognized as one of the most beautiful places in the US.

Carved out by the Colorado River, its gigantic size is hard to imagine. Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and has a max depth of more than a mile (1847 m).

As a bonus, the overlooks in the park make it easy to enjoy the spectacular surroundings. Just a few steps take you to the edge of the rim and the panoramic views.

Grand Canyon overlook
Grand Canyon, Arizona.

5. Yellowstone, WY

Yellowstone National Park is so vast that it’s even larger than some small states. Its beauty is multifaceted, and there are certainly many reasons to visit Yellowstone.

The huge park is full of things to discover. Most importantly, it’s estimated that about 60% of the world’s hot springs and geysers are inside the park. In particular, Grand Prismatic Hot Spring is colorful like something from out of this world.

Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

6. Grand Teton, WY

Adjacent to Yellowstone, the mighty Teton Range towers up. Known as the mountains of imagination, it’s easy to see the features that make Grand Teton National Park one of the most beautiful places in the US.

Above all, the soaring mountains form the most spectacular backdrop there is to envision. But in addition, the blue lakes, calm rivers and fascinating wildlife create the perfect cocktail for the nature-lover.

White mountains and calm river in Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park, WY.

7. Great Smoky Mountains, TN/NC

In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you find scenic coves, splashing rivers and, of course, smoky mountains. The natural fog that often hangs over the tree tops is the feature that the park is named after.

The best things to do in the Smokies range from grand hikes to scenic drives. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the US, and it offers a quintessential park experience.

When visiting, you can’t deny the fact that it’s something special about the Tennessee and North Carolina mountains. The enchanting natural attraction is exactly like something from a childhood fairytale.

Fog hangs over tree tops in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN/NC.

8. Monument Valley, AZ/UT

If you have seen the classic movie Forrest Gump, you know what Monument Valley is all about. These huge rock formations on the red valley floor on the border between Arizona and Utah are otherworldly.

Monument Valley is the ultimate road trip destination. As you cruise through the red valley, it’s easy to wonder if you have traveled to another planet.

Monument valley of the cross country road trip
Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah.

9. Badlands, SD

The area of Badlands National Park was for a long time just called “bad land” for its rough terrain. Nowadays, the fascinating rock formations in the park are its biggest draw.

With such a rugged environment, Badlands is unlike any other place. It’s a different, rawer kind of beauty, but that certainly doesn’t make it less appreciated.

Huge rock formation in the Badlands.
Badlands National Park, South Dakota.

10. Shoshone Falls, ID

Just outside Twin Falls, Idaho, you find Shoshone Falls. Called the “Niagara Falls of the West”, its nickname is certainly flattering. Still the waterfall is often forgotten as people tend to rate Niagara Falls higher.

It’s true that Shoshone Falls doesn’t have the same impressive flow rate as the world-famous Niagara Falls. But Shoshone Falls is, in fact, roughly 40 feet (12 m) higher than Niagara Falls.

Shoeshone Falls stop of road trip route
Shoshone Falls, Idaho.

11. Everglades, FL

The enormous wetland Everglades spans around two million acres in South Florida. Here, you find the legendary alligator but also exotic birds, lizards and other tropical animals.

The unparalleled ecosystem makes the wetland one of the most unique places in the US.

A great way to grasp the area and to see alligators in Everglades is to take an airboat tour. By airboat, you with little effort get into the very heart of the distinctive American wetland.

But remember that Everglades still is as wild as ever. You don’t want to end up on a dinner plate somewhere in the huge swamp.

Alligators in the Everglades
Everglades, Florida.

12. Florida Keys, FL

Off Florida’s southern coast, the Florida Keys welcomes visitors to enjoy its rich natural beauty. The island chain is renowned for its clear water and rich marine life.

Above all the Florida Keys is home to the world’s third longest coral reef. The Great Florida Barrier Reef starts near Miami and ends at Dry Tortugas National Park.

So the island chain is certainly a unique place in the US for diving, snorkeling and boating. All over the Keys, you find an abundance of world-class water conditions to enjoy.

But if you want to see some of the most untouched parts of the reef, it’s a great idea to head to Dry Tortugas National Park. In the westernmost part of the island chain, and far away from mainland Florida, the marine life really thrives.

Blue waters in Florida Keys during daytime
Clear Florida Keys waters.

13. Zion, UT

Zion National Park is the oldest among the 5 mighty national parks in Utah. Especially when you hike in Zion, it’s easy to see why the park frequently is ranked as one of the most beautiful places in the US.

Popular hikes in Zion include both the jaw-dropping Angels Landing and the family-friendly Riverside Walk. As you hike your way through the park, the beauty is striking.

The characteristic cream, pink and red sandstone cliffs in Zion National Park are wonderfully contrasted by evergreen plants. It’s the diversity and mix of colors that makes Zion so unique.

Overlook in Zion NP
Zion National Park, Utah.

14. Mammoth Cave, KY

Underground in Kentucky, you find the longest known cave system in the world, Mammoth Cave. The explored passageways in this enormous cave are more than 400 miles (640 km) long.

Although already the longest cave system in the world, there is much more of the Kentucky giant yet to be explored. The huge cave is nothing less than impressive and without competition the darkest place on this list.

The Bridal Alter in Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave, Kentucky.

15. White Sands, NM

In the deserts of New Mexico, White Sands National Park amazes visitors from near and far. The enormous white sand dunes that spread out over around 275 square miles (712 square kilometres) make the park one of the USA’s most breathtaking places.

White Sands is a huge distance away from the ocean, but the area was a seabed in a distant time. Nowadays, sand sledding is the number-one activity to try out around here.

White sand dunes stop on road trip
White Sands National Park, New Mexico.

16. Acadia, ME

The Atlantic coastline with its wild beauty is awe-inspiring. To enjoy some of its most spectacular parts, Acadia National Park in the New England state Maine is the perfect place to go. When driving the Park Loop Road, you find one stunning sight after another.

In particular, the panoramic views that Cadillac Mountain offers are breathtaking. From the summit of Cadillac Mountain, you’re also one of the first in America to see the sunrise. So when you visit Acadia, you not only get to see one of the most beautiful places in the US, but you’re also in for a head start.

View from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park, Maine.

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