You know, they don’t call it “America the Beautiful” for nothing. Of course, you could venture to all ends of the earth to see some impressive places, but you don’t have to travel far at all to see the most beautiful places in the US that make for some of the country’s best road trip destinations. This list is filled with the most breathtaking places you almost have to see to believe. No matter which incredible spot you choose to visit, prepare to be dazzled by the wonders of the world that are conveniently located right in the U.S.
Odds are, one of these stunning sites is close enough to where you live for a little weekend adventure, or maybe even pitching a tent in one of the best places to camp. Even if a getaway isn’t in your budget at the moment, you can still enjoy all the beauty nature has to offer by scrolling through these gorgeous photos. Featuring popular tourist attractions, remote hideaways, and even a few of the most beautiful national parks in America, this group of gorgeous locales will make you want to pack your bags ASAP. Maybe one of your favorite places is already included in the most beautiful places in the U.S.!
America’s Most Beautiful Forest
Why We Love It: This forest is home to the world’s largest tree, the giant sequoia. The national park has the greatest concentration of giant sequoias groves in the world. You’re even able to camp among the towering trees on campgrounds or in cabins.
America’s Most Beautiful Cliffs
Where: Big Sur, California
Why We Love It: Lying between Los Angeles and San Francisco are the famous Big Sur Cliffs, which are part of the Santa Lucia Mountains. The cliffs rise to over 5,000 feet at their highest points. Many people visit the area for camping or surfing.
America’s Most Beautiful Fall Foliage
Where: Killington, Vermont
Why We Love It: While anywhere in New England offers incredible views of the leaves changing in autumn, Vermont is a popular destination. The state has tons of hills, mountains, and lakes that look beautiful covered in the red, orange, and gold hues. Killington is a great central location for scenic drives throughout the state.
America’s Most Beautiful Sunflower Field
Where: Middleton, Wisconsin
Why We Love It: Who doesn’t dream of running through a field of sunflowers without a care in the world? The Pope Farm Conservancy has Sunflower Days in the summer so that guests can come and experience their stunning sunflower field during their peak bloom.
America’s Most Beautiful Amphitheater
Where: Morrison, Colorado
Why We Love It: Red Rocks Amphitheater is just outside of Denver and has hosted performances all the way back to 1906. The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, and even The Blues Brothers have played the famous venue. The open-air theater sits at over 6,000 feet above sea level.
America’s Most Beautiful Fjords
Where: Seward, Alaska
Why We Love It: If you’re unfamiliar with the term “fjord,” it’s a steep inlet created by glaciers, and Alaska features some of the most breathtaking examples. Kenai Fjords National Park is where you’ll find nature’s iciest creations. You’ll want to plan your trip as soon as possible though: The park’s website notes that climate change is causing the glaciers to shrink.
America’s Most Beautiful Hills
Where: The Palouse
Why We Love It: Located in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, the Palouse is a lush area that features rolling hills. According to The Seven Wonders of Washington State website, “The hills were formed over tens of thousands of years from wind blown dust and silt, called ‘loess.'”
America’s Most Beautiful Tree
Where: Johns Island, South Carolina
Why We Love It: The Angel Oak Tree—which is located near Charleston, South Carolina—is estimated to be 400 to 500 years old! The impressive plant has a height of 65 feet and has a circumference of 28 feet, according to Atlas Obscura.
America’s Most Beautiful Rock
Where: Port Austin, Michigan
Why We Love It: Turnip Rock is a popular tourist attraction, though it’s actually on private property. The only way to get to the formation is by water, but you can plan a kayaking excursion to see it on the Port Austin Kayak website.
America’s Most Beautiful Waters
Where: Key West, Florida
Why We Love It: Dry Tortugas National Park is home to crystal clear waters filled with an abundance of sea creatures, according to the park’s website. The only way to access the remote area is by boat or seaplane, so the island makes for a great getaway from all the hustle and bustle.
America’s Most Beautiful Greenery
Where: Oneonta Gorge, Oregon
Why We Love It: Bountiful plants of any kind are always alluring, but the mix of aquatic and woodland growth is doubly enchanting. The 2.7-mile trail around the gorge is a great place to visit for both beginner and expert hikers alike, according to Oregon.com. We also recommend adding a visit to the nearby Triple Falls.
America’s Most Beautiful Badlands
Where: Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Why We Love It: The word “badlands” is probably not the first thing you think of when you’re imagining a beautiful place, but this spot is gorgeous. Not only are the rock formations incredible, but they also possess “one of the world’s richest fossil beds,” according to the US National Park Service website.
America’s Most Beautiful Glaciers
Why We Love It: Although it’s not exactly easy to get to the 12-mile stretch of partially frozen caverns, the breathtaking sight of these caves makes it so worth it. If you’re thinking of visiting, you should act fast: Climate change is causing the ice to melt, according to Atlas Obscura.
America’s Most Beautiful Canyon
Where: Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Why We Love It: Also called “corkscrew canyon,” this lesser-known area is open for exploration all year round. To get up close and personal with the stunning sandstone, we recommend booking a guided tour.
America’s Most Beautiful Well
Where: Thor’s Well, Oregon
Why We Love It: Located in the teeny tiny town of Yachats, right by Cape Perpetua, this natural well appears to be a bottomless drain for the surrounding sea. The Atlas Obscura website notes the hole is “most spectacular at high tide.”
America’s Most Beautiful Hiking Trail
Where: Angel’s Landing, Utah
Why We Love It: Both beautiful and thrilling, this hike in Zion National Park provides amazing views. The 2.4-mile trail may not be long, but its steep stairs make it a feat. Trust us, though: Those incredible vistas are well worth the climb.
America’s Most Beautiful Harbor
Where: Harbor Town, South Carolina
Why We Love It: As one of the most charming beach towns in the country, lush green golf course, iconic red-and-white striped lighthouse, and an abundance of restaurants, it’s one of the best spots to sit, relax, and watch the boats go by.
America’s Most Beautiful Historic Home
Why We Love It: Before you even get to the historic home, you’ll be greeted by a long stretch of 300-year-old oak trees, which frame the Greek Revival manor. You can spend a whole day touring the gorgeous estate, which includes grand porches, elaborate decor, and so many more beautiful elements.
America’s Most Beautiful National Park
Why We Love It: Views like this are what make this rugged corner of wilderness one of America’s most scenic places (plus it’s less crowded than Yosemite and the Grand Canyon!).
America’s Most Beautiful Beach
Where: Honopu Beach, Hawaii
Why We Love It: While there are too many beautiful beaches in Hawaii to pick just one, the remoteness of this stretch of sand on Kauai’s Na Pali Coast makes it one of our favorites.
America’s Most Beautiful City
Where: Charleston, South Carolina
Why We Love It: With cobblestone-lined streets and Antebellum houses in more shades of pastel than you can count, this small city practically defines Southern charm.
America’s Most Beautiful Desert
Where: Death Valley National Park, California
Why We Love It: Located on the eastern border of California, Death Valley is America’s lowest, hottest, and driest point. But that doesn’t make watching the sunset from Zabriskie Point any less beautiful.
America’s Most Beautiful Island
Where: Mackinac Island, Michigan
Why We Love It: No cars are allowed on this small island on the strait between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas, making it an idyllic summer getaway.
America’s Most Beautiful Landmark
Where: Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Washington DC
Why We Love It: Dedicated to the third President of the United States, this neoclassical building was inspired by the Roman Pantheon and Jefferson’s own design for the Rotunda at the University of Virginia.
America’s Most Beautiful Mountain
Where: Grand Teton, Wyoming
Why We Love It: This mountain is so beautiful that it had an entire national park named after it.
America’s Most Beautiful Waterfall
Where: Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Why We Love It: Located in the Columbia River Gorge, this two-step waterfall is the tallest in Oregon.
America’s Most Beautiful Lighthouse
Where: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, North Carolina
Why We Love It: While this Outer Banks landmark is the world’s tallest brick lighthouse, its graphic black and white spiral is what landed it on this list of beautiful places.
America’s Most Beautiful Valley
Where: Cades Cove, Tennessee
Why We Love It: When you visit this isolated valley in the Great Smoky Mountains it feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Unfortunately, its beauty is no secret so head here in the off season to skip the traffic jam.
America’s Most Beautiful Lake
Where: Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
Why We Love It: Surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains on all sides, Lake Tahoe’s waters are so clear you can see 70 feet deep.
America’s Most Beautiful Historic Town
Where: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Why We Love It: When Thomas Jefferson visited in 1783 he called this small town where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet “perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in nature.”
America’s Most Beautiful Sand Dunes
Where: Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Why We Love It: While the Sangre de Cristo Mountains may seem to dwarf them, Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes are actually the highest sand dunes in North America.
America’s Most Beautiful Coastline
Where: Florida Keys, Florida
Why We Love It: Florida is home to over a thousand miles of America’s coastline, including the string of tropical islands that make up the state’s southern tip.
America’s Most Beautiful Farmland
Where: Skagit Valley, Washington
Why We Love It: You don’t need to fly all the way to Holland to see some of the world’s prettiest tulip fields, which are located just 60 miles north of Seattle.
America’s Most Beautiful Wildflower Bloom
Where: Texas Hill Country, Texas
Why We Love It: The countryside west of Austin and north of San Antonio explodes in a riot of colorful Texas Bluebonnets every April.
America’s Most Beautiful River
Where: Colorado River, Arizona
Why We Love It: While the Colorado River flows all the way from the Rocky Mountains to Mexico, head to Horseshoe Bend near the border of Arizona and Utah for the most Instagrammable view.
America’s Most Beautiful Covered Bridge
Where: Arlington Green Covered Bridge, Vermont
Why We Love It: Vermont has over 100 covered bridges, but the structure in Arlington is one of the state’s oldest and best-preserved examples.
America’s Most Beautiful Cavern
Where: Carlsbad Cavern, New Mexico
Why We Love It: Often referred to as the “Grand Canyon with a roof on top,” Carlsbad Cavern is part of a massive system of over 100 limestone caves hidden beneath the surface of the Chihuahuan Desert.
America’s Most Beautiful Swimming Hole
Where: Hamilton Pool, Texas
Why We Love It: Located 30 miles west of Austin, the grotto at Hamilton Pool was created thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river collapsed.
America’s Most Beautiful Train Ride
Where: White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad, Alaska
Why We Love It: Built in the late 19th century during the Klondike Gold Rush, this scenic railroad climbs nearly 3,000 feet in 20 miles giving riders panoramic (and cliff-hanging!) views of the surrounding mountains.
America’s Most Beautiful Rock Formation
Where: The Wave, Arizona, and Utah
Why We Love It: Only 20 people per day are allowed to hike out to this Jurassic-age sandstone formation in the remote Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, but all of the advance planning required to see this breathtaking place is totally worth it.
America’s Most Beautiful Gorge
Where: Watkins Glen, New York
Why We Love It: Located in New York’s Finger Lakes Region, this narrow gorge features 19 waterfalls within the space of just two miles.
America’s Most Beautiful Highway
Where: Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia
Why We Love It: This stretch of road that meanders 469 miles through the Appalachian Mountains is the most visited place in the U.S. National Park Service.
America’s Most Beautiful Highway
Where: Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming
Why We Love It: Located in Yellowstone National Park’s Midway Geyser Basin, America’s largest hot spring gets its name from its striking colors that fade from bright orange to blue.
America’s Most Beautiful Historic District
Where: French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana
Why We Love It: The oldest neighborhood in New Orleans is home to some of the city’s best architecture including those famous cast-iron balconies and lush green courtyards.
America’s Most Beautiful Wetlands
Where: Natchez Trace Cypress Swamp, Mississippi
Why We Love It: The Natchez Trace Parkway is a beautiful drive in general, but be sure to make a pit stop at milepost 122 and walk the half-mile boardwalk trail through the water tupelo and bald cypress tree swamp.