Americans are spoiled for choice when it comes to vacation destinations that showcase natural beauty. So much so that sometimes it’s hard to decide exactly where to spend your precious time off.
This guide includes 20 of the most beautiful places in America, to help you narrow down that bucket list and pick the perfect destination for your next vacation.
Most Beautiful Places in America
Whether you want to spend your time surrounded by the gorgeous displays that mother nature provides in National Parks, soak in the tropical vibes by relaxing on a beach or island, or maybe you’re looking for some sweeping cityscape views.
We’ve got you covered!
Road to Hana, Maui
The whole Hawaiian island of Maui is littered with beautiful natural vistas, but if you want to experience a variety of views on one road trip, you need to drive the Road to Hana.
The 64-mile stretch of Hana Highway starts at Kahului and can feel a little treacherous at times. Be prepared to drive narrow roads hugging the side of cliffs and try not to be hurried by impatient drivers.
You’ll be rewarded with breathtaking coastal views. Stop and hike to Twin Falls, explore Wai’anapanapa State Park to see the Black Sand Beach, swim at Oheo Gulch (also known as Seven Sacred Falls), and spend some time in the town of Hana itself.
You won’t be disappointed! Don’t miss the top 55 amazing things to do in Maui, which includes everything you need to know about seeing the sunrise at Haleakala volcano.
Written by Lauren from The Traveling Moore.
Skagway, Alaska is easily one of the most beautiful places in America. This small Alaskan town offers a peek into the wonderful Alaskan culture and wilderness.
Skagway was originally the entry point for the white horse pass during the gold rush era. Today, visitors can take the White Pass train to learn about Skagway’s history and view the beautiful, treacherous path that miners once took.
To ride on the train, book a ticket ahead of time and meet at the depot near the cruise terminal. Once on the train, split time between the cabin and the outdoor platform for amazing views. Other great activities in Skagway include shopping, hiking and beer tasting at the local Skagway brewery.
The best time to visit Skagway is during the summer months where temperatures will range from 60-80 degrees and rain is less likely.
To get to Skagway, utilize an Alaska cruise. This will save you travel time and money. Cruising also allows you to see other amazing places in Alaska.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Written by Meg Atteberry from Fox in the Forest.
Think of towering sandstone spires, strange rock formations lining the sky, and sweeping views of canyons down below, and you’ll get a pretty clear picture of what Canyonlands’ desert magic is all about.
Tucked deep in the heart of Utah, exploring Canyonlands National Park is one of the most beautiful adventures in the USA, especially for those who love getting a feel of what hiking on Mars would be like!
Canyonlands National Park is so vast that it’s divided into different sectors: Island in the Sky (the most popular district), The Needles (which is more secluded and perfect if you’re into remote backpacking adventures), and the Maze (which is considered one of the most remote places in the USA).
A few of the best things to do in Canyonlands include witnessing a sunrise at Mesa Arch, hiking to the Grand View Point Overlook to catch a glimpse of the Green River and the Colorado Canyon system down below, or spending a few days backpacking the Needles District if you’re feeling up for a secluded adventure deep in the heart of the desert.
The best time to visit Canyonlands is during the spring or fall as summers can get scorching hot and crowded. Another lovely time to visit if you want the place all to yourself is during the winter months if you don’t mind cold evenings!
Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe straddles the Northern California and Nevada borders and has no shortage of gorgeous spots to spend a weekend (or longer) no matter the time of year.
Visit Emerald Bay State Park to be awed by lots of naturally beautiful spots in the one day. From Eagle Falls, to Fanette Island, and Vikingsholm Castle, you could actually spend a week in the park and not see everything.
There are plenty of things to do in Lake Tahoe in Fall, and because it’s a shoulder season, you won’t be overwhelmed by the intense crowds that flock here during the summer and winter time.
It’s also the best time to see gorgeous fall foliage across Tahoe and beyond. Take one of these hikes in Lake Tahoe to really experience views of the lake. One of our favorites is the short but slightly scary Cave Rock Trail, which takes you out over the highway.
Written by Lori from Naples Florida Travel Guide.
One of the most beautiful places in America has to be the Venetian-inspired city of Naples, Florida. Sitting quietly on the Gulf of Mexico on Florida’s southwest coast, Naples isn’t your everyday beach town.
Sure, Naples has some of the best beaches in Florida, but there’s also great shopping, culture, and unparalleled nature experiences.
With over 700 restaurants in Naples, Florida, you’re sure to find lots of eateries to love. In downtown Naples, ritzy 5th Avenue and 3rd Street South shopping and restaurant districts are overflowing with sidewalk cafes on streets lined with tall palms illuminated with market lights.
Local neighborhoods with stylish Italian architecture are surrounded by impeccable landscaping showcasing tropical plantings, palms, and banyan trees.
Of all the things to see and do, the most iconic has to be watching the horizon light up with fiery colors at sunset over the Gulf from the historic Naples Pier.
When is the best time to visit? The winter months into the spring are the most popular time of year to visit Naples when temperatures are perfect with low humidity. It’s also the most crowded with seasonal residents and tourists.
The summer months into the fall are hotter with high humidity and almost daily showers, but Naples is much less crowded at this time and wildlife sightings can be better for nature lovers.
Beautiful Naples, Florida is a great and affordable family destination with something for everyone.
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Written by Debbie from World Adventurists.
Crater Lake National Park is one of the most beautiful places in America. The proof is in its famous 33-mile Rim Road, known as one of the most scenic byways in the USA. During the drive you will witness the intense bold blues of the lake. The bold blue happens because of the volcanic terrain limiting nutrients and stopping streams from entering the lake.
Pull over at many of the 30 pullouts for different perspectives of the lake. There are some unique views, too. A famous viewpoint is Wizard Island; you will find the best viewpoint north of Watchman’s Peak. There is also an orange “castle” on the side of Redcloud Cliff at Pumice Castle Overlook.
Swimming is permitted at designated areas. However, you are not able to take any floaties or personal boats on the water. The only way to explore Crater Lake from the water is by joining a boat tour. Tours include a stop at Wizard Island to view the 800-year-old trees that are still growing strong.
It’s possible to drive the Rim Road in a day. However, it is recommended to allow yourself more time to explore outside of your vehicle. There are several incredible hiking trails with views of Crater Lake that you cannot get from car level. Take your time enjoying the beauty!
Crater Lake is most visited during the summer months. Some of the roads close during winter due to weather conditions.
Written by Sydney from A World in Reach.
With its intricate architecture, lively historic district, and city squares draped with Spanish moss, Savannah, Georgia is easily one of the most beautiful cities in America.
When walking through Savannah’s Historic District, you’ll immediately notice the beauty that’s around every corner. The streets are lined with old antebellum mansions, inns, and cathedrals, many of which can be toured.
The Historic District is dotted with 22 unique historic squares, draped in Spanish moss and shaded by towering oak trees. Along the Savannah River is the River Street, home to cute boutiques and sweet shops selling the famous Savannah pralines (and giving out free samples).
Forsyth Park, the largest in the city, is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll or some people-watching. Don’t forget to snap a photo of the centerpiece white fountain!
There’s so much to see and do in Savannah, from simply walking around town admiring its beauty, to going on a ghost tour of one of the country’s most haunted cities, to enjoying some of the best food in the entire Southern US.
There’s truly no bad time to visit Savannah, but the summer months get quite hot and humid – not to mention crowded. To beat the head and skip the crowds, plan your Savannah getaway for the spring or fall.
Olympic National Park, Washington
Written by Erica from Tripscholars.
Another of the most beautiful places in America is Olympic National Park, a perfect extension of a trip to Seattle.
Olympic National Park, which is a UNESCO Heritage Site, is spread throughout the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. It forms the dramatic backdrop visible across the Puget Sound from Seattle.
The park is vast, and you will want to spend at least two days visiting, even longer if your you plan to drive around the whole peninsula. Always pack your rain gear, but you can expect drier weather (and much larger crowds) in summer.
The allure of the park takes on many forms because of the wide-ranging natural wonders. There are three distinct ecosystems so be sure to stop in at the visitor centers throughout the park to learn more about them.
Enjoy dramatic peaks from the view at Hurricane Ridge. Depending on the time of year you visit, plan for summer hikes and a picnic or, in winter, snowshoeing and skiing.
Savor the pristine beaches on the coast including majestic Kalaloch Beach, Ruby Beach, and Beach Four. Check the tide charts in advance to plan your beach days and you will be rewarded with outstanding tidepool adventures.
You will relish views of the rainforest throughout your trip, but the Hoh River Valley in the heart of the park is the best spot to experience its full majesty. Hike the easy trails near the visitor center and admire the massive trees dripping with mosses. You’ll marvel at the milky blue Hoh River, which gets its color from the glacial flour mixed in.
Olympic National Park is a must-see for those who love natural beauty.
McArthur-Burney Falls, California
Nestled in McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, in Northern California, these waterfalls are not only spectacular, but they’re relatively easy to get to.
You won’t be hiking for hours or navigating narrow paths to get here! The falls are viewable from an overlook close to the main parking lot of the state park. And if you’re fine with walking an incline on the way back, you can walk a wide, short trail down to the falls for a closer look.
You won’t be disappointed by the views. The best time to visit Burney Falls, California is between April and October but it’s a popular destination so if you arrive late in the day you may be disappointed to find the park is closed to new visitors.
While you’re here, try hiking the Burney Falls Loop Trail, or go for a stroll along part of the famous Pacific Crest Trail.
Pike’s Peak, Colorado
Written by Michelle from Moyer Memoirs.
Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, located near Colorado Springs in Colorado, is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The view from the summit at the top of the huge mountain is a display of the majestic beauty of the American landscape, stretching out to the horizon.
The drive up Pikes Peak along the Pikes Peak Highway is just as scenic. There are numerous safe rest stops to pull off for photo opportunities. This mountain is truly a photographer’s dream! If you are feeling adventurous, you can hike or bike to the summit and enjoy the view at a slower pace.
Tip: Once at the top, a Pikes Peak donut is a must-try since they have concocted a special recipe to allow for baking the donuts at a high elevation. Eat it quickly before you reach a lower altitude!
Pikes Peak is open all year and is equally beautiful in all seasons. The winter months offer many more snow-capped mountain views and chillier weather. The rangers keep the Pikes Peak Highway cleared of snow most of the time to allow for safe driving up to the summit. Spring and fall provide blooming flowers or autumn leaves for your viewing pleasure.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Written by Christina from Live A Wilder Life.
One of the most beautiful places in the US is Yellowstone National Park. Famous for being the first National Park in the US, it’s also one of the most unusual places to visit.
Yellowstone National Park sits on top of a super-volcano and is a hotbed of fascinating sights. With 10,000 geothermal features and 500 geysers, you’re sure to be in awe of the park’s natural wonders.
You’ll want to spend at least 4 days in Yellowstone, hitting up the park’s main highlights, including Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, the largest hot spring in the US. This technicolor display of colors is best seen from above along the must-do Fairy Falls Trail.
Other sights include walking the ridge of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, watching Old Faithful Geyser explode 50 feet into the air, and getting up early in the morning to spot wolves, bears, and bison.
If you have extra time to go off the beaten path, make sure to try some hikes. It’s the easiest way to beat the crowds!
The best time to visit is in late Spring or early September when the summer crowds will have dwindled, but the weather will still be nice.
Top of the Rock, New York
Written by Jiayi from The Diary of a Nomad.
The Top of The Rock Observation Deck in NYC is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the US.
Located on the 70th floor of the Rockefeller Center, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a breathtaking 360-degree view of NYC.
From there, you can see all the most famous landmarks in the city, including the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty.
Be sure to get there just before sunset so that you can catch three different views: the city brimming under the daylight, the sun setting above the NYC skyline, and finally, the nightscape of NYC with all the skyscrapers beautifully lit up in the dark.
I recommend bringing quality camera gear, such as some of these best Nikon D3400 lenses, to capture these unforgettable views. Consider bringing a wide-angle lens as the scenery is quite majestic!
Tickets to the Top of The Rock Observation Deck start at $38 for adults and $32 for children.
It can get quite windy up there, so I suggest visiting when the weather is warm in general, such as the spring or summer. Either way, make sure to bring a warm jacket!
Orcas Island, Washington
Written by Sumeeta from Sumeeta Seeks.
Orcas Island is a peaceful island in the San Juan archipelago to the west of Washington State. Oprah recently purchased a home there, which makes sense because Orcas Island is easily one of the most beautiful places in America! But you don’t need to be a celebrity to visit or to experience all the best that Orcas Island has to offer.
Orcas Island is a great place to visit any time of year. The most popular season for visitors is summer, when there’s a plethora of outdoor activities like kayaking and whale watching. Winter is the low season for tourism, but you’ll feel like you have the whole island to yourself.
There’s an abundance of activities to suit a range of interests. For art lovers, be sure to check out Orcas Island Artworks to see the work of local artists, Orcas Island Pottery for unique handmade pieces, and Darvill’s Bookstore.
Nature lovers can choose from some of the best hikes including Mount Constitution and Obstruction Pass. Foodies will delight in all the excellent culinary choices, and Zen seekers have a couple of great spa resort options to choose from.
Be sure to plan ahead for ferry times especially during the busy season, and bring a car so you can access all the best parts of the island. No matter if you’re a solo traveler, couple, or group, Orcas Island is a beautiful place that has something for everyone.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Written by Dymphe from Dym Abroad.
New Orleans is easily one of the most beautiful places in America. That’s because it’s packed with incredible-looking spots.
One of the best places for this is the French Quarter. Here you can see buildings with beautiful architecture and wonderful colors that are very old. Visiting this place is one of the best things to do in the city, because of its beauty and the atmosphere. Another fun thing to do in New Orleans is taking photos.
The city is very photogenic, which is why you find many Instagrammable places in New Orleans. Don’t miss the New Orleans Museum of Art. Here you can marvel at an extensive collection of fine art that consists of thousands of pieces.
The best time to visit New Orleans is during spring. The weather is very comfortable, and there are some wonderful events during this season.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Written by Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler.
One of the most beautiful places in the United States has to be the Outer Banks in North Carolina. With stunning sunrises, miles of beaches, historical locations, and adrenaline-pumping activities, there is something for every traveler!
If you enjoy nature, you can visit the wild horses of the Outer Banks or go bird spotting along Kitty Hawk Bay. Fans of history can visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial or Historic Corolla Park. Many of the attractions on the island are available year-round.
If you want to get your heart racing, try jet-skiing, paragliding, or even hang-gliding with Kitty Hawk Kites! Of course, just relaxing on the miles of beach is the perfect way to take a break from the car. There are five lighthouses to explore – from the Currituck lighthouse in Corolla to the Hatteras lighthouse down south.
While visiting the Outer Banks, be sure to wake up early to see the sunrise at least once. Sunrise on the east coast will take your breath away.
With over 150 miles of beaches, there are plenty of places to take in the beauty of mother nature.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Written by Victoria from Guide Your Travel.
Mackinac Island sits in the North of Lake Huron close to the shore of St Ignace.
The island is a popular vacation spot with plenty of opportunities for swimming, horseback riding, golfing or simply relaxing. With its incredible natural world, this beautiful island is perfect for bird-watching and hiking.
Of course, no trip to Mackinac is complete without trying their iconic fudge that is produced right on the island. It’s absolutely delicious and makes for the perfect souvenir to take home.
No cars are allowed on Mackinac Island (with some expectations). However, since the island is quite small you can easily get around on foot, by bike or in one of the many horse carts.
You’ll love the laid back atmosphere and how quaint this island is. You can easily spend a whole weekend here although most people come for an extended weekend.
Definitely make sure to visit during the warmer months as Mackinac Island can sometimes become inaccessible during the winter.
Fall is also a beautiful time to visit especially if you enjoy hiking and sightseeing. Of course, summer is the most popular and accommodation prices on the island will be a bit more expensive.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Written by Chantelle from Flannels or Flip Flops.
Located on the Northern part of the Oregon Coast, the Cannon Beach area is hands down, one of the most beautiful places in America. Why? Cannon Beach is rugged, untouched, and naturally gorgeous.
You’ve got a 4-mile stretch of wide, sandy beach that is surrounded by rugged cliffs on one side and the wild Pacific Ocean on the other. Throw in the numerous sea stacks dotting the shoreline, and the wildlife that inhabits the area, and you’ve got a recipe for pure, natural beauty.
The most famous feature of Cannon Beach is without a doubt, Haystack Rock. Haystack Rock a sea stack that is 235 feet tall, and dominates the view of this incredible beach.
When the tide is out, you can walk right up to Haystack Rock. There you will find tide pools rich in marine life to explore. Many birds make haystack rock their home, so you’ll see and hear many birds as well. Also fun to look for in this area are Elk (that sometimes come to the beach in herds) and rabbits. Yep, rabbits are everywhere in Cannon Beach!
The town of Cannon Beach itself is quaint and has many fun shops, and restaurants. There are numerous hotels, condos, and home rentals to stay in Cannon Beach. Most of the hotels and houses have walking access to the beach.
Some may say the best time to visit Cannon Beach is during the summer. While it’s true, the nicer the weather the more “beachy” you vacation will be, it will also be busier.
My favorite time to visit this area of the coast is in the winter. It’s windy and chilly and you won’t be in the water, BUT, you may have the whole place to yourself! The rugged surf, and moody skies just enhance the natural beauty of Cannon Beach.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Written by Casandra from Karpiak Caravan.
Hilton Head Island, in the low country of South Carolina is a beautiful place to explore everywhere you turn. Known for its golf courses and stunning Atlantic ocean beaches, Hilton Head will capture your heart from the moment you step foot there.
The Harbour Town lighthouse sits on the southwestern tip of the island, just across the inter-coastal waterway from Daufuskie Island.
Two of the best spots to have a drink while enjoying the southern sunsets are Sea Pines Beach Club and The Quarter Deck.
If you are looking to spend a leisurely afternoon, head to South Beach Marina Village and take in the sights and activities there. Sea Pines Forest Preserve is 605-acres of unspoiled terrain and one of the most unique places on Hilton Head Island.
There are endless plantations and many hotel chains to choose between for accommodations. What may surprise you is that Disney has a resort here as well. Disney’s Hilton Head Resort features all the amenities you would expect while showcasing the southern charm the island is known for.
Spring is a wonderful time to visit Hilton Head Island where the weather is warm but not too hot and the tourists haven’t yet crowded the island.
The summer months of June to August are high season and are the busiest months for tourism. The fall is a beautiful time in the area but can also coincide with the beginning of hurricane season.
Whichever time you decide to visit, Hilton Head Island will be full of southern charm and low country views.
Yosemite National Park, California
It’s no exaggeration to say that Yosemite National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Conservationist John Muir, who helped draw the park’s boundaries in 1889, said that “non can escape its charms. Its natural beauty cleans and warms like a fire, and you will be willing to stay forever in one place, like a tree”.
Thousands flock to the National Park to see the towering El Capitan in person, marvel at the views from Glacier Point, take the short hike to Vernal Falls, or experience the meadows at Tuolumne.
There are no shortage of animals to see either, if you’re quiet and lucky. And because of the elevation, you’ll see wildflowers blooming well into the summer months at Yosemite.
Don’t miss our guides to planning a successful trip to Yosemite National Park, and how to spend two days in Yosemite, which is especially good for first-time visitors!
Anna Maria Island, Florida
Written by Destiny from Guided by Destiny.
With a sugary-white coastline, emerald green and blue waters, and the most picturesque sunsets, it’s no question why anyone would find Anna Maria Island so beautiful.
Unlike many other Florida beaches, there are strict regulations governing the types of buildings and businesses allowed. You’ll notice there aren’t any skyrise apartments or huge hotels here, and many people get around via golf cart. This place is the definition of island life.
While you’re here, check out Bean Point and Rod and Reel Pier. But the best thing to do is enjoy a fun, tropical cocktail as you bask in the sun and dip in the clear waters. The best places for this are near The SandBar Restaurant or The Kokonut Hut.
If you want to avoid the crowds, but still enjoy nice weather while the water is still warm, I recommend visiting at the end of August through October.
Brooklyn Heights, New York
Written by Claudia Tavani from My Adventures Across The World.
Brooklyn Heights neighborhood is one of the nicest in New York City and a must see whether you have a week or 2 days in New York. This is actually the first ever suburb of the city, so it has a nice, antique feeling to it, packed as it is with Victorian style buildings, beautiful churches, breathy boulevards and lovely small independent shops.
The main draw, however, is the view. Whether you visit during the day or at night, make sure to head to Brooklyn Heights Promenade for the most impressive views of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge and all the way to the Statue of Liberty.
What’s great about it is that this part of the city is still relatively new to tourism, so you won’t find the crowds you may encounter in other parts of New York.
Getting to Brooklyn Heights Promenade is easy: cross the Brooklyn Bridge and once you are off, turn right towards Whitman Park and right again on Tillary St. Finally, turn left on Clifton St. and right again on Pierrepont St.
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