- It’s hard to pick the best place to go in every state, but you can’t go wrong with seeing the most beautiful.
- The Black Rock Desert in Nevada has a perfect view of a gorgeous rainbow geyser known as the Fly Geyser.
- Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon is a must-see.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
But since you can’t go wrong with beautiful places, we’ve rounded up some of the most gorgeous spots in the US.
From an incredible desert oasis hidden in the Grand Canyon to a stunning rainbow geyser in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, keep scrolling to see some of the most stunning spots in every state.
ALABAMA: Little River Canyon
The Little River Canyon provides gorgeous views as well as recreational activities for visitors, including fishing, climbing, swimming, and whitewater rafting.
ALASKA: Lake Clark National Park
You can only get to Lake Clark National Park by plane or boat. Once there, you can see two active volcanoes, go bear viewing, and take in the mesmerising vistas of surrounding mountains. Visitors can lodge inside the park during their stay.
ARIZONA: Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon
Havasu Falls are part of the Havasupai Indian Reservation, which gets thousands of visitors every year (though they need a permit, which can be hard to get).People are obsessed with the breathtaking desert oasis, which is nestled at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
The only way to get to there is by helicopter or an eight-mile trek from the nearest road. Once there, however, visitors get to swing on ropes, jump off cliffs, scale down waterfalls, and swim in bright blue water.
ARKANSAS: Hot Springs National Park
The Hot Springs in Arkansas have three soothing thermal pools that are 143 degrees. The national park includes scenic drives, trails, and camping.
CALIFORNIA: Pfeiffer Burns State Park
The Pfeiffer Burns State Park is named after a respected pioneer in the Big Sur area, Julia Pfeiffer Burns. It features an 80-foot waterfall, trails, and a gorgeous cliff view.
COLORADO: Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods Park provides amazing views of huge sandstone formations against the backdrop of Pikes Peak and beautiful skies. The Visitor and Nature Center and museum has numerous interactive exhibits, and there are plenty of activities in the park, such as climbing, hiking, and Jeep and Segway tours.
CONNECTICUT: Silver Sands State Park
The Silver Sands State Park is a perfect place to go in Connecticut if you’re looking for a gorgeous year-round beach experience: there’s half a mile of shoreline, a boardwalk, and plenty of shells and shore birds to ogle.
DELAWARE: Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
The Bombay Hook Wildlife Refuge offers a 12-mile wildlife drive, trails, observation towers, educational programs, as well as interpretive displays. The refuge has tidal salt marshes as well as freshwater marshes that offer beautiful views of the area.
FLORIDA: Little Palm Island
You can get to Little Palm Island, a five-acre islet, by boat from Little Torch Key. The resort on the island (The Little Palm Island Resort and Spa) is meant for true, unhindered relaxation; phones are banned in public areas, no children under 16 are allowed, and there is only one television in the entire place. There are also only 30 suites on the island so it’s never too crowded.
GEORGIA: Cumberland Island
Today, visitors can camp, bike, or take guided tours around the 9,800 acres of congressionally designated wilderness. They can also visit the remains of the famous Dungeness Mansion, which was first built by the founder of Georgia, James Oglethorpe.
Kaua’i is arguably the most naturally beautiful island in Hawaii, featuring gorgeous canyons and waterfalls, as well as a tropical rainforest that covers the majority of the land. The dramatic and colourful views of the cliffs have become one of the most famous attractions for tourists, and kayaking is available along the coast to see it up close. The island also has 10-mile-long hiking trails, and plenty of other outdoor activities such as cave exploring and helicopter tours.
IDAHO: Shoshone Falls
Shoshone Falls is located on the Snake River, and features waterfalls that are taller than Niagara Falls, at 212 feet. There are plenty of recreational facilities, overlooks, trails, and picnic areas to keep anyone busy.
ILLINOIS: Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park is known as the #1 attraction in the state of Illinois. There are 13 miles of trails, fishing, and ice fishing depending on the season, as well as the option to stay in a lodge or cabin inside the park.
INDIANA: Indiana Dunes State Park
The Indiana Dunes State Park is a beautiful spot featuring stunning beaches along 15 miles of Lake Michigan’s southern shore. The park offers views of large sand dunes that stand up to 200 feet taller than Lake Michigan.
There’s wildlife, 50 miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as fishing and camping opportunities. In the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular.
Burlington, Iowa, is a city full of history and heritage – and plenty of heritage centres and museums to illuminate that history, as well as various buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
KANSAS: The Monument Rocks
The Monument Rocks were listed as the very first National Natural Monument, and have been named one of the eight wonders of Kansas. The unique shape and structure of these chalk formations make them a must-see, and one of Kansas’ most breathtaking natural sites.
KENTUCKY: Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park’s 24,000 acres have a little something for everyone: there are gorgeous mountain views with miles of trails to hike, historic settlements to tour, and caves and unique rock formations to explore.
The park, which is in the Appalachian Mountains and near the intersection of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, is also home to the original trail marked out by frontiersman Daniel Boone in 1775.
LOUISIANA: Avery Island
Avery Island is known as a geological oddity because of the salt deposits it sits on top of, which are thought to be deeper than Mount Everest is high. The island is covered in stunning Spanish moss, live oaks, and subtropical plant life.
It is also the birthplace of Tabasco brand pepper sauce, so tourists can visit the factory, as well as the Jungle Gardens and Bird City wildfowl refuge.
MAINE: Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park in Maine, the only national park in New England, features the highest rocky headlands along the Atlantic coastline and a rich history that involved John D. Rockefeller.
It boasts seven peaks higher than 1,000 feet, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads, with activities ranging from hiking and biking to ranger-guided tours and boat cruises.
MARYLAND: Clear Meadow Farm
The family-owned Clear Meadow Farm is famous for its vast sunflower fields that are gorgeous to see from late August to mid-September. It’s a great place to take photos, have a picnic, and take a scenic drive.
MASSACHUSETTS: Gay Head Beach in Aquinnah
Gay Head beach is often listed as one of the world’s best beaches. Situated on the south side of Martha’s Vineyard, Gay Head is particularly striking because of the magnificent cliffs that tower over it. The name Gay Head refers to the bright colours of the cliffs.
MICHIGAN: Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island is a small yet beautiful island town off the coast of the northern tip of Michigan.
The charming spot is perfect for outdoorsy vacationers who love to spend time swimming, biking, and boating. It’s also home to one of the oldest hotels in the entire state,the Island House Hotel.
Even better, cars aren’t allowed on the island and there are no chain hotels – instead, visitors will find plenty of carriages, fudge shops, and quaint family-run businesses.
MINNESOTA: Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
The lighthouse in Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is one of the most visited and photographedlighthouses in the country. Located on the north shore of Lake Superior, this stunning structure sits on top of a 130-foot cliff.
The state park it’s inside of has more than 2,000 acres of trails, waterways, and campgrounds to explore.
MISSISSIPPI: Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge
The Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1940, and consists of 42,500 acres of government-owned land meant to conserve, manage, and restore fish, wildlife, and plants.
The refuge boasts a variety of habitats – from lakes to green-tree reservoirs to wetlands – and thus a range of animals, from alligators to bald eagles, deer and turkeys.
The park has gorgeous views, helpful guides, and a visitor’s center, as well as plenty of opportunities for fishing, hunting, and hiking.
MISSOURI: Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park
Johnson’s Shut-ins State Park has everything – camping, hiking, swimming, horseback riding and beautiful Ozark scenery – so you can make your vacation as adventurous or as relaxing as you want it to be.
Not to be missed is taking a dip in the “Shut-Ins” – a series of mild river rapids and rocks that are lovingly referred to as “nature’s waterpark.”
MONTANA: Glacier National Park
Located in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, near the Canadian border,Glacier National Park has over 700 miles of hiking trails waiting to be explored. From glaciers and lakes to alpine meadows and breathtaking views, Glacier National Park is the perfect place for an active vacation if you love the outdoors.
NEBRASKA: Toadstool Geologic Park
The Toadstool Geologic Park in Nebraska is aptly named. Likened to a moonscape, the park is filled with unusual rock formations, many of which look like toadstools.
There are plenty of recreational activities to do as well, from horseback riding to hiking and camping, and even hunting.
NEVADA: Key Geyser in Black Rock Desert
The stunning, rainbow-coloured geyser has a fascinating backstory. It was accidentally created in 1964 after a geothermic energy company drilled a test well on the site. It didn’t work, so they resealed it, but Key Geyser started growing in its place over the course of 40 years. Thermophilic algae growing on its outside is responsible for its bright colours.
While tourists can’t get super close to the geyser as it’s on private property, it can be viewed from a distance.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Lake Sunapee
Lake Sunapee is the fifth-largest lake located entirely in New Hampshire, and boasts 11 islands and sandy beaches to explore, as well as charming New England villages to visit.
In the summer there’s boating, kayaking, biking, hiking, swimming, fishing, and hunting, while the winter offers alpine and cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and ice boating opportunities.
NEW JERSEY: Cranberry Bogs
The Cranberry Bogs in New Jersey look like a gorgeous sea of red, and harvests are held between mid-September to mid-November each year, which visitors can view. Tours of the Cranberry Bogs are offered to see everything up-close.
NEW MEXICO: White Sands National Monument
Located in the Tularosa Basin, the site boasts some of the purest white sand and makes up the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. Visitors can hike or sled this unique desert landscape.
NEW YORK: Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park is a 14,427-acre state park in New York state that is also known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” The park’s most striking features are its three large waterfalls on the Genesee River, which winds through the park in a gorge so deep its sides can rise up to 600 feet(hence the Grand Canyon nickname).
It was voted the best attraction in New York state in 2017.
NORTH CAROLINA: Pisgah National Forest
The Pisgah National Forest is part of the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, and home to the highest mountain peaks east of the Mississippi.
Spanning over 500,000 acres, the park used to be the private property of George W. Vanderbilt and part of the Biltmore Estate. Today, visitors come in droves to enjoy camping, whitewater rivers, plenty of waterfalls, and hundreds of miles of trails.
NORTH DAKOTA: Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, also known as the badlands, is credited with inspiring President Roosevelt’s conservation efforts. The stunningly colourful park is dotted with bizarre rock formations among endless prairie, and filled with bison, elk, and prairie dogs.
The Painted Canyon especially is a beautiful array of colourful desert and petrified wood and rock formations.
OHIO: Corkscrew Falls
Comprised of multiple parks, Hocking Hills is a region in southeastern Ohio that contains forests, beautiful rock formations, waterfalls, and more. Corkscrew Falls in particular are a must-see, and were just recently made viewable to the public, as they were formerly on private land.
Visitors can rent a cabin and choose from activities like horseback riding, ATV riding, and rock climbing.
OKLAHOMA: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reserve
Apparently one of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth, formed over 500 million years ago, the rugged Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reserve is the oldest managed wildlife facility in the country. It is home to about 650 bison (as well as elk, deer and Texas Longhorn Cattle), and features tours.
OREGON: Thor’s Well
Thor’s Well is a natural hole in the ocean that the sea appears to drain into. While the hole appears to be bottomless, it is actually most likely 20 feet deep. While mesmerising to witness, the well is dangerous, so be careful when visiting.
PENNSYLVANIA: Lake Erie
Who needs the ocean when you can catch some waves at the only surf beach in Pennsylvania at Lake Erie? The fourth-largest lake of the five Great Lakes, as well as the 11th largest lake in the world, its sunny shores make it a popular summer destination for water-lovers of all ages.
RHODE ISLAND: Newport
The historic town of Newport offers no shortage of dynamic scenery. You can take a leisurely car ride along Ocean Drive, or, if you prefer, you can explore the city’s shoreline on foot via the Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile trail that will take you past Newport’s famous mansions. One of the most well-known is The Breakers, the Vanderbilt family’s opulent summer “cottage.” The 70-room palazzo, built in the Italian Renaissance style, was modelled on 16th-century palaces in Genoa and Turin.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Kiawah Island
Kiawah Island was named one of the top 10 islands in the US by Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards for 2016, and features pristine beaches that are also hailed some of the country’s best. Primarily made up of a golf and beach resort (it’s home to five championship courses), the barrier island outside of Charleston features myriad wildlife, 123 acres of parks, and 30 miles of hiking and biking trails.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is something everyone should see in their lifetime. Surrounded by the Black Hills in South Dakota, visitors can come witness one of the most iconic monuments America has to offer.
TENNESSEE: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the country’s most-visited parks, and for good reason. Lush hills, valleys, and a plethora of plant and animal life span the border of North Carolina and Tennessee.
Its sunsets are some of the most stunning in the South, and for two weeks every summer the park lights up with fireflies blinking in unison, creating a stunning natural phenomenon.
TEXAS: Hamilton Pool
The Hamilton Pool Reserve, also known as the Dripping Springs, offers swimming and hiking, and has become a top attraction in the area. It’s made up of a natural spring formed in limestone bedrock and fed by an underground river, making it a unique swimming experience with a pretty view to boot.
UTAH: Bryce Canyon
The largest collection of hoodoos – tall, skinny, and protruding pillars of rock that form over thousands of years due to different types of erosion – in the world can be seen at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, which is also known as “the forest of stone.”
VERMONT: Jenne Farm
The Boston Globe says that Jenne Farm in Vermont has “developed a cult following” in the world of fall foliage photography. Some even say that Jenne Farm is the most photographed farm in North America. It has even been featured in a Budweiser commercial, and movies like “Forrest Gump.”
Its sprawling hills and quaint buildings are undeniably picturesque, and a Vermont must-see.
VIRGINIA: Luray Caverns
The Luray Caverns in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is the largest cave in the eastern US, and features cathedral-sized rooms, huge stone formations, and even Dream Lake, a body of water inside the cave.
WASHINGTON: Diablo Lake
Diablo Lake is a reservoir with crystal-clear water, featuring a walking trail with beautiful views at every turn.
WEST VIRGINIA: New River Gorge National River
The New River Gorge National River is one of the most-photographed places in West Virginia. Completed in 1977, the 3,030-foot bridge was the world’s longest single-span steel arch bridge for years (it is now 4th longest), and towers over 800 feet above the water. Residents even celebrate Bridge Day to honour it.
WISCONSIN: Apostle Islands
The 21 landforms that comprise Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands are surrounded by the crystal clear water of Lake Superior.
Boasting shipwrecks, sea caves, and miles of trails, you can explore these islands by diving, kayaking, or hiking. In the winter, when the water of Lake Superior is completely frozen over, tourists can explore the caves on foot to see frozen waterfalls, cliff faces covered in ice, and icicles everywhere.
WYOMING: Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park
America’s first national park and arguably one of the most recognisable, Yellowstone, which spans Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, boasts ancient volcanic activity deep underground that translates into numerous geysers, hot springs, and other geologic phenomena.
The Grand Prismatic Spring is the most striking of these. Not only huge (it measures around 370 feet in diameter, and 121 feet in depth) its natural colours (the result of algae) are simply stunning.
- Read more:
- The most breathtaking view in every state
- 40 stunning natural wonders everyone should see in their lifetime
- The best thing to do in every state this summer
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