The United States is filled with many beautiful sights, from the skyscrapers of New York City to the mountains of Colorado to the lush beaches of Hawaii. But which places in the US are the most scenic? We’ve got you covered in this list of the top 10 most scenic places in the United States. Each destination on this list has an abundance of natural beauty, so you won’t be disappointed with whichever one you choose to visit!
1) Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles
One of Southern California’s most popular destinations, Santa Monica Pier is perfect for people-watching. The pier offers world-class restaurants, shopping and entertainment options. The views of Los Angeles are worth their weight in gold. Top it off with a ride on a roller coaster or other thrill ride, and you have all you need for an unforgettable day at one of America’s top beach destinations.
2) Haleakala National Park, Maui
Haleakala is a dormant volcano that stands at 10,023 feet above sea level. The Haleakala Observatory is a popular attraction within the park, which gives hikers and visitors views of Maui’s east side. There are several hiking trails, and it is possible to summit Mount Haleakala during sunrise hours. Local wildlife includes birds, monkeys and coatis.
3) Arches National Park, Moab
As if these sandstone monoliths weren’t breathtaking enough, early mornings and late afternoons when sunlight hits them just right can be absolutely spectacular. Seeing is believing. If you plan your trip right, seeing them at sunrise or sunset will almost certainly blow your mind. The best time to visit Arches National Park is in May or September during spring and fall, respectively. To maximize your time and avoid peak tourist season, opt for a weekday visit—it won’t get any better than that.
4) Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
A former volcanic caldera that stretches across parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, Yellowstone is considered to be America’s first national park. Today, it remains a haven for wildlife like wolves, bison and grizzly bears and spans three distinct ecosystems—prairie, woodland and volcanic.
5) Yosemite National Park, California
The U.S. National Park Service calls Yosemite a valley of giant granite monoliths, and that’s true—but it doesn’t capture half of what Yosemite is like. Sure, there are massive cliff walls and waterfalls everywhere, but visitors also appreciate Yosemite for its lack of crowds, abundance of wildlife (like bears!) and fantastic camping spots at high elevations where you can see snow on one side and tropical plants on another. What more could you want?
6) Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
As close to a wilderness as you can get, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to elk, black bears and wild turkeys. The diversity of its terrain—mountains, meadows and forests—makes it a hiker’s paradise. Hike through old-growth forest on one day and camp under a star-filled sky on another. Visitors will enjoy views of babbling brooks and distant waterfalls from high mountaintops.
7) Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg is one of America’s most historic battlegrounds. At Gettysburg, three major battles were fought over three days during July 1863, leading to more than 51,000 casualties out of a total of over 90,000 troops. Today it’s preserved and maintained as a national military park that allows visitors to walk through field hospital exhibits, memorial gardens and even explore Pickett’s Charge battle sites.
8) Glacier National Park, Montana
With nearly half of its land covered by glaciers, Montana’s Glacier National Park is home to some of America’s most beautiful mountain scenery. And while rugged mountains and alpine lakes are certainly impressive, what we love most about Glacier is that it has been preserved as an intact ecosystem—meaning you can hike into wilderness areas with wildlife that hasn’t been tainted by human encroachment. What a great way to experience one of America’s most remote and peaceful places!
9) Pikes Peak Highway, Colorado
A mountain road with sweeping views of Colorado’s Front Range. Sure, Pikes Peak is crowded and touristy, but it’s a gorgeous drive through mountains and prairies. Whether you choose to hike up (the 14,000-foot summit is a world apart from anything else) or enjoy it from above, Pikes Peak—and its accompanying Highway—is one of America’s most scenic drives.
10) The Grand Canyon National Park Arizona
With its stunning views and abundant wildlife, it’s no wonder why The Grand Canyon National Park is consistently ranked as one of America’s most visited national parks. Located within Arizona, a state well-known for its scenic wonders, visitors to The Grand Canyon National Park can enjoy exploring ancient native American dwellings and modern day cities. To make your visit complete be sure to take advantage of guided tours and hiking options that offer a variety of experiences.