We already know that crossing America from one coast to another is not an expensive prospect, especially if you snatch a deal like this traveler who showed how you can do it for less than $200. However, while you could see quite a lot of scenic routes while on a train, the suggested path doesn't exactly show off everything that the USA has to offer. And there are plenty of things each of the 50 states has to offer. From stunning valleys to canyons to lakes, there are plenty of places worth visiting in each state, and here are 50 most scenic locations for each of them. While not many could argue that the choices aren't beautiful, the final judgement is, of course, subjective. So if you think that there are more stunning places a state could offer, suggest your pic in the comments! Oh, and don't forget to vote for your favorites!
Ladew Topiary Gardens, Maryland
Located in Monkton, Maryland, Ladew Topiary Gardens are a 22 acre (8.9 ha) nonprofit gardens that feature many creative topiary. The gardens were established in the 30s by Harvey S. Ladew, who enjoyed fox hunting. Thus, many topiaries depict a fox hunt with horses, riders, dogs, as well as a selection of other animals. The gardens are open from April to October.
Angel Oak, South Carolina
This spectacular tree is located on Johns Island near Charleston, South Carolina. Angel Oak is around 66.5 ft (20 m) tall, measures 28 ft (8.5 m) in circumference and produces shade that is about 17,200 square feet (1,600 m2) wide. The Southern live oak is estimated to be 400-500 years old. Don't forget to grab a picnic basket or a book and enjoy a peaceful afternoon by the tree!
Sand Harbor Island, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Sand Harbor Island in Lake Tahoe–Nevada State Park shows some of the key elements of Lake Tahoe's scenery. The different hues of lake water, the rocks scattered throughout the shore and the greenery that frames everything into one breathtaking picture.
Old Man's Cave, Ohio
Old Man's Cave is located in Hocking Hills State Park, in the Hocking Hills region of Hocking County, Ohio. It's one of the most scenic hiking trails in the park and features 5 main areas: Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls and Lower Gorge. Scattered across the trail are gorge and waterfalls that offer a unique look at the earth's subsurface.
Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming
Located in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Grand Prismatic Spring is a 160 feet (50 m) deep hot spring, the largest in the United States (as well as 3rd largest in the world!). Its name is the perfect description for the spring, since its coloring of red, orange, yellow, green, and blue look just like the rainbow dispersion of white light by an optical prism. With a stunning blue water in the center, the edges shift colors from red to green thanks to microbial mats around the edges. The spring is around 160 °F (70 °C) hot.
Glacier Bay National Park And Preserve, Alaska
Located in in Southeast Alaska west of Juneau, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a 3,223,384 acres (13,044.57 km2) land with 1,045 tidewater and terrestrial glaciers that makes for one sublime view. The stunning white glaciers contrast with the blue waters of Glacier Bay and the Pacific ocean and the sky, creating a natural "crack" in between that is perfect for holiday pictures.
Monument Rocks, Kansas
The first landmark chosen by the US Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark, Monument Rocks are also known as Chalk Pyramids and reach up to 70 ft (21 m). Experts estimate that the chalk formations have been formed 80 million years ago. They were also named as one of 8 Wonders of Kansas in 2008.
Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
As its name suggests, this incised meander in Arizona is shaped like a horseshoe and is located 5 miles (8.0 km) downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. The glimmering waters of the Colorado River make for a stunning landmark from the overlook 1,000-foot (300 m) above.The Horseshoe Bend is part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area that includes Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Reflection Canyon and more, which make it a perfect destination to see in Arizona.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Located on the Canada–United States border, Glacier National Park covers a stunning area of 1,013,322 acres (4,100.77 km2). The park includes parts of two mountain ranges, over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants, and hundreds of species of animals. It's no wonder that about 3 million people visit the site annually.
Lake Mohonk, New York
Even if New York has such landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building to offer, there are some hidden gems hidden away from the Big Apple. Lake Mohonk is one of them. While it's relatively small (one-half mile (800 m) long and 60 feet (18 m) deep), the lake is framed by an endless sea of greenery, making its shoreline an Instagram user's dream.
Skagit Valley, Washington
Probably the best time to visit this valley is in April, as the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is hosted during that time. Red, orange, yellow, pink, red and many more flowers paint the valley in most vibrant shades, creating the perfect opportunity not only to enjoy the smell and sight of this beauty, but to snap a memorable picture as well. The festival claims that beautiful tulips draw over a million visitors every year and we're not surprised as the visual is simply stunning!
Thor's Well At Cape Perpetua, Oregon
Best seen approximately an hour before high tide to an hour after high tide, Thor's Well is a sinkhole in a rock located in Cape Perpetua, Oregon. The coastal area of Cape Perpetua is pretty breathtaking on its own, however, Thor's Well is a sight everyone should consider when visiting this state. As spectacular as it is a high tide, the hole is actually pretty dangerous considering the merciless waters around, despite being only about 20 feet (6 m) deep.
White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
Perhaps one of the most unique places on this list, White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, showcases the vast white dunes that look extraordinary when vaulted by a blue sky. The sand dunes are composed of of gypsum crystals, giving it a unique pale color. It's small wonder that many films like Transformers (2007) were filmed on this site.
Yosemite Valley, California
Californians' favorite hiking spot, Yosemite National Park covers 748,436 acres (3,028.81 km2) and features breathtaking granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes and mountains that all add up to form one unforgettable sight. Yosemite Valley is a a glacial valley that is around 7.5 miles (12 km) long and approximately 3000–3500 feet deep. It is surrounded by high granite summits like Half Dome and framed by a dense blanket of pines. Another feature of an already beautiful picture is the amount of waterfalls in the valley, like Yosemite Falls that are 2,425 feet (739 m) high.
New River Gorge Bridge, West Virginia
This stunning 3,030 ft (924 m) long and 69.3 ft (21.1 m) wide structure that stands 876 feet (267 m) above the New River is the New River Gorge Bridge. Located in Fayette County, West Virginia, this bridge was built in the 70s and cost $37 million to construct. The bridge is not only a picturesque sight itself, but it also allows to take in the sublime panorama of the New River Gorge.
Nā Pali Coast State Park, Hawaii
Covering 6,175 acres (2,499 ha), the Nā Pali Coast State Park is located on the northwest side of Kauaʻi, the oldest inhabited Hawaiian island. Although it's not possible to reach it by car, one can experience the beauty of this state park by following hiking trails, taking a helicopter ride or simply kayaking to it from the ocean side. And while it seems like a lot of effort, it's definitely worth the trouble as the view from The na pali cliffs that reach as far as 4,000 feet (1,200 m) offer a sublime view of the coastline and the Pacific ocean.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Located southwest of Bar Harbor, Maine, Acadia National Park is 49,075 acres (198.60 km2) large and features Mount Desert Island and many smaller islands. The land is not only impressive to look at, it is also rich in history as Native Americans have inhabited the area called Acadia for at least 12,000 years. Bass Harbor Head Light is one of the attractions in the park, framed by the sea, forest and rock.
Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia
Spanning across 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties, Blue Ridge Parkway is 469 miles (755 km) long and offers some truly spectacular views. With valleys and mountains scattered across the parkway, some of the highlights include Roanoke Mountain and the Peaks of Otter.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
On the shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan lies Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, covering 73,236 acres (296.38 km2) and attracting about half a million visitors annually. This National Lakeshore is one of the many places perfect for photos, as the region features stunning rock formations, waterfalls, and sand dunes.
Apostle Islands Caves, Wisconsin
Although not always open, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore has plenty of excellent sights to offer. Located in Lake Superior, off the Bayfield Peninsula in northern Wisconsin, 22 Apostle Islands are quite stunning on their own with many caves etched in stone. However, if temperatures in winter fall low enough, the many holes and caverns turn into breathtaking ice caves that look like they're straight out of a fairy tale.
Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia
A 2,689-acre (1,088 ha) Georgia state park adjacent to Tallulah Falls, this State Park surrounds Tallulah Gorge, a 1,000-foot (300 m) deep gorge formed by the action of the river. The greatest attractions in the park are the six waterfalls known as the Tallulah Falls, which cause the river to drop 500 feet over one mile (150 m over 1.6 km).
Pikes Peak State Park, Iowa
The 960 acre (390 ha) state park in Iowa, Pikes Peak State Park features impressive sights overlooking the Upper Mississippi River. The park gets its name from Pikes Peak which is a particularly high point overlooking the gorge of the Upper Mississippi, and like Pikes Peak in Colorado, is named for explorer Zebulon Pike.
Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire
Although the park's 'star' Old Man of the Mountain (a series of five granite cliff ledges that appeared to be the jagged profile of a face) collapsed in 2003, Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire still has a lot to offer. From mesmerizing Flume Gorge to striking Cannon Mountain, the park is an excellent place for hikes and, of course, snapping gorgeous pictures for your album!
Zion National Park, Utah
146,597 acres (593.26 km2) of Zion National Park has a lot to offer to any visitor. Like 15 miles (24 km) long and up to 2,640 ft (800 m) deep Zion Canyon that you could observe from Angels Landing. Or the Virgin River, that offers a beautiful path for hikes. It seems like you could find almost everything in this park, starting with mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, and ending with rivers, slot canyons, and natural arches. It is small wonder that this site attracted over 4 million visitors in 2018 alone.
Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho
At the heart of Idaho lies the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, a 730,864 acre (295,770 ha) National Recreation Area featuring such stunning sights like Stanley Lake and McGown Peak. The peak is 9,860 feet (3,010 m) above sea level and creates a memorable view when paired with the clear waters of the lake, a perfect place to take in just how sublime nature is.
Turner Falls, Oklahoma
Considered to be Oklahoma's tallest waterfall, Turner Falls is 77 feet (23 m) tall. A perfect tourist destination during summer, Turner Falls cascade into a natural swimming pool where people visiting the site can swim and relax.
Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Mammoth Cave National Park covers an area of 52,830 acres (213.8 km2) and features portions of Mammoth Cave which is the longest cave system known in the world. The cave was discovered in 1791 and is 651.8 km (405.0 mi) long. Besides the impressive cave, the park has some other lovely sights to offer, like the Green River.
Pikes Peak, Colorado
The highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, Pikes Peak is 14,115 feet (4,302 m) high, higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude. The peak is named after Zebulon Pike, an American brigadier general and explorer, who tried to reach the summit on 2 expeditions, but was ultimately unable to do so.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Illinois
While Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is now a historic park, years ago it was a large pre-Columbian Native American city (circa 1050–1350 CE). The site covers 2,200 acres (8.9 km2) and includes around 120 manmade earthen mounds in a wide range of sizes. At some point in history it was the largest and most influential urban settlement of the Mississippian culture. In 1982 it was named as one of only 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites within the United States.
Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania
The water gap called Delaware Water Gap is situated on the state border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where the Delaware River cuts through a large ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. With the contrasting heights of the mountains, the gap makes for a scenic view as well as offers many activities like canoeing, swimming, fishing, hiking, and rock climbing.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
A string of barrier islands and spits off the coast of North Carolina and southeastern Virginia that stretches for 200-mile-long (320 km) known as Outer Banks is one of the best travel destinations for those who love seaside and want to see something unique. As the area is vast, there are plenty of things to see and activities to choose from. From watching a one-of-a-kind sunset at Jockey's Ridge to climbing the tallest brick lighthouse in America at Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks will have a perfect answer to any wish.
Brown County State Park, Indiana
A perfect location to take a hike, Brown County State Park covers 15,776 acres (63.84 km2) making it the largest of 24 state parks in Indiana. The wide variety of of trees on the scenic hills of southern Indiana make an excellent photo opportunity for those seeking mosaic shots, as the area is colored in patches of green, yellow and red in autumn. Of course, if you don't like the fall chill and have no allergies to worry about, the park is also beautiful in spring, when many blossoms appear on trees in springtime.
Beavertail Lighthouse, Rhode Island
Built in 1856, Beavertail Lighthouse is the premier lighthouse in Rhode Island. It marks the entrance to Narragansett Bay and is 64-foot (20 m) tall, offering a spectacular look to the ocean, as well as the shoreline.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware
Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware covers 5,193 acres (2,102 ha) and faces Delaware Bay, forming an impressive sight for everyone fond of the seaside. It's a great spot for camping, although not areas are always open. Areas that are open during the day offer plenty activities for the visitors, including an area for surf-fishing, bicycle lanes, and a World War II-era watchtower.
Cape May, New Jersey
Lake Willoughby, Vermont
Everglades National Park, Florida
The largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, Everglades covers a vast area of 1,508,976 acres (6,106.61 km2). It's an important natural habitat to some unique species like the manatee, American crocodile, and Florida panther. The Everglades & Dry Tortugas Biosphere Reserve was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1979 by UNESCO.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
The Berkshires have many names, including Berkshire Hills, Berkshire Mountains, and Berkshire Plateau, with the highest point reaching 2,841 ft (866 m) at Crum Hill. The region was named among the 200 Last Great Places by The Nature Conservancy. There are plenty of trails for those fond of hiking, as well as the Berkshire Botanical Garden if you enjoy less natural formations. It's also a perfect spot for those with a cultural taste as there are plenty museums, performing-arts institutions and festivals taking place in the Berkshires.
Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska
Scotts Bluff National Monument in Nebraska covers 3,005 acres (12.16 km2) that are rich not only in scenic views, but in history as well. The National Monument features historic overland trail remnants, mixed-grass prairie, rugged badlands, towering bluffs and riparian area along the North Platte River, making it the perfect place to step into our ancestor's shoes. Scotts Bluff was an important landmark for pioneers the Oregon Trail and many more. It was named after Hiram Scott, a clerk who died near the bluff in 1828.