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Breathtaking views from all 50 states

  • Breathtaking views from all 50 states
    1/ Yinan Chen // Wikicommons

    Breathtaking views from all 50 states

    Summer is here, which means it’s time for road trips, beach breaks, and family vacations. Some may have the time to trek across the country to scope out impressive coastlines, forests, or mountain ranges, but not everyone can leave their state to travel—only 62% of Americans reported taking a vacation away from home in 2017. Thankfully, taking in a beautiful backdrop doesn’t have to mean traveling far and wide.

    While a majority of Americans say they’d prefer to do absolutely nothing on vacation, most still want a change of scenery. For those used to city living, taking in some nature may offer a much needed boost of stress relief. To find the most breathtaking sights across America, Stacker searched through National Park Service and state tourism websites. Whether heading out on the open road or sticking close to home, click through to see the best views in the United States.

  • Alabama: Little River National Preserve
    2/ Jsfouche // Wikimedia Commons

    Alabama: Little River National Preserve

    Little River Falls can be seen near the visitor center at the Little River Canyon National Preserve in Gaylesville, Ala. Visitors can drive for a scenic 11 miles beginning with a view of the Little River Falls from afar and ending at Eberhart Point Overlook.

  • Alaska: Denali National Park and Preserve
    3/ Denali National Park and Preserve // Wikimedia Commons

    Alaska: Denali National Park and Preserve

    Denali, the highest mountain in North America, is located in Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. The park is 6 million miles of land where visitors can hike, view wildlife, or even mountaineer. For the best weather, visit between May 20 and mid-September.

  • Arizona: Horseshoe Bend
    4/ Massimo Tava // Wikimedia Commons

    Arizona: Horseshoe Bend

    Horseshoe Bend is a meander situated in the Colorado River near Page, Ariz., in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Horseshoe Bend’s rock walls are made up of a variety of minerals, including hematite, platinum, and garnet.

  • Arkansas: Buffalo National River
    5/ Buffalo Outdoor Center // Flickr

    Arkansas: Buffalo National River

    After a rainfall, hikers can follow trails to see a number of waterfalls along the Buffalo National River in St. Joe, Ark. Visitors can also float down the river starting in the spring.

  • California: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
    6/ Miguel Vieira // Flickr

    California: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

    Travelers can marvel at sequoias (redwood trees), in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Northern California. Research has shown that walking among trees and greenery makes people feel better, so these forests could be a good vacation stop for those looking for stress relief.

  • Colorado: Maroon Bells
    7/ John Fowler // Wikimedia Commons

    Colorado: Maroon Bells

    Practically anywhere in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park offers a stunning view, but the lake and peaks of Maroon Bells are particularly photogenic. The site is located 10 miles west of Aspen in a glacial valley. There is restricted access to the area during the summer and fall, and visiting mid-week will offer the most privacy. Visitors can take a public bus to Maroon Bells from mid-June through early October.

  • Connecticut: Kent Falls State Park
    8/ John Virgolino // Flickr

    Connecticut: Kent Falls State Park

    Visitors can hike a quarter-mile trail alongside the water at Kent Falls State Park in Kent, Conn. During the summer, the park is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.—get there early to get a parking spot.

  • Delaware: Cape Henlopen State Park
    9/ Melissa Fague // Wikimedia Commons

    Delaware: Cape Henlopen State Park

    The Delaware Breakwater Lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses in the state, is silhouetted as the sun sets at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes. The park also has a designated swimming beach that provides a lifeguard between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day.

  • Florida: Anna Maria Island
    10/ Terry Foote // Wikimedia Commons

    Florida: Anna Maria Island

    There’s nothing like a serene walk on the beach. Located on the west coast of Florida, Anna Maria Island features the Gulf Coast’s signature white sand beaches and picturesque sunsets.

  • Georgia: Blood Mountain
    11/ Anish Patel // Wikimedia Commons

    Georgia: Blood Mountain

    Blood Mountain is the tallest peak on Georgia’s section of the Appalachian Trail north of Helen, Ga. Visitors can hike to the summit along the Byron Reece Trail at Neel’s Gap.

  • Hawaii: Kauai’s Napali Coast
    12/ Heath Cajandig // Wikimedia Commons

    Hawaii: Kauai’s Napali Coast

    The Napali Coast—which was a filming location for "Jurassic Park"—offers a stunning view of cliffs and shoreline on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The Kalalau Trail is the only way to access the coast by land. Visitors can also glimpse the rugged landscape by helicopter or boat.

  • Idaho: Sawtooth Valley
    13/ Charles Knowles // Wikimedia Commons

    Idaho: Sawtooth Valley

    The sun shines down on Sawtooth Valley at the the Bethine and Frank Church Overlook—formerly the Galena Summit Overlook—30 miles north of Ketchum, Idaho. From this vista, the entire valley can be seen; visitors can stand at 8,701 feet to get a view of the Sawtooth Mountains.

  • Illinois: Starved Rock State Park
    14/ Daniel Schwen // Wikimedia Commons

    Illinois: Starved Rock State Park

    Guests can explore the rocks and waterfalls at Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby, Ill. Located about 90 miles southwest of Chicago, the destination is a draw for city dwellers who want to explore nature—whether that’s venturing through its 13 miles of hiking trails, or boating and fishing in the Illinois River.

  • Indiana: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
    15/ Pixabay

    Indiana: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

    The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is about an hour drive southeast of Chicago. Visitors can stroll along 15 miles of the southern shore of Lake Michigan, enjoy a picnic, or camp overnight.

  • Iowa: High Trestle Trail Bridge
    16/ Phil Roeder // Flickr

    Iowa: High Trestle Trail Bridge

    The High Trestle Trail Bridge, which extends over the Des Moines River Valley between Woodward and Madrid, Iowa, is illuminated with LED lights at night. The High Trestle Trail—which spans 25 miles and runs through five towns and four counties—includes this half-mile, 13-story bridge sponsored by the Iowa National Heritage Foundation.


     

  • Kansas: Monument Rocks
    17/ Seraph1888 // Wikimedia Commons

    Kansas: Monument Rocks

    The Milky Way is visible above Monument Rocks National Landmark in Oakley, Kan. The structure is composed mainly of chalk that settled 80 million years ago. While the rocks are on private property, the owners allow visitors.


     

  • Kentucky: Mammoth Cave
    18/ NPS // National Parks Service

    Kentucky: Mammoth Cave

    Mammoth Cave National Park, located in south central Kentucky, is the world’s longest-known cave system with more than 400 miles of tunnels. Activities vary by season, but visitors can take ranger-led cave tours, hike nature trails, or canoe down the Green River.


     

  • Louisiana: City Park
    19/ Britt Reints // Flickr

    Louisiana: City Park

    A stone bridge built in 1902 leads to Goldfish Island at City Park in New Orleans. The 1,300-acre park has open green space including a botanical garden, sculpture garden, and paths for biking, running, or walking.


     

  • Maine: Acadia National Park
    20/ Kim Carpenter // Wikimedia Commons

    Maine: Acadia National Park

    Waves crash against the coastline at Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park along the Atlantic coastline in Maine. This is a popular spot for leaf peepers in the fall, but summer is a great time for visitors to go on bicycle tours or boat cruises, hike trails, fish, or take in some birdwatching.


     

  • Maryland: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
    21/ Steve Droter/Chesapeake Bay Program // Flickr

    Maryland: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

    A northern shoveler walks across ice at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Dorchester County, Md. This site is a great spot to see birds and other wildlife throughout the year.

     

  • Massachusetts: Martha's Vineyard
    22/ William Waterway // Wikimedia Commons

    Massachusetts: Martha's Vineyard

    The glacially formed Aquinnah Cliffs are located along the beach in Aquinnah—formerly Gay Head—on the island of Martha's Vineyard. The cliffs are on the land of the Wampanoag people, a federally recognized tribe who view the land as sacred.


     

  • Michigan: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
    23/ Yinan Chen // Wikimedia Commons

    Michigan: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

    The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore runs along Lake Superior from Munising to Grand Marais in Michigan. Visitors can take in the cliff views, hike nearly 100 miles of trails, camp, or just enjoy a picnic.


     

  • Minnesota: North Shore
    24/ kkmarais // Wikimedia Commons

    Minnesota: North Shore

    The Split Rock Lighthouse is located on Lake Superior near Two Harbors, Minn. The lighthouse, completed in 1910 after a storm damaged 29 ships, is a great spot to learn some history and take in a view of Minnesota’s North Shore.

  • Mississippi: Windsor Ruins
    25/ Wayne Hsieh // Flickr

    Mississippi: Windsor Ruins

    Windsor Ruins, which are all that remains of the Windsor Plantation built in 1861, are a designated landmark in Port Gibson, Miss. Visitors can see these towering columns every day from dusk till dawn at no cost.


     

  • Missouri: Roaring River Springs State Park
    26/ Joseph Sparks // Flickr

    Missouri: Roaring River Springs State Park

    Roaring River State Park is located in the southwest Ozark hills in Cassville, Mo. Visitors can fish for rainbow trout, hike, swim, or camp overnight.


     

  • Montana: Glacier National Park
    27/ Tobias Klenze // Wikimedia Commons

    Montana: Glacier National Park

    A marmot poses in front of Hidden Lake and Reynolds Mountain in Glacier National Park in Montana. Guests can travel along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, choose from more than 700 miles for hiking, or get in some backcountry camping.


     

  • Nebraska: Toadstool Geologic Park
    28/ Diana Robinson // Flickr

    Nebraska: Toadstool Geologic Park

    The sun sets at Toadstool Geologic Park in the Oglala National Grassland in northwestern Nebraska. Guests can visit, or camp, 24 hours a day. The park is only 2 miles from the Hudson-Meng Bison Bonebed, an archaeological site where there is ongoing excavation.


     

  • Nevada: Death Valley National Park
    29/ Brocken Inaglory // Wikimedia Commons

    Nevada: Death Valley National Park

    Sand dunes abound at Death Valley National Park, where temperatures can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Most visitors tour the park by car, but whether driving or traveling on foot, make sure to bring plenty of water.


     

  • New Hampshire: White Mountain National Forest
    30/ weesam2010 // Flickr

    New Hampshire: White Mountain National Forest

    The sun sets in front of Kancamagus Pass in the White Mountain National Forest. The forest is located in eastern New Hampshire—and western Maine. Activities vary by season, but visitors can hike, bike, boat, and ski.


     

  • New Jersey: Barnegat Lighthouse
    31/ Daniel D'Auria // Flickr

    New Jersey: Barnegat Lighthouse

    The Barnegat Lighthouse sits on the northern tip of Long Beach Island in New Jersey. The Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; visitors can enter the lighthouse from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


     

  • New Mexico: White Sands National Monument
    32/ Murray Foubister // Wikimedia Commons

    New Mexico: White Sands National Monument

    Visit White Sands National Monument to see a large gypsum sand dunefield in the northern Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico. Visitors can explore the sands on foot along five trails, but the park recommends not setting out for a hike if temperatures are above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Check conditions before heading out.


     

  • New York: Robert H. Treman State Park
    33/ Shelby L. Bell // Flickr

    New York: Robert H. Treman State Park

    Go for a swim and take in the waterfalls at Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, N.Y. To enjoy the park out of the water, get on a bike, hike, or go camping.


     

  • North Carolina: Clingmans Dome
    34/ Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

    North Carolina: Clingmans Dome

    Climb a half-mile to the top of Clingmans Dome to get a 360-degree view of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Forneys Creek, N.C. While the view can extend more than 100 miles on a clear day, air pollution often limits visibility.



     

  • North Dakota: Theodore Roosevelt National Park
    35/ Jasperdo // Flickr

    North Dakota: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

    The River Bend Overlook Shelter, which was built in 1937, is located in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota. Get a view of the Little Missouri Badlands or head out on a variety of hiking trails. The park is also home to bison.


     

     

  • Ohio: Hocking Hills
    36/ Niagara66 // Wikimedia Commons

    Ohio: Hocking Hills

    Sun shines through the trees on Old Man’s Cave at Hocking Hills State Park in Logan, Ohio. Hikers and nature lovers can stroll through 2,356-acres of cliffs, waterfalls, and gorges.


     

  • Oklahoma: Beavers Bend State Park
    37/ sarowen // Flickr

    Oklahoma: Beavers Bend State Park

    Fog rises on the Mountain Fork River in Beavers Bend State Park in Broken Bow, Okla. Summer visitors can cool off by water skiing, canoeing, or taking a float trip down the river.


     

  • Oregon: Mount Hood
    38/ Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory // Wikimedia Commons

    Oregon: Mount Hood

    Mount Hood, home to the only year-round ski resort in North America, is reflected in Mirror Lake in Oregon. The mountain is located about 20 miles north of Portland, where visitors can still see this perpetually snowy peak.

  • Pennsylvania: Pine Creek Gorge
    39/ Nicholas // Wikimedia Commons

    Pennsylvania: Pine Creek Gorge

    The Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, is almost 50 miles long and over 1,000 feet deep. Visit in October to get the best views of fall foliage.


     

  • Rhode Island: Castel Hill Lighthouse
    40/ Alex Sergeev // Wikimedia Commons

    Rhode Island: Castel Hill Lighthouse

    The Castle Hill Lighthouse, built in the late 1800s, stands on Narragansett Bay in Newport, R.I. Visitors can’t explore the inside of the lighthouse, but the grounds adjacent to the Castle Hill Inn and Resort are open to the public.


     

  • South Carolina: Yellow Branch Falls
    41/ MarksPhotoTravels // Flickr

    South Carolina: Yellow Branch Falls

    Yellow Branch Falls is a 50-foot waterfall in Walhalla, S.C. While the area is always scenic, the best views come after a rainfall. The site is accessible from the Yellow Branch Picnic Area and Nature Trail and Yellow Branch Falls Trail.


     

  • South Dakota: Badlands National Park
    42/ Carol M. Highsmith (Library of Congress) // Wikimedia Commons

    South Dakota: Badlands National Park

    Badlands National Park protects 244,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie that is home to bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets. Tour the park by car, or pack plenty of water and explore the landscape on foot.


     

  • Tennessee: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    43/ Aviator31 // Wikimedia Commons

    Tennessee: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Glorious sunsets can be seen near Mt. LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tenn. To get this panoramic view, travel about 9 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center and follow the Alum Cave Trail for 5.5 miles.


     

  • Texas: Big Bend National Park
    44/ Yinan Chen // Wikimedia Commons

    Texas: Big Bend National Park

    The Rio Grande runs through the Santa Elena Canyon at Big Bend National Park in western Texas. Visitors can float down the river, drive through the park, or explore deserts and mountains on a day hike.


     

  • Utah: Zion National Park
    45/ Wolfgang Staudt // Wikimedia Commons

    Utah: Zion National Park

    There is no denying the beauty of Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah. Visitors can hike, rock climb, or canyoneer in the park. For those who want to see The Narrows, the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, explore on foot or or obtain a permit to kayak through the area.

     

  • Vermont: Green Mountain National Forest
    46/ Mike9827 // Wikimedia Commons

    Vermont: Green Mountain National Forest

    Climb up to Mt. Mansfield to get an expansive view of the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. There are eight designated wilderness areas in the forest. Visitors can snow ski in the winter and fish in the summer.

  • Virgina: Shenandoah National Park
    47/ Shenandoah National Park // Flickr

    Virgina: Shenandoah National Park

    A hiker takes in the view at the summit of Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Urbanites from Washington D.C. are only 75 miles away from the park, where they can camp, hike, or birdwatch.


     

  • Washington: Palouse Falls State Park
    48/ Michael Matti // Flickr

    Washington: Palouse Falls State Park

    The Palouse River runs through a narrow cataract and drops 200 feet at Palouse Falls State Park in Starbuck, Wash. The highest viewpoint of the falls is at the Fryxell Overlook. Palouse Falls was named Washington’s state waterfall in 2014, when the state legislature passed a bill written by local schoolchildren.


     

  • West Virginia: New River Gorge Bridge
    49/ Dennis Church // Flickr

    West Virginia: New River Gorge Bridge

    The New River Gorge Bridge, located just north of Fayetteville, W. Va, is popular spot to photograph. To view the bridge from up top, stop by the overlook at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center. Drive to the Fayette Station Road  to catch a glimpse from underneath the bridge.


     

  • Wisconsin: Door County
    50/ Ted Engler // Flickr

    Wisconsin: Door County

    The sun sets in the North Bay community of Door County, Wis. This Midwest destination has 300 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan and offers vacationers everything from apple picking to paddleboarding.


     

  • Wyoming: Grand Teton National Park
    51/ Jon Sullivan // Wikimedia Commons

    Wyoming: Grand Teton National Park

    The John Moulton Barn sits on Mormon Row with the Teton Range in the background in Wyoming. Backpackers and camping enthusiasts flock to Grand Teton National Park. Make sure to secure a reservation and pack a bear canister if you want to spend the night in the park’s backcountry.



     

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