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Breathtaking views from all 50 states

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.

 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.



 

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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.


 

 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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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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