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Best scenic lookout in every state

  • Best scenic lookout in every state
    1/ Theodore Roosevelt National Park -- Zak Zeinert // Shutterstock

    Best scenic lookout in every state

    Natural viewpoints can inspire, thrill, and motivate, so it’s no surprise that travelers flock to observation decks and lookouts when exploring a new locale. Whether you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of a bustling city from 70 floors above or watch a roaring waterfall in the Rocky Mountains, Stacker has rounded up the best scenic lookout in each state.

    The team used data from Foursquare to create a list of famous vistas, taking into account the number of check-ins, rating signals, category matches, tips, and photo trends in order to determine the top-ranked lookout for every state.

    Have you been to the best scenic lookout in your state?

    RELATED: Gorgeous photos of bridges in every state

  • Alabama: Vulcan Park and Museum
    2/ Tommy M // Foursquare

    Alabama: Vulcan Park and Museum

    Address: 1701 Valley View Dr. (at Valley Ave.), Birmingham, Alabama

    Rating: 9.1

    This unassuming statue sits atop Birmingham’s Red Mountain, a tribute to the city’s industrial heritage. Red Mountain also features a park and museum.

     

  • Alaska: Mendenhall Glacier
    3/ Jolyn Y // Foursquare

    Alaska: Mendenhall Glacier

    Address: Juneau Ranger District, 8510 Mendenhall Loop Rd., Juneau, Alaska

    Rating: 9.2

    This 13-mile long wall of ice sits 12 miles outside of Juneau. In addition to views of the glacier itself, there are hiking trails, waterfalls, and an interactive visitor center.

     

  • Arizona: Desert View Watchtower
    4/ Sean H // Foursquare

    Arizona: Desert View Watchtower

    Address: Desert View, E. Rim Rd. (at Grand Canyon National Park), Grand Canyon, Arizona

    Rating: 9.6

    This unusual tower was built in the 1930s by architect Mary Colter. Designed in the style of ancient Puebloan towers, it affords mesmerizing views overlooking the Grand Canyon.

     

  • Arkansas: Pea Ridge National Military Park
    5/ Chris G // Foursquare

    Arkansas: Pea Ridge National Military Park

    Address: 15930 E. Highway 62, Garfield, Arkansas

    Rating: 8.8

    The Pea Ridge National Military Park commemorates the Battle of Pea Ridge, fought on this site in March 1862. Today, the 4,300-acre battlefield is a great way to take in some untouched scenery.

     

  • California: Newport Back Bay
    6/ Kate Y // Foursquare

    California: Newport Back Bay

    Address: East Bluff, Newport Beach, California

    Rating: 9.6

    Newport Beach’s Back Bay is an inland delta with stunning views and a wetland preserve. The area is popular among walkers, joggers, and cyclists, thanks to many accessible trails.

     

  • Colorado: Rainbow Curve
    7/ Drew F // Foursquare

    Colorado: Rainbow Curve

    Address: Rocky Mountain National Park, Rocky Mountains, Colorado

    Rating: 9.5

    The Rainbow Curve overlook in the Rocky Mountain National Park lets visitors take in views of 10 different mountains at once, with a scenic valley down below. Hagues Peak, standing 13,560 feet, is the tallest in view.

     

  • Connecticut: Castle Craig
    8/ Ariel A // Foursquare

    Connecticut: Castle Craig

    Address: 1 Peak Dr., Meriden, Connecticut

    Rating: 8.9

    This unique trap rock observation tower was dedicated to the town in 1900. You can access the observation deck at the top by climbing a metal interior staircase.

     

  • Delaware: South End of Boardwalk
    9/ Brent F // Foursquare

    Delaware: South End of Boardwalk

    Address: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

    Rating: 7.8

    Rehoboth Beach’s mile-long boardwalk is both scenic and quaint. There are few better places to take a walk along the ocean.

     

  • Florida: Tampa Riverwalk
    10/ Mike H // Foursquare

    Florida: Tampa Riverwalk

    Address: Riverwalk, Tampa, Florida

    Rating: 7.9

    This 2.6-mile path runs alongside the Hillsborough River in Tampa. The trail connects the city’s Arts District with other attractions, like the Channelside District and convention center, all with views of the water.

     

  • Georgia: Rock City Gardens
    11/ TaChristopher E // Foursquare

    Georgia: Rock City Gardens

    Address: 1400 Patten Rd. (Rock City Trail), Lookout Mountain, Georgia

    Rating: 9.4

    This cluster of ancient rock formations is visited by nearly 500,000 people each year. Along the 4,100-foot trail, you’ll see flowers, caves, and a stunning overlook of the Chattanooga Valley.

  • Hawaii: Laie Point
    12/ tankamericaine // Foursquare

    Hawaii: Laie Point

    Address: 55-43 Naupaka St., Lā‘ie, Hawaii

    Rating: 9.4

    It’s worth making a detour to see this stunning view of Hawaii’s rugged coast. In addition to an offshore rock arch, Lā‘ie Point is also an offshore seabird sanctuary.

     

  • Idaho: Table Rock
    13/ Casey L // Foursquare

    Idaho: Table Rock

    Address: Boise, Idaho

    Rating: 9.0

    This mountain pillar hovers more than 900 feet over Boise down below. It’s among the area’s most popular hikes.

     

  • Illinois: 360 CHICAGO
    14/ Kirsti // Foursquare

    Illinois: 360 CHICAGO

    Address: 875 North Michigan Ave., Floor 94, Chicago, Illinois

    Rating: 9.2

    Formerly known as the John Hancock Observatory, visitors here can take in views of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile from more than a thousand feet in the air. Those who are super-adventurous can try the tilting experience, which gives you a face-first view of 94 stories below.

     

  • Indiana: Canal Walk
    15/ André Z // Foursquare

    Indiana: Canal Walk

    Address: White River State Park & Canal Walk Cultural District, Indianapolis, Indiana

    Rating: 9.5

    This three-mile loop in downtown Indianapolis has always been a destination for the city’s fitness buffs, who love running and working out along the trail. You can also rent a paddle boat to take out on the water.

     

  • Iowa: Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
    16/ J.P.G. // Foursquare

    Iowa: Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

    Address: Riverfront Drive, Omaha, Nebraska

    Rating: 9.0

    The only scenic outlook to span two states, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge opened in 2008 and connects Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Omaha, Nebraska. The bridge offers great views of the Missouri River.

     

  • Kansas: Campanile
    17/ Andy A // Foursquare

    Kansas: Campanile

    Address: Memorial Drive, Lawrence, Kansas

    Rating: 8.4

    The University of Kansas’ Campanile is a World War II monument that sits on the campus hill above Potter’s Lake. It contains 53 bells that chime every 15 minutes throughout the day.

     

  • Kentucky: Drees Pavilion
    18/ Dee A // Foursquare

    Kentucky: Drees Pavilion

    Address: 700-772 Park Ln., Covington, Kentucky

    Rating: 8.4

    Set on the highest overlook in Covington’s Devou Park, Drees Pavilion is among the city’s most popular destinations for wedding and other events. The $2-million pavilion was built in 2003.

     

  • Louisiana: Woldenberg Riverfront Park
    19/ Vasyl H // Foursquare

    Louisiana: Woldenberg Riverfront Park

    Address: 1 Canal St., New Orleans, Louisiana

    Rating: 9.0

    This 16-acre span of green space sits along the Mississippi Riverfront. In addition to walking and jogging trails, the park has easy access to New Orleans’ great food and shopping.

     

  • Maine: Fort Allen Park
    20/ CC // Foursquare

    Maine: Fort Allen Park

    Address: Eastern Promenade (between Vesper & Walnut St.), Portland, Maine

    Rating: 9.1

    A city landmark, Portland’s Fort Allen Park is part of the city’s Eastern Promenade. The public park has some of the city’s best views of the Casco Bay.

     

  • Maryland: Washington Monument State Park
    21/ Nate D // Foursquare

    Maryland: Washington Monument State Park

    Address: 6620 Zittlestown Road, Middletown, Maryland

    Rating: 8.9

    This Maryland park preserves the original 40-foot Washington Monument, built to honor the United States’ first president. The stone structure sits near the summit of Monument Knob, a 1,540-foot peak on South Mountain.

     

  • Massachusetts: Gay Head Cliffs
    22/ Kevin G // Foursquare

    Massachusetts: Gay Head Cliffs

    Address: State Rd., Town of Aquinnah, Massachusetts

    Rating: 9.1

    This stunning stretch of beach is rarely visited, thanks to its remote location. The adjacent Gay Head lighthouse is open seasonally for tours.

     

  • Michigan: Silver Lake Sand Dunes
    23/ Becca D // Foursquare

    Michigan: Silver Lake Sand Dunes

    Address: 1951 N. 24th Ave., Mears, Michigan

    Rating: 9.0

    You can explore more than 2,000 acres of sand dunes in Mears, Michigan. The ultra-adventurous will appreciate the opportunity to go off-roading in a special area of the park.

     

  • Minnesota: Endless Bridge
    24/ Clifton O // Foursquare

    Minnesota: Endless Bridge

    Address: Minneapolis

    Rating: 8.9

    This gravity-defying Jean Nouvel structure isn’t endless, nor is it actually a bridge, but rather an observation. But it’s still a unique attraction overlooking the river.

     

  • Mississippi: Natchez Bluff
    25/ Chad D // Foursquare

    Mississippi: Natchez Bluff

    Address: Natchez, Mississippi

    Rating: 8.4

    This bluff offers some of the best views of the Mississippi River. On a clear day, you can see 20 miles up or down the river, as well as across the river into neighboring Louisiana.

  • Missouri: World's Fair Pavilion
    26/ Sonja S // Foursquare

    Missouri: World's Fair Pavilion

    Address: Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri

    Rating: 8.6

    This open-air shelter was constructed in 1909, using proceeds from the World’s Fair held five years before. Today, it offers superior views of Forest Park below.

     

  • Montana: The Gates of the Mountains
    27/ Harvey F // Foursquare

    Montana: The Gates of the Mountains

    Address: I-15, Helena

    Rating: 8.0

    The Gates of the Mountains consist of striking limestone cliffs that tower over the Missouri River. They are best viewed from a boat tour.

     

  • Nebraska: Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
    28/ Jordan B // Foursquare

    Nebraska: Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

    Address: Riverfront Dr. (off 10th and Capital), Omaha, Nebraska

    Rating: 9.0

    Just like Iowa, Nebraska ranked the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge as its best scenic lookout. You can visit the bridge and go “bobbing”—standing with one foot within each state line.

     

  • Nevada: High Point Overlook
    29/ Urs K // Foursquare

    Nevada: High Point Overlook

    Address: Las Vegas, Nevada

    Rating: 9.3

    In a city best-known for flashing lights and gaming tables, High Point Overlook is a breath of fresh air. From an elevation of 4,000 feet, visitors to the overlook get a bird’s eye view of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area below.

     

  • New Hampshire: Cathedral Ledge
    30/ Roman V // Foursquare

    New Hampshire: Cathedral Ledge

    Address: North Conway, New Hampshire

    Rating: 9.0

    Part of New Hampshire’s Echo Lake State Park, Cathedral Ledge is a sheer granite face that offers beautiful views as well as some of the state’s best rock-climbing for adventurous visitors. If climbing isn’t your thing, you can drive up to the top of the ledge.

     

  • New Jersey: Hudson River Waterfront Walkway
    31/ pai // Foursquare

    New Jersey: Hudson River Waterfront Walkway

    Address: Frank Sinatra Drive, Hoboken, New Jersey

    Rating: 9.4

    Some of the best New York City views are actually seen from New Jersey. The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway covers 18.5 miles from Bayonne, New Jersey, all the way up to the George Washington Bridge.

     

  • New Mexico: Capulin Volcano National Monument
    32/ Jim O // Foursquare

    New Mexico: Capulin Volcano National Monument

    Address: Capulin, New Mexico

    Rating: 8.3

    Capulin is an extinct cinder-cone volcano in northeastern New Mexico. It’s encircled by hiking trails, including some trails that go down into the volcano’s mouth itself.

     

  • New York: Top of the Rock Observation Deck
    33/ Arman S // Foursquare

    New York: Top of the Rock Observation Deck

    Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, New York

    Rating: 9.6

    Skip the Empire State Building in favor of 30 Rockefeller Center’s observation deck, where you can see the Empire State Building along with the rest of Manhattan’s glittering sprawl. The observation deck spans the building’s 67th, 69th, and 70th floors.

     

  • North Carolina: Newfound Gap
    34/ Steven T // Foursquare

    North Carolina: Newfound Gap

    Address: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

    Rating: 9.3

    Newfound Gap is the lowest drivable pass in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at just 5,046 feet. Despite being the lowest, it’s also one of the park’s most breathtaking overlooks.

     

  • North Dakota: Painted Canyon
    35/ addie // Foursquare

    North Dakota: Painted Canyon

    Address: Interstate 94, Belfield, North Dakota

    Rating: 8.8

    Painted Canyon is a particularly mesmerizing section of North Dakota’s Badlands, part of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. In addition to an overlook, trails, and wildlife, there’s also a visitor’s center with displays where visitors can learn more about the park.

     

  • Ohio: Brandywine Falls
    36/ Andrew B // Foursquare

    Ohio: Brandywine Falls

    Address: 8200 Brandywine Rd., Sagamore Hills, Ohio

    Rating: 9.1

    This 65-foot waterfall rushes into the gorge below, making it a popular scenic stop. You can view the rush from two viewing platforms, and it’s especially beautiful during the fall, owing to the multi-colored foliage.

     

  • Oklahoma: Boomer Lake Park
    37/ Sirena L // Foursquare

    Oklahoma: Boomer Lake Park

    Address: Lakeview Rd., Stillwater, Oklahoma

    Rating: 8.7

    This waterfront park surrounds Boomer Lake, which was built in 1925. Today, the lake can be used for various watersports and the park is home to various trails, picnic areas, and a disc golf course.

     

  • Oregon: Crown Point Vista House
    38/ William D // Foursquare

    Oregon: Crown Point Vista House

    Address: 40700 E. Historic Columbia River Highway, Corbett, Oregon

    Rating: 9.4

    The Vista House is considered the crown jewel of the Columbia River Gorge, and it’s not hard to see why. Built in 1917, the house, which has been converted into a small museum, serves as a memorial to Oregon’s pioneers.

     

  • Pennsylvania: Thomas J. Gallagher Overlook
    39/ Joshua H // Foursquare

    Pennsylvania: Thomas J. Gallagher Overlook

    Address: Grandview Ave., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Rating: 9.6

    This overlook showcases Pittsburgh’s glittering skyline. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the city’s most popular destinations for watching Fourth of July fireworks—get there early to stake out your spot!

     

  • Rhode Island: 40 Steps
    40/ Ryan M // Foursquare

    Rhode Island: 40 Steps

    Address: End of Narragansett St., Newport, Rhode Island

    Rating: 9.1

    This three-and-a-half-mile walkway runs adjacent to Newport’s famous Breakers and many of the area’s other historic mansions. It can be incredibly crowded during the summer, so go during the off-season if you want to avoid mobs of people.

     

  • South Carolina: The Battery
    41/ Allie B // Foursquare

    South Carolina: The Battery

    Address: East Battery (Murray Blvd.), Charleston, South Carolina

    Rating: 9.6

    Once home to an actual Civil War-era artillery, today Charleston’s Battery is a beautiful promenade for strolling and sightseeing. It’s lined with some of the city’s historic antebellum-era homes.

     

  • South Dakota: Falls Park Observation Tower
    42/ Ari P // Foursquare

    South Dakota: Falls Park Observation Tower

    Address: 300 N. Phillips Ave. (Falls Park), Sioux Falls, South Dakota

    Rating: 8.9

    This observation tower has a 360-degree, five-story viewing deck. From it, you can see Sioux Falls and the surrounding city.

  • Tennessee: Gatlinburg Overlook
    43/ Rae A // Foursquare

    Tennessee: Gatlinburg Overlook

    Address: Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Rating: 9.4

    If you want to soak in the Great Smoky Mountains, there are few better places to do so than Gatlinburg’s scenic overlook. A visit here is especially timely in wake of the town’s devastating fires a couple of years ago.

  • Texas: 360 Bridge
    44/ Heather O // Foursquare

    Texas: 360 Bridge

    Address: 5000 Plaza on the Lake, Austin, Texas

    Rating: 9.5

    This famous through-arch bridge in Austin is one of the best places to watch the sunset. Climb to the top of the bridge’s adjacent hill and you’ll be rewarded with expansive views of downtown Austin and the Texas hill country.

     

  • Utah: Inspiration Point
    45/ Chrissie L // Foursquare

    Utah: Inspiration Point

    Address: Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

    Rating: 9.5

    Located in Bryce Canyon National Park, Inspiration Point is one of the best viewpoints for seeing the park’s famous hoodoos. There are three different levels from which you can view the site.

     

  • Vermont: Quechee Gorge
    46/ Don D // Foursquare

    Vermont: Quechee Gorge

    Address: Quechee, Vermont

    Rating: 9.0

    At 165-feet deep, Quechee Gorge is Vermont’s deepest gorge, and can be viewed from Route 4 or nearby hiking trails. Some call it the state’s “Little Grand Canyon.”

     

  • Virginia: Church Hill Lookout
    47/ O B. // Foursquare

    Virginia: Church Hill Lookout

    Address: Richmond, Virginia

    Rating: 9.2

    Part of Richmond’s historic Church Hill neighborhood, the eponymous lookout offers views of downtown Richmond and beyond. Fans of the site recommend it as a spot to watch the sunset.

     

  • Washington: Alki Point
    48/ Melissa L // Foursquare

    Washington: Alki Point

    Address: Harbor and Alki, Seattle, Washington

    Rating: 9.2

    Seattle’s westernmost spot, Alki Point is lined with beaches and has a cool, beach-town vibe that’s unique to the area. Jutting into the Puget Sound, it’s a great place to catch a sunset.

     

  • West Virginia: New River Gorge Overlook
    49/ Jason N // Foursquare

    West Virginia: New River Gorge Overlook

    Address: 162 Visitor Center Rd. (at U.S. 19), Lansing, West Virginia

    Rating: 9.4

    The New River Gorge Overlook holds the distinction of being the longest steel span in the Western hemisphere, and the third-highest in the United States. It’s also one of the most photographed spots in the state.

     

  • Wisconsin: Cave Point County Park
    50/ Neal J // Foursquare

    Wisconsin: Cave Point County Park

    Address: Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

    Rating: 9.1

    Divers and photographers flock to Cave Point, a series of limestone cliffs and underwater caves set along Lake Michigan. The park’s bluffs are part of the Niagara Escarpment, the same geological feature that created Niagara Falls.

     

  • Wyoming: Artist Point
    51/ Thorsten J // Foursquare

    Wyoming: Artist Point

    Address: South Rim Dr., Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

    Rating: 9.4

    This overlook is part of Yellowstone National Parks, and draws in thousands of visitors each year. The stone lookout offers views of the gushing falls below and is believed to have inspired numerous paintings, photographs, and other works of art—hence the name.


     

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