The United States is certainly not short of incredible sights. Be the natural wonders or stunning feats of human engineering, the country is brimming with photo-worthy locations and attractions.
The eight destinations listed in this blog are just a few to consider when planning your next big trip. However, while these places may be best known for their spectacular scenery, they offer much more to curious visitors.
From Native American ruins to secret castles, there are plenty of hidden gems to explore in these destinations if you take a detour from the usual tourist trail. Whether you’re a regular visitor or stopping by for the first time, these scenic spots may just surprise you.
1. Sierra Nevada Mountains
With pristine lakes, dense forest and impressive peaks, it’s hardly surprising that the Sierra Nevada mountain range is often hailed as one of the most picturesque places in the US.
This stunning part of California is also something of a paradise for those looking for a bit more than Insta-worthy vistas. Hiking, skiing, tubing, and skating are all prime activities here, making it a worthy destination for an overnight trip. Serene Lake Tahoe is a popular destination for anyone looking for a holistic retreat, as well as enjoy local highlights like fishing, boat trips, jet skiing and even helicopter rides.
2. Glacier National Park
If you’re looking for wild and rugged natural beauty, there are few places better than Montana’s Glacier National Park. Home to towering peaks, picture-perfect turquoise lakes and dramatic waterfalls, it’s a landscape photographer’s dream.
The park also offers a great variety of things to do. You can enjoy an afternoon cycling, unwind with a spot of fishing, or explore the fascinating artefacts on display at the little-known nearby Museum of the Plains Indian. Plus, with thick, unspoiled forest surrounding the area, there’s the chance to spot the local wildlife – everything from moose to grizzly bears.
3. Juneau, Alaska
There are few cities as remote and scenic as Alaska’s Juneau. All those glaciers and mountains carpeted in lush forest make it a perfect getaway to unwind in pristine nature. But, there’s much more to the capital than its stunning surroundings.
The city has some of the best whale-watching opportunities in the country, as well as downhill skiing, hiking and the charming Mount Roberts Tramway. There are quirkier attractions, too, like the Upside-Down Forest of Glacier Gardens and the Treadwell Ruins – a former mining town that was abandoned in the 1920s and has been left as a ghost town since.
4. San Francisco
Undoubtedly one of the US’s most iconic landmarks, the Golden Gate Bridge is a highlight for many visitors to San Francisco.
The city has other spectacular views, including those from the Twin Peaks Summit and Hawk Hill, but there’s so much more to explore here. Alcatraz, the Museum of Modern Art and a world-class food scene are just a few of the city’s biggest draws.
There’s even a 150-year-old castle, complete with a cave system. Built in 1870 by an English brewer, Albion Castle is one of San Fran’s best-kept secrets.
5. Yellowstone National Park
The first national park in the US and arguably the most well-known, people flock to Yellowstone to see its vast canyons, powerful waterfalls and alpine forests. While you sit back and admire the view, there are other exciting experiences to be had in this historic park.
Watch the eruption of its famous geyser, Old Faithful, take a dip in the mineral-rich hot springs or visit a nearby ghost town. Animal lovers are in luck, too – the park is home to hundreds of animal species, including bears, wolves, bison, martens and chipmunks.
Coastal Malibu has long been a desirable destination. Featuring golden sand beaches, enchanting coves and scenic mountains, it’s no wonder that so many celebrities choose to live here.
If you’re looking for things to do in the city, you’re in luck. From souvenir shopping on the pier to feasting on fresh seafood, it’s easy to while away the hours here. You could also take a trip to one of the nearby vineyards or visit Adamson House, a 19th-century Spanish-style villa complete with hand-painted tiles and sea views.
7. Niagra Falls
If you’re planning a trip to the US’s most famous falls, you might be wondering what else you can do after snapping photos of the natural wonder. Well, how about a helicopter tour, whirlpool jet boat ride or a game of golf?
Take it easy with a bit of bird watching, or pick your own fruit at local farms. Even in winter, the fun doesn’t stop, with activities like ice skating and snowmobiling to look forward to. Niagara Falls is also one of the few regions worldwide that produce ice wine – why not give it a taste while you’re here?
8. Grand Canyon
As one of the world’s seven natural wonders, the Grand Canyon attracts millions of visitors every year.
Being rich in nature and history, there’s plenty to do here besides marveling at the canyon itself. Hiking, rafting and mule trips are all great options, as well as exploring the historic buildings and souvenir shopping at Grand Canyon Village.
Learn more about the landmark at a ranger presentation, go for a ride on the scenic Grand Canyon Railway, or just unwind amid the surrounding nature on a healing retreat. The area is also home to the Tusayan Ruins – a former Native American settlement dating back around 800 years.
From Montana’s Glacier National Park to the golden sand beaches of Malibu, you’ll be spoilt for choice when planning your next trip around the United States.
We hope the above eight destinations have inspired your next trip. While these places are known for their incredible scenery, they offer much more for those willing to explore and appreciate the history of the land.
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