The United States of America is the third largest country in the world, spanning 3.8 million square miles across 50 states and 5 self-governing territories. The geography and climate of the United States is incredibly diverse depending upon where in the country you are. Because of its geologic diversity, the United States boasts some incredibly beautiful places. Here are our top 10 most beautiful places in the United States.
Most beautiful lake: Avalanche Lake, Montana
First up on our list is America’s most beautiful late: Avalanche Lake. The lake features a 5.5 mile looping trail that is accessible to wheelchairs. At the 2.3 mile mark, you reach the foot of the lake. This lake is a popular destination, but continuing further down the path leads you to quieter, more remote parts of the lake. The lake is nestled at the foot of Bearhat Mountain and Mt. Canon. The lake gets its name from the frequent avalanches that roar down the sides of the mountains.
Most beautiful national park: National Park of American Samoa
The National Park of American Samoa is an underrated, secret gem of the National Park Service. American Samoa is an island located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, making it the most remote National Park in America. Visitors to the park enjoy 4,000 protected acres of rainforests, beaches, and coral reefs. The park protects hundreds of plant species in five distinct rain forest communities: lowland, montane, coast, ridge, and cloud. It is the only such rain forest on American soil. Among the fauna visitors can see are tropical birds and the endangered flying fox—a fruit bat with the wingspan of a barn owl. Fun fact: it’s the only U.S. National Park found south of the equator!
Most beautiful national monument: Bears Ears National Monument
Bears Ears National Monument is America’s newest monument, designated by presidential proclamation on December 28th, 2016. Political controversy swirls about the proposed size of the monument, but politics aside, it is one of America’s most beautiful national monuments. The land surrounding Bears Ears is mostly undeveloped and contains historic, cultural, and natural resources. It is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service in partnership with a coalition of five Native American tribes: the Navajo Nation, Hopi, Ute Mountain Ute, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, and the Pueblo of Zuni.
Most beautiful city: San Diego
San Diego is one of America’s most beautiful cities. It has numerous beaches, a vibrant nightlife, epic hiking trails, and its climate is nearly perfect. San Diego’s downtown is incredibly bike and pedestrian friendly, and if you’re a fan of beer, San Diego is the place for you. The city has more than 120 breweries!
Most beautiful beach: North Shore
Between the huge waves and the sprawling beaches, Oahu, Hawaii’s North Shore is a paradise for surfers and swimmers alike. You’ll be amazed by the natural beauty of this beach. If you’re a lover of marine life, this is a must-visit beach. The water teems with a variety of marine life, like sea turtles, dolphins, and coral. North Shore stretches along 7 miles of coastline, making it easy to find a secluded place to enjoy an afternoon at the beach.
Most beautiful mountain: Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak, which has been dubbed America’s Mountain, is one of the most famous mountains in the United States. The peak was one of the earlier gold rush sites and inspired the song “America The Beautiful.” Located just west of Colorado Springs, Colorado, visitors have a variety of ways to reach the peak of the mountain. You can hike or bike, take the cog railway, or drive to the summit of the mountain. It is the tallest mountain along the front range, where the rockies meet the great plains, standing at 14,115 feet. It is surrounded by Pike National Forest which spans 1,106,604 acres.
Most beautiful river: The Rio Grande
The Rio Grande river flows nearly 1,900 miles, beginning in southern Colorado and ending in the Gulf of Mexico. The river passes through Big Bend National Park, which is arguably one of the most beautiful locations to experience it. Like many rivers in the southwestern United States, drought and over-appropriation has made it so only 20% of the river’s natural discharge makes it to the mouth of the river in the Gulf of Mexico. While the river is threatened by overuse and pollution, the river winds through canyons, deserts, forests, and is an amazingly beautiful place to visit.
Most beautiful cave: Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave, located in central Kentucky, is the longest known cave system in the world, spanning 400 miles. It was named a national park in 1941, and was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1981. More than 2 million people visit the cave every year to enjoy the stunning mineral formations inside of the cave. Not only is it beautiful, but it is a place of significant biodiversity. There are 12 different species unique to the cave that don’t have eyes as the darkness of the cave made them unnecessary!
Most beautiful state park: Ecola State Park
National parks often get the most attention, but there are 10,234 designated state parks across the United States for visitors to enjoy. Our favorite of these parks is Ecola State Park, located near Astoria, Oregon. This coastal state park features amazing beaches, grassy bluffs that overlook the sea, lush forests, hidden coves, and is home to Cannon Beach. If you enjoy hiking, swimming, and amazing views, Ecola State Park is for you.
Most beautiful small town: Stowe, Vermont
The last location on our list is America’s most beautiful small town. Stowe is a tiny town located in northern Vermont with a population of approximately 4,300 citizens. It is best known for its tall, white steeple and fall attractions, but the town is a cultural hub as well. Stowe hosts various events all year long, from balloon festivals to theater productions. It’s a perfect place to visit for a relaxed summer vacation, a fall tour of autumn foliage, or a winter wonderland.