Alabama: Little River Canyon National Preserve from The most breathtaking view in every state

The Most Breathtaking View in Every State

The most breathtaking view in every state

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From coast to coast, America is full of natural beauty. Mountains, lakes, canyons, deserts and swamps — the United States has it all. And each state in the union has its own unique features that make it worth visiting.

Many people make it a goal to visit all the 50 states because of each one's outstanding outdoor sights, particularly thanks to their many well-preserved national and state parks and reserves.

Whether you're looking for an athletic adrenaline rush, a great photo opportunity, a peaceful retreat or a romantic vista, there's a beautiful spot in every state that will make the perfect backdrop. Put these awe-inspiring, photogenic places on your travel bucket list to see the best of America's beauty on your next vacation or road trip.

Alabama: Little River Canyon National Preserve

Alabama: Little River Canyon National Preserve

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Located at the top of Lookout Mountain in northeastern Alabama, Little River Canyon National Preserve is centered around the river, which flows down the middle of a mountain ridge and has three big waterfalls. Visitors can hike, drive, kayak and rock climb amid the beautiful scenery.

Alaska: Denali National Park

Alaska: Denali National Park

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One of the country's biggest national parks, Denali covers 6 million acres and includes North America's tallest peak, standing over 20,000 feet. This popular destination in interior Alaska is a mecca for outdoor adventure like hiking, dogsledding and skiing as well as a nature photographer's dream. The contrast of snow-capped mountains and glaciers against the taiga below is a sight to behold.

Arizona: Grand Canyon National Park

Arizona: Grand Canyon National Park

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Perhaps the most popular U.S. natural tourist destination, the Grand Canyon's natural beauty is world-famous. Its jaw-dropping views can be enjoyed from overlook spots. Visitors can also explore the canyon itself on simple hikes, scenic drives, overnight backpacking trips and even dayslong whitewater rafting trips through the canyon on the Colorado River.

Arkansas: Whitaker Point

Arkansas: Whitaker Point

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Whitaker Point, also known as Hawksbill Crag, is one of the most photographed spots in all of Arkansas. That's because this striking overlook dramatically juts out over the Ozark National Forest below, making it an outstanding place to take a photo or have a romantic moment. The hike up itself is beautiful as well, passing interesting rock formations and wildflowers.

California: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

California: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

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The Big Sur area is a wonderful road trip destination along the California coast known for its stunning scenery. Just off Highway 1, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park has an 80-foot waterfall named McWay Falls that drops from rugged cliffs into the ocean. The park's hiking trails also wind through redwood forest with massive trees more than 2,500 years old.

Colorado: Mesa Verde National Park

Colorado: Mesa Verde National Park

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Marvel at the ancient ingenuity and history behind the well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park. Besides the more than 4,000 known archeological sites, the park also has fantastic places to hike, bike, camp and watch wildlife.

Connecticut: Saville Dam

Connecticut: Saville Dam

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This hidden gem is one of the most scenic spots in Connecticut. Running along Barkhamsted Reservoir, Saville Dam is almost 2,000 feet long and has multiple spots to take in the view of the expansive water surrounded by hills, including a quaint, fairy tale-like gatehouse.

Delaware: Cape Henlopen State Park

Delaware: Cape Henlopen State Park

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This southern Delaware state park has ocean and bay access for activities and waterside views as well as trails for hiking and biking. The pristine, secluded white sand beaches are a great place to recharge and enjoy the state's natural beauty.

Florida: Sanibel Island

Florida: Sanibel Island

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Florida is full of beautiful beaches, but for calm vistas, look no further than Sanibel Island's secluded, sandy shores. An excellent spot for sailing and shell collecting, the island's visitors can spot rare wildlife in the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and enjoy relaxing ocean views.

Georgia: Wormsloe Historic Site

Georgia: Wormsloe Historic Site

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Also known as Wormsloe Plantation, this historic site features an avenue lined with live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss that exudes the mystery and romantic Southern charm Savannah is famous for. Visit the museum or simply enjoy strolling around the grounds on miles of scenic walking trails.

Hawaii: Na Pali Coast State Park

Hawaii: Na Pali Coast State Park

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Located on the island of Kauai, Na Pali Coast State Park is a bucket-list destination because of its stunning beauty. Rippling 4,000-foot cliffs rise out of bright blue waters, and the valleys along the coast are lush with tropical foliage. See the park by boat, plane or helicopter or hike the challenging Kalalau Trail.

Idaho: Thousand Springs State Park

Idaho: Thousand Springs State Park

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Thousand Springs State Park in southern Idaho is home to the most stunning site in the state: thousands of waterfalls bursting forth from the canyon walls of the Middle Snake River. Trails wind around the area so you can get different views of them.

Illinois: Starved Rock State Park

Illinois: Starved Rock State Park

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Less than 100 miles from the hustle and bustle of Chicago, Starved Rock State Park is the best spot to hike in Illinois thanks to its 13 miles of hiking trails of different skill levels. Enjoy natural scenery including waterfalls, canyons and diverse wildflowers and plants.

Indiana: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Indiana: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

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The 15,000 acres of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore can be enjoyed year-round, although it makes for a great summer getaway to play in the sand and enjoy amazing sunsets on Lake Michigan. Swim, fish, horseback ride and more across the park's beaches, prairies and wetlands.

Iowa: High Trestle Trail Bridge

Iowa: High Trestle Trail Bridge

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Iowa's 25-mile High Trestle Trail runs along discontinued railway lines and passes through five towns and four counties. The trail's main attraction is the 13-story-high bridge across the Des Moines River valley with six scenic overlook spots.

Kansas: Monument Rocks

Kansas: Monument Rocks

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This series of large chalk formations in western Kansas was the first National Natural Landmark declared by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Standing up to 70 feet high, these rock formations occurred naturally but look similar to ancient man-made structures like Stonehenge.

Kentucky: Daniel Boone National Forest

Kentucky: Daniel Boone National Forest

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Daniel Boone National Forest in northeastern Kentucky is a peaceful natural retreat where you can hike, camp, rock climb, boat, hunt, fish and explore like the park's namesake outdoorsman Daniel Boone. You can also relax, enjoying the crisp, clean air and panoramic views from the Tater Knob Fire Tower or along Sky Bridge Trail.

Louisiana: Lake Pontchartrain

Louisiana: Lake Pontchartrain

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The massive inland saltwater Lake Pontchartrain in southeastern Louisiana can be crossed by driving across the 24-mile Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge. The longest continuous bridge over water in the world, it offers a great view of the wildlife and boats on the water, especially at sunset.

Maine: Cadillac Mountain

Maine: Cadillac Mountain

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As the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard, Cadillac Mountain offers incredible views of Acadia National Park. The summit can be reached by foot or by car. You can be among the first to see a new day there; for a part of the year, Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the continental U.S. to see the sunrise.

Maryland: Assateague Island

Maryland: Assateague Island

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Assateague Island is famous for its unique wildlife. Wild ponies roam the beaches of this 37-mile uninhabited island in the Atlantic Ocean. The horses are descendants of formerly domestic animals that escaped. Visitors can also camp, kayak, swim, go off-roading and more.

Massachusetts: Aquinnah Cliffs

Massachusetts: Aquinnah Cliffs

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One of the most visited spots in Martha's Vineyard is Aquinnah Cliffs, and for good reason. The colorful striped cliffs, which were carved out by glaciers millions of years ago, line the island's southwestern tip, making it an ideal spot to watch the sunset.

Michigan: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Michigan: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

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You can get up close and personal with the namesake natural features of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The colorful sandstone cliffs that rise from Lake Superior are best seen by sea kayak. Hikes in the area are also exciting, with rock formations, waterfalls and more to discover. In the winter, the lakeshore is a great setting for cross-country skiing and ice climbing.

Minnesota: Voyageurs National Park

Minnesota: Voyageurs National Park

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More than a third of Voyageurs National Park's area is water, making it ideal to explore via boat, canoe or kayak — much the same as the namesake voyageurs, French Canadian explorers who were the first Europeans to navigate the region. In winter, visitors can go ice driving, snowmobiling, ice fishing and more.

Mississippi: Natchez Trace Parkway National Park

Mississippi: Natchez Trace Parkway National Park

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This spectacular drive runs through 450 miles of protected land from Nashville, Tennessee, through Alabama and ending in Natchez, Mississippi. Completed in 2005, the parkway passes by many of Mississippi's natural sights, including Cypress Swamp and Emerald Mound.

Missouri: Gateway Arch

Missouri: Gateway Arch

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St. Louis, Missouri's Gateway Arch is a must-see iconic American landmark that's amazing to take in from below. But you can also take a tram 630 feet up to the top of the tallest man-made monument in the United States. Once there, you'll be able to see for up to 30 miles to the east and west.

Montana: Glacier National Park

Montana: Glacier National Park

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This beloved national park known as "the Crown of the Continent" spans more than 1 million acres with more than 700 lakes, multiple waterfalls and parts of two mountain ranges. Take in the park's natural beauty by driving 52 miles along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The area is also a hiker's dream, with more than 700 miles of trails to soak up the gorgeous surroundings.

Nebraska: Chimney Rock National Historic Site

Nebraska: Chimney Rock National Historic Site

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An icon of the state of Nebraska, Chimney Rock is a 300-foot-tall natural geological formation made of clay, ash and sandstone that helped guide settlers as they traveled on the Oregon Trail. The striking landmark can be explored by hiking and rock climbing.

Nevada: Lake Tahoe

Nevada: Lake Tahoe

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The largest alpine lake in North America, Lake Tahoe borders Nevada and California and is famous as a year-round family vacation destination. Its stunning crystal-clear waters and surrounding mountains make for beautiful views as well as fun adventure opportunities. Extreme athletes and beach bums alike flock to the area for activities on land and sea.

New Hampshire: Mount Washington

New Hampshire: Mount Washington

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The highest peak in the northeastern United States is New Hampshire's Mount Washington. At the summit, you can see up to 130 miles away. The journey is a great full-day hike, but it can also be made by driving or riding in a mountain-climbing cog railway train.

New Jersey: Cape May Lighthouse

New Jersey: Cape May Lighthouse

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The Cape May Lighthouse is a New Jersey historical landmark and a still-operational lighthouse. Climb the 199 steps to the top for a great view, which on a clear day extends to Cape Henlopen, Delaware.

New Mexico: White Sands National Monument

New Mexico: White Sands National Monument

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Sugar-white sand dunes stretch as far as the eye can see at White Sands National Monument, the largest gypsum dune field in the world. This pristine playground is a wonderful place to hike, sled, sandboard and take amazing photographs.

New York: Letchworth State Park

New York: Letchworth State Park

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Nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the East," New York's Letchworth State Park contains the Genesee River, which roars over a 550-foot gorge to create three different waterfalls. Explore the park on the ground by whitewater rafting, kayaking and hiking, or take to the skies on a hot air balloon ride to see the falls from above.

North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway

North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway

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The almost 500-mile Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is one of the best drives in the United States. The area comes alive with colorful wildflowers in the spring and summer and bursts with fiery foliage in the fall. The views are also amazing in the winter. Even when roads are closed to vehicles, the frozen landscape sometimes stays open to hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers.

North Dakota: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

North Dakota: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park is one of the country's most underrated national parks. The park's rugged badlands terrain makes for a scenic drive on which you can spot wildlife like wild horses and bison. Enjoy sprawling views on both short, easy hikes and long, backcountry routes.

Ohio: Hocking Hills State Park

Ohio: Hocking Hills State Park

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Located in southeastern Ohio, Hocking Hills is home to 17-acre Rose Lake as well as 59 miles of hiking trails and 40 miles of bridle trails that lead visitors to secluded hollows and waterfalls as well as majestic cliffs and gorges. One of the most famous sights is Corkscrew Falls, a unique 10-foot waterfall that until recently was on private property and unavailable to the public.

Oklahoma: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Oklahoma: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

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A haven for bison, elk, river otters and wild turkeys, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge spans almost 60,000 acres of beautiful grasslands where visitors can hunt, fish, rock climb and watch wildlife. Charon's Garden Wilderness Area has more than 2 miles of rocky landscape for bouldering, while the drive to the top of Mount Scott offers lovely views.

Oregon: Crater Lake National Park

Oregon: Crater Lake National Park

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Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, and its striking blue waters are beautiful to behold from every angle. Hike along 90 miles of tranquil trails or drive or bike along Rim Drive to enjoy the views.

Pennsylvania: Cherry Springs State Park

Pennsylvania: Cherry Springs State Park

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While Pennsylvania is known for its beautiful rolling hills, the natural beauty of Cherry Springs State Park can also be enjoyed at nighttime. The park in the northern part of the state is one of the only “dark sky” areas on the East Coast. This means it restricts outdoor lighting so conditions are optimal for stargazing. Tens of thousands of stars, the Milky Way, the northern lights and more can be seen with the naked eye.

Rhode Island: Castle Hill

Rhode Island: Castle Hill

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Nestled at the end of historic Ocean Drive is Castle Hill Lighthouse, a Newport and Rhode Island landmark. The site around the granite lighthouse is the ideal romantic place to watch the sunset over Narragansett Bay.

South Carolina: Table Rock State Park

South Carolina: Table Rock State Park

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While South Africa's Table Mountain might be more well-known, South Carolina's Table Rock mountain and state park offer incredible views in their own right. Hike the Table Rock Trail to the top to see the Blue Ridge Mountains and the trees and lakes of the Palmetto State.

South Dakota: Badlands National Park

South Dakota: Badlands National Park

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South Dakota's Badlands National Park has otherworldly, sprawling vistas created by the layered rock formations that began building up 75 million years ago. They were then eroded away into canyons and spires, revealing bands of yellow, red, black and tan. Badlands is a surreal, remote landscape perfect for backpacking and backwoods camping.

Tennessee: Twin Falls

Tennessee: Twin Falls

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Located in Rock Island State Park, Tennessee's Twin Falls were created by the Great Falls Dam on the Caney Fork River. Despite being man-made, they're still a breathtaking set of cascade waterfalls surrounded by forest that's perfect for hiking and exploring.

Texas: Big Bend National Park

Texas: Big Bend National Park

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Everything's bigger in Texas, even the national parks. Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas covers more than 8,000 acres, which is larger than Yosemite or Great Smoky Mountains. But because it's a far less visited national park, you can enjoy this stunning Texas desert landscape in solitude. For outdoor adventures, hike the Chisos Mountains, raft through Santa Elena Canyon or float the Rio Grande River.

Utah: Lake Powell

Utah: Lake Powell

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Lake Powell isn't actually a lake at all. It is a man-made reservoir on the Colorado River between Utah and Arizona, with the majority being in Utah. It was created by flooding Glen Canyon, meaning you can swim, fish or boat in the lake's crystal blue waters surrounded by walls of colorful striped rocks.

Vermont: Gifford Woods State Park

Vermont: Gifford Woods State Park

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Vermont is one of the best places in the country to enjoy fall foliage, and Gifford Woods State Park is an ideal spot to take in the dramatic colors. It’s home to some of the state's few remaining old-growth hardwood trees. The park has many local trails and peaks to climb, including a portion of the Appalachian Trail.

Virginia: Skyline Drive

Virginia: Skyline Drive

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Skyline Drive is a one of the country's most scenic drives. Winding 105 miles through Shenandoah National Park, it offers uninterrupted vistas of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and 75 scenic overlooks where motorists can stop and take in the foliage, wildlife and wildflowers.

Washington: Hoh Rain Forest

Washington: Hoh Rain Forest

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Many people might not realize that the continental United States has rainforests, albeit temperate rather than tropical ones. Located in Washington state's Olympic National Park, the Hoh Rain Forest receives as much as 14 feet of precipitation per year. This lush green wonderland dripping with moss is one of the best places to go hiking in the country.

Washington, DC: Tidal Basin

Washington, DC: Tidal Basin

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The Tidal Basin is a 100-acre reservoir in the nation's capital between the Potomac River and the Washington Channel. A famous viewing spot during cherry blossom season, the Tidal Basin also offers great views of the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial and other iconic Washington, D.C., landmarks.

West Virginia: New River Gorge Bridge

West Virginia: New River Gorge Bridge

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Spanning more than 3,000 feet through the Appalachian Mountains, New River Gorge Bridge is is one of the most photographed places in West Virginia. A work of structural art, the bridge is also one of the highest vehicular bridges in the world, making it an ideal place to see the surrounding scenery.

Wisconsin: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Wisconsin: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

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The 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland coastline in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is spectacular no matter the season. The lakeshore has a series of sandstone sea caves that were eroded out from underneath the islands. They can be explored by kayaking or scuba diving in the warmer months. In the winter, when Lake Superior freezes, visitors can hike across the lake's surface and see the stunning ice formations inside the caves.

Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park

Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park

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One of the most visited and famous national parks in the world has its reputation for a reason. Yellowstone National Park, the world's first national park, is home to many spectacular sights besides the famous Old Faithful geyser. There are waterfalls, canyons and hot springs, including the rainbow-hued Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the country. Grand Prismatic Spring is just one of many incredible photogenic vacation spots around the United States.

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