You do not have to travel outside the country to see spectacular landscapes and scenery. Many locations with mind-expanding landscapes in the U.S. are waiting for you to discover them. Every state in the United States offers unique natural wonders, but some landscapes stand out more than the rest.
This list includes 27 breathtakingly beautiful places you want to include on your bucket list of places and things to see.
1. Kenai Fjords, Alaska
The first of our locations with mind-expanding landscapes in the U.S. is the Kenai Fjords in Alaska. Kenai Fjords is a natural wonder in the U.S. where mountains, oceans, and ice converge. In Kenai Fjords, the ice age is still in effect.
Kenai Fjords offers world-class salmon fishing, unique outdoor hiking experiences, and the opportunity to see landscapes and wildlife you may never see again.
2. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska is second on the list of locations with mind-expanding landscapes in the U.S. This park covers more than 5,000 acres. It is home to Mount Fairweather, one of the tallest mountains in the U.S.
40 species of mammals call the park home. Marine mammals like orcas and humpback whales can be seen daily in this area. It is a world heritage sight discovered by Scottish-American mountaineer John Muir.
3. Antelope Canyon Arizona
Arizona is home to Antelope Canyon, a destination you do not want to miss. This is one of the natural wonders in the U.S. Water and wind erosion molded and shaped this canyon. The Navajo Nation owns Antelope Canyon.
The length of the canyon is 1,9995 feet. The terrain in this area can be treacherous, and flash floods occur without warning. A tour guide must accompany visitors.
4. Horseshoe Bend Arizona
Fourth on our list of locations with mind-expanding landscapes in the U.S. is Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. October is the best time of the year to visit the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and view the orange-red rock formation.
There is a 1.5-mile trail that visitors can take to reach the lookout point. It is hot, and there is no shade along the trail, so visitors should bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.
5. The Grand Canyon, Arizona
Fifth on our list of mind-expanding locations in the U.S. is the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The Grand Canyon is breathtaking and a natural wonder in the U.S. This park receives more visitors annually than any other worldwide park.
The park’s south rim is 1,000 feet lower than the northern rim. If you take your car, it is 220 miles from one rim to the other; however, if you hike the Kaibab Trails, you only have to cover 21 miles.
6. Sequoia National Park, California
Sixth on our list of mind-expanding natural wonders in the U.S. is Sequoia National Park in California. Gazing up at the tallest trees in the United States will take your breath away and leave you feeling small. The park is home to the oldest and tallest trees in the United States. One of the trees in the park was so big that it was created into a tunnel so visitors could reach other areas of the park.
Along with the massive trees in the park, there are breathtaking underground caves like the Crystal Cave.
7. Yosemite National Park, California
Seventh on our list of locations with mind-expanding landscapes in the U.S. is Yosemite National Park in California. Yosemite National Park encompasses 1,200 square miles. Majestic waterfalls alongside deep valleys with massive sequoia trees create a spectacular landscape.
The park has been protected as a national park since 1864.
8. Hanging Lake, Colorado
Eighth on our list of mind-expanding locations in the U.S. is Hanging Lake in Colorado. The trail leading up to this travertine lake is 1.2 miles long; however, it is a steep climb. Just above the lake is a gorgeous waterfall. The landscape is mesmerizing, with the pristine waters forming pools so clear you can watch the fish swim in them.
9. Maroon Bells, Colorado
The ninth mind-expanding location is Maroon Bells in Aspen, Colorado. The maroon bells are soft red shale and paler siltstone infused with tiny iron particles. When the light hits the bells at the perfect angle, they appear maroon.
It takes 2–3 hours to hike to the summit and see the maroon bells. There is a shuttle bus you can ride up instead of hiking.
10. The Florida Keys
The tenth location we want to bring to your attention is the Florida Keys. The Florida Keys are home to the world’s third-largest barrier reef. Five sections create the keys. Key Largo, Key West, Islamorada, Marathon, and the lower keys
The Keys experience a dry season between November and April, which is the best time to visit. The drive through the Florida Keys takes two hours if you do not stop and do any sightseeing.
11. Tallulah Falls State Park, Georgia
The following location with mind-expanding landscapes in the U.S. that we want to mention next is Tallulah Falls, Georgia. This park is two miles long and drops 1,000 feet in those two miles. The Tallulah River created the gorge.
The hike along the gorge trail is always beautiful; however, in the fall, the colorful foliage enhances the beauty of the landscapes.
12. Craters of the Moon, Idaho
If you want to see unique locations with mind-expanding landscapes in the U.S., visit Craters of the Moon in Idaho. The moon’s craters cover 618 square miles and have 60 lava flows and 25 visible volcanic cones.
The caves in this area are unique and fascinating. Three cave types are weathered, fissure, and lava tube caves.
13. The Palouse, Idaho
Something spectacular awaits you at Palouse in Idaho. Another one of the locations with mind-expanding landscapes in the U.S. is found in Idaho, and once you see this with your own eyes, the images will stay with you for a lifetime.
30 percent of the lentils in this country grow in this region, along with barley and onions. There are 35 miles of paved bike trails in the area. The Palouse waterfalls are gorgeous.
14. Shoshone Falls, Idaho
Shoshone Falls in Idaho is the Niagra of the West, and one of the locations with the most mind-expanding landscapes in the U.S. Shoshone Falls is 212 feet tall and 900 feet wide. The hike to view the falls is a gentle slope, and the 0.6 miles take 20 minutes to complete.
There are places in the park where you can park your vehicle and see the falls from the parking lot.
15. Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park in Maine must be mentioned when speaking of locations with mind-expanding landscapes in the U.S. Between 1913 and 1840, John D. Rockefeller Jr. created 45 miles of carriage trails around what is now Acadia National Park. The carriage trails allow visitors to experience the natural surroundings without the noise and distraction of motorized vehicles.
The highest point on the eastern United States seaboard, Cadillac Mountain, is the main attraction in Acadia National Park.
16. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
Pictured Rocks National in Lakeshore, Michigan, has mind-expanding U.S. landscapes with serene beauty and natural aesthetics. Beauty is said to be in the eyes of the beholder. If this is true, Pictured Rocks National Park holds beauty for everyone.
Waterfalls, beaches, sandstone cliffs, dense forests, inland lakes, and dunes create this area’s unique and picturesque landscapes.
17. White Sands National Park, New Mexico
Ice-aged fossilized footprints make White Sands National Park one of the locations with mind-bending landscapes in the U.S. The park also has a gypsum field with sparkling white dunes. The park has been in existence since 1934.
The only gypsum heart mounds in the world exist in White Sands National Park. The landscape is unique and spectacular.
18. Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Another location with mind-bending landscapes in the U.S. is Lake Tahoe, the Jewel of the Sierra. The lake is 22 miles long and 12 feet wide. It is 1645 feet deep and filled with opaline blue water, covering 192 square miles.
This lake is situated a mile above sea level. There are 165 miles of trails for hikers and bike riders to see the scenic beauty of this destination location.
19. Letchworth State Park, New York
This state park is filled with scenic wonders that are breathtakingly beautiful. Three significant waterfalls cascade up to 600 feet to the pristine pools below. The park covers 14,427 acres and has 66 miles of hiking trails.
There are 100 less significant waterfalls alongside dense forests and deep gorges. This park is nature at its finest.
20. Niagara Falls, New York
Enjoy the beauty and splendor of Niagra Falls without a passport. The trio of waterfalls is the main attraction at this location, with mind-bending landscapes in the U.S. In the fall, the multi-colored leaves on the trees framing the banks of the Niagra Falls River around the falls make the view more tantalizing.
The water cascading over the falls is dropping at 32 feet per second. 3,160 gallons of water fall over the falls each second for distances up to 176 feet.
21. Hamilton Pool, Texas
Located west of Austin, Hamilton Pool has the most mind-bending landscapes in the U.S. In portions of Hamilton Pool, the temperature of the water is 50°, which is perfect for cooling down from the hot Texas summers. A 50-foot waterfall drops into the calm, serene waters below.
The Hamilton pool is 25 feet deep. The area has rare bird species, and hiking trails provide visitors access to different views of this unique landscape.
22. Multnomah Falls, Oregon
The distance to the top of Multnomah Falls is 1.2 miles. The water plummets 620 feet into a pool below the falls. The scenic area is one of the natural wonders in the United States.
Winter and spring are the seasons with the highest volume of water moving down the river and over the falls. The falls can partially freeze in the winter, creating a landscape like no other. In the summer, the water over the falls lowers the air temperature and makes it pleasant to be outdoors on the hottest days.
23. Zion National Park, Utah
Massive sandstone cliffs jut upwards into the sky’s deep blue above Zion National Park. The canyon through the park is 2,000 feet deep and 20 to 30 feet wide in places. The rock arches in the park are natural monuments of stone.
The years of wind, water, and sun exposure have left colorful marks on the sides of the canyon and created a colorful vista that showcases the river below.
24. Hoh Rain Forest, Washington
Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park is one of four rainforests on the Olympic Peninsula. You must drive 18 miles into the park before reaching the Hoh hiking trails. This area receives between 12 and 14 inches of rainfall annually. The rainy season occurs between October and April.
The massive amount of moisture creates the perfect climate for moss development. Moss covers old-growth Sitka spruce trees, among others. Herds of Roosevelt elk roam through the area.
25. Mount Rainier, Washington
This mountain peaks at 14,410 feet above sea level. Mount Rainer is a mile and a half taller than the other mountains. In the lower 48 states, Mount Ranier is the tallest single peak. There are 25 named glaciers on Mount Ranier.
There are paths and walkways, but you can also drive up the mountain and see some spectacular landscapes around curves in the roadway. The snow-capped mountain peaks starkly contrast the abundance of wildflowers that grow on the side of the trails and up the side of the mountain.
26. Skagit Valley, Washington
Skagit Valley in Washington is one of the unique locations with mind-expanding landscapes that create a natural wonder in the U.S. The Skagit River creates beautiful landscapes with its clear blue waters and dense green tree-lined banks on each side.
Tulips that are locally grown in Skagit create scenic views along the highway that are breathtaking. The tulips are planted in long rows of one color per row. For optimum viewing of the tulips, visit Skagit Valley during the last three weeks of April.
27. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park is famous for its towering mountains and fabulous lakes. Looking across the distance, the snow-capped mountains jut upwards, seemingly out of nowhere. The natural landscapes of the Grand Teton attract many visitors, but the abundant wildlife in the area attracts more.
Visitors need to stay three to four days in the park to see all of the sights of Grand Teton National Park.
Summary of 27 Locations With Mind-Expanding Landscapes in the United States
|1||Kenai Fords National Park||Alaska||59.8487° N, 150.1879° W|
|2||Glacier Bay National Park||Alaska||58.6658° N, 136.9002° W|
|3||Antelope Canyon||Arizona||36.8619° N, 111.3743° W|
|4||Horseshoe Bend||Arizona||36.8791° N, 111.5104° W|
|5||The Grand Canyon||Arizona||36.2679° N, 112.3535° W|
|6||Sequoia National Park||California||36.4864° N, 118.5658° W|
|7||Yosemite National Park||California||37.8651° N, 119.5383° W|
|8||Hanging Lake||Colorado||39.6014° N, 107.1918° W|
|9||Maroon Bells||Colorado||39.0710° N, 106.9890° W|
|10||The Florida Keys||Florida||25° 5′ 11.4540” N80° 26′ 50.2116” W|
|11||Tallulah Falls State Park||Georgia||34.7427° N, 83.3965° W|
|12||Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve||Idaho||43.1718° N, 113.4821° W|
|13||The Palouse||Idaho||46°44′N 117°10′W|
|14||Shoshone Falls||Idaho||42.5937° N, 114.4010° W|
|15||Acadia National Park||Maine||44.3386° N, 68.2733° W|
|16||Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore||Michigan||46.5688° N, 86.3186° W|
|17||White Sands National Park||New Mexico||32.7872° N, 106.3257° W|
|18||Lake Tahoe||Nevado||39.0968° N, 120.0324° W|
|19||Letchworth State Park||New York||42.6428° N, 77.9797° W|
|20||Niagra Falls||New York||43.0962° N, 79.0377° W|
|21||Hamilton Pool||Texas||30.3423° N, 98.1271° W|
|22||Muhama Falls||Oregon||45.5760° N, 122.1154° W|
|23||Zion Natural Park||Utah||37.2982° N, 113.0263° W|
|24||Hoh Rain Forest||Washington||47.8609° N, 123.9348° W|
|25||Mount Rainier||Washington||46.8523° N, 121.7603° W|
|26||Skagit Valley||Washington||48.4873° N, 122.2471° W|
|27||Grand Teton National Park||Wyoming||43.7904° N, 110.6818° W|