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40 of the most beautiful places in the US

40 of the most beautiful places in the US
thor's well oregon
Thor's Well in Oregon.Lijuan Guo/Shutterstock
  • Business Insider chose 40 of the most beautiful places in the US based on national rankings.

  • Notable sites include the Pacific Coast Highway, Lake Tahoe, and Central Park.

  • Acadia, Arches, Badlands, and Great Smoky Mountains national parks also made the list.

Whether you enjoy hiking through dazzling natural wonders or viewing historic architectural marvels, there's no shortage of beautiful places to visit throughout the US.

Business Insider rounded up 40 of the most stunning destinations based on national rankings as well as input from locals across the country.

Here are 40 of the most beautiful places across the US.

Established in 1885, Niagara Falls State Park in Buffalo, New York, is the oldest state park in the US.

Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls.Mark Blinch/Reuters

The waterfall flows with more than 700,000 gallons of water per second, according to the landmark's official website.

Niagara Falls was ranked #81 in Tourism Sentiment Index's 100 Most Loved Destinations Around the World in 2023.

Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho, is even larger than Niagara Falls at 212 feet.

Shoshone Falls
Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho.Shutterstock/Png Studio Photography

Business Insider named Shoshone Falls one of 11 spectacular waterfalls in the US you need to see in your lifetime.

The Tallulah Gorge sits inside the gorgeous, 2,700-acre Tallulah Gorge State Park in Georgia.

Tallulah Gorge, Georgia
Tallulah Gorge in Tallulah Falls, Georgia.Sean Pavone Photo/Getty Images

The gorge, which is almost 2 miles long and 1,000 feet deep, features six waterfalls and an 80-foot suspension bridge. Business Insider previously named it the most breathtaking natural wonder in Georgia.

Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, is the largest privately owned house in the US.

Biltmore Estate
Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.Rauluminate / iStock

The Biltmore House, built in the late 1800s by George Vanderbilt, features 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. The gardens covering the estate's 8,000 acres were designed by American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, according to its official website.

The redwoods in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, part of California's Redwood National and State Parks, are some of the tallest in the world.

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in Northern California
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in Northern California.Rebecca L. Latson/Getty Images

With over 139,000 acres of trees, the Redwood National Park covers California's northern coast. Business Insider named Redwood National Park one of the most beautiful natural wonders around the world.

"Good Morning America" viewers once voted Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan the most beautiful place in America.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Lake Michigan
Sleeping Bear Dunes.Shutterstock

Located on the coast of Lake Michigan, the park features 64 miles of beaches as well as rolling sand dunes, inland lakes, hiking trails, and water sports. It won GMA's "most beautiful" title in 2011.

Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska features a majestic glacier.

Exit Glacier Kenai Fjord National Park
Kenai Fjords.Sean Lema / Shutterstock

Glaciers might look stationary, but their movements sculpt landscapes. According to the National Park Service, Exit Glacier is the only part accessible by road, otherwise you can navigate the park by boat, kayak, or on foot. The park is also home to Alaskan wildlife such as whales, mountain goats, bears, and moose.

Hamilton Pool Preserve in Dripping Springs, Texas, is a swimming hole with a 50-foot waterfall.

hamilton pool preserve
Hamilton Pool Preserve.Kristine T Pham Photography/Getty Images

Country Living named it the most beautiful swimming hole in America in 2022. It's so popular that reservations are required.

The Grand Prismatic Spring's bright colors make it a standout spot in Yellowstone National Park in Teton County, Wyoming.

Grand Prismatic Spring.
Grand Prismatic Spring.Yongyut Kumsri/Shutterstock

The water coming from a crack in the ground running 121 feet deep gets its vibrant hues from bacteria living around the spring, Outside magazine reported.

Business Insider named Oregon's Oneonta Gorge one of the 11 most spectacular waterfalls in the US.

Oneonta Gorge
Oneonta Gorge.evenfh/Shutterstock

The gorge is tucked away inside vibrant green cliffs.

Skagit Valley Tulip Fields in Washington is a stunning landscape in the spring.

skagit tulip fields
Skagit Valley.Shutterstock/karamysh

Skagit Valley hosts an annual blink-and-you'll-miss-it Tulip Festival when the flowers are in peak bloom.

White Sands National Monument in New Mexico consists of gleaming gypsum sand dunes.

White Sands National Monument 3
White Sands National Monument.sunsinger/Shutterstock

The sand covers 275 miles, making it the largest gypsum dunefield in the world, according to the National Park Service.

They don't call Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas "The American Spa" for nothing.

Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park.Zack Frank / Shutterstock

The water in Hot Springs National Park is a toasty 143 degrees Fahrenheit, and the park is full of hiking trails and historic bathhouses, according to the National Park Service.

With its views of the Rocky Mountains and charming hubs like Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado, is one of the prettiest cities in the US.

boulder colorado
Boulder.littlenySTOCK/Shutterstock

US News and World Report named it the best place to live in America in 2021 for the second year in a row, as CBS News reported.

US News and World Report named Clearwater Beach in Florida one of the top five beaches in the US.

Clearwater Beach, Florida.
Clearwater Beach, Florida.kurdistan/Shutterstock

Clearwater Beach was ranked the fifth-best beach in the US in 2023 by US News and World Report for its plentiful water sports, pure water, and proximity to Caladesi Island State Park.

Charleston has been voted the best city in the US and the world.

Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina.Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Travel + Leisure named Charleston the 23rd best city in the world in 2022. In 2016, it took the No. 1 spot.

With colorful houses lining its streets and tons of beautiful settings for outdoor recreation, it's a well-deserved honor.

The Pacific Coast Highway in California is one of the best-known scenic drives in the US.

Bixby Bridge on the Pacific Coast Highway
The Pacific Coast Highway.Pun /Shutterstock

Business Insider named the Pacific Coast Highway the most scenic road to drive in California. It's famous for its cliffside ocean views and pit stops like the Golden Gate Bridge and redwood forests.

Acadia National Park in Maine is one of the most-visited parks in North America.

Acadia National Park.
Acadia National Park.Joesph Sohm/Shutterstock

With over 150 miles of hiking trails and seven peaks above 1,000 feet, it's no wonder that over 4 million people visit the park each year, according to the National Park Service.

Badlands National Park in South Dakota is known as "the Grand Canyon of the Midwest."

Couple Walking Badlands South Dakota
Badlands.Natchapon L. / Shutterstock

The Badlands' otherworldly rock formations and fossil beds stretch for 244,000 acres, according to the National Park Service.

Newport, Rhode Island, is a whimsical storybook town.

Newport Rhode Island
Newport.Shutterstock

Newport, Rhode Island, is full of adorable cottages, enormous mansions, and miles of coastal walkways.

Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, known as "nature's waterpark," is nestled in Missouri's St. Francois Mountains.

Johnson's Shut-In State Park
Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park.Sharon Day/Shutterstock

The shut-ins are a series of mild river rapids and igneous rocks leftover from volcanic activity billions of years ago. It was named the best state park for camping and RVing in 2022 by USA Today.

The Wave in Coyote Buttes North, Arizona, is a famous computer desktop background.

The Wave in Arizona
The Wave in Arizona.Tu Le/Shutterstock

Microsoft included an image of The Wave in their desktop wallpaper options in 2009, skyrocketing what was once a little-known local gem into a worldwide phenomenon. Visiting The Wave requires a difficult-to-obtain permit, making it one of the most exclusive hiking trails in the US, according to Lonely Planet.

Glacier National Park is a breathtaking natural wonder in Montana.

glacier national park
Glacier National Park.Vaclav Sebek/Shutterstock

Located in Montana's Rocky Mountains near the Canadian border, Glacier National Park has over 700 miles of hiking trails, and terrain ranging from glaciers and lakes to alpine meadows and forests, according to the National Park Service.

Business Insider readers dubbed the Palace of Gold the most beautiful building in the state of West Virginia.

palace of gold west virginia
The Palace of Gold.Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Roadside America reported New Vrindaban was founded in the 1960s by followers of Hare Krishna, and is sometimes referred to as "America's Taj Mahal." Its lavish ornamentation includes marble, onyx, teak, and 22-karat gold leaf, Atlas Obscura reported.

Business Insider readers previously called it the state's most beautiful building.

Arches National Park in Utah is nature's sculpture garden.

Arches National Park Utah
Arches National Park.Andrew S./Shutterstock

The park contains over 2,000 stone arches formed naturally, the largest one spanning 306 feet, according to the National Park Service. As Business Insider's Monica Humphries found when she visited in 2022, the park is often packed with tourists due to its popularity.

The Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin features 90-foot ceilings in Windhover Hall and wings that open up.

The Milwaukee Art Museum.
The Milwaukee Art Museum.Checubus/Shutterstock

Architect Santiago Calatrava designed the innovative building — his first commission in the US, according to the museum's official website. It's situated on Lake Michigan's scenic coast along bike paths and walkways.

Volcanoes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island ooze lava.

hawaii volcanoes national park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.Alexey Kamenskiy/Shutterstock

The park contains two of the world's most active volcanoes, according to the National Park Service.

Lake Tahoe's clear blue waters make for breathtaking scuba diving.

lake tahoe
Lake Tahoe.Anton Foltin/Shutterstock

Lake Tahoe is the second-deepest lake in the US. Condé Nast Traveler named Lake Tahoe the most beautiful place in Nevada in 2021.

Business Insider named Wellesley College in Massachusetts one of the most beautiful college campuses in America.

Wellesley College.
Wellesley College.EvgeniiAnd/Shutterstock

The 500-acre campus comes with a private lake.

Central Park in New York covers 843 acres of land in one of the world's busiest cities.

Central Park Reservoir in New York City.
The Central Park Reservoir in New York City.Shutterstock

The park is surrounded by skyscrapers but also full of wooded paths. It was ranked the most beautiful city park in the US by Uswitch, a green energy company, in 2022, according to Travel + Leisure.

The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

The Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon.Anton Foltin/Shutterstock

Located in Arizona, the canyon stretches for 277 miles and dates back tens of millions of years. Over 4.7 million people visited the Grand Canyon in 2022, according to the National Park Service.

Tallgrass Prairie National Reserve in Kansas is the only national park dedicated to preserving the tallgrass prairie ecosystem full of forbs, flowers, trees, and shrubs.

Tallgrass Prairie National Reserve in Kansas
Tallgrass Prairie National Reserve.Ricardo Reitmeyer/Shutterstock

There's nothing like 10,894 acres of fresh country air and wide, open space. The park is located along the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway.

Water fills Thor's Well in Yachats, Oregon, during high tide, then sprays out of it, and drains back inside for a mesmerizing water show.

thor's well oregon
Thor's Well.Lijuan Guo/Shutterstock

Thor's Well is one of the most popular attractions along the coast of Oregon, according to That Oregon Life. Just don't get too close to this "drainpipe of the Pacific."

The top of the Willis Tower provides a sprawling view of Chicago, Illinois.

The view from the Willis Tower in Chicago
The view from the Willis Tower.Angel Stellrecht/Shutterstock

Standing at 110 stories tall, the Willis Tower's skydeck offers a panoramic view of the city and Lake Michigan. TripAdvisor ranked the view sixth in its list of the top 10 most spectacular views in the US.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina is the most-visited national park in the US.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park.Dean Fikar/Shutterstock

The highest point in the park, Clingmans Dome, offers sweeping views of the surrounding landscapes at 6,643 feet, according to the National Park Service. If you go during firefly mating season, you'll be treated to a stunning light show.

Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio features the state's largest recess cave.

Upper Falls Waterfall at Old Mans Cave Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio
Hocking Hills State Park.Bill Swindaman/Getty Images

US News and World Report named Hocking Hills State Park the best place to visit in Ohio.

With 300 miles of shoreline, Door County, Wisconsin, is known as the "Cape Cod of the Midwest."

Fall foliage in Door County, Wisconsin.
Door County.Christopher J. Franklin Photography/Getty Images

Door County was named the best destination for fall foliage in 2019 by USA Today, and one of the 10 best places to see fall foliage without the crowds by Trips to Discover.

Cheaha Mountain State Park features the highest point in Alabama with panoramic views of the mountains.

Cheaha Mountain State Park in Alabama
Cheaha Mountain State Park.JimVallee/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Alabama News Center named Cheaha Mountain State Park one of the top five most beautiful places in Alabama.

Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky features over 400 miles of caverns.

mammoth cave national park
Mammoth Cave National Park.rukawajung/Shutterstock

Business Insider named Mammoth Cave National Park the most beautiful natural wonder in Kentucky.

The picturesque village of Stowe, Vermont, is located 10 miles from Mount Mansfield, the state's highest peak.

Stowe, Vermont, during the fall.
Stowe, Vermont.Songquan Deng/Shutterstock

Stowe is one of the most photographed places in Vermont for its quaint buildings and mountain views, according to Thrillist.

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