If you’re looking for a change of scenery when you travel, you don’t need to leave the country to find it. The United States has an incredible variety of landscapes to explore, many of which are accessible through scenic byways. For your consideration, here are nine of the most scenic places in the US.
Scenic Places in the US
- Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
Lake Tahoe is an iconic and endlessly alluring lake situated between California and Nevada. The Lake Tahoe National Scenic Byway stretches for 28 miles through this landscape, offering stunning views of one of the purest lakes in the world and enchanting alpine shorelines.
2. Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee
Infused with natural beauty and compelling mystique, the Great Smoky Mountains are an experience you won’t want to miss. There are several ways to drive through the region, such as the Cherohala Skyway, or the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take in the ghostly morning fog, ancient mountains, and glittering waterfalls along the way.
3. Monument Valley, Arizona and Utah
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park provides quintessential southwestern views, from towering geologic forms to the vastness of the desert. The valley is the home of the Navajo Native American tribe and is known as the backdrop for countless movies and advertisements. Drive the Bluff Scenic Byway and embrace the wonders of the park and its scenery.
4. Florida Keys
Get a taste of the tropics in the Florida Keys, a stretch of islands off the southern coast of Florida. The 110-mile Florida Keys Scenic Highway runs through this area and is often referred as the “Road to Paradise.” Bask in the sunshine and enjoy the coconut palms, turquoise waters, and white sand beaches while traveling this route.
5. Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia is America’s easternmost national park, and is known as the crown jewel of the North Atlantic coast. The Acadia All-American Road Scenic Byway is a stunning 40-mile route through the park and Mount Desert Island. A wealth of outdoor activities, wildlife, history, and scenic spots await you there.
6. Nā Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii
The Nā Pali Coast State Park is a 6,175-acre expanse of dramatic cliffs and breathtaking greenery that hugs the northwest Kauai coastline. You can access it by hiking in, or by taking helicopter or boat tours. Enjoy hiking, camping, kayaking, and more along these picturesque shores of “Jurassic Park” fame.
7. Kenai Fjords, Alaska
For a one-of-a-kind experience in the US, make a trip to Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. See the uniquely scenic views of the north—the Harding Icefield, glaciers, towering mountains, and wildlife like orcas, puffins, mountain goats, and more.
8. The Palouse, Washington and Idaho
When you imagine “rolling hills,” that picture in your head undoubtedly looks a lot like the Palouse. Unfolding over parts of Washington and Idaho, this geographic gem is a sight to behold. Drive along the Palouse Scenic Byway for beautiful scenery and local attractions.
9. The Badlands, South Dakota
Visit the Badlands for its timeless ridges, valleys, and peaks! The 39-mile Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway is a great route to travel to see these breathtaking views. The region is also a hotspot for paleontology.
From coast to coast, the US is bursting with incredible places that offer beauty, history, and character. Here at Scenic America, we’re working to preserve these places and the Scenic Byways, landscapes, and towns that define our nation’s visual character. Read about our principles of conservation, see what we’ve accomplished in 2021, or sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on our work and how you can help.
Scenic America’s mission is to preserve and enhance the visual character and scenic beauty of America. Donate today to help us protect our beautiful places and the heart of our country’s character!