Sometimes, you just need to stop to appreciate all of the awe-inspiring views North America has gifted us. Filled with spacious skies and amber waves of grain, here are 15 of the most beautiful views in the United States.
Banff, Alberta: Oh, Canada!
With easy access to pristine wilderness and endless outdoor adventures, Banff is one of the most precious jewels in Canada. Hiking in Banff and Lake Louise is easy to access and stunningly scenic.
Stunning mountain vistas and vibrant turquoise lakes and a summer event series make August one of the best times to visit. Rent a canoe or kayak at the Banff Canoe Club in downtown Banff. Banff is considered one of Canada’s best adventure destinations.
In Banff National Park, there are two tea houses nestled in the mountains accessible from trails starting at Lake Louise. The Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse is a backcountry Teahouse that was built in 1927. To get there, one first must hike the 5.6 km around the back of Lake Louise. Everything is made fresh, daily, by hand on propane stoves.
Pro tip: Hours will be from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Bring cash, there’s no electricity.
After a day outdoors, treat yourself to amazing views and freshly-prepared meals inspired by the Canadian Rockies. The historic Cliffhouse Bistro sits at an elevation of 6,900 feet, boasting one of the best mountain-gazing lunch venues in the Canadian Rockies. Enjoy local craft beer, Canadian wines or a tea infused cocktail.
And if that isn’t enough, take part in a specially guided tour that takes you to a historic fire lookout site, where you’ll enjoy delicious fondue. Put on by Great Divide Nature Interpretations, Fondue With A View allows you to breath in the aroma of melting chocolate while gazing out at some of the most amazing views in the world.
Riding the Banff Gondola provides breathtaking vistas in every direction. With six mountain ranges and the sweep of the Bow Valley, the views from the Sulphur Mountain summit are unparalleled.
Pro tip: Visit until September 2 for their Sunset Festival with music, firepits and patio drinks.
Stay: Riverview Campground
Cape Ann, Massachusetts: Fit for a Queen
Visit the lesser known cape in Massachusetts for rocky shores, sandy beaches, majestic homes and seaside history. Queen Anne of England was the inspiration for the naming of Cape Ann in 1623, when Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock.
Cape Ann includes the city of Gloucester and the towns of Essex, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Rockport. The smaller version of Cape Cod is gorgeously lush in summertime and is rich with artists’ colonies and fresh seafood.
Gorgeously lush in summer, this beautiful stretch of Massachusetts coastline is abundant with water activities like swimming, boating and fishing. Take a cruise, kayak or paddleboard on the Essex River or experience whale watching in Gloucester. Take park in some soul and sights simultaneously at the Gloucester Blues Festival on August 10th.
Central Park, New York City: We’ll Take Manhattan
With 843 acres of green lawns, cultivated gardens, meandering streams and dramatic rockwork, this rustic getaway in the heart of Manhattan sets the standard for urban green spaces. Take in the sweeping views from the newly restored Park landmark, the Belvedere.
The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir offers gorgeous views south from the northern edge of the reservoir. Near mid-park, the 20-acre lake is used for boating in the summer and ice skating in the winter. On the south end, the pond is one of Central Park’s seven natural bodies of water. It has become a serene escape, just feet from Fifth Avenue. And don’t miss the Conservatory Garden, a six-acre formal garden. Divided into three smaller gardens, each with a distinct style, Italian, French and English.
The success of Central Park fostered the urban park movement. Today, this world-class urban park continues to lead the rebirth of public green spaces and quality-of-life movements.
Stay: Black Bear Campground
Chicago’s Skyline, Illinois: Go to Great Heights
The quintessentially American city offers awe-inspiring architecture and a spectacular skyline. Skydeck Chicago in the iconic Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) gives you the opportunity to stare over 1,300 feet straight down.
If you’re ready for a great meal with awesome views, visit the Signature Room and Signature Lounge, one floor above the Observatory. Located atop 875 North Michigan Avenue, the Signature Lounge is one of the highest bars in the world.
For some of the best views in the windy city, hop onto The Sophisticated Lady, Chicago yacht cruises. The Odyssey Chicago River creates great experiences with brunch, lunch or dinner cruises on the Chicago River.
Crater Lake, Oregon: Blue Enigma
Experience the beauty and wonder of the deepest lake in America. Surrounded by cliffs almost 2,000 feet high, Crater Lake also sits within striking distance of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in nearby Ashland, the stunning Rogue River and the Oregon Caves and vineyards. Formed in volcano caldera after the volcano collapsed 7,700 years ago, the lake shows off pristine waters and bedazzling shades of blue. The most popular months to visit Crater Lake are July, August and September, when the park’s roads, trails and facilities tend to be fully open.
Comprised of 183,224 acres of mountains, peaks, evergreen forests and lake, Crater Lake offers plenty to do. Take a boat to Wizard Island, where you can see a volcano within a volcano. The trip includes three hours on Wizard Island for hiking, exploring and swimming. And don’t miss a hike up Garfield Peak, home to about 90 miles of gorgeous trails.
Pro tip: Bring a good Crater Lake map and some snacks.
Stay: Diamond Lake RV Park
Denali, Alaska: Magnificent Mammals
Dominating this skyline is North America’s highest peak. The park is home to 37 species of mammals, ranging from lynx, marmot and caribou, to foxes and snowshoe hares, while 130 different bird species have been spotted here, along with the impressive golden eagle. The vast, unspoiled wilderness of massive peaks and tundra is one of Alaska’s most popular land attractions.
Denali (Mt. McKinley) provides spectacular views and is home to awesome hiking and skiing. Explore Denali by bicycle, go rafting, or take an ATV tour. There is an abundance of hiking that lead to panoramic views of the Neana River, sweeping views of the Healy Ridge and scenic lakes.
Stay: Riverview RV Park
Dog Mountain, Columbia River Gorge, Washington: Untamable Trail
Dog Mountain is a legendary destination, and rightly so. This Washington hike offers stunning views of the gorge. The Dog Mountain hike is short, steep, and offers great payoffs at every bend. At the top, there is a lookout on the Oregon side, then the main trail continues up to the summit.
The seven-mile loop hike takes about 5 ½ hours and includes a 2,800-foot elevation gain, which can be a challenge for casual hikers. Start at Dog Mountain Trailhead. Choose from three routes, from quickest and steepest to longer and more moderate. The summit meadow area features views of Mount Saint Helens, Mount Adams and the tip of Mount Hood, peaking over Mount Defiance.
Pro tip: The hike is extremely popular, and the parking area fills early. To avoid frustration, try to arrive before 8:00am or after 5pm on weekends between March and October. Or, until mid-October, Gorge WET (West End Transit) runs a bus between Fisher’s Landing Transit Center, Stevenson and Carson that stops at the Dog Mountain Trailhead four times a day.
Stay: Toutle River RV Resort
Grand Canyon, Arizona: Gorgeous Gorge
Just because it’s one of the most popular and well-known destinations doesn’t make it somewhere you shouldn’t visit at least once in your life. Millions of years in the making, visitors will be inspired by its incredible and timeless beauty. The South Kaibab offers up to 500 visitors a day a wealth of panoramic views as it hugs the ridge-line on its descent toward the Colorado River. The overlook on Toroweap Point offers visitors an expansive view of the canyon.
Hike or white water raft your way through the psychedelic-colored canyon walls.
Stargazing is an experience unto itself in the canyon. The clarity of the night skies was recognized this summer when the park was officially designated as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association.
From September 15, 2019 to January 20, 2020, celebrate art at the 11th Annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art. Plan a trip to visit the South Rim between September 7th and 15th, visitors can see demonstrations and watch amazing canyon views come to life on canvas.
National Harbor, Maryland: Wheel in the Sky
This waterfront development provides striking views of the Potomac River. Close to Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, National Harbor offers restaurants, outdoor public art and shopping along the Potomac River. You can even live the Vegas lifestyle in Maryland, at MGM National Harbor.
National Harbor is also home to works from local, national and international artists. J. Seward Johnson’s beloved sculpture, “The Awakening,” resides on the waterfront of National Harbor, emerging from the sandy beaches just as the city emerges from the Potomac River.
Pro tip: Ascend up the Ferris wheel for a bird’s eye view and Insta-worthy shots. The Capital Wheel features 42 climate-controlled gondola cars.
Stay: Cherry Hill Park
North Carolina’s Outer Banks: Beauty and the Beach
Some of the best places to go on the Outer Banks are on the northern beaches; Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head. These beaches were home to America’s first colony, the Wrights’ first flight and the nation’s first seashore. Roanoke Island and its waterfront town of Manteo have a flair all their own. The Elizabethan Gardens encompasses 10 acres of botanical and sculptural delights, with breathtaking water views.
Enjoy the near perfect temperatures in the summer. Take in the views while fishing offshore or cycling one of the many popular bike trails. The Pamlico Scenic Byway centers around the river and sound. Scenes of waterways, rivers and shoreline provide a variety of views.
The Outer Banks Scenic Byway offers a 111-mile ride that’s easily broken up into shorter legs. Glimpse at more than the 300 species of birds and the iconic lighthouses that graces the shores.
And the wild horses of the Outer Banks are a wonderful sight to see.
Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), California: Roaming a Rugged Coast
There’s just something special about California’s coastline. State Route 1, otherwise known as PCH, winds over 600 miles with dramatic scenery glittered with shades of green, pink and gold. Starting from California’s northern border with Oregon and stretching all the way down to San Diego, travelers will take in stunning coastal views, seaside villages and untouched forests.
Late summer and fall are some of the best times to drive the highway. In September and October, visitors will have the best chance of almost-perfect weather and fewer crowds than summertime.
Along the way, visit some of these gems:
- Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey Bay: This one-square mile seaside village is packed with shops, cafes and restaurants. And you’re in the perfect place for whale watching, sailing and biking. Carmel Beach is one of the most iconic spots on the coast and rated “One of America’s Top Beach Towns.” Take advantage of the Carmel Wine Walk, an on-going, self-paced, self-guided, dog- and family-friendly walking tour to 13 premier tasting rooms.
Stay: Marina Dunes RV Resort
- Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur: Considered to be one of the most photogenic sunset spots on the central coast, it’s secluded in feel. The beach is located off of Highway 1, but there are no entrance signs.
- Malibu Seafood, Malibu: their only burger on the menu is made from ground ahi tuna mixed with onions and seasonings. It’s right across Pacific Coast Highway from Dan Blocker Beach and sits next to the trailhead for one of Southern California’s most appealing coastal hikes.
- Corral Canyon Park, Malibu: Providing commanding views of the Pacific, the park is located at 25623 Pacific Coast Highway between Malibu Canyon Road and Kanan Dume Road. Park in the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and head out from the Sara Wan Trailhead on a 2.5 loop.
Stay: Walnut RV Park
- Wooly’s Beach Bar & Grill, Pismo Beach: If you’re a fan of clam chowder and burgers, then Wooly’s is a great stop. The deck looks straight out on the beach, the boardwalk and Pismo Beach Pier.
Stay: Pismo Sands RV Park
Rabun Bald Summit, Georgia: Peachy Peak
If it’s 360 views of the Georgian countryside you’re looking for, then plan your road trip to the second highest peak in the Peach State. This bucket list worthy view involves less than an hour of hiking via the Beegum trail. And at the top, the observation deck offers gorgeous views of the Georgia and North Carolina mountains. The rolling southern Appalachian Mountains surround the summit, creating an endless panoramic view.
Pro tip: catch the sunset views from the summit. If you do opt for the overnight option, get up early and catch the sunrise too! For more serious hikers, the 37-mile Bartram Trail will take you from North Carolina into Georgia to the Chattooga River.
Stay: River Vista RV Resort
Seven Mile Bridge, Florida: Bridge of Seas
Drive over miles of open azure waters, that unroll to a vast faraway horizon on both sides. Connecting the middle keys with the lower keys, this incredible feat of engineering was featured in the movies “True Lies,” “License to Kill” and “Mission Impossible III.” The longest bridge in the Florida Keys is now wide enough to give motorists room to pull over.
The old structure, completed in 1912, was known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” It took 50,000 men and 10 years to build it. The first bridge was built as a part of the Florida East Coast Railway’s Key West Extension, also known as the Overseas Railroad. Pelicans and great blue herons call the old bridge nearby home. Interestingly, those tracks were recycled and used to create the guardrails of the new bridge. Bring your fishing pools. Not many places can offer such a tour of paradise.
Stay: Miami Everglades Resort
Shoshone Falls, Idaho: A River Roars Through It
The “Niagara of the West” is actually taller than Niagara Falls. With water rushing from a height of 212 feet, the falls are 900 feet in width and feed into the Snake River. The falls offers playgrounds, hiking trails, picnic areas, a boat ramp, swimming area and, of course, a super scenic overlook.
Pro tip: Shoshone Falls Park has five pull through RV spots that can accommodate most RVs and tour buses. Dogs are welcome, as long as they are on a leash. Or set your navigation device to 4155 Shoshone Falls Grade Road Twin Falls, Idaho 83301. Shoshone Falls Park has five pull through RV spots that can accommodate most RVs.
Stay: Anderson Camp
White Mountains, New Hampshire: Extreme New England
This is an outdoor lover’s paradise. From kayaking and boating to horseback riding and golfing, the incredible views and awesome activities will please even the most adventurous hearts. There are short hikes that provide spectacular views of waterfalls and longer hikes to scenic outlooks, lakes and mountain summits. Explore a 2-mile nature walk through the Flume Gorge, a spectacular natural chasm. Or try a helicopter tour of New Hampshire’s most beautiful mountain range. And the colors of Autumn in the White Mountains are nothing short of amazing. Every September and October, people travel from all over the world to check out the region’s colors. Peak foliage time typically occurs from the end of September through the second week of October.