Bucket list: the most beautiful places in the USA

Bucket list: the most beautiful places in the USA

I travel from The Netherlands to the USA almost every year. Why? There are so many beautiful places to discover! In this article, I’ll share the most beautiful places in the USA.

The most beautiful cities in the USA

There are a number of interesting cities in the USA. Which cities do you really have to visit? These are the most beautiful cities in the USA:

New York, New York State

New York City skyline.
New York City skyline.

New York is beautiful and the largest city in the USA. Given the large number of films and television series that take place here, everyone in the world knows this city. It is, therefore, one of the most popular destinations for a city trip. And not without reason, the skyscrapers, the yellow taxis, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty, there is so much to see and do in New York that you can easily spend a week there.

Tip: Take a road trip in New York State from New York.

Miami, Florida

Ocean Drive Miami
Ocean Drive in Miami.

Miami was the first city I visited in the USA and I absolutely loved it there! It is a perfect city for a beach vacation and the colorful houses and hotels on Ocean Drive are a sight to be seen. You can also make fun day trips from Miami to the Florida Keys, Florida’s Gulf Coast, and Everglades National Park.

New Orleans, Louisiana

French Quarter in New Orleans
French Quarter in New Orleans.

Photo: Rosie Kerr | Unsplash

Do you like music and would you like to visit a city with a historic center? Then you have to go to New Orleans. In this fun city, Jazz and Gospel can be heard on every street corner. In the spring they celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans, a big party where everyone is dressed up and there are also parades.

San Francisco, California

Alamo Square in San Francisco
Alamo Square in San Francisco.

Although I am more of a Los Angeles fan myself, I think San Francisco actually has more right to be on the list of the most beautiful places in the USA. This city has many pleasant neighborhoods (for example Haight-Ashbury full of Victorian houses) and a ride on the cable car is super fun! It is also recommended to visit the prison island of Alcatraz for an interesting historic lesson.

Read more: 33 Fun Activities for your San Francisco Bucket List

Portland, Oregon

Portland Oregon
Portland, Oregon is one of the trendiest cities in America.

One of the trendiest cities in the USA is Portland in Oregon. Here you’ll find many beautiful artworks, trendy coffee bars, delicious donut shops, and cozy restaurants. In terms of buildings, you see a mix of modern skyscrapers and old industrial buildings. It’s a lovely city to explore for a few days.

The most beautiful national parks in the USA

One of the reasons that many tourists travel to the USA every year is because of the gorgeous national parks. Which parks should you really have seen during a vacation in the USA?

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Grand Prismatic Spring
Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone.

Yellowstone National Park is the first national park in the USA. And not without reason, it is so beautiful! The park is gigantic and steam comes out of the ground everywhere. The brightly colored hot water springs are a feast for the eyes and also, you’ll get to see a lot of wildlife here. In Yellowstone, you might be able to see (grizzly) bears, many bison, and moose.

Want to read more about Yellowstone? Check out these articles:

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park
The hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Canyon National Park is one of five national parks in Utah and has a spectacular landscape: full of red hoodoos! A must-visit if you are on a road trip in Southwest USA. You can check out the view from many different viewpoints, but it is even more fun to go for a hike in the canyon. One of my favorite hikes in Bryce Canyon is the combination of the Queens Garden and the Navajo trail.

Saguaro National Park, Arizona

The largest cacti in America can be found in Saguaro National Park, near Tucson (Arizona). The cacti can reach a height of 15 (!) Meters here, how cool is that? When I hiked the Arizona Trail, I hiked through Saguaro National Park. And it was amazing!

Read more: Saguaro National Park Guide: tips & the best things to do

Standing next to a giant Saguaro cactus

Haleakala National Park, Hawaii

Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park on Maui.

The scenery of Haleakala National Park (Maui, Hawaii) is spectacular and it looks like you’re on the moon! You can hike through a large crater of a volcano and there are all small craters to see. The earth is red with orange and looks very different at any time of the day. It is located at an altitude of more than 3000 meters and from the top you can also see a number of other islands of the state of Hawaii, such as Big Island.

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park
You can only get to Dry Tortugas National Park by boat or by plane.

Photo: Bryan Goff | Unsplash

Dry Tortugas National Park consists of a number of islands, more than 100 kilometers from Key West (Florida). It is quite pricey to get here, you can take a ferry ($ 170) or a seaplane ($ 300). On the islands, you will find Fort Jefferson (an old fort, which was used as a prison long ago and around the islands you can snorkel very well. You can choose to bring a tent and spend the night in this wonderful place. If you’d like to do that, make sure to apply for a permit beforehand.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Crater Lake National Park
The Blue Lake in Crater Lake National Park.

Located in Oregon, Crater Lake National Park is an amazingly beautiful place. It is a crater lake with an island and it is quite spectacular to see. As far as I’m concerned, this is even one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. There are some great trails in Crater Lake National Park and you might even see a bear walking around!

Sequoia National Park, Californië

Sequoia National Park
You can see some of the largest trees in the world in Sequoia National Park.

Photo: Vitto Sommella | Unsplash

In Sequoia National Park you will find a large collection of sequoias (giant trees). The park even contains five of the largest trees in the world, of which the General Sherman Tree is the largest. Also in this park is Mount Whitney (4421 meters high), which is the highest mountain of the 48 bordering states in America.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is incredibly beautiful during sunset.

The Grand Canyon is one of the deepest and widest gorges in the world and for sure one of the most beautiful places in the USA. Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States for a reason. There are some spectacular hiking trails and there are many viewpoints to see the canyon from. And you will be impressed by the view at every single one of them.

Historical places in America

Which historical places in America are worth visiting?

The Louisiana Plantations

Plantation in Louisiana.
Plantation in Louisiana.

Photo: Ron Dauphin | Unsplash

After seeing 12 years a slave (an oscar-winning movie about slavery in the southern states) I got interested in the history of slavery and the plantations. Visiting plantations in Louisiana would be a great way to learn more about what life was like in the USA back then.

Graceland: visiting Elvis

Elvis is my guilty pleasure, I love his music! When I’m in Las Vegas, I listen to Viva las Vegas non-stop on and I can’t get enough of Suspicious Minds. It is therefore a must for me to visit Graceland, his estate in Memphis.

Other beautiful places in the USA

And which other beautiful places should you have visited in the USA?

Fort de Soto, Florida

Fort de Soto
Fort de Soto is one of the most beautiful beaches in America.

Fort de Soto (Gulf Coast of Florida) has been voted the most beautiful beach in the world several times and I totally get it, it is really beautiful! Sparkling white fine sand and then that beautiful clear water in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the perfect place for a day at the beach.

Fly Geyser, Nevada

Have you ever seen anything this awesome? I think this is one of the most interesting sights in the United States. Unfortunately, you cannot view it up close, because it is located on private land. But it should also be visible from Route 34 (near Gerlach, Nevada). So if you happen to be road tripping in that area, you can check out this beautiful geyser.

Havasu Falls, Arizona

Havasu Falls
Havasu Falls can only be visited on foot or by helicopter.

Photo: Cara Fuller | Unsplash

One of the most beautiful places in the USA that’s high on my personal bucket list is Havasu Falls. These waterfalls can only be reached on foot or by helicopter and are near the Grand Canyon. The water here has a beautiful blue-green color, and you will find several waterfalls here.

You can only visit Havasu Falls if you have a permit to camp here (or have a reservation for a room in a lodge). These permits go on sale in February and are sold out in no time, so it is very unique if you manage to get one. I’ve tried it twice so far and it didn’t work out. Maybe next time?

Monument Valley, Arizona

Monument Valley
Just like in the movie: Monument Valley.

Anyone who has ever seen a western film knows the typical landscape of Monument Valley. The three buttes in the bright red landscape, it is so photogenic! Also, don’t forget to stop at mile marker 13, this is where Forrest Gump stops running in the movie of the same name. And that is also a very photogenic place.

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend
Spectacular view in Arizona: the Horseshoe Bend.

Arizona is well represented in this list of the most beautiful places in America, the Horseshoe Bend is also a must-see! This is a horseshoe-shaped rock in a bend of the Colorado River (which also runs through the Grand Canyon). It is absolutely worth stopping here if you are on a road trip.

Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii

Kualoa Ranch
Many films were shot at the Kualoa Ranch in Oahu (Hawaii).

The last beautiful place on this list of the most beautiful places in the USA is the Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii. The landscape will undoubtedly look familiar to you because many films and series have also been shot here. Think for example of Jurassic Park and Lost. You can only visit this place by booking a tour at the Kualoa Ranch and that is highly recommended if when you visit the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

This is my list of the most beautiful places in the USA. It is a provisional list because I do not rule out that the list will grow longer in the future. There are so many beautiful places in the USA! What do you think is the most beautiful place in the USA?

Do you want to read more about the USA?

Do you feel like a trip to America when you check out this list of the most beautiful places? Then these are a few helpful articles to read:

You can also order one of these books to discover even more beautiful places in the USA:

The Unique States of America (Lonely Planet)

50 States, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do

Lonely Planet USA’s Best Trips

Hi, and how nice of you to read this disclaimer! As you may understand, maintaining a website like this is not free. That is why some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you use these links to book or buy anything, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!


As a girl from a small town in the Netherlands, I always dreamed of traveling. I thought it would always be a dream, but nowadays, I travel 6 to 8 months a year and I hike thousands of miles on the most beautiful hiking trails. On this website you can read all about my favorite destinations.

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