The most beautiful places in the USA

Lottie Gross

written by
Lottie Gross

updated 09.12.2022

We asked our readers to vote for the most beautiful locations in the USA. Now the results are in. This gallery showcases the top twenty most beautiful places in America as voted by Rough Guides readers.

The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guide to the USA, your essential guide for visiting USA.

20. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

The spectacularly eroded layers of sand, ash, mud and gravel in the Badlands National Park was created over 35 million years ago, when there was an ancient sea here. The sea subsequently dried up; over the last few million years, erosion has slowly eaten away at the terrain revealing mesmerizing gradations of earth tones and pastel colours.

The crumbly earth is carved into all manner of shapes: pinnacles, precipices, pyramids, knobs, cones, ridges, gorges – or, if you’re feeling poetic, lunar sandcastles and cathedrals. The rainbow hues that colour these formations are most striking at dawn, dusk and just after rainfall.

    Where to stay near the Badlands National Park:

  • Best for location: Best Western Plains Motel. Seasonal outdoor and indoor pools, both heated, are featured at this motel in Wall. The Minuteman Missile Historic Site is 9 minutes’ drive away. Free WiFi is available.
  • Best for comfy stays: Badlands Frontier Cabins. Located in Wall, 1.9 km from Wall Municipal Airport, Badlands Frontier Cabins provides accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking. The property is around 7.8 km from Indian Village Landing Strip, 10 km from Quinn and 18 km from Hoffman Landing Strip.

Find more accommodation options to stay near Badlands National Park

    What to do in the Badlands National Park:

  • Best for first-time visitors: Badlands National Park Private Tour. Experience a scenic private tour of the Badlands National Park and a stop at the famous Wall town, known as a gateway to the Badlands.
Sunrise over Badlands National Park, South Dakota © Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock

Sunrise over Badlands National Park, South Dakota © Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock

19. Blue Ridge Parkway, West Virginia

Once it wends its way out of Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive becomes the Blue Ridge Parkway, a beautiful route heading southwest along the crest of the Appalachians.

Spanning more than four hundred miles, this spectacular mountain route links North Carolina with Virginia and takes in stunning vistas, wild-flower studded hiking trails and Appalachian bluegrass shows.

    Where to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway:

  • Best for peaceful stays: Stonewall Resort. Stonewall Resort has a restaurant, bar, a shared lounge and a garden in Roanoke. Among the facilities at this property are room service and an ATM, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The resort features an indoor pool, fitness centre, evening entertainment and a 24-hour front desk.

    What to do near the Blue Ridge Parkway:

  • Best for a self-guided tour: Blue Ridge Parkway Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour. Discover the most beautiful stretch of highway in the southeast: the Blue Ridge Parkway, home to incredible vistas, lush forests, and tons of Cherokee and Appalachian history.
Mabry Mill in Autumn - Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia USA © Orhan Cam/Shutterstock

Mabry Mill in Autumn - Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia © Orhan Cam/Shutterstock

18. Multnomah Falls, Oregon

East of Portland the Columbia River Gorge cuts through the snowy peaks of the Cascades for 75 miles, an important corridor between east and west for thousands of years. Scoured into a wide U-shape by huge Ice Age-era floods, the gorge is a nationally protected scenic area, where waterfalls tumble down sheer cliffs, and fir and maple trees turn fabulous shades of gold and red in the fall.

Further east, the highway passes some of the most jaw-dropping waterfalls in the region, beginning with the two-tier torrent of Bridal Veil, 4.5 miles from Vista House. Another four miles on is the spectacular, and hugely popular, Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in the state, whose waters plunge 542ft down a rock face, collect in a pool, and then drop another 70ft.

    Where to stay near the Multnomah Falls:

  • Best for B&B: Angels Rest B&B Lavender Farm. Offering mountain views, Angels Rest B&B Lavender Farm in Skamania offers accommodation, free bikes, a shared lounge, a garden, barbecue facilities and a spa and wellness centre. Both WiFi and private parking are accessible at the bed and breakfast free of charge.
  • Best for comfort stays: Comfort Inn Troutdale-Portland East. The newly-renovated Comfort Inn Columbia Gorge Gateway in scenic Troutdale, Oregon is within walking distance of Columbia Gorge Factory Outlets and a two-minute drive to the beginning of the Columbia Gorge Historic Scenic Highway.

    What to do near the Multnomah Falls:

  • Best for waterfall sightseeing: Columbia Gorge Waterfalls Tour. Experience the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, one of the United States’ most photographed natural scenic reserves, on a small guided group tour in a luxury passenger van.
Multnomah Falls, Oregon © AdobeStock

Multnomah Falls, Oregon © AdobeStock

17. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Key West isn’t the last of the Florida Keys. To reach the westernmost of the islands, you have to travel by boat or seaplane to the Dry Tortugas, 68 miles beyond Duval Street’s last bar. Romantic as it sounds today, the name merely told 16th-century mariners that the island was “dry,” meaning there was no fresh water; tortugas, Spanish for turtles, meant there was no fresh meat.

Today, the appropriate line for this Key West park might be “ye shall beat your swords into snorkels.” The waters beneath the fort’s walls are ideal for exploring the coral reefs that are one of the Keys West most famous attractions.

    Where to stay near the Dry Tortugas National Park:

  • Best for authentic stays: Douglas House. Located just 2 minutes’ walk from the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, this adult-only inn features free parking and a shared outdoor swimming pool. Free Wi-Fi is also available.
  • Best for location: Southwinds Motel. Offering 3 outdoor pools, this Old Town Key West motel features high-speed WiFi access and a cable TV in each room. Duval Street is 2 minutes' walk away.

Find more accommodation options to stay near the Dry Tortugas National Park

    What to do in the Dry Tortugas National Park:

  • Best for snorkeling: Guided Snorkeling Reef Tour and Lesson. Discover the vibrant reefs of Fort Lauderdale as you join an unforgettable snorkeling lesson and guided exploration of the coral reefs. See angelfish and other local marine life and learn about the seabed from your instructor.
  • Best for watching the sunset: 2-Hour Sunset Sail on Schooner America. Watch the sunset over Key West from the deck of the elegant 105-foot schooner America 2.0 and sit back, relax, and see some of the top sights of the area.

Find even more great things to do in Key West in our list of 12 reasons why you should visit Key West.

Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida © Varina C/Shutterstock

Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida © Varina C/Shutterstock

16. Antelope Valley, California

The Antelope Valley is above all famous for its wide range of plants and animals. It is home to hundreds of plants such as the California juniper, Joshua tree, California prickly oak, creosote, and wildflowers, particularly the California poppy. As summer is usually dry here, winter brings vital rain for the local flora, which enlivens the grasses and wildflowers.

    Where to stay near the Antelope Valley:

  • Best for travelling with pets: Element Palmdale. Element Palmdale offers pet-friendly accommodations with an outdoor swimming pool. Free WiFi is included throughout the property and a grab-and-go breakfast is offered every morning.
  • Best for budget stays: Holiday Inn Express. Located in Lancaster, California, this hotel is 15 minutes from the Blackbird Airpark and the West Coast Baptist College. The hotel offers a daily hot breakfast and rooms with free Wi-Fi.

When travelling in California, don't miss the opportunity to visit one of California's best beaches.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve SNR Wildlife flower bloom © AdobeStock

Antelope Valley, California © AdobeStock

15. Maroon Bells, Colorado

An essential excursion from Aspen, the alluring landscapes of the Maroon Bells Recreation Area are centred on the twin purple-grey peaks of the Maroon Bells peaks themselves protected within the White River National Forest. Hiking trails lead from the car park around dark blue Maroon Lake, where mesmerizing views of the Bells blend with the equally jaw-dropping Pyramid Peak and the reddish crags of the Sievers Mountains.

    Where to stay near the Maroon Bells:

  • Best for cosy stays: Aspen Square Condominium Hotel. Just 1 minute's walk away from the Silver Queen Gondola at Aspen Mountain, these apartments feature an outdoor swimming pool and 2 hot tubs. A fully-equipped kitchen and private balcony are included.
  • Best for B&B: Limelight Hotel Aspen. Within walking distance of Aspen Mountain, Limelight Hotel features guest rooms with free Wi-Fi and 32-inch flat-screen cable TVs. This Colorado hotel offers an outdoor pool, hot tub and rooftop terrace.

    What to do in Maroon Bells:

  • Best for thrills: Aspen: Dark History Ghost-Themed Guided Walking Tour. Uncover the darker elements of Aspen's history on an evening walking tour. Listen as your guide casts Aspen in a new light with tales about local ghost stories, murders, and massacres.
Maroon Bells, Colorado © Shutterstock

Maroon Bells, Colorado © Shutterstock

14. Mendenhall Ice Caves, Alaska

From Juneau, a number of impressive glaciers can be reached by car or by trail, or viewed from the air. The best known is the Mendenhall Glacier, which can be seen from a US Forest Service information centre about 13 miles (21km) north of town. The centre sits on the edge of a frigid lake into which Mendenhall Glacier calves icebergs large and small.

The face of the glacier is about 1 mile (2km) from the visitor centre, while its 1,500 sq miles (3,885 sq km) of ice and snow is called the Juneau Icefield.

    Where to stay near Mendenhall Ice Caves:

  • Best for couples: Juneau Hotel. Located in Downtown Juneau, this hotel offers a free shuttle to Juneau International Airport and Ferry Terminal, just 16.1 km away. Suites feature a full kitchen and a washing machine and a tumble dryer.
  • Best for location: Glacier Guest Room. Set in Juneau and only 6 km from Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure, Glacier Guest Room - offers accommodation with mountain views, free WiFi and free private parking. This holiday home is 200 m from Mendenhall Valley and 200 m from Mendenhaven.

Find more accommodation options in Alaska

    What to do at Mendenhall Ice Caves:

  • Best for sightseeing from water: Mendenhall Lake Canoe Tour. Create a memory to last a lifetime with a canoe tour of Mendenhall Lake and see the majestic Mendenhall Glacier. This tour is limited by permits issued by the National Parks Service so book early for this unique experience.
Mendenhall Glacier Ice Cave, Juneau, Alaska © AdobeStock

Mendenhall Glacier Ice Cave, Juneau, Alaska © AdobeStock

13. Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope Canyon is Arizona’s most famous – and irresistibly, astonishingly beautiful – slot canyon. The canyon actually comprises two separate sections, both of which are on Navajo land. The closest to the highway, Lower Antelope Canyon immediately north, became world famous in 1997, when the tragic deaths of eleven hikers in a flash flood proved how dangerous such places can be.

Much the most popular destination for tours is Upper Antelope Canyon, a two-mile dirt-road drive down from the highway. Shuttle buses deposit visitors outside a slender, unprepossessing crack in a red sandstone wall. Stepping inside is like entering both a cathedral, in that you find yourself in a majestic chamber adorned with delicate glowing colours, and a pinball machine.

    Where to stay near Antelope Canyon:

  • Best for a budget stays: Baymont is a 5-minute drive from Lake Powell. Free WiFi is provided and a grab-and-go breakfast is served each morning. Rainbow Bridge National Monument is 49 km away.
  • Best for location: La Quinta. 13 km from Lake Powell, La Quinta Inn & Suites Page at Lake Powell is located in Page and offers rooms with free WiFi. There is an outdoor pool and a hot tub. Lake Powell Campground is 2.1 km from the property.

Find more accommodation options near the Antelope Canyon

    What to do at Antelope Canyon:

  • Best for a local experience and safety: Lower Antelope Canyon Walking Tour with Navajo Guide. Follow your local Navajo guide on a walking tour of the remarkable Lower Antelope Canyon. Explore the canyon's incredible, colourful, and naturally-made rock formations, learning about its history.
  • Best for Upper Canyon exploration: Upper Antelope Canyon Guided Tour. Discover the Upper Antelope Canyon with a combo entry ticket and guided walking tour. Take advantage of pre-booking your reservation to this sought-after location with limitless photo opportunities.
Antelope Canyon, Aizona

Antelope Canyon, Aizona © Shutterstock

12. Hamilton Pool Preserve, Texas

The natural Hamilton Pool is a popular tourist destination in rural Travis County. The reserve is open for hiking and sightseeing, but an appointment is required. Hamilton Pool was formed naturally when the dome of the underground river collapsed due to severe erosion about a thousand years ago.

Since the mid-20th century, Hamilton Pool has become a popular summer swimming spot for visitors and residents of Austin.

    Where to stay near the Hamilton Pool Preserve:

  • Best for the spa: Lakeway Resort & Spa. Overlooking Lake Travis, this resort offers a full-service marina and spa. It features 4 private golf courses, a 3 tier pool with swim-up bar, a business center and rooms include free Wi-Fi.
  • Best for location: Sonesta Bee Cave Austin. Featuring free WiFi throughout the property, Sonesta Bee Cave Austin offers accommodation in Bee Cave, 19 km from Austin. Guests can enjoy Hill Country views while grabbing a drink at the onsite bar, which also offers breakfast and evening tapas.

    What to do in the Hamilton Pool Preserve:

  • Don't forget to make your reservation befor visiting Hamilton Pool Preserve.
Hamilton Pool Preserve with waterfall in the background © AdobeStock

Hamilton Pool Preserve with waterfall in the background © AdobeStock

11. Niagara Falls, New York

Every second almost three-quarter of a million gallons of water explode over the knife-edge Niagara Falls. This awesome spectacle is made even more impressive by the variety of methods laid on to help you get closer to it. At night the falls are lit up and the coloured waters tumble dramatically into blackness, while in winter the whole scene changes as the fringes of the falls freeze to form gigantic razor-tipped icicles.

    Where to stay near Niagara Falls:

  • Best for location: Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino. This New York hotel is less than 1 km from Niagara Falls and boasts an on-site casino, spa, and various dining options. Shopping and dining in central Niagara Falls, NY is 2.6 km away.
  • Best for a budget trip: Super 8. Located 1.6 km off Interstate 190, this Niagara Falls hotel features free Wi-Fi and a seasonal outdoor pool. Niagara Falls State Park is 10 minutes’ drive from the hotel.

Find more accommodation options near the Niagara Falls

    What to do at the Niagara Falls:

  • Best for the family: Niagara Falls, USA: American Tour & Maid of The Mist. Discover the American side of Niagara Falls on a half-day tour. Experience incredible views of the Falls from multiple iconic attractions during the summer season.
Horseshoe Fall, Niagara Falls ©  Alexander Demyanenko/Shutterstock

Niagara Falls © Alexander Demyanenko/Shutterstock

10. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

America’s oldest national park has been one of the most beautiful places in the US thanks to its diverse landscapes and gorgeous seasonal colours. You'll find everything from bright blue and yellow geysers to lush green alpine meadows here. Early summer is one of the best times to visit, when the wildflowers burst into bloom and the park's gangly bighorn lambs take their first steps.

    Where to stay near Yellowstone National Park:

  • Best for location: Faithful Street Inn is situated in West Yellowstone, 700 m from Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center. Yellowstone Historic Center Museum is 700 m away. Free WiFi is provided.
  • Best for relaxing & hiking: The Cody is 45 minutes from Yellowstone National Park. It offers free WiFi in public areas and an indoor pool.

Find more accommodation options near the Yellowstone National Park

    What to do in Yellowstone National Park:

  • Best to observe wildlife: Naturalist guided day tour from Jackson, Wyoming. Visit Old Faithful, the Lower Falls of Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and enjoy opportunities for wildlife viewing throughout the day.
Yellowstone National Park, USA

The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park - amongst beautiful places to visit in the US © Shutterstock

9. Montana

Next on our list of the most beautiful places in the USA is Montana. Known to many as "Big Sky Country", this state is packed with glorious vistas, from the snow-capped Rocky Mountains to desolate high prairie, but remains relatively untouched by tourism.

    Where to stay in Montana:

  • Best to explore Glacier National Park: North Forty Resort features private cabins, a hot tub and sauna. Free WiFi is available throughout the property and free private parking is available on site.
  • Best for families: Lone Mountain Ranch has a restaurant, bar, a shared lounge and garden in Big Sky. Boasting family rooms, this property also provides guests with a children's playground. The accommodation features evening entertainment and a 24-hour front desk.

Find more accommodation options in Montana

    What to do in Montana:

  • Best for adventurers: Glacier National Park Whitewater Rafting. Enjoy an exciting half-day Glacier National Park whitewater rafting trip on the middle fork section of the Flathead River.
  • Best for cruises: Glacier National Park Scenic Raft Trip. Enjoy an easy scenic raft trip down Glacier National Park's Middle Fork of the Flathead River. Relax and learn about the river and Glacier National Park with a friendly, interpretive river guide.
Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park - one of the most beautiful places in the US © Shutterstock

8. Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

On the border of California and Nevada, two-million-year-old Lake Tahoe is picture perfect. In summer you can laze on its sunny beaches, circle it on bike trails and take to the water on boating trips while winter offers skiing and hiking beneath snow-topped granite peaks.

    Where to stay near the Lake Tahoe:

  • Best for a luxurious stay: The Landing Resort & Spa. Located near Heavenly Village Ski Resort, The Landing Resort and Spa offers free transportation to the Heavenly Village and Casinos. Rooms include a 55-inch wall-mounted LCD TV and plush terry bathrobes.
  • Best for lakefront: Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge & Spa offers free beach concerts in the summer on their private beach. A full-service spa, outdoor seasonal pool and rustic rooms with lake views are offered.

Find more accommodation options near the Lake Tahoe

    What to do on the Lake Tahoe:

  • Best for self-explorers: Hybrid Bike Rental and self-guided tour. Experience the North Shore of Lake Tahoe and all its beauty by riding a hybrid bike on a self-guided tour of this world-famous lake. Take the time to admire the breathtaking views as all rentals are for the full day.
  • Best for a relaxing afternoon: Happy Hour Cruise from South Lake Tahoe. Discover South Lake Tahoe onboard a world-class yacht during happy hour. Cruise around the lake while surrounded by breathtaking views and delicious snacks and beverages.
South-Lake-Tahoe, California Shutterstock

Lake Tahoe © Shutterstock

7. Alaska

This state has captured the hearts of many of our readers and there's no wonder why; Alaska has a lot to boast about. Expect to find 12 foot-tall bears, majestic moose, remote glaciers, deserted coastlines and soaring mountains.

    Where to stay in Alaska:

  • Best to stay in nature but close to downtown: The Lakefront Anchorage. Situated on the shores of Lake Hood, this hotel offers free 24-hour shuttle service to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and downtown Anchorage. It features on-site dining and guest rooms with complimentary WiFi access.
  • Best to stay in nature: Land's End Resort provides accommodation with a bar, free private parking and a private beach area. The property is situated 7.9 km from Sixty-foot Rock, 8.5 km from Homer Airport and 8.6 km from Homer Airport.

Find more accommodation options in Alaska

    What to do in Alaska:

  • Best for families: Arctic Circle Day Tour from Fairbanks. Enjoy Alaska’s untouched nature and its raw beauty on a guided trip from Fairbanks. Step across the Arctic Circle, see the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline, and discover the Yukon River and Finger Mountain.
  • Best for a day trip from Anchorage: Matanuska Glacier Full Day Tour. Enjoy Alaska’s untouched nature and its raw beauty on a guided trip from Fairbanks. Step across the Arctic Circle, see the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline, and discover the Yukon River and Finger Mountain.

Alaska offers a great deal of breathtaking scenery. Discover more about the most beautiful places in Alaska.


Alaska - one of the most beautiful places to visit in the US © Shutterstock

6. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon's striking landscape isn’t actually a canyon but a collection of naturally formed stone pinnacles caused by frost weathering and stream erosion. For one of the most mesmerising views, head to southern Bryce Point – dawn or dusk is the best time to capture the hoodoos (top-heavy formations) at their brightest.

    Where to stay near Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Best to stay close: Best Western PLUS Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel. Nestled among the red rock cliffs of Bryce Canyon National Park, this hotel offers exceptional amenities, including a free hot breakfast, completely non-smoking accommodations and easy access to area attractions.
  • Best Motel: Bybee's Steppingstone Motel provides an onsite check-in for Grand Stair Case ATV tours. A flat-screen cable TV with satellite channels is offered in all rooms.

Find more accommodation options near Bryce Canyon National Park

    What to do in Bryce Canyon National Park:

  • Best for adventurers: 1-hour guided ATV tour. Go on the ATV adventure of a lifetime during a 1-hour tour. Experience the thrill of the off-road ride as you admire the breathtaking views of the Bryce Canyon Rim.
  • Best for a slow-paced trip: 3-hour horseback riding tour in Red Canyon. Set off on a scenic 3-hour horseback ride on the Losee Cayon trail in Red Canyon. Ride with an experienced guide and marvel at the views of the wonderful red rocks of the canyon.
Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, USA © arkanto/Shutterstock

The view of the Bryce Canyon National Park© Shutterstock

5. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

In fifth place is the mountainous Grand Teton National Park, named for the Teton Range that runs through its centre. Teeming with wildlife and dotted with beautiful lakes, it’s a worthy contender for one of the most beautiful places in the USA.

    Where to stay near the Grand Teton National Park:

  • Best for spa: Rustic Inn Creekside Resort & Spa. Live in the lap of luxury at the Rustic Inn Creekside Resort and Spa at Jackson Hole. This palatial resort features exclusive amenities, outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, daily breakfast buffet, fitness center, and a 2,300 square foot spa.
  • Best for location: Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa, a Noble House Resort boasts an outdoor pool. The resort has a ski pass sales point and ski storage space, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or a drink at the bar.

Find more accommodation options near the Grand Teton National Park

    What to do in the Grand Teton National Park:

  • Best for a unique experience: Hot air balloon ride during sunrise from Jackson Hole. Catch a spectacular sunrise view while floating in a hot air balloon. Marvel at Grand Teton National Park and Snake River. See wildlife, take in mountain vistas and enjoy a champagne toast.
  • Best for wildlife spotting: Half-day Wildlife Safari Adventure. Enjoy a wildlife safari tour in the morning or in the evening to increase the likelihood of spotting moose, bison, grizzly and black bears, wolves, elk, coyotes, fox, eagles, and more.

The road to the Grand Teton National Park © Shutterstock

4. Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah

One of the most famous landscapes in the country, Monument Valley has been one of the most beautiful places in the USA by our readers opinion. Here you'll find all the classic vistas you'd expect from the Wild West – it's simply unlike anywhere else.

    Where to stay in the Monument Valley:

  • Best for location: Goulding's Lodge. Featuring 3-star accommodation, Goulding's Lodge is set in Monument Valley, 1.2 km from Monument Valley Airport and 3.5 km from Monument Valley Hospital Heliport.
  • Best affordable resort option: Desert Rose Resort & Cabins. Offering free Wi-Fi, this hotel is 40 minutes’ drive from Monument Valley. Each room features a flat-screen TV with cable channels.

Find more accommodation options in the Monument Valley

    What to do in the Monument Valley:

  • Best for early risers: Sunrise tour in Monument Valley. Discover the wonders of Monument Valley on a 3-hour sunrise tour. Admire the glowing sun rise across the landscape, then enjoy a ride through the valley to learn about the natural landmarks of this incredible location.
  • Best for families: Sunset tour in Monument Valley. Join this tour to witness a stunning sunset over the Monument Valley's iconic towering red sandstone buttes. Enjoy the moment and experience the magic of the changing colors and famous rock formations as the sun sets.
Scenic highway in Monument Valley Tribal Park in Arizona-Utah border,

Scenic highway in Monument Valley Tribal Park in Arizona-Utah border © Edwind Verin/Shutterstock

3. The Grand Canyon, Arizona

With nearly five million visitors a year, The Grand Canyon was bound to sit highly in this list. It’s one of the most famous landmarks in the USA and is just as impressive from every angle: you can hike through it, take a helicopter ride over it, or even white-water raft along the canyon floor.

    Where to stay near the Grand Canyon:

  • Best for a luxurious stay: The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon is located in Tusayan in the Arizona region, 11 km from Grand Canyon Village and 29 km from Grand Canyon South Rim. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi throughout the property.
  • Best budget option close to the park: Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon. Featuring an indoor swimming pool, this Grand Canyon, Arizona hotel is 15 minutes’ drive from Grand Canyon National Park. Free Wi-Fi is provided in all rooms.

Find more accomodation options to stay near the Grand Canyon

    What to do at the Grand Canyon:

  • Best for thrill-seekers: Grand Canyon Spirit Helicopter Tour. Soar above the Grand Canyon on a helicopter tour from the South Rim, getting scenic views of the Painted Desert, Kaibab National Forest, and Dragon Corridor, the widest and deepest part of the canyon.
  • Best for a relaxed family tour: Guided sunset Hummer tour. Experience a scenic sunset adventure that includes stops along some of the most popular lookout areas the Grand Canyon National Park has to offer. See the amazing color changes as the sun sets.

Because of its ethereal beauty the Grand Canyon is one of the best places to travel alone to enjoy harmony with yourself. If solo travelling is what you need, explore our guide to the best places to travel solo.

Grand Canyon from Desert View Point, South Rim with the Colorado © Josemaria Toscano/Shutterstock

Absolutely indescribable views of the Grand Canyon© Shutterstock

2. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

All 53 square kilometres of Crater Lake in Oregon are breathtaking. Sitting inside the hollow of Mount Mazama, formed by an explosion over 7000 years ago, the blue waters of this caldera lake offer stunning reflections of the often snow-topped cliffs that surround it. You can even scuba dive into the near-2000ft-deep crater.

    Where to stay at the Crater Lake National Park:

  • Best to stay in nature: Aspen Inn provides accommodation with a garden and free WiFi as well as free private parking for guests who drive. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a children's playground.
  • Best for a comfortable stay: Crater Lake Resort. Set in Fort Klamath in the Oregon region and Fort Klamath reachable within 3.7 km, Crater Lake Resort offers accommodation with free WiFi, a children's playground, a terrace and free private parking.

Find more accomodation options near the Crater Lake National Park

Explore the diverse beauty of America's lakes with our guide to the magnificent lakes in America.

Crater Lake, Oregon © Jeffrey B. Banke/Shutterstock

Stunning Crater Lake - one of the most beautiful places to visit in the US © Shutterstock

1. Yosemite National Park, California - unanimously the most beautiful place to visit in the US

We reckon this is one of the world’s most dramatic geological spectacles – and so do you. It's no surprise that Yosemite has topped this list. Its rock formations have been the subject of many a photograph and have astounded travellers for centuries.

    Where to stay near the Yosemite National Park:

  • Best for nature setting: Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite. Nestled in the mountains 3.2 km away from Yosemite National Park, the Tenaya Lodge features personalised services, modern amenities, and a full-service spa.
  • Best for skiing: Austria Hof Lodge. Located slope-side, this Mammoth Lakes area lodge offers ski-to-door availability and a continental breakfast.

Find more accommodation options in the Yosemite National Park

    What to do in the Yosemite National Park:

  • Best for camping: 3-day camping adventure in Yosemite. Get back to nature on a 3-day camping adventure in the Yosemite Valley. Spend 2 nights camping in the great outdoors, with hiking and swimming in Yosemite National Park. All camping gear is provided; just bring a sense of adventure.
  • Best for first-time visitors: Yosemite National Park & Giant Sequoias Hike. Experience the incredible scenery of Yosemite National Park and a Giant Sequoia Walk all in 1 day on this tour. You'll have hours to explore, marveling at the Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and amazing Giant Sequoia trees.
Sunrise on Half Dome in the Forest, Yosemite National Park, California ©  Stephen Moehle/Shutterstock

Enjoy a walk in the woodland of the Yosemite National Park - one of the most beautiful places in the US © Shutterstock

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to the USA without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

Ready for a trip to the USA? Check out the snapshot The Rough Guide to the USA. If you travel further in the USA, read more about the best time to go and the best places to visit in the USA. For inspiration use the itineraries from The Rough Guide to USA and our local travel experts. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there.

We may earn commission from some of the external websites linked in this article, but this does not influence our editorial standards - we only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Lottie Gross

written by
Lottie Gross

updated 09.12.2022

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