The United States is an expansive country, consisting of diverse terrain like forests, oceans, mountains, fields, and tundra. Though each type of topography is not available in all states, some do offer picturesque landscapes for multiple selfies. If you are a nature buff or want to see the most spectacular scenery, here are ten states that fit the bill:
Photo: Simone Busatto on Unsplash
Surrounded by nature in all its corners, North Carolina has stunning views of the Atlantic in its Outer Banks and terrific mountain adventures in the Blue Ridge/Smoky mountains. A trip to the Smokies would not be complete without a trip to Clingmans Dome, the highest vista overlooking the mountain range.
Though largely barren, Wyoming is home to Yellowstone National Park, one of the most famous parks in the country, consisting of geysers, hot springs, lakes, and canyons. Wyoming is also home to other natural wonders such as Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole, and Devils Tower National Monument.
Oregon provides pristine views of the Pacific Ocean along Highway 101, consisting of cliffs, natural rock formations, and ocean views along the drive. In the North-Central part of the state lies the Columbia River Gorge, consisting of various viewpoints and waterfalls to admire. In addition, the volcano Mount Hood stands in the Gorge, containing a majestic snow-capped peak.
Though the state looks red and orange everywhere you look, Arizona is home to one of the most stunning natural formations: the Grand Canyon. The sheer size and beauty of the Grand Canyon is breathtaking. In addition, the state is home to the Painted Desert, Saguaro National Park, Havasu Falls, and Petrified Forest National Park.
Washington State has a diverse landscape, with ocean, forest, desert, and mountain views within the state lines. Washington is home to several majestic mountain peaks, including Mount Olympus, Mount Rainier, and Mount Saint Helens. In addition, there are stunning views of the Pacific Ocean from Ruby Beach and Cape Flattery. If being near the water in something you enjoy, the Puget Sound near Seattle is home to views of forests, the hills, and potentially Mount Rainier on a sunny day. Three national parks are close to Seattle as well: North Cascades, Mount Rainier, and Olympic.
Widely known for its national parks, Utah provides superb views when hiking or driving through its five national parks. From the perfectly formed rocks to the Delicate Arch, all you can do is appreciate the beauty of nature. In addition, the Great Salt Lake and Bonneville Salt Flats in the northern part of the state provide splendid views, with the presence of a large lake in the middle of land, and pure white salt flats so far spread out that it creates a North Pole vibe.
Home to the Rocky Mountains, Colorado is a nature lover’s paradise. The state is home to countless activities in the mountains and stunning viewpoints, like Pikes Peak and those in Rocky Mountain National Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park.
The Golden State is home to immense and miscellaneous types of natural beauty. From the Redwoods, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park in the North, to Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks in the South, there is something naturally attractive here for every eye. Not to mention the drive along the Pacific Coast on Highway 101 provides glistening views of the ocean and astonishing sunsets while driving through and alongside cliffs.
A rugged, vast state it is, Alaska provides an adventure like no other. The Southeastern portion of the gargantuan state is home to dense forests and mountains, along with famous glaciers. The area near Anchorage is home to the famous Denali National Park, consisting of the tallest mountain in the country and wide open land. If you go further north, you will experience the “real” Alaska: a tundra terrain.
Resembling America’s version of a tropical paradise, Hawaii’s remote location in the deep trenches of the Pacific makes it a long journey to arrive there, but certainly worth it. Though ocean views from any island are stellar, Hawaii provides much more. The state is home to Volcanoes National Park, a rare sight in the US. If you are brave enough, you can hike around one or even take a helicopter for a close-up. In addition, Hawaii has forests, terrific waterfalls, mountaintop views of the ocean, and sand dunes to explore a desert-like atmosphere. Though small and spread out, the state is condensed with breathtaking scenery.
Seeing magnificent natural scenery is realizing the Earth’s beauty, and it is a mesmerizing moment no matter how many times you have seen it. Maybe the explorer in you can uncover even more natural gems in these states, or any of your choosing.
Rishi Patel is a senior majoring in Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. He has written as an intern for SPORTalk and Study Breaks Magazine. He also loves to write fiction, non-fiction, and poetry as a hobby to expand his writing prowess. He hopes to work as a writer/editor when he graduates.