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travel | May 10, 2016
The Most Beautiful Spot in Every U.S. State
From California to the New York island
This country is called America the Beautiful for a reason, so we decided to take a closer look. Here, the most stunning place in every single U.S. state. Cue all of the wanderlust.
Alabama: Little River Canyon
Oh hello, 45-foot waterfall.
Alaska: Lake Clark National Park
Accessible only by plane or boat, Lake Clark is one of the most well-preserved parks in the entire country.
Reservations: Alyeska Prince Hotel and Resort, 1000 Arlberg Rd, P.O. Box 24, Girdwood, AK 99587
Arizona: Havasu Falls
You’ll have to hike about ten miles along the Hualapai hills to make it to this remote, crystal-blue oasis nestled into the Grand Canyon.
Reservations: Havasu Dunes, 620 S. Lake Havasu Avenue, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86406
Arkansas: The Buffalo River
This canoe lover’s dream wasn’t declared the first national river for nothing.
This Big Sur beach is known for its purple sand, stunning stone arches and crashing waves. (Serenity now.)
Colorado: Garden of the Gods
This Colorado Springs park almost looks like another planet.
Reservations: Wyndham Pagosa Springs, 42 Pinion Cswy, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
Connecticut: Gillette Castle State Park
Nope, you haven’t traveled back to medieval times. This stone castle perched above the Connecticut River was the home of William Gillette, the actor who first played Sherlock Holmes.
Reservations: Water’s Edge Resort and Spa, 1525 Boston Post Road, Westbrook, CT 06498
Delaware: Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Bird lovers, rejoice. This wildlife refuge contains 16,000 acres of coast (and avian breeding ground) on the Delaware Bay.
Reservations: The Surf Club, 1 Read St., Dewey Beach, DE 19971
Florida: Little Palm Island
This secluded island off the coast of the Florida Keys is as gorgeous and exotic as any Caribbean beach.
Reservations: Fort Lauderdale – Palm-Aire, 2601 Palm-Aire Drive North, Pompano Beach, FL 33069
Georgia: Cumberland Island
The Greyfield Inn–previously the Carnegie family’s mansion–is the island’s only hotel, but many visitors set up camp right on the shoreline. (PS: wild horses!)
Reservations: Wyndham Fairfield Plantation, 1602 Lakeview Pkwy, Villa Rica, GA 30180
Hawaii: Haiku Stairs of Oahu
Known as the stairway to heaven, this steep hiking trail along Ko’olau Mountain is probably the most scenic climb in the entire country. (Though it’s technically closed to the public–sorry, daredevils.)
Reservations: Vacation Internationale Royal Kuhio,2240 Kuhio Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815
Idaho: Rolling Hills of the Palouse
We totally get the nickname: “The Tuscany of America.”
Illinois: Starved Rock State Park
Hike along one of Starved Rock’s 13 trails and you’ll find 18 colorful canyons, along with sandstone overhangs and cascading waterfalls.
Indiana: Brown County State Park
Fall in Indiana is unbeatable, and Brown County State Park (or “the Little Smokies,” at it’s locally known) is the best place to see the changing leaves.
Iowa: Pikes Peak State Park
This scenic state park’s most notable vista is a 500-foot cliff overlooking the Upper Mississippi River.
Kansas: The Monument Rocks
These chalk formations rise up to 70 feet, forming buttes and arches.
KENTUCKY: CUMBERLAND GAP NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
Take the 2,440-foot hike to Pinnacle Overlook for views of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. When the weather is right, you can even catch a glimpse of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Louisiana: Avery Island
Fun fact: This island, located about 140 miles from New Orleans, is the home to the factory where all your Tabasco hot sauce is made.
Maine: Acadia National Park
Get up early to climb to the top of Cadillac Mountain (it’s the first place the sun rises in the United States) and consider yourself a happy camper.
MARYLAND: CLEAR MEADOW FARM
What’s more beautiful than a field of golden sunflowers? Hit up this White Hall farm in late summer to see the blooms in all their glory.
Massachusetts: Gay Head (Aquinnah) Cliffs
In Aquinnah, the outermost town on Martha’s Vineyard, waves from the Atlantic Ocean crash against the clay Gay Head cliffs. And it’s all just wonderfully dramatic.
Michigan: Turnip Rock
The iconic Turnip Rock sits just off the coast of Huron County and can only be reached by kayak…or by walking across the frozen lake during the winter months.
Minnesota: Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
There’s a reason this Lake Superior lighthouse is one of the most photographed spots in the entire U.S.
MISSISSIPPI: NOXUBEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Come for the eagles, foxes and alligators. Stay for the bonkers beautiful sunsets.
Missouri: Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park
This natural playground, about two hours from St. Louis, is basically the world’s best waterpark. Hello, waterslides and chutes.
Montana: Glacier National Park
Green prairies, snow-capped Rocky Mountains, lakes so clear they look like mirrors. Um, why don’t we live here?
Nebraska: Toadstool Geologic Park
Deep in the northwest corner of Nebraska’s Badlands, you’ll find the state’s best-kept secret: an out-of-this-world landscape that comes from thousands of years of wind and water wearing down on the land.
Nevada: Bonsai Rock
Take out your fancy camera and head to Bonsai Rock at sunset. It’s probably the most picturesque hidden gem in all of Lake Tahoe.
New Hampshire: Lake Sunapee
BRB. Buying a lake house here.
New Jersey: Cranberry Bogs
The next time you order a vodka cranberry, remember to thank New Jersey. The Garden State is the third largest cranberry producer in the U.S.
New Mexico: White Sands National Monument
Head to Alamogordo (and bring the sled) for a glistening white sand desert surrounded by dramatic mountains.
NEW YORK: LETCHWORTH STATE PARK
As they say, “Upstate is gorges!”
North Carolina: Pisgah National Forest
About an hour outside Asheville, you’ll find Pisgah National Forest, home to the iconic (and cloud-piercing) Glass Rock.
North Dakota: Badlands Overlook
Make your way to this scenic vista in Theodore Roosevelt National Park and look down upon the Badlands, natural cliffs made of multi-colored rocks and layers of sediment.
Ohio: Marblehead Lighthouse
The oldest continually operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes, Marblehead Lighthouse has lit up the night since the late 19th century.
Oklahoma: Natural Falls State Park
Ozark Highlands State Park…or Garden of Eden?
Oregon: Thor’s Well
In reality, this Cape Perpetua Well is only about 20-feet deep. But visit an hour before or after high tide and you’ll swear it’s an abysmal sinkhole.
Pennsylvania: Cherry Springs State Park
Cherry Springs is possibly the best spot for stargazing in all of the U.S. On a given night, 10,000 stars are visible to the naked eye.
Rhode Island: Newport Cliff Walk
Look familiar? These mansion-clad cliffs were the filming location for most of The Great Gatsby.
South Carolina: Kiawah Island
Twenty-five miles off the coast of Charleston, you’ll find this gorgeous oasis, known for sandy beaches and world-renowned golf courses.
South Dakota: Mount Rushmore
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Honest Abe Lincoln–the gang’s all here!
Tennessee: Twin Falls
Set in Rock Island State Park, these waterfalls might be man-made, but they are still damn pretty.
Texas: Hamilton Pool
Just outside Austin you’ll find this natural pool, which was created thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river eroded and collapsed.
Utah: Bryce Canyon
Fiery red rock + piercingly white snow = jaw-dropping view.
Vermont: Jenne Farm
Picture the most quintessential New England landscape. You’re probably imagining something strikingly similar to Jenne Farm, set in the quaint town of Woodstock.
Virginia: The Devil’s Bathtub
Ignore the menacing name: You’re going to want to take a plunge into the blue-green, idyllic water that fills this natural swimming hole.
Washington: Jade Lake
An easy hike from the Pacific Crest Trail will bring you to Jade Lake, known for blue-green water so surreal, not even an Instagram filter could reproduce it.
WASHINGTON D.C.: THOMAS JEFFERSON MEMORIAL
Two words: Cherry blossoms. In April, this national monument is set among fields of gorgeous pink flowers.
West Virginia: Lindy Point
Whatever, Alps. We’ve got the Allegheny Mountains.
Wisconsin: Apostle Islands Ice Caves
These ice caves are accessible only every few years, when it’s safe to walk a mile on frozen Lake Superior.
Wyoming: Grand Prismatic Spring
Good God you’re pretty, Yellowstone National Park.