Looking for the prettiest places to visit in the USA? We asked travel bloggers what they thought were their hands down favorites and compiled this list.
From small towns, islands, National Parks, and big cities, there is something for everyone in here. All of these destinations would be great additions to your bucket list.
Prettiest Places in the USA
Mackinac Island, Michigan
One of the prettiest places in the USA is a small island, located between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. Mackinac Island comes in at just over eight miles around and is packed with beauty.
This island is special because no cars are allowed, and everyone walks, bikes or takes a horse and carriage. Some of the best things to do on Mackinac Island include: eating fudge, seeing the lilacs, staying at the Grand Hotel, taking a carriage tour, Arch Rock, seeing the yacht races, getting a rum runner from the Pink Pony, and so much more.
Since the island is only fully opened from Late May until sometime in October or November, weather dependent, the summer is the best time to visit for great weather.
Yosemite National Park, California
Located a few hours drive from San Francisco and Los Angeles, Yosemite National Park is one of the most famous national parks in California. Known in particular for its majestic granite mountains, beautiful sequoias, and gushing waterfalls, the sights within the park are amazing to behold.
Known all over the world are Yosemite’s Half Dome and El Capitan, these peaks are easily viewable throughout the park with some of the best views from Taft Point as well as the top of North Dome. In certain areas of the Yosemite Valley, you can also get great views of these granite formations from below.
The Yosemite Valley is one of the most popular places to visit in the park. Its strong flowing waterfalls are best seen in the spring when the snow melt fills the streams. Some of these famous waterfalls include the namesake Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Falls, Vernal Falls, and Nevada Falls.
Each of these waterfalls can be seen via hike with Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls requiring only quick walks to reach the base. The area around Yosemite Falls also offers short trails around the valley’s giant sequoias, some of the largest trees in the world.
The Adventures of Panda Bear
When a city is known for having one of the prettiest streets in America, you know the surrounding area is bound to be beautiful, too. That holds true in Savannah, GA, where visitors travel from all over the world to see the beautiful sunsets along River Street and watch horse-drawn carriages clippety-clop past 19th century mansions in the Historic District.
Savannah is very small, so the best way to explore it is on foot. Take breaks from the heat by resting on a bench under Southern live oaks dripping in Spanish moss, just like Forrest Gump did in Chippewa Square. There are 22 charming squares to explore in total.
A few must-see landmarks include the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist and the Mercer Williams house, which was made famous by the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
The cemeteries in Savannah are also quite spectacular. Bonaventure Cemetery is considered one of the most beautiful in the world! It looks prettiest during the spring season when the azaleas are in full bloom. Forsyth Park is another charming spot where visitors often enjoy snapping a keepsake photo in front of the famous fountain.
Savannah First Timer
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and the surrounding Lake Superior shorelines are stunningly beautiful destinations located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The location does not make for an easy trip, with the closest airport an hour away.
Most choose to road trip around the UP to the Lakeshore along the forested highways. Visit in the spring for new greenery, summer for the best temperatures, or fall for the breathtaking foliage.
Winter can be appealing, also, but is not for the faint of heart. The colorful cliff formations are a striking contrast to the vivid blue-green waters of Lake Superior. Miles of hiking trails lead to waterfalls seemingly at every turn.
Quaint towns at each end of the Lakeshore provide delicious bites to eat and comfortable places to lay your head at night. For the more adventurous traveler, the North Country Scenic Trail travels for nearly fifty miles along the cliffs and shores. When is the ultimate time to visit?
Check out Pictured Rocks in the fall (late September or early October) when the colors are taken to a whole new level of vibrancy but temperatures are still bearable.
Death Valley, California
Death Valley covers over 5,000 square miles of dramatic landscapes. It is a varied and magical landscape with sand dunes, salt flats, rainbow colored mountains, canyons and even craters. A landscape that while undeniably beautiful can at times look foreign and foreboding.
However, do not let the name “Death Valley” discourage you from visiting. It might be the hottest, driest and lowest National Park, but it is also one of the prettiest places to visit in the USA. Moreover, despite its name, there is plenty of life in Death Valley. It is home to a diverse wildlife and thousands of species of plants including gorgeous wildflowers that bloom in the spring.
Death Valley is one of the top national parks in the USA for good reason. You can spend time climbing the mesquite sand dunes. Feast your eyes on the beautiful rainbow colored mountains of Artist’s Palette.
Take in the dazzling vistas from Zabriskie point or Dantes View. Uncover the secret of moving boulders at Racetrack Playa. Walk through oddly shaped canyons and so much more. Additionally, it’s easily accessible. You can visit Death Valley in one day from Las Vegas and discover for yourself why it is one of the prettiest places in the USA.
Florida Keys, Florida
The Florida Keys archipelago is a 125 mile long chain of islands off the southern tip of mainland Florida that are known for their tropical scenery and laid-back vibe.
The gateway to the Keys is the Overseas Highway, a stretch of road that runs from Key Largo to Key West, connecting most of the inhabited islands. In between islands, this scenic drive crosses over 42 bridges and miles of turquoise water, offering panoramic views of Florida Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Florida Keys are just as beautiful as the drive to get there. There are palm trees, mangrove inlets, coral reefs, and vibrant sunsets. The natural beauty of the Florida Keys, and the wildlife that live there, are protected by national marine sanctuaries and wildlife refuges, and national and state parks.
There is seemingly an endless amount of pretty places you can visit in the Keys, but a few that should not be missed are Key West and its colorful conch-style architecture, the isolated Dry Tortugas National Park and its 19th century fort, and Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
Glacier Bay National Park is one of the prettiest places in the USA and most untouched by visitors.
The easiest way to see this national park is by taking a Glacier Bay cruise during the Alaskan cruise season, which runs May to September. During the cruise you will not be able to get off the boat, but you will see glaciers and how still it is.
Door County, Wisconsin
Door County is a breathtaking area filled with natural beauty at every turn. It’s located between Green Bay and Lake Michigan in the state of Wisconsin.
From its beautiful forest trails to its towering limestone bluffs and stunning sand dune beaches, there is no shortage of natural wonders in Door County.
No matter which season you decide to visit Door County, you’ll also be treated to spectacular sights! Whether visiting in Spring during cherry blossom season (typically mid-May), summer when the weather is at its best (especially for being on the water), fall when the colors are at their peak (typically mid-October) or winter, with its idyllic ice formations, you won’t be disappointed.
Camping in Peninsula State Park is a great way to experience the beauty of Door County. If camping is not your style, there are also many cute Bed & Breakfasts and cabins in Door County, some are even right on the water.
Have Clothes, Will Travel
San Francisco, California
Nicknamed as the ‘City By The Bay’, the vibrant city of San Francisco in Northern California is known for its beauty, landmarks, steep streets, Victorian homes, food, and atmosphere.
San Francisco has something to offer to everyone. While the city is best discovered on foot, a ride on its iconic cable cars is a highlight for many. Spend a day strolling around the expansive Golden Gate Park, sipping tea in the serenity of the Japanese Tea Garden, and head out for a coastal hike along Lands End Trail. Take in the views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the beaches and gaze at the city skyline at dusk from Treasure Island. Climb to the top of Coit Tower for panoramic views and enjoy spectacular sunsets at Ocean Beach, Grandview Park, and Sutro Baths.
There aren’t many sights more beautiful than the stunning red rocks painted across the blue sky in Sedona, Arizona. And the best part about visiting Sedona? There’s plenty of ways to soak in the natural beauty all around you—no matter what kind of activities you enjoy.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike Cathedral Rock or Devil’s Bridge for spectacular nature views. If you want to unwind, you can relax with a spa day at one of Sedona’s luxury resorts nestled in the gorgeous red rocks. If you want to cool down, you can visit Slide Rock State Park to swim or slip down the world-famous natural water slide.
Or, if you want to grab a bite to eat, you can visit Uptown Sedona in the evening for a tableside sunset view.
One thing’s for sure: No matter how you spend time in Sedona, the breathtaking landscapes, uplifting energy, and unbeatable sunsets are sure to top your list of the most beautiful places you’ve ever visited!
Travel by Brit
Charleston, South Carolina
One of the prettiest cities in the United States is Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston is well-known for its history and you can see that everywhere you go. There are many interesting historic sites all throughout the city.
Also, there are lots of streets that are heavily influenced by French architecture. A great example of this is Bourbon Street. Here you find many houses with balconies that are very typical for Charleston and that look very pretty. Also, there are many colorful houses in Charleston that are amazing to see.
For example, Rainbow Row is a street with many colorful houses next to each other. Furthermore, the city is also known as the Holy City. That’s because there are hundreds of churches in Charleston. These churches are all great to visit and they make the city look more beautiful. All these beautiful streets, buildings, and other places are also great places for photography in Charleston
Estes Park, Colorado
Surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains and the protected lands of the Roosevelt National Forest, Estes Park is a feast for the eyes. Known as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, visitors find that Estes offers them all of the amenities they need while still allowing them to enjoy all that Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer.
Elk are frequent visitors to Estes Park and seem to feel right at home roaming the streets of the town. Elk are just some of the wildlife that call this area home. Visitors can drive Trail Ridge Road to see the incredible sights of the national park and spot some of the additional wildlife including big-horn sheep, moose, mountain lines, bears, and more.
That Texas Couple
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Made up of fifteen charming New England towns, this coastal community offers miles of pristine beaches and natural wildlife preserves. The Cape Cod National Seashore extends 40 miles (64 km) along the deep blue Atlantic Ocean from Chatham to Provincetown.
Throughout Cape Cod, bright pink and pure white beach roses (Rosa Rugosa) dot the region. These delicate-looking beauties thrive in the sand and salt air, a testament to their hardiness.
In the summer, a profusion of blue hydrangeas and orange daylilies often compliment Cape Cod’s picturesque gray cottages.
In the fall, the landscape presents vibrant cranberry bogs and ochre marshlands, equally breathtaking.
Strewn along the coastline, you’ll discover 14 lovely lighthouses in Cape Cod. Each is unique and historic, although not all are active. On a foggy night, their twinkling beacons are joined by the deep tones of the foghorn.
Be sure to step into one of the many fine art galleries, art studios, and artisan shops that capture Cape Cod’s natural beauty through their craft.
If sugary beaches and a turquoise sea are on your bucket list, Maui will delight you. Your Maui itinerary should include several days snorkeling with Hawaiian green sea turtles in South Maui. Makena Landing is a great place to spot them as they sunbathe on the beach.
Then head to Lahaina in West Maui to shop the cute boutiques and visit the ancient banyan tree, the oldest one on Maui! While you’re here, enjoy an easy flat hike on the Kapalua Coastal Trail past a bird sanctuary and along a black lava rock coastline. Experience a luau for a peek into Hawaiian culture and food.
Whatever you do, be sure to drive the beautiful Road to Hana along the rain forested east side of the island. This narrow road winds its way over 59 bridges past dozens of waterfalls, a black sand beach, and a bamboo forest.
With extra time, watch the sun rise or set on top of Mount Haleakala and spend a day on a boat tour snorkeling Molokini Crater. Draped in fragrant white plumeria blossoms and daily rainbows, Maui really does feel like the tropical paradise you’ve always imagined.
Explore Now or Never
Big Sur, California
Big Sur in California is one of the prettiest places you can visit in the USA. The exceptional beauty of the coastline is best enjoyed on a Big Sur road trip.
Enjoy the scenic hiking trails in Point Lobos State Park at the northern end of the coast. Garrapata State Park is home to the beautiful calla lily valley, which blooms in the spring. Bixby Creek Bridge is a must-stop viewpoint. You will want to snap lots of photos of the bridge, which is considered an engineering marvel.
Big Sur is also known for its many waterfalls. While McWay Falls is the perfect picture postcard that you can see from the side of California Highway 1, you have to hike some to see Limekiln Fallls and Pfeiffer Falls.
You will also find historic Point Sur Light Station along the Big Sur Coast. It can be visited on a guided tour. Walk among redwood trees, take in the gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean, and enjoy stargazing at night.
Whatever you choose to do in Big Sur, its magical beauty will stay with you forever.
A short 1.5 hour drive from Boston, Massachusetts is Kennebunkport, Maine a quaint coastal town on the coast of Maine. The town has shop lined streets, a river running through, and has historic ship captain homes that make this one of America’s most beautiful towns.
With less than 5,000 year-round residents, and the famous Bush compound it has kept its small town charm. When you aren’t checking out the sandy beaches like Cape Porpoise and Colony Beach, take a boat tour like Rugosa Lobster Tours.
Cape Porpoise Pier is a part of a working fisherman pier, and after all that is what Kennebunkport originally was founded as a fishing town. Not far off is a lighthouse off the coast, and is a perfect spot for sunrise.
If you want to be in the center of the action, head to Dock Square. Here is the center of Kennebunkport and the perfect place to shop, eat, and take pictures of this picturesque spot.
When you are in town add to the experience, by staying at a historic bed and breakfast.
Monterey Bay, California
Monterey Bay is a 50 miles long coastline stretching from Santa Cruz in the north to the Pacific Grove in the south. Many hiking trails along the coast offer perfect instagrammable views of its rocky shoreline with waves crashing into it. There are a few sandy beaches which are very popular among surfers.
The area is quite rich in marine life. Sea Lions, Sea Otters, Seals, Pelicans can easily be spotted. The biodiverse nature of its marine life earned it the protected area status. You can see a glimpse of it in the Monterey bay aquarium. The other must-visit places are Lone Cypress Forest, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Point Lobos National Park, Cannery Row, Pebble Beach.
Situated 80 miles away from San Francisco, it makes a perfect day trip or weekend destination. Base yourself in one of the prettiest villages like Carmel Valley or Carmel-by-the-Sea and explore the rest of the area. Don’t forget to wander through the quaint town centers. You will get plenty of restaurants, cafes offering a wide range of foods including fresh seafood.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is one of the most incredibly amazing places on the planet. It’s an enormous park in Utah with land formation that will make you wonder which plant you’re on. As far as the eyes can see, there are colorful rock, mountains, enormous staircase formations and beauty. It is surrounded by national parks so most people drive by without realizing they’re passing through some of the wildest and most incredible hikes, photo spots and adventure destinations.
For those that stop in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, some of the most popular hikes are through some of the narrowest slot canyons like the peekaboo and spooky slot canyon. The Escalante river has several trail heads for unique hikes in the large canyons such as the calf creek waterfalls hikes.
In addition to hikes, the drive on highway 12 is awesome. For more wilderness and thrill, take the Burr trail drive all the way to Burr trail switchbacks and up to the southern section of Capital Reef National Park. It’s the wildest land and you’ll likely not see a single person put there.
If you love nature and wilderness, make your home base in Escalante to explore Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Story at Every Corner