26th May, 2020
The five states to visit for scenic views
The United States of America is a vast and varied country - offering something for everyone to enjoy; whether you want to explore a bustling metropolis, experience a slice of history, or get back to nature.
In fact, the USA has a whole host of magical destinations housed within it, many of which offer some of the most scenic views on the planet. If you’re looking to explore some of these, then we’ve broken out five of the best US states to visit for breathtaking scenery and awe-inspiring natural wonders.
While perhaps not one of the first states you think of in the US, New Hampshire, and indeed the whole of New England, is known for its majestic landscapes. Found in the northeastern corner of the United States, it boasts the best of rolling mountains paired with miles of beautiful coastal views.
The White Mountains are a focal point in New Hampshire, and cover about a quarter of the state. But there are plenty of other beautiful scenes, too. Mount Monadnock in the south of the state stands alone, offering unobstructed views of neighbouring villages and towns - with the views often compared to Switzerland. From the highs of the mountains, head to the Lakes Region, where Newfound Lake is a bit of a hidden gem. The crystal clear waters mean you can see fish swimming far below the surface, all with a beautiful tree-lined backdrop. Visit in the autumn months for a true New England experience, and witness the state turn fiery shades of orange and red as the leaves change.
You can’t talk about scenic states without talking about Alaska - undoubtedly one of the most impressive landscapes in the USA, and indeed the world. Whether you want to explore lush rainforests, Arctic tundra, high mountain peaks or soaring sheer glaciers, Alaska has it all in spades.
For a true taste of this Arctic state, head to Seward in southern Alaska, and find the gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park. Also in the south, near the state capital city of Juneau, you can explore the impressive Mendenhall Glacier, or Glacier Bay National Park, with fjords, glaciers and marine life stretching as far as the eye can see.
Don’t forget to head to Alaska’s dramatic coastline, too. Stretching for almost 34,000 miles - longer than all other states’ shorelines combined - it pairs glaciers and steep cliffs with picturesque views of small island groups. Perfect for a calm moment of reflection, and to take in the true wonders of the land.
The vast and varied state of California is a vibrant paradise of a destination, offering something for almost every type of visitor to enjoy. For those looking to explore the most scenic spots in the US, this state doesn’t disappoint.
The national parks at the heart of the state are some of the most famous, and for good reason. The dramatic landscapes of Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park, home to the largest tree in the world, ensure it’s easy to surrender a few hours to the magic of nature. This Sierra Nevada stretch has a bounty of beautiful areas, from mountain peaks to the shores of Lake Tahoe.
On the coast, the rugged stretch known as Big Sur is one of the most memorable drives in the state - with the Pacific on one side, and the Santa Lucia mountains on the other. Further inland, the Mojave Desert's otherworldly landscapes are a must see, while the soaring temperatures in the northern Mojave’s Death Valley - the hottest, driest and lowest national park - offers a striking contrast of vistas to witness.
Found in the southwest of the United States, Arizona is well known for being the place to head if you want to witness the majesty of the Grand Canyon. While the famous mile-deep chasm caused by the Colorado River is undoubtedly a sight for the bucket list, as is nearby Flagstaff, there are plenty of other incredibly scenic locations in the state, too.
With more than 325 days of sunshine a year, the weather in Arizona lends itself to sightseeing. Plus, with 22 national parks and monuments, there’s never a dull moment. The red rocks of Monument Valley have to be seen to be believed, while the magnificent Antelope Canyon should surely top many scenic lists. The slot canyon, found near the Arizona/Utah border, is truly breathtaking, as are the views of nearby Horseshoe Bend - well worth the short hike to the overlook point.
Wherever you head in Arizona, from the artsy Sedona to the trails surrounding Phoenix and Scottsdale, the state is sure to please.
The Sunshine State is one of the most popular areas of the US when it comes to holidaymakers, but it’s not all Disney theme parks. In fact, Florida is a beautiful place to visit if you want to explore some natural wonders.
As the largest subtropical wilderness in the country, the Everglades National Park in the south of the state is a great place to head. Made up of marshlands, mangroves and tropical wetlands, the Everglades give visitors a unique opportunity to explore; and to witness an abundant array of wildlife. Lower still in the Florida Keys is Key West - an island city that forms part of the Florida Keys archipelago. The tropical vibe on the island is apparent from the moment you arrive, with pristine beaches and beautiful underwater coral reefs creating a paradise for those who love to take to the water.
Further up the west coast, head to St Petersburg and nearby Fort De Soto park for a spot of history with your sightseeing, swim in a crystal clear woodland spring in Madison Blue Spring State Park further north, or witness the state’s tallest waterfall in Falling Waters State Park in Florida’s northwest. Perfect for throwing on your hiking boots and getting back to nature.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.
The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.
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