Bucket List August 29, 2022
17 Incredible And Iconic Views In America That You Must See In Your Lifetime
There’s something about taking in a great view — whether it’s the reward after a long hike, a vista seen along a scenic byway, an acclaimed attraction folks flock to see, or a celebrated natural wonder — that stokes and satisfies even the most insatiable wanderlust. Taking in something that is objectively, irrefutably beautiful, is a soul-filling, life-affirming
experience with which pictures simply cannot compete. In America, these are places like the Grand Canyon, the National Mall, Mt. Rushmore, and the Golden Gate Bridge; views that are incredible, iconic, and bucket-list worthy. Below you’ll find such awe-inspiring vistas and adventures, and we hope you make a point to experience them all during your lifetime.
Kerry Park - Seattle, Washington
Kerry Park is most notable for the
, a Pacific Northwest icon that stands as a testament to the imagination. Construction for this unique monolith began in 1961 as Seattle prepared to host the 1962 World's Fair, which had a theme of space, science, and technology. Today, the 605-foot-tall spire is an inextricable part of the Seattle skyline, and while you can certainly experience the city from its observation deck, we prefer the most expansive views from Kerry Park. Seeing the Emerald City in its entirety, surrounded by natural wonders (see: Mount Rainier) and filled with man-made skyscrapers and architectural marvels, is truly an awesome experience for your bucket list.
Kerry Park, 211 W Highland Dr, Seattle, WA 98119, USA
Crater Lake - Oregon
There's nowhere in the world quite like
, the deepest and most pristine body of water in the country. In addition to its superlative stats, what makes Crater Lake so unique is that this national park was actually designed with epic vistas in mind. There are many ways to experience this extraordinary national park in Oregon, from cruising the 33-mile-long Rim Drive that encircles the lake to chartering a boat that journeys through its pristine waters. Of course, hiking is also an ideal way to explore the magnificent landscape of Crater Lake National Park -- all 183,224 acres. From short, accessible trails to longer, backcountry treks, there are some pretty amazing hikes you can do in the park. Our favorite view of Crater Lake is probably the Discovery Point Trail, a four-mile trek that leads to, in our opinion, the best and most iconic scenic vista in the park.
Crater Lake, Oregon 97604, USA
Battery Spencer - Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, California
One of the most recognizable icons in all of America, the
Golden Gate Bridge
is an undeniable symbol of hope and promise. This Bay Area bridge is one of the Wonders of the Modern World, and it has a fascinating history that continues to amaze tourists and locals alike. There are many places in San Francisco where visitors can view this stunning structure, with Battery Spencer being the most iconic. In addition to experiencing the bridge from afar, we recommend going the extra mile (or, in this case, 1.7 miles) and taking the pedestrian walkway across the bridge. The experience of traversing this American icon is one for your bucket list, and the perfect accompaniment to the views from Battery Spencer.
Bixby Bridge - Highway #1, Big Sur, California
If the ocean has your heart and soul, there's no better route than the Pacific Coast Highway. One of the most famous scenic drives in the PNW, the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway stretches along Highway 1 for 656 miles, connecting Northern California and Southern California, Oregon, and Washington. It is one of the most astoundingly scenic roads in the world, meant to be traversed slowly while ogling the mountains, towering trees, expansive beaches, and endless blue skies. The man-made marvels along this stretch are no less extraordinary; the
is one of the most photographed in America for its majestic setting. This sunset view is particularly beautiful and shows off the bridge's graceful aesthetics and stunning surroundings.
Bixby Creek Bridge, California 93940, USA
Grand Prismatic Spring - Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park is a bucket-list must for most, and there's nowhere more beautiful than
Grand Prismatic Spring
. This technicolor wonder is a stunningly beautiful hot spring that's known for its bright rainbow of colors created by bacterial mats and living organisms in the superheated water. It's a feast for the eyes, and truly one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on the planet. In terms of views, head to the overlook via the eponymous 1.6-mile hike. From here, an expansive, prismatic panorama awaits that's truly mesmerizing.
Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming 82190, USA
Sunrise Point - Bryce Canyon, Utah
In the otherworldly expanse of Utah's
, hoodoos and canyons offer an incredible setting to experience a truly sublime sunrise -- or sunset. The aptly named Sunrise Point all but guarantees this to be true; in fact, many flock to the national park well before sunrise in order to catch a glimpse of the sun just peeking over the horizon. Of course, Inspiration Point and Bryce Point boast equally resplendent views, and we recommend visiting each over several days to discover your favorite sunrise viewpoint.
Sunrise Point, Utah 84764, USA
Mt. Rushmore National Memorial - Keystone, South Dakota
Majestic and mighty, full of pomp and circumstance,
is an American treasure and is definitely one of South Dakota's proudest claims to fame. Featuring George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, Mount Rushmore is the world's largest sculpture, with each granite-carved bust roughly 60 feet tall. Originally created to entice tourists out to South Dakota; today, the iconic attraction attracts three million visitors annually and is truly a magnificent, modern-day American marvel.
Mount Rushmore, Mt Rushmore, Mount Rushmore UT, SD 57751, USA
Maroon Bells - Aspen, Colorado
is an impossibly beautiful place that's living, breathing proof that the best things in life take time. This natural wonder in Colorado is the culmination of more than 300 million years of geologic activity, including sedimentation, weathering, and erosion by wind, water, and ice. It’s one of Mother Nature’s finest masterpieces, and anyone who visits is utterly blown away. And Maroon Bells gets a lot of visitors – about 300,000 a year, all coming with cameras in hand to capture a truly spectacular sight. But while this attraction is touted as the most photographed place in Colorado, pictures simply don’t do it justice; Maroon Bells is a place of transcendent beauty you must experience for yourself.
Maroon Bells, Colorado 81654, USA
Mather Point - Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
One of the most glorious
views in America
, Mather Point is a celebrated spot boasting quite possibly the best views of the Grand Canyon. Mather Point sits at an unbelievable 7,120-foot elevation and offers some of the most iconic views of the 277-mile long canyon cut deep through the desert by the Colorado River. While some hesitate to visit this overlook due to concerns over congestion, numerous redesigns and improvements to both parking and scenic overlooks in recent years have made Mather Point a more accessible (and less crowded) place to be experienced by all.
Mather Point, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023, USA
The Gateway Arch - St, Louis, Missouri
Shimmering against the St. Louis skyline,
The Gateway Arch
attracts visitors from all over Missouri and beyond, making it one of the most-photographed landmarks in the country. The Arch has been a permanent part of the St. Louis skyline since it opened in 1965, welcoming more than 135 million visitors from around the world. At 630 feet tall, the Arch has the distinction as the U.S.'s tallest manmade landmark, coming in ahead of The Washington Monument and The Statue of Liberty, and riding up to the top is a rite of passage sure to fill you with a newfound appreciation for the Midwest.
The Gateway Arch, Gateway Arch, St. Louis, MO 63102, USA
Linn Cove Viaduct - Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia
Blue Ridge Parkway
is perhaps the most picture-perfect scenic drive in the U.S. The Parkway itself is 469 miles long and winds its way through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties. It also connects with the Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and is the unofficial gateway to both regions. Unlike the mountain passes in the West that go up and over mountains, or the iconic "Notch" valley roads of the Northeast, Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the spine of the ridge, rolling up and down for the entire length. It's a prismatic feast for the eyes in all seasons, with dynamic displays of color in autumn, a lush forest landscape in summer, and dazzling white expanses in the winter. Most notable along the route is the Linn Cove Viaduct, a 1,243-foot bridge that snakes around North Carolina's Grandfather Mountain and is one of the most-photographed places in the country.
Linn Cove Viaduct, North Carolina 28646, USA
Harpers Ferry, Maryland
is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers in West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland, and it's truly a vision. This humble mountain town is world-famous for its immense natural beauty and historic significance. It's the mid-point of the Appalachian Trail. It's a National Historical Park. It witnessed several key events in the Civil War. It was visited and admired by several of the Founding Fathers... the list goes on (and on). And while you can get an excellent feel for the area by strolling through the cobblestone streets of Lower Town, the best way to experience Harpers Ferry is to venture across the state border (and the Potomac River) into Maryland. From the vantage of the Overlook Cliff (accessible off the Maryland Heights Trail), you can enjoy a bird's-eye view of Harpers Ferry that's absolutely, positively, bucket-list worthy.
Maryland Heights Trailhead, 489-551 Harpers Ferry Rd, Knoxville, MD 21758, USA
National Mall - Washington, D.C.
most iconic view in the U.S., visit our nation's capitol.
is a place every American absolutely needs to visit, period. Washington’s iconic Mall is surrounded by a collection of magnificent American landmarks, with the Capitol at one end, the Washington Monument at the other, and the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Memorial (among many others) nestled nearby. There are also nearly a dozen museums bordering this D.C. hub, making the photo-perfect National Mall a wondrous place offering visitors a robust and immersive lesson in U.S. history.
Niagara Falls - New York
is not only one of the best-known state parks in New York, but also in the world. The first state park designated in the United States, this natural attraction attracts some 30 million visitors each year and is a true American icon. Draining Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, the falls -- technically a set of three cascades -- are one of the most powerful on the continent, with six million cubic feet of water flowing every minute. It's a magnificent spectacle to see in person and a humbling reminder of Mother Nature's prowess. A number of viewpoints can be found on both countries' sides of the falls; in the U.S., Observation Tower, Terrapin Point, and Whirlpool State Park all offer million-dollar views.
Portland Head Lighthouse, Maine
The most photographed lighthouse in the country,
Portland Head Light
is a beautiful beacon located on one of the most remote corners of the country. Illuminated for the first time in 1791 by whale-oil lamps, this lighthouse sits within the beautifully landscaped grounds of Cape Elizabeth’s Fort Williams Park. This 92-foot-tall beacon captures the rugged coastal beauty of Maine; from its location on a commanding point at the southwestern entrance to the harbor, you can take in crisp salt air along with endless views of the choppy sea and cragged coastline for which the state is known.
Portland Head Light, 12 Captain Strout Cir, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, USA
Cadillac Mountain - Acadia National Park, Maine
Being the first in the U.S. to gaze upon the sunrise of a new day is an opportunity that shouldn't be passed up. There's nothing like experiencing the sunrise atop
, a place that, from around the second week in October through the first week of March, is the first place to see the sun rise in America. Accessible by car, it's the highest point on the East Coast, and even if you visit during the "off" season, the sunrises here are truly worth waking up early for.
Cadillac Mountain, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, USA
Nāpali Coast - Kauai, Hawaii
The Aloha State is the ultimate bucket list trip, offering some of the most spectacular natural wonders and sublime scenery. It’s as much a place for avid outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers, as it is for nature enthusiasts and aesthetes. And the
epitomizes the very best Hawaii has to offer. Spanning 17 miles along Kauai’s North Shore, the Nāpali Coast is emerald-hued cliffs and lush forest jungles, gorgeous waterfalls, and endless turquoise waters. There are many ways to explore the Nāpali Coast, but the safest access and best views are found by sea or by air. Helicopter tours offer the ultimate birds-eye view of this real-life paradise, while boat tours allow for an immersive experience -- complete with breaching whales and awe-inspiring cliffs -- that's unrivaled.
N? Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, Kapa?a, HI 96746, USA
These iconic views across America are all jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring, sure to fill your bucket and fuel your future adventures.
Address: Bixby Creek Bridge, California 93940, USA Address: Maroon Bells, Colorado 81654, USA Address: Mount Rushmore, Mt Rushmore, Mount Rushmore UT, SD 57751, USA Address: Linn Cove Viaduct, North Carolina 28646, USA Address: Crater Lake, Oregon 97604, USA Address: The Gateway Arch, Gateway Arch, St. Louis, MO 63102, USA Address: Maryland Heights Trailhead, 489-551 Harpers Ferry Rd, Knoxville, MD 21758, USA Address: Kerry Park, 211 W Highland Dr, Seattle, WA 98119, USA Address: Mather Point, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023, USA Address: N? Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, Kapa?a, HI 96746, USA Address: Washington, DC, USA Address: Niagara Falls, NY, USA Address: Portland Head Light, 12 Captain Strout Cir, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, USA Address: Sunrise Point, Utah 84764, USA Address: Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming 82190, USA Address: Cadillac Mountain, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, USA
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