25 Best Natural Wonders in the USA
You don't need to go very far to find stunning natural beauty in the United States, but some places are just magical. The country is approximately 3.8 million square miles in size, so it should come as no surprise that it's home to some spectacular scenery, but sights like the Grand Canyon, the Mendenhall Ice Caves, and the soaring peaks of the Smoky Mountains never fail to meet even the highest expectations. Traveling abroad is always worthwhile, but before you hop on a plane to a different country, consider visiting one of these incredible national landmarks instead. Photo: x/Fotolia
»Arches National Park
Home to more than 2,000 natural stone arches, Arches National Park boasts a higher density of natural arches than anywhere else in the world. The park is located right next to the Colorado River in eastern Utah, and most visitors will spend at least some of their time here driving or cycling along the scenic 18-mile road that winds its way through the park. There are also a number of hiking trails that range from 15 minutes to 5 hours, and ranger-led tours are offered during the spring, summer, and fall. Rock climbing is permitted on select routes.
»Black Canyon of Gunnison
Carved out by the Gunnison River over the course of two million years, the Black Canyon of Gunnison boasts some of the steepest and most majestic cliffs and rock spires in North America. Hiking trails suitable for most ages and abilities can be found along both the north and south rims of the canyon, and individuals in excellent physical shape might be tempted to try one of the extremely strenuous trails that lead down into the inner canyon. Other possible activities here include rock climbing, wildlife watching, kayaking, and fishing in the beautiful river that runs through the canyon.
Straddling the border between Texas and Louisiana, Caddo Lake is an excellent place to boat, fish, canoe, and hunt for geocaches. More than 70 different species of fish can be found in the lake, and canoes and fishing equipment are available for rent in the park. There's enough here to keep visitors entertained for days, and overnight accommodation is available in the form of 46 campsites and several historical cabins. The lake also boasts one of the largest flooded cypress forests in America; shrouded with Spanish moss, the trees create an eerie atmosphere and can make for some truly stunning photos.
Located in south-central Oregon, Crater Lake was formed by the collapse of a large volcano approximately 7,700 years ago. The lake is fed entirely by rain and snow, making it one of the least-polluted bodies of water in the world. With a depth of 1,943 feet, it is the deepest lake in the United States and the third deepest in the world. The water is known for being a wonderfully intense shade of blue, and the park is also home to a number of interesting volcanic features, including a cinder cone known as Wizard Island, which rises up from the center of the lake.
World-famous Denali National Park is best known for being home to the 20,310-foot Denali Peak, North America's tallest mountain. The first known ascent of the mountain occurred in 1913, and since then, the challenging peak has attracted mountaineers from all over the world. All climbers must register with the Denali National Park and Preserve at least 60 days before they attempt the ascent, but even getting the chance to see the peak is a highlight of the park for most visitors. Only one road goes through the park; visitors can choose to drive themselves or take one of the many available buses.
Strung out across the sparking waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dry Tortugas are a group of seven small islands known for their stunning scenery and their unique history. History buffs will enjoy a visit to Fort Jefferson, a massive but unfinished coastal fortress that was used as a prison during the Civil War. If you're more interested in taking advantage of the area's natural beauty, there are endless opportunities to swim, snorkel, bird watch, fish, and simply lounge on the beach. The islands can be reached by boat or by seaplane; ferry trips take approximately 2.5 hours each way. Read more
Photo: Thomas Barrat/Fotolia
»Everglades National Park
Encompassing 1.5 million acres of wetland on the southern tip of Florida, Everglades National Park consists of mangrove forests, sawgrass marshes, and pine flatwoods. An incredibly diverse array of flora and fauna can be found here; highlights include the endangered leatherback turtle and the West Indian manatee. The park can be accessed through Miami, Everglades City, or Homestead, and park permits can be purchased at any of the entrances. A variety of ranger-led programs are offered during the wet season, which lasts from April to November and is the best time to visit the park.
Photo: Andrea Izzotti/Fotolia
»Garden of the Gods
Situated in the heart of Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods has been a National Natural Landmark since 1971. The park offers more than 15 miles of hiking, cycling, and horseback riding trails, including a paved 1.5-mile trail that runs right through the center of the park. Other popular activities here include technical rock climbing, taking Segway or Jeep tours, and learning about the history of park through the many educational interactive exhibits that can be found in the visitor and nature center. The park is open to visitors free of charge, and hours of operation vary depending on the season.
»Glacier National Park
Often referred to as the Crown of the Continent, Glacier National Park in Montana is home to the headwaters for streams that flow as far away as the Gulf of Mexico. No visit to the park is complete without a drive down the Going-to-the-Sun road, which connects the east and west sides of the park, but there are also more than 700 miles of trails for visitors to take advantage of. In addition to its excellent hiking opportunities, the park is also an great destination for anyone interested in fishing, biking, boating, or spending a night or two in a beautiful, remote campground.
The Grand Canyon is easily one of the most distinguishable landmarks in the United States; stretching 277 miles through the Arizona desert, the colorful canyon is a true natural wonder that offers plenty of recreation activities. The canyon is divided into three areas: the South Rim, the North Rim, and the West Rim. Most visitors head to the well-developed South Rim, which is open all year round and offers a number of restaurant and lodging options. The West Rim is home to the glass-bottomed Skywalk, while the wild and remote North Rim is perfect for anyone wanting to spend some time relaxing away from the crowds.
Part of the Rocky Mountain Range, the Grand Tetons are located in northwest Wyoming. The park boasts more than 200 miles of hiking trails, and there are almost endless opportunities to birdwatch, fish, climb, boat, and go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter. Six campgrounds can be found within the park, and backcountry camping is available to visitors who purchase a special permit. All visitors must purchase an entrance permit, which is valid for 7 days from the date of purchase and can be used for the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway as well.
»Great Sand Dunes
Scientists aren't yet entirely sure how old the Great Sand Dunes are, but they are known to be the tallest dunes in North America. The tallest dune here stands 750 feet tall; known as Star Dune, the massive dune takes approximately 5 hours to summit. If you have even more time to spend in the park, you can get a free backcountry camping permit and pitch a tent anywhere outside of the day use area. Adventurous visitors can also try their hand at sand sledding or sand boarding down the dunes; gear can be rented from a kiosk right outside the front entrance.
Photo: Krzysztof Wiktor/Fotolia
»Great Smoky Mountains
Named for the smoke-like fog that often shrouds their peaks, the Great Smoky Mountains straddle the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. Most of the range is protected by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which was established in 1934 and is now the most visited national park in the country. Hiking is one of the most popular activities here; there are plenty of trails suitable for all fitness levels, many of which lead to sparkling waterfalls or spectacular views of the mountain scenery. Depending on the season, visitors can also fish, cycle, snowshoe, and marvel at the beautiful fall foliage or summer wildflowers.
You are reading "25 Best Natural Wonders in the USA Today" Back to Top or Weekend Getaways Vacations with Kids, Getaways near me & Tourism, Cheap things to do, Scenic places near me, What to do in, Weather, Trip finder
Created by the collapse of the dome of an underground river, the Hamilton Pool is just over 20 miles away from Austin, Texas. A 50-foot waterfall drops into the jade green pool, making it one of the most beautiful and most popular swimming spots in Texas. Swimming is permitted all year round as long as the bacteria levels in the pool are acceptable, but there is no lifeguard on duty and water temperatures get quite cold in the winter. Visitors must purchase a Travis County Park entrance pass, and reservations are required during the peak summer months of May through October.
"25 Best Natural Wonders in the USA" Back to Top or More Famous Landmarks, Fish Restaurants, Bars, Cafes, Food near me, Cheap Activities, Fall Honeymoon, Cities, Downtown Wedding Venues for couples
»Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Established in 1916, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park encompasses two giant volcanoes: Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and Mauna Loa, the world's biggest shield volcano. In addition to offering stunning volcanic scenery, the park is a refuge for some of the rarest flora and fauna in the world. The park can be explored by car or by foot; the most popular driving route is the 11-mile Crater Rim Drive, which circles the summit of Kilauea volcano, traverses the caldera floor, and provides access to a number of excellent short walks and scenic viewpoints.
"25 Best Natural Wonders in the USA this Weekend with Friends" Back to Top or Romantic Places to live, Tourism, December Last Minute Travel, Beach Vacations, Historic Towns, Photos and Map of Conference & Wedding Destinations near my location
Vacation Ideas: Things to do in Orange County, Places to Visit in Michigan, Things to Do in Atlanta, Things to Do in Illinois, Pink Sand beach, Things to do in Mississippi, Things to do in Nashville TN, Places to Visit in Connecticut
Carved out by the powerful Snake River, Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America – deeper than even the Grand Canyon. The easiest way to marvel at the canyon is by taking a drive along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, which winds its way along the east side of the massive gorge. Another excellent way to experience the beauty of the area is to take a guided float or jet boat trip along the Snake River, but there are also plenty of excellent hiking and biking trails for visitors who prefer to stay on dry land.
"25 Best Natural Wonders in the USA Things to Do near Me Today" Back to Top or Best Restaurants near me, Family Weekend Trips, Images of Hotels, Discounts, Boutique Hotels, Excursions, Inn & Bed and Breakfasts, Must See Tourist Attractions
Free things to do near me: Places to Visit in Colorado, Places to Visit in Montana, Romantic Weekend getaways in MS, Romantic weekend getaways in Wisconsin, Things to Do in Minnesota, Alabama beaches, Cheap beach vacations, Last Minute Romantic Getaways near me, Romantic Weekend Getaways from Phoenix
»Mendenhall Ice Caves
Only 12 miles away from Alaska’s capital city of Juneau, the Mendenhall Ice Caves are formed by the meltwater running off the Mendenhall Glacier. The bright blue caves are in a constant state of change; as the glacier recedes, the caves are gradually melting and collapsing, meaning that a visit here is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Visitors are permitted to visit the caves on their own, but those unfamiliar with staying safe in a glacial environment are advised to take one of the many excellent guided tours available. A round-trip visit typically takes at least 8 hours, and proper safety equipment is essential.
"25 Best Natural Wonders in the USA" Back to Top or Romantic Getaways, Wedding Ideas close to me this Weekend, Honeymoon, Anniversary Ideas, Getting Married & Romantic Places around me
Family vacation Spots near me, weather: Romantic Getaways in CA, Things to Do in Newport Beach, Things to do in the Poconos, Places to Visit in Idaho, Things to Do in Iowa, Things to Do in Portland, Maine, Things to Do in Charlotte NC, Things to Do in Scottsdale, Best Christmas vacations, Places to Visit in Canada, Things to Do in Bentonville AR, Day trips from San Francisco
At 611 feet, Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Oregon and one of the only falls in the area that doesn't dry up in the late summer. Conveniently located only half an hour away from Portland, the three-tiered waterfall is only a 5-minute walk away from the parking lot. A second paved trail brings visitors up to a second viewpoint at Benson Bridge, and from here, visitors can choose to hike another mile to reach the very top of the falls. A gift shop, an information center, and a restaurant can be found in the historical Multnomah Falls Lodge.
"25 Best Natural Wonders in the USA" Back to Top or Places to Eat, Beautiful Excursions, Bucket list, Fun & Cheap Weekend Getaways for couples this month, Dog Friendly, What's near me, Nearby Restaurants, Activities
Straddling the border between the United States and Canada, Niagara Falls is made up of three different falls: Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. The American Falls can be viewed from walkways along Prospect Point Park, but visitors can get right underneath the falls by taking the famous Maid of the Mist boat tour or by hiking to the Cave of the Winds underneath Bridal Veil Falls. If you'd like to view the impressive falls from an entirely different angle, you can walk or drive across the border and view the falls from the Canadian side as well.
You are reading "25 Best Natural Wonders in the USA with Kids" Back to Top or Places near me, Threeday weekend, Solo travel, elevation, National parks, Day trip, Travel inspiration
More: Best Beach vacations, Delaware Resorts, Destin Resorts, Delaware Resorts, Arkansas resorts, New Mexico resorts, Utah resorts, Maine resorts, Best resorts in Kansas, Connecticut resorts, Best Georgia resorts, Best Minnesota resorts, Kayak Pontoons, Air travel, Best resorts in Maryland, Family Resorts in South Carolina, Best Missouri Resorts, Things to Do in Armenia, Things to Do in Adelaide, Things to Do in Egypt, Things to Do in Guatemala, Things to Do in Mongolia, Things to Do in Latvia, Lithuania
Redwoods are the tallest trees on the planet, and the Redwood National and State Parks in California protect approximately 45% of all remaining coast redwood old-growth forests. The best way to experience the majesty of the redwoods is by foot; more than 200 miles of trails wind their way through the park, and there are options for people of every age and ability. Some trails are paved, but most are lined with compact gravel. Ranger-led programs are offered during the summer, and there are a number of scenic drives for those who prefer to view the redwoods from the comfort of their vehicle.
Fun places to visit, events, facts, tours, all inclusive & photos of fun things to do near me last minute: Great Family vacations, Attractions near my location & Free Activities
Weekend getaways: Things to Do in Charleston SC, Things to Do in Albuquerque, Ohio castles, Things to Do in Richmond, Things to Do in Little Rock, Things to Do in St Louis, Things to Do in Cape May today, Things to Do in Raleigh NC, Best Places to Visit in USA, Things to Do in Boulder, Things to Do in Sarasota, Things to Do in Norwalk, Things to Do in Cheyenne, Things to Do in Nevada
»Rocky Mountain National Park
Spanning 415 square miles of spectacular mountain terrain in northern Colorado, the Rocky Mountain National Park is home to some of the most beautiful mountains in America. There are plenty of things to do in the park, no matter what the time of year; summer offers excellent hiking and camping opportunities, but winter brings the opportunity to cross-country ski, snowshoe, or sled in Hidden Valley. Visitors must purchase either a 1-day or 7-day pass at one of the park entrances, and a free shuttle bus service to some of the most popular hiking trails is available during the busy summer months.
You are reading "25 Best Natural Wonders in the USA this Weekend" Back to Top or More Unique Family Vacations, Pet friendly, Interesting Excursions, Food near me, Road trips & Cool places to visit
Trips: Things to Do in Holland, Michigan, Things to Do in Baton Rouge, Southwest vacations, Underwater Hotels, Things to Do in Encinitas, Things to Do in Colorado Springs, Things to Do in the Florida Keys, New Braunfels Things to Do, Things to Do on Long Island, Things to Do in Anaheim, Things to Do in Leavenworth WA, Things to Do in Ellensburg WA
»Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Covering a 65-mile stretch of Lake Michigan's coastline, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is best known for the immense sand dunes perched 400 feet above the lake. The area is a true paradise for nature lovers, and visitors can head up to the sandy bluffs to get excellent views of Lake Michigan, admire the views from the seat of a canoe on one of the many inland lakes, or even go scuba diving in the Manitou Passage Underwater Preserve. There are also campgrounds in the park for anyone who would like to spend the night, including several rustic sites on the Manitou Islands.
Photo: Alexey Stiop/Fotolia
"25 Best Natural Wonders in the USA" Back to Top or Traveler trip finder, Air travel, Guide App channel, Live music, Art institutes, Fun places to go, Vacation spots near me
Vacation ideas: Things to Do in Natchez, Things to Do in Atlantic City, Things to Do in Lancaster, Things to Do in Estes Park, Things to Do in Durham, Things to Do in Kona, Things to Do in Pasadena
»Valley of Fire
As its name implies, Valley of Fire State Park encompasses 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone formations. Other points of interest in the park include petrified trees and petroglyphs that date back more than 2,000 years; the visitor center offers a number of excellent exhibits on the history of these features. The visitor center is also happy to provide information about the many excellent day hikes and rock climbing spots in the area. There are three campgrounds in the park for visitors who would like to spend the night, and there are also several shaded picnic areas available for day use.
Photo: Teressa L. Jackson/Fotolia
"25 Best Natural Wonders in the USA" Back to Top or Contemporary art, Spa Treatment, Watch live, Trip ideas, Beach vacations, Essential Weekend getaways, Travel inspiration
Family attractions, points of interest, weather & fun places to go near me: Things to Do in the Hudson Valley, Honeymoon, Things to Do in Fairbanks, Romantic weekend getaways in Washington, Things to Do in Key Largo, Things to Do in Hershey
»Yosemite National Park
One of the oldest national parks in the United States, Yosemite National Park encompasses an astonishing array of natural beauty, including jewel-like subalpine lakes, ancient sequoia trees, spectacular waterfalls, and sky-scraping granite pinnacles. It would take years to thoroughly explore the entire park, but highlights include the sequoia trees in Mariposa Grove, the massive granite formation known as Half Dome, and the 2,425-foot Yosemite Falls, which is the highest waterfall in North America. There are 13 campgrounds and a good number of lodges in the park, and backcountry camping is permitted if reservations are made in advance.
Photo: Mariusz Blach/Fotolia
"25 Best Natural Wonders in the USA" Back to Top or Travel tips, Hiking trails, Beach vacations, Golf courses, Arts center, Travel guide, Amusement parks, malls near me, nightlife, water park
Free vacation ideas, family getaways: Places to stay in Newport RI, Best wellness retreats, Things to Do in Bismarck, Family resorts in SC, Travel Credit Cards, Romantic beach getaways, Train Museums near me, Romantic Getaways St Augustine FL
»Zion National Park
Thanks to its dramatic red sandstone cliffs, many scenic waterfalls, and a wide variety of outdoor activities, Zion National Park is the most popular park in Utah. The main feature of the park is the breathtaking Zion Canyon, but it's well worth taking the time to discover lesser known attractions like the Emerald Pools, the cliffs of Angel's Landing, and the tranquil Kolob Canyons as well. Parking is limited inside the park, but a free shuttle service to nine of the park's most popular attractions is available from the visitor center during the busy summer months.
"25 Best Natural Wonders in the USA for Couples" Back to Top or Travel destinations, Family Travel, Summer Getaways, Travel Tips, More Unique Elopement Ideas & Sights, shopping center, nightclubs, breakfast
Family Vacation Ideas, cheap things to do near me & Warm Places to Visit: Things to Do in Bloomington, Things to Do in Rochester, Albany vacation ideas, Honeymoon Ideas, Things to Do in Vancouver WA, Things to Do in Cape Coral, Underwater hotel, Oldest City in USA, USA islands, Romantic weekend getaways in South Dakota, Things to Do in Beverly Hills, Things to Do in Aspen
25 Best Natural Wonders in the USA
- Arches National Park, Photo: Courtesy of verinize - Fotolia.com
- Black Canyon of Gunnison, Photo: Courtesy of malajscy - Fotolia.com
- Caddo Lake, Photo: Courtesy of lazyllama - Fotolia.com
- Crater Lake, Photo: Courtesy of fotos2sell - Fotolia.com
- Denali, Photo: Courtesy of Alexander - Fotolia.com
- Dry Tortugas, Photo: Courtesy of Thomas Barrat - Fotolia.com
- Everglades National Park, Photo: Courtesy of Andrea Izzotti - Fotolia.com
- Garden of the Gods, Photo: Courtesy of eunikas - Fotolia.com
- Glacier National Park, Photo: Courtesy of Maks_ershov - Fotolia.com
- Grand Canyon, Photo: Courtesy of jon_chica - Fotolia.com
- Grand Tetons, Photo: Courtesy of Michael - Fotolia.com
- Great Sand Dunes, Photo: Courtesy of Krzysztof Wiktor - Fotolia.com
- Great Smoky Mountains, Photo: Courtesy of simonwhitehurst - Fotolia.com
- Hamilton Pool, Photo: Courtesy of Yusuke - Fotolia.com
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Photo: Courtesy of bennymarty - Fotolia.com
- Hells Canyon, Photo: Courtesy of OutdoorPhoto - Fotolia.com
- Mendenhall Ice Caves, Photo: Courtesy of aiisha - Fotolia.com
- Multnomah Falls, Photo: Courtesy of Randy - Fotolia.com
- Niagara Falls, Photo: Courtesy of surangaw - Fotolia.com
- Redwood Forests, Photo: Courtesy of fertatay - Fotolia.com
- Rocky Mountain National Park, Photo: Courtesy of rondakimbrow - Fotolia.com
- Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Photo: Courtesy of Alexey Stiop - Fotolia.com
- Valley of Fire, Photo: Courtesy of Teressa L. Jackson - Fotolia.com
- Yosemite National Park, Photo: Courtesy of Mariusz Blach - Fotolia.com
- Zion National Park, Photo: Courtesy of evenfh - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of x - Fotolia.com
More: What's Near Me, What to See Tomorrow & Tonight, Visiting Hotels, Resorts for couples, Must See Attractions today, Tourism, School, Inns, Festival Hours, 10 Best Family Attractions on a Budget, Unique Sightseeing, Fun Things to Do Near Me at Night, Free Dating Activities, Museums, Best of & Famous Tourist Sights, What to do in, Best time to visit, Where to Go & Best Romantic Places to Visit Now, Places to explore near me this weekend, weather, What to do near me