The United States is widely known as the Land of Liberty. For the past few centuries, people from all over the world have come to the US, drawn by the nation’s prosperity and democracy, seeking a better way of life. As a result, this vast nation is also a land of diversity from its landscapes to its culture, cuisine, politics and religion. An overview of most beautiful places in America;
Red Rock Country | Sedona
Ever since the early days of movies, when Hollywood has wanted to show the unique beauty of the West, it has gone to Sedona, a place that looks like nowhere else. Beginning with The Call of the Canyon in 1923, some hundred movies and TV shows have been filmed in and around town. We fell under Sedona’s spell, too, and while debating our No. 1 spot kept returning to it for the same reasons Hollywood does: The area’s telegenic canyons, wind-shaped buttes and dramatic sandstone towers embody the rugged character of the West — and the central place that character holds in our national identity. There’s a timelessness about these ancient rocks that fires the imagination of all who encounter them. Some 11,000 years before film cameras discovered Sedona, American Indians settled the area. Homesteaders, artists and, most recently, New Age spiritualists have followed. Many cultures and agendas abound, but there’s really only one attraction: the sheer, exuberant beauty of the place. People come for inspiration and renewal, tawny cliffs rising from the buff desert floor, wind singing through box canyons, and sunsets that seem to cause the ancient buttes and spires to glow from within. We hear the canyon’s call and cannot resist.
Mount Washington Pittsburgh
In a nation with a wealth of stunning cities full of compelling stories, ranking Pittsburgh as the No. 2 beauty spot is perhaps our most surprising choice. But the Steel City’s aesthetic appeal is undeniable, as is its very American capacity for renewal. Standing atop Mount Washington, the steep hill that rises giddily on the city’s south side, sightseers enjoy the unforgettable panorama of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers flowing together to create the mighty Ohio, that waterway so essential in the nation’s settlement. The rivers cup downtown’s lustrous Golden Triangle, where landmark skyscrapers thrust upward like rockets. At night, lights twinkle on no fewer than 15 bridges. Almost as breathtaking as the vista itself is the urban renewal that made it possible. A century ago, a pall of smoke lay so thick over town that streetlights burned all day. As Pittsburgh continues an evolutionary course that has taken it from trading post to transportation hub to industrial goliath, we salute its reinvention into one of America’s most scenic and livable communities. In the life of a city, there’s nothing more beautiful, or inspiring, than a renaissance.
For third-place honors, we turn to an area less celebrated than others, but nonetheless packed with the unique beauty our nation abounds in. Its low profile makes it all the more charming. To truly appreciate the Mississippi, we leave the familiar territory of Huck and Tom and take a spin on the Great River Road as it runs alongside Old Muddy’s upper reaches through Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. One of the nation’s most scenic routes, it winds over hills, atop towering bluffs and through one 19th-century river town after another. The sites along the way read like chapters in American history. Ancient Indian burial mounds punctuate rolling parkland, sidewheelers ply the river, and villages on either bank present fine examples of Steamboat Gothic, the ornate architectural style born in the heyday of river travel. In Galena, Ill., 85% of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. At Trempealeau, Wis., the Trempealeau Hotel has offered haven to watermen since 1888. The whole laid-back region’s real draw is the river itself. Steady and timeless, it makes one fine traveling companion as it rolls toward the Gulf.
Hawaii’s Na Pali Coast
At the country’s extreme western edge, half a world away from the cradle of the American Revolution, we gain a flash of insight into the restlessness that drove our forebears from New England to the Pacific Ocean and beyond. They pushed west in search of paradise. Amid the coral reefs, beaches and mist-shrouded volcanic peaks of Hawaii’s oldest island, they surely found it. Along the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali coast of Kauai, verdant mountains plunge 4,000 feet into the sparkling Pacific. A short hike inland, where Hanakapi’ai Falls pours into a crystal pool and tropical flowers dapple the lush hillsides, the play of color and light creates the effect of an Impressionist painting gone native. Experience the splendor at your own risk: The hardest thing about a trip to Kauai is boarding the plane to go back home.
Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco
Engineering marvel, art deco icon, monument to progress: The Golden Gate Bridge does much more than connect San Francisco to Marin County. Named for the strait it spans — the 3-mile passage between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific — the bridge is a grand symbol of one of the world’s most striking cities. Completed in 1937, the $35 million structure of concrete and steel embodied a city’s unquenchable spirit — and, by extension, the nation’s. Set off by its signature orange paint job, twin 750-foot towers that seem to disappear into the heavens and spidery cables that stretch like harp strings, the Golden Gate was unlike anything else ever built. At 4,200 feet, the main suspension span was easily the world’s longest. (Almost 70 years later, it ranks seventh.) Facts and figures tell only a partial story: Admired as a practical feat, the bridge is beloved as a work of art, one of the greatest the 20th century produced in any medium.
Situated between the state of New York and the province of Ontario, Niagara Falls is one of the most spectacular natural wonders on the North American continent. Niagara Falls is actually three different falls, the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls. Horseshoe Falls is located on the Canadian side while the others are located in New York.
One of the most vivacious cities in the USA, Miami is best known for its sunny beaches, Latin culture and sizzling nightlife. Located in southeastern Florida off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, Miami is also a major port city managing the world’s largest number of passenger cruise ships. Across the bay from Miami on a barrier island is Miami Beach, known for its Art Deco architecture and glamorous South Beach.
Attracting millions of visitors every year, the Grand Canyon is one of the best places to visit in the USA. Located in northern Arizona, this massive natural wonder was carved by the Colorado River over a period of several million years. It is not the deepest or the longest canyon in the world but the overwhelming size and colorful landscape offers visitor vistas that are hard to match.
Which destination do you consider the best place to visit in the USA?