Travel in the United States is a little bit different than in most places in Europe, or really the rest of the world. This is simply because it’s a relatively “new” part of the world, at least in terms of modern civilization. You won’t see any of the ancient sites you’ll find in Mexico or throughout most of Europe for that matter. Most of the man-made attractions and landmarks are decidedly more modern (which is not to say they aren’t worth checking out!). What you will get in the U.S. though that isn’t always advertised on travel sites is an incredible variety of natural beauty.
To speak to that, we’re honing in on some of the most beautiful states you can visit in the U.S.
This list isn’t meant to be in a particular order, but it would be hard to call any state in the U.S. more beautiful than Oregon. It’s simply one of those corners of the world that got lucky, geologically speaking, such that it is now covered in stunning natural monuments. The top sights in Oregon include rocky coastlines, woodland waterfalls, glacial lakes, deep canyons, and towering mountains. Crater Lake, arguably the main attraction, is one of the most incredible natural getaways in all of America.
Michigan is a curious state, separated into two parts up against North America’s “Great Lakes.” What surprises some first-time visitors is the plethora of stunning beach land throughout the state. While there’s always something a little different about a lakeside beach, Michigan’s sandy stretches are essentially more tranquil versions of oceanside beaches, and some of the sand dunes are practically the stuff of legend. Natural beauty aside, Michigan also has some of the prettier mid-size towns and cities in the U.S. – in particular the college town of Ann Arbor. If you’re still looking to plan a trip this year, a vacation to Ann Arbor to see the University of Michigan play American football is one of the more pleasant autumn experiences you could draw up.
Hawaii is vastly different from the continental U.S., but is indeed still a state, and undeniably a beautiful one. Essentially a cluster of volcanic islands, it’s like a slightly larger version of any South Pacific paradise that strayed a little bit closer to North America. You won’t find many better beaches or volcanic hikes in this world.
There are parts of North Carolina that aren’t particularly noteworthy (which is true of most of these states, really), but it’s still a very interesting state in that there’s a little bit of everything to see there. In the eastern part of the state you can find some of America’s best beaches, particularly on the “Outer Banks,” narrow strips of coastal land separated from the mainland that were once known pirate havens. In the middle of the state, mid-size cities like Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill have become pretty areas and popular destinations for young people. And in the West, the Appalachian Mountains and various small mountain towns provide an entirely different look. The total picture is a very beautiful one.
Like Michigan, Minnesota borders the Great Lakes (specifically Lake Superior), though it’s farther north. A landscape of hills, rivers, and forests that includes a few state and national parks reminds some visitors of Canada, such that Minnesota can seem to be the United States’ own little piece of the famously beautiful Canadian wilderness. It’s also a fun state from a cultural standpoint. Autumn football is an option here as well, with the Minnesota Vikings having a passionate following, and this year in particular there’s an outdoor event scheduled that’s sure to be beautiful. The Ryder Cup, an international golf competition that stretches back over a hundred years, is being held at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. It’s one more thing to keep in mind if you’re still looking into 2018 travel.
There are four states in the American Southwest that famously come together at an exact point, such that tourists can stand in all four states at once. They are Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona, and the truth is that any of them could be included on this list. These states are home to a different sort of natural beauty that encompasses some of America’s famous canyons and rocky mountains, including famous places like the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. But we picked Colorado because it’s arguably the prettiest of them all year round. The state’s towering mountains are popular ski destinations when it’s cold, and make for beautiful hikes when it’s warm. And here, too, you can still schedule autumn travel. There are plenty of fantastic festivals in the state in the later months of the year – plus there’s always those ski mountains if you make a trip even later on!
California is almost too big to be a fair inclusion, but it’s also an undeniably gorgeous state. Famous beaches and beachside cities more or less define the California atmosphere as it’s commonly perceived, even if some of these cities are fairly exclusive hangouts for the rich and famous. And in the northern parts of the state, you get a real taste of some of the same Pacific Northwest natural beauty that makes Oregon so alluring. On the more man-made side of things, there’s an argument to be made that San Francisco is the prettiest American city.
Montana too is a massive state, but one that may be known more for its natural beauty than anything else. Like Oregon, there’s just a little bit of everything in Montana (minus coastline): you’ll find canyons, mountains, huge lakes, picturesque woodlands, and frankly very little interruption from civilization. Best of all, Glacier National Park is one of the most exceptional parks in all of North America, if not the entire world.