For someone who has never been to the USA or for someone who has traveled to all 50 states, the vast differences you’ll find throughout this great nation are astounding. To celebrate the diversity of this awesome country, we’ve asked Cacinda Maloney of PointsandTravel to share her 10 favorite photos that will make you fall in love with the US!
While certain parts of the USA embody values of our original founders, many parts of the USA look like mini-me versions of other countries or ethnic groups. Going from coast to coast and from top to bottom, I scoured the US to find some of the best landscapes, nature, quirky places, beaches, and more. There are so many beautiful places to visit in the US and now is the time for you to be adding a few more states to your bucket list.
Let’s get started exploring beautiful places to visit in the US!
✦ Shell Beach San Diego, CA ✦
After dropping your luggage at any one of the award-winning boutique hotels such as the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego and Kimpton Hotel Palomar in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, head on over to Shell Beach to play in the sand or ride your bike along the ocean’s edge. From there, head up to the gorgeous San Francisco Bay.
✦ San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge ✦
Even though two cities in California start with the word “San”, they couldn’t be more different from each other. Make your way to the awe-inspiring Golden Gate Bridge and take a few photographs. Its beauty and the surrounding area never cease to amaze me! Then make your way to the Fairmont Hotel in the city for the night.
✦ Bozeman, Montana ✦
The next morning take a road trip going north to the state of Montana, where abandoned barn buildings and cute little cabins “in the woods” are spotted down every country road. From college towns to majestic mountains, and even National Parks, Montana will inspire you to get out into nature. And while there, you could stay in town at the comfortable Element Bozeman or feel super cool at the Lark Hotel. Then get up early in the morning to have breakfast in the downtown Bozeman area and leave plenty of time for shopping!
✦ Grand County, Colorado ✦
Now it is on to Colorado to take a moment to feel like you are on top of the world by visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park. It has 415 square miles of breathtaking mountains and valleys. You can stand at 10,000 feet and view the Never Summer Mountains and then look below to the Kawuneeche Valley that was shaped by the Colorado River some 14,000 years ago. With over 300 trails to hike, there are plenty of wildflowers, wildlife, and starry nights to experience in Colorado. Stay in nearby Granby for its convenience and slow pace of life. A stay at the Drowsy Water Dude Ranch will never be forgotten!
✦ Antelope Canyon, Arizona ✦
Leaving Colorado and making your way to Northern Arizona, there is nothing quite like the spectacular slot canyon known as Antelope Canyon that exists near Page, Arizona. You will find yourself “oohing and ahhing” over these landscape wonders that were formed millions of years ago. Be sure and sign up for one of the photography tours that take visitors into the caves, as the guides know the perfect spots to take the best photographs. From there, the gorgeous Horseshoe Bend is only 15 minutes away and worth a visit. And Hyatt Place is a great place to stay in Page for the night.
✦ Santa Fe, New Mexico ✦
Now on to New Mexico, where the tourism board calls Santa Fe – the City Different. They chose that branding for a reason, as it is not what you would be expecting in this area of New Mexico! With its creative artistic culture and distinctive adobe architecture, it truly is a city different. The city is surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo mountains and founded way back in 1610. Today it has a vibrant art scene, worldly cuisine, and a laid-back attitude. My pick for a stay would be the Inn of the Five Graces, La Posada de Santa Fe, or La Fonda on the Plaza. For more things to do in Santa Fe, read 5 Surprising Things You Will Love About Santa Fe.
✦ Amarillo, Texas ✦
Now onward to the big state of Texas. Things couldn’t be any more different from that last stop in Santa Fe, as you drive into the robust city of Amarillo, Texas. At first sight, you may not think there is much going on, but if you give it a chance you will find so many things to do in Texas (other than the Alamo!)… including the second largest canyon in the United States, known as Palo Duro Canyon. It is definitely one of the beautiful places to visit in the US.
✦ New Orleans, Louisiana ✦
Leaving Amarillo, Texas and driving to New Orleans, Lousiana, things are definitely going to change! In fact, you will feel like you are in two different worlds. And you are, as you have gone from a stoic British-style Colony to a French one. New Orleans is alive and well with its street and blues music, antique stores, and good ‘ole mix of cajun, creole, and soul food. The liveliness of this town and its music will brighten your mood! You can have a nice stay at the luxurious Hotel Le Marais and Hotel Mazarin.
✦ Savannah, Georgia ✦
And now the long drive to the deep south state of Georgia. You have now entered what I would say is one of the prettiest cities in the US! It easily made it on my list as one of the beautiful places to visit in the US. With its majestic squares, Spanish moss-covered trees, and fountains, as well as its Victorian Gothic Revival architecture, you have arrived in the city saved by General William T. Sherman. He spared it from burning during the American Civil War. It was his gift to the US, and what a gift it was! And while you are there, be sure to visit the 7 Places to Drink in Savannah! A great place to stay would be River Street Inn. And before you go, you may want to read my Travel Guide on Things to do in Savannah.
✦ Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, New York ✦
And last, but not least … onward to the most well-known city in North America – New York City, where the well-used Brooklyn Bridge awaits you. New York City is made up of five boroughs and Brooklyn is just one of those that has its eyes set on Manhattan for fantastic views. But Brooklyn is actually a real neighborhood that families live and grow up in. Many use this bridge every day to go into the city for work. You can have a wonderful stay at The Williamsburg Hotel, but if you really want to stay in Manhattan, then read Gnational Gnomad Sher’s advice on where to stay in Manhattan hotels under $200.
I hope you enjoyed this compilation of beautiful places to visit in the US!
Dr. Cacinda Maloney of PointsandTravel is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity.
Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.