The Most Scenic Nature Getaways in Every State
You don't have to travel far to see some of the world's most stunning natural wonders. From shimmering turquoise lakes to majestic mountaintops, these are the places in each state that are sure to take your breath away.
Alabama: Noccalula Falls
Along a trail that winds its way through the Black Creek ravine on Lookout Mountain you'll find Noccalula Falls, a 90-foot gushing waterfall named after a Cherokee princess. It's said that Noccalula, daughter of the tribe's chief, ended her life by jumping off the top of the falls on the day she was to marry the man her father had forced her to be with after he exiled her true love. Find the most gorgeous waterfall in your state.
With its summit towering 20,310 feet above sea level, Denali is the tallest mountain peak in North America. Its name, given by the native Athabascan people, literally means "Great One." And while you may not be able to make it to the top (there's only a 60 percent success rate for the brave climbers who have tried), you can get one of the best views of the snow-capped silhouette from Wonder Lake in Denali National Park.
Arizona: Mooney Falls
If you're looking for an adventure outside of the Grand Canyon, head to its southern rim where you can hike through the Havasupai Reservation to Mooney Falls. It's not an easy trek (you have to scale a cliff face to get to the bottom) but the sight of the sparkling turquoise water against the red rocks of the canyon is so worth it. Here are more of America's most stunning hiking trails.
Arkansas: Hawksbill Crag
Also known as Whitaker Point, this rocky ridge overlooking the Buffalo River valley is one of Arkansas' most photographed spots (it's also where the intro to the Disney movie Tuck Everlasting was filmed). Just be careful when you're enjoying the colorful fall foliage or blossoming mountain wildflowers—the bluff can be very dangerous as the drop is a long way down.
California: The Redwoods
There are trees... and then there are the California coastal redwoods, the tallest trees on Earth which can grow to 378 feet—that's about the size of a 25-story building! And they're wide, too—some in Redwood National Park are big enough to drive a car through. You'll feel like you're in the land of giants as you explore the enchanting forest of cinnamon-hued trees. Don't miss the best picnic spot in every state.
Colorado: Maroon Bells
Colorado is known for its bevy of natural beauty but Maroon Bells definitely top the state's list of must-visits. In the glacier-formed valley at the foot of the towering twin peaks lies Maroon Lake lined by lush aspen trees. Sunny days provide the perfect panorama of the burgundy mountain caps and fluffy white clouds reflected in the shimmering water below. Don't miss these 10 photos of America's National Parks in full bloom.
Connecticut: Kent Falls
The cascading water of Kent Falls flows for 250 feet across moss-covered rocks through the valley, where you can view the river from numerous stairs and observation decks. Keep an eye out for the little pools and potholes that the water's force has created in the layers of limestone.
Delaware: Cape Henlopen
You don't have to fly south for beautiful beaches—you can find them right here in Delaware at Cape Henlopen where the Delaware Bay empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The six miles of pristine shoreline is bordered by sandy dunes dotted with beach grasses blowing in the breeze. Sink your toes in the soft sand and watch the shorebirds flit in the surf as the waves roll in. Here are 12 more of the best beaches in America.
Florida: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Grab your scuba diving gear or board one of the glass-bottomed boats for an aquatic adventure at the nation's first underwater park in the Florida Keys. Gaze at schools of vibrant fish darting through the coral reef below and gasp when you see a shark lazily float by. Afterward, picnic on the pristine beach under the shady mangrove trees. Find out more of Florida's best beaches that locals want to keep secret.
Georgia: Tallulah Gorge
Fall foliage fans everywhere will flock to this Southern nature getaway where the river runs through two miles of wooded hills. Admire the deep reds and vibrant oranges that line the 1,000-foot deep Tallulah Gorge from the swaying suspension bridge or get a permit to hike down to the bottom and see some of the waterfalls below.