Destinations | North America

Discover the most beautiful state in USA – Top 20 picks

6 Jul 2021 | Destinations, Florida, North America

Wondering which is the most beautiful state in the USA? Well, there are many to suit your personal travel style and activities that you are wanting to do. In this guide, I will share my top picks for the prettiest states in the USA (including my bucket list!). 

Please note that this list is in no particular order, as each state is unique and has something for everyone!

** Disclaimer: This post contains affiliated links which means that purchases made through these links reward Bey of Travel a small commission without any additional charge for the purchaser.** 

20 Most Beautiful States in USA that you must visit

Florida

Do you love sandy beaches, good food, lux neighbourhoods and the outdoors? Then nothing will allure you like the cities and national parks of Florida.

Located in the southeastern region of the United States, with a population of over 21 million, Florida is a beach and nature lover’s paradise. 

Head to the city of Miami and explore the iconic cultural districts, museums and watch a Miami Heat game. This is also a great place to shop, hang out at the amazing South Beach, and enjoy delicious cuisine.

For your trip, read my 2 day Miami itinerary, photo locations in Miami and check out these hiking trails near Miami. 

Do visit the capital city of Tallahassee, which is often overlooked. Coastal cities like Key West, Fort Myers, etc are great for a quick weekend getaway for couples and families alike. With so many water activities to choose from, you and your loved ones won’t be disappointed. 

Another destination to explore in Florida is the Everglades National Park. This national park is home to many hiking trails and an unique ecosystem with diverse tropical flora and fauna. 

A little further away is the Biscayne National Park known for its bio-diverse landscape. Biscayne Bay’s shallow lagoon waters, coral limestone keys, mangrove hammocks, and offshore reefs pull tourists here every year. 

Most beautiful state US USA, Florida, Herd of crocodiles enjoying the sun in everglades national park

Nevada

Located in the western part of the USA in the beautiful state of Nevada. Officially known as the “Silver State” due to its history with silver, Nevada’s prime attraction is the city of Las Vegas!

Sin City is a popular tourist destination for couples, weddings, or those who just want to have a good time. The Strip is one big party with landmark hotels and resorts reminiscent of attractions from all over the world. Las Vegas is a great place to get married.

Nevada is a beautiful US state to go on road trips, and admire the state parks such as the Red Rock State Park – perfect for a day trip from Vegas!

Hoover Dam is one of the must-visit Nevada attractions. The Dam was built during the Great Depression and is a designated National Historic Landmark. Most tourists stop at the Hoover Dam on their way to the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. 

Other than that Reno and Virginia City are worth visiting, especially Reno with pub crawls, museums, and more. 

most beautiful state us nevada valley-of-fire

California

Up next is the state of California, one of my favorites. If you love road trips, the West Coast USA is the one to enjoy a scenic drive of coastal views, small towns, valleys, and amazing views.

Of course, no list of the most beautiful states in the USA is complete without California’s San Francisco. Home to the Golden Gate Bridge Park, Alcatraz Island, Fisherman’s Wharf, Crissy Field, largest Chinatown, and the Crooked Street, San Francisco is one of the most popular cities in the US, explored by over 25 million visitors every year. 

Los Angeles is another city that pulls a lot of tourists. From checking off the iconic Hollywood Sign, to Universal Studios, Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory, and Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, LA is great for city breaks.

San Diego, Santa Monica, Oakland, Anaheim are other tourist destinations in the state of California. 

From cities, now let’s focus on the landscapes and parks. California is home to cholla Joshua trees (Joshua Tree National Park), falls, and hiking trails in Yosemite National Park to large redwood sequoia trees. 

Devils Postpile National Monument, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, and Yosemite National Park offer amazing views of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. 

Most beautiful state US Joshua tree

New York

New York State was one of the original 13 colonies in the United States. Located in northeastern US, New York is home to the iconic Big Apple, Niagara Falls, and lovely landscapes such as the Adirondack Mountains and the Hudson Highlands. 

Any US bucket list starts with New York City, and there are plenty of great reasons why. If you love cities and this is your first trip to the states, you must explore the Empire State Building, Times Square, hop on a ferry to the Statue of Liberty Monument, and Central Park. 

Don’t forget to capture the NYC skyline and visit popular art museums. 

Venture beyond New York City to the mountains and lakes. Explore the Adirondack Mountains, Allegheny Plateau, Hudson Highlands or the Finger Lakes – they all look stunning in the fall. 

Most beautiful state US New York

North Carolina

From the northeast let’s head to the southeastern region of the United States to North Carolina. It is the 9th-most populous state in the US. North Carolina is filled with historical remnants including the site of the world’s first flight launched at Wright Brothers National Memorial. 

It’s capital city is Charlotte, home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, a variety of museums, nature trails, and breweries. 

Asheville is another popular weekend city break option in NC – with views of the Appalachian Mountains. For a fairytale photo spot, you can head to the grand Biltmore Estate & Gardens from Asheville. 

If you love mountains and hikes, head to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Most beautiful state usa appalachian-mountains-

Washington 

Washington is one of the most beautiful states in USA. Start your trip in Seattle, explore the bustling Pike Market, enjoy delicious coffee and check out various art centres including the Space Needle Tower. 

The real beauty of Washington State lies in its stunning landscapes and national parks. And many of these parks can be easily explored from Seattle on a road trip and/or day tour. 

Visit the Olympic National Park and enjoy amazing hiking and backpacking trails. Camp overnight and soak in the views of the Olympic Mountains and wander the park’s rainforests and the coast. 

With an active volcano and glacier and meadow views, Mount Rainier National Park is a delightful trip for every outdoor enthusiast. So is the North Cascades National Park. 

If you wish to experience something different, head to Leavenworth where you can enjoy a piece of Bavaria in the US, or go whale watching in the San Juan Islands.

most beautiful state us washington

Wyoming

With grand high plains, and the world’s first national park at the Yellowstone makes Wyoming one of the prettiest states in the USA. The springs of Yellowstone National Park include the eye-catching Grand Prismatic Spring that pulls thousands of tourists every year.

Teton Mountain National Park is another park worth visiting in the state. The national park surrounds the Teton Mountain Range peaks and is filled with beautiful lakes, rushing rivers, lush valleys, rugged peaks, and amazing wildlife. This park is an outdoor lover’s paradise just like Yellowstone National Park. 

Wyoming also showcases the stunning Rocky Mountains. 

Other than the parks and peaks, Wyoming is rich in Old West History, and as you road trip through the state you will encounter many small towns, and historic sites. The Devil’s Tower in Wyoming was the first national monument in the United States.

Also note that this US state has one of the clearest night skies in the country, allowing you to see the Milky Way bright and clear and millions of stars.

most beautiful state us-wyoming

Utah

The United States has some of the world’s epic landscapes. And Utah’s “Mighty 5” national parks – Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef will leave you speechless.

Go hiking, backpacking, and camping in one or all of the national parks. Arches and the Capitol Reef are amazing photography spots as well. 

If you didn’t know this already Utah hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. It is known for being the best in the country for skiing. In fact, the mountains near Salt Lake City receive an average of 500 inches of snow per year.

Salt Lake City is the capital of the state of Utah. Often frequented for business, it is also known as the headquarters of the religious community of the Mormons or the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. 

Most beautiful state US Sunrise at Monument Valley, Arizona

West Virginia

West Virginia may not be a popular state, but it is one of the most beautiful states in the USA – just depends on your personal taste. From pretty hills, forest, and deep rivers West Virginia is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts 

The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is the place to be for mountain and nature lovers. This park is also rich in cultural and natural history. It was officially designated as a national park in 2020, so it is a recent addition. The park preserve was designed to protect and maintain the New River Gorge in southern West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. 

Snowshoe Mountain Resort is the place for skiing. And if you love history, West Virginia will keep you busy with Civil War history, (lost world) caverns, museums, and architectural feats. 

most beautiful state us west-virginia

South Carolina

Located in the southeastern U.S. is the state of South Carolina. It is well known for its subtropical beaches and marshlike sea islands. 

Its capital city is Charleston and one that is full of historic remnants such as the Civil War, colonial architecture, and pretty pastel-colored houses!

In terms of nature, the state abounds in landscapes from the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area to the 20ft Raven Cliff Falls in Caesars Head State Park in the southern part of the state. In the north, you can enjoy beaches with the Grand Strand and the nearby vacation town Myrtle Beach. The coastal beaches are serene and calming.

Most beautiful state US Charleston Historic Homes District

New Mexico

Another beautiful US state in the southwestern part of the country is New Mexico. 

The capital city of New Mexico is Santa Fe, which was originally founded as a Spanish Colony. The historic district is pretty with Pueblo-style architecture and historical sites such as the Palace of the Governors, aka New Mexico History Museum.

New Mexico is one of the Mountain States of the Southern Rocky Mountains. You can explore the Carlsbad Caverns National Park which is home to over 100 caves. Inside there are stalactites clinging to the roof of the Big Room, an underground chamber in the cavern, and more. 

White Sands National Park is another special place in New Mexico. This park is completely surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range and makes for a dreamy photo location.

Some of the other historical sites worth exploring are Bandelier National Monument and Petroglyph National Monument. Bandelier National Monument is particularly interesting as you can explore ancient sites and go on hiking trails. This covers a huge area of rugged but beautiful canyons. 

most beautiful state us New Mexico

Rhode Island

Rhode Island is a small state in the USA, and renowned for its beaches and stunning tropical landscapes. It is often called the ‘Ocean State’, for its bays, cliffs, and pretty inlets. 

Being a tiny state, Rhode Island is perfect for a weekend away with its beautiful location.

Providence is the capital city of Rhode Island. Its downtown area is lovely, and the city is home to Rhode Island School of Design, with exhibits of American art and silver. 

Another mesmerizing spot in Rhode Island is the city of Newport. The city is filled with colorful yachts, a pretty harbor, and a Gilded Age mansion such as The Breakers, an 1895 mansion patterned after a Renaissance palace.

Located in the south of the mainland of Rhode Island is Block Island, with 1800s red-brick Southeast Lighthouse, and the stunning clay cliffs of Mohegan Bluffs. There are sandy beaches located on the east coast. 

The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was the first of the Thirteen Colonies to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown, and the last of the states to ratify the Constitution – so a lot of history there. 

most beautiful state us Rhode Island

Hawaii 

Located in the western part of the US is the state of Hawaii.  Hawaii is about 2000 miles away from the mainland and is composed of seven big and over 100 small ones. This is the only state outside North America that is composed of islands entirely and hence deserves a place in the most beautiful states in the USA.

Hawaii is also home to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which has the largest active volcano on earth.

The most popular islands are Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island of Hawaii. All of the islands are very unique, diverse and each one is special! 

Maui is the second-largest island and a very popular one. Maui is known for its beaches, the sacred Iao Valley, amazing cuisines, and whale watching! 

Oahu is the third-largest island in Hawaii. This tropical paradise is known as the “gathering place,” and this is where a majority of the residents live in Hawaii, and also a popular tourist destination.

Kauai is the fourth largest island, and also the greenest of all the Hawaiian islands. With over 97 percent of the island covered by forests or mountain ranges, including the Na Pali cliffs, Kauai is a stunning USA destination.

South Dakota

With rolling Prairie lands and historical monuments, South Dakota is a beautiful midwestern U.S.A. One of the primary attractions in South Dakota is the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. This sculpture is carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills in Keystone. 

Black Hills National Forest is a must-visit with dramatic landscapes and Crazy Horse Memorial. 

South Dakota’s Badlands National Park is filled with eroded buttes and pinnacles and is perfect for an adventure trip. It has a ton of hiking trails to choose from. The Badlands Wilderness protects black-footed ferrets, which are one of the most endangered mammals in the world. 

Wind Cave National Park is a national park that is home to the world’s largest box work formations (Wind Cave). It is the densest cave system in the world and worth adding to your United States bucket list. 

Vermont 

One of the beautiful states in the New England region of the USA is Vermont. The state is particularly stunning in the fall, with deep orangey colors and foliage all over. 

Vermont is so postcard-worthy with its stunning rolling green hills, mountain streams, lakes, and tiny villages all sprinkled across the state. 

The state is also well known for skiing and winters, particularly the Stowe Mountain Resort, Sugarrush Resort, and Killington Ski Area. Vermont is the only New England state without a coastline. 

 

For history and museum lovers, hit many of the state’s art, natural and cultural museums. The Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium is an amazing place – a fun and stunning combination of natural science, history museum, and a planetarium – all in one. The interiors are incredibly gorgeous. 

The Fleming Museum of Art is another museum worth visiting. It is an art and anthropology museum located in Burlington. The museum’s collection is composed of 25,000 objects from all the centuries and places. 

Montpelier is the capital city of Vermont, and is one of the least-populous U.S. state capitals. It has a nice vibe to it. 

Vermont is also well known for foods like cheddar cheese, maple syrup, and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream! You can easily find farmer’s markets, local breweries, and artisan foods in the state.

most beautiful state vermont

Alaska 

One of the most beautiful states in the US is Alaska. It is located in the western part of the country, actually on the northwest extremity of the country’s west coast.

With dramatic landscapes, wildlife, and flora, Alaska is a dream destination. As far as wildlife goes, you can check out caribou, moose, bears, whales, bison, puffins, jellyfish, and more.

When it comes to scenic views, Alaska is home to glaciers and fjords, mountains, and lakes, and rivers. 

Denali National Park and Preserve is one of the prime attractions in the state. It is located in Interior Alaska, centered on Denali which is the highest mountain in the whole of North America. This park and preserve is perfect for sightseeing (wildlife) and welcomes you to a ton of hiking opportunities. 

To check out glaciers, coastal fjords, and islands hit the Kenai Fjords National Park, located in south-central Alaska. The park is home to the Harding Icefield. Here you can also check out sea otters, sea lions, whales, and more. Plus there are well-maintained walking and hiking trails throughout the park. 

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve are also home to fjords, glaciers, and marine life. 

The alaskan landscape will transport you to another world, from chasing northern lights, sighting bears to whale watching, Alaska is worth adding to your bucket list. 

Most beautiful state us Anchorage Alaska State Parks

Colorado 

Located in western U.S. is the state of Colorado. It is known for its diverse landscape with arid deserts, river canyons, sand dunes, and the snow-covered Rocky Mountains. 

Rocky Mountain National Park gives the state its stunning scenery and pulls tourists. With views from the Long Peaks to numerous lakes such as Emerald lake, Dream lake, Bear lake, Spargue lake, Lily Lake to name a few. This park provides a ton of hiking and non hiking opportunities, including scenic road trip routes!

One of the stunning locations in the state is the Garden of the Gods (public park) in Colorado Springs. It is a designated National Natural Landmark. 

Colorado is home to ski areas from the likes of Vail, Aspen, and Breckenridge. From skiing to sand dunes, Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park is worth visiting – this is a historically significant piece of land, and you can indulge in multiple outdoor activities here. 

Denver is the capital city of Colorado and has a very vibrant downtown cultural scene. 

Most beautiful state US Garden of the Gods and skyline at dusk

Michigan

Michigan is the most beautiful state in USA located east of the Mississippi River. From dense forests to the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan and the coast of Lake Huron Michigan will welcome you to numerous lakes and outdoorsy activities. 

Nothing summarises the beauty of Michigan than Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. It is situated on the shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and extends for 42 miles along the shore. With views of the hilly shoreline between Munising and Grand Marais and surrounded by picturesque rock formations, waterfalls, and sand dunes, you have to visit the lakeshore to soak in the views in person. 

Isle Royale National Park is another Michigan gem composed of Isle Royale and hundreds of adjacent islands. Try to visit this park in the golden hour (in the evening) to capture the waters of Lake Superior and the lighthouse.

The capital of Michigan is Detroit. Just like a major US capital, Detroit is perfect for a city break for couples, or cultural lovers. 

most beautiful state michigan

Montana

With jaw-dropping landscapes and the beauty of the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains, Montana is one of the prettiest states in the USA.  

Montana shares a border with Canada and is home to the stunning Glacier National Park. It welcomes you to numerous snow-capped peaks, lakes and alpine hiking trails – perfect for the adventure lover!

Going-to-the-Sun Road is a scenic mountain road in the Rocky Mountains. So if you are not into adventure, consider embarking on a road trip to soak in the views. Montana also has a ton of glacier lakes. 

In the winter, consider visiting Whitefish Mountain Resort which is a beautiful place for skiing in  Whitefish. 

most beautiful state us montana

Oregon

The last of the most beautiful state in the USA is Oregon. Located in the Pacific Northwest Oregon is mesmerizing with a rugged but stunning coastline and temperate desert, lush greenery, and wilderness. 

Oregon’s postcard-worthy Cannon Beach and Seaside are two of the iconic spots in the state where travelers like to explore on a day trip or a stop on a long PNW road trip. 

Mt. Hood peak is also located in Oregon, and is the most scenic point between Mt. Whitney and Mt. Rainier. 

Crater Lake National Park is a natural beauty worth visiting in Oregon. The deep blue water of Crater Lakes in a perfectly circular shape and surrounded by forest is a stunning place for hikes and photos. Crater Lake was formed by the now-collapsed volcano – Mount Mazama. 

Away from mountain peaks, hikes and coastline is the Willamette Valley wine country in Oregon that offers amazing Pinot Noir and other 70+ wine varieties.

So that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed this list of most beautiful states in the USA. What is your favorite? How many have you checked off?

most beautiful state oregon

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