Megan Bryant is a passionate writer and traveler who has combined her two loves to help others fulfill their traveling dreams. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually curled up with her 3 Dachshunds and a good book or planning her next adventure—wherever that may be.
North America is home to some truly incredible attractions—both natural and man-made. From the stunning rock formations in the Bryce Canyon National Park to Lake Superior and its rocky shores, there are so many things to see and do in America that you really are spoilt for choice.
Deciding which of these attractions to visit can be a difficult task, but here are 12 that you should not overlook. In fact, you should put them at the top of your list.
Big Sur, California
Big Sur in California is a magnificent stretch of coastline that has quickly become a popular road trip destination thanks to its dramatic cliffs, redwood forests, secluded beaches, and of course, its iconic Bixby Creek Bridge.
Around 3 million people visit Big Sur each year, so if you’re planning a trip to California, be sure to at least drive through Big Sur.
Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah are a natural masterpiece that stretches as far as the eye can see. The pure white salt shimmers to create a visual illusion blending the boundary between the earth and sky. And if the salt flats themselves weren’t enough, slightly east are the Potash Canals that glisten a turquoise blue thanks to the salt reflecting the color of the sky.
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park, with its unique-looking hoodoos, is a North American landmark that everyone should visit. Through years and years of erosion, the land in Bryce Canyon has been carved to create intricate rock formations in vibrant hues of red, orange, and pink.
With various hiking trails, lookout points, and the chance for plenty of outdoor activities, Bryce Canyon is a destination not to be missed.
Denali National Park, Alaska
The Denali National Park in Alaska only sees a few hundred thousand visitors a year, but its incredibly diverse wilderness landscapes and its resident wildlife—including its 300+ grizzly bears—deserve far more credit than it’s given. Many people skip past Denali because of its semi-remote location, but if you’re after serenity and the chance to escape the real world, there is no better place.
Diablo Lake, Washington
Diablo Lake in the North Cascades National Park is one of Washington States’ hidden gems, as under 20,000 people visit the park each year. Diablo is set against the backdrop of the towering Cascade Mountains and has a distinctive turquoise hue from glacial runoff that carries fine particles known as “rock flour.”
The lake’s color, along with the surrounding emerald forests, creates a surreal-looking landscape and a playground for outdoor enthusiasts.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is one of America’s—and the world’s—most iconic natural landmarks, so of course, it deserves a place on North American attractions that are worthy of a visit. The Grand Canyon has formed over millions of years and provides visitors with views that will truly leave you speechless.
Whether you’re gazing out at sunrise, descending into its depths for a rugged adventure, or simply taking in the vista from one of the numerous viewpoints, the Grand Canyon is a sight that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.
Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
The Great Smokey Mountains National Park is the most visited National Park in all of America, and its 14 million annual visitors will agree that it’s one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Nestled along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, with its towering peaks, lush forests, and abundance of wildlife, draws in adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. And if you’re after a North American attraction to explore, it should definitely be at the top of your list.
Havasu Falls, Arizona
While visiting the Grand Canyon, don’t forget to schedule a trip to Havasu Falls—a waterfall with cascading turquoise water and red rock formations that offer a vibrant contrast.
Lake Superior, Michigan
Lake Superior understandably earned its name from its sheer size, with over 31,000 square miles of water for its visitors to explore. However, although the lake itself is impressive, the surrounding area, the lake’s pristine islands, and its lighthouses are also a sight to see. Did you know that Lake Superior even has waves that can reach over 8 meters tall?
Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
Another North American lake that deserves a visit is Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is a popular recreation area that boasts crystal-clear waters, majestic peaks, and lush forests that suit both those in search of relaxation and adventure.
Painted Hills, Oregon
The Painted Hills in Oregon are a geological masterpiece that reveals layers of red, gold, and yellow across its hilly terrain. The colors of the rock in Painted Hills have formed over millions of years of the Earth’s evolution and truly come alive to offer one of the most unique landscapes in the world.
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
And if you liked the look of Painted Hills, you’ll definitely appreciate the beauty of the Vermilion Cliffs. The Vermilion Cliffs in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument have towering sandstone formations with vibrant reds, oranges, and purple hues. The area’s most iconic Coyote Buttes is The Wave which will make you feel like you’ve teleported to Mars. The rocks in the Vermilion Cliffs have formed thanks to years of wind and water erosion and have now created one of the most unique sights in all of North America.
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