25 Awesome Photos of the United States

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I write a lot about a lot of places on this site. From Iceland to Thailand to New Zealand, I've covered more than 30 countries spread across 4 continents on this blog.

But no matter how many amazing landscapes or temples or cities I see, I will always maintain that my home country is really special. The U.S. is HUGE and diverse, and there's more to see and do here than most people (Americans included!) realize.

Over the past couple of years, I've made a point of taking at least one (or two) big trips in the United States each year. And, the more I travel in the U.S., the more I realize just how much of it there is to see. I still haven't been to Yellowstone or New Orleans or the smaller states in New England. I have only seen a tiny slice of Texas, and have a huge amount of California left to explore. And then there are the places I always want to go back to — places like Savannah and Chicago and the whole of the Southwest.

Even though I have SO MUCH more to see, here are some of the highlights from my US travel so far, in photo form:

Monument Valley

When it comes to the American Southwest, I always tell people that Monument Valley is my favorite spot. It's not a national park — but only because it's a Navajo tribal park instead. Take your own car to drive the 17-mile loop, or book a tour with a local guide. You can even do hot air balloon rides here!

Monument Valley

Chilling in Dolores Park

If you're heading to San Francisco, don't skip the Mission District. More specifically, if it's a nice sunny day, don't skip Dolores Park, which is like a little oasis in the city.

Dolores Park in San Francisco

Matanuska Glacier

On one of my trips to Alaska, I got to go hiking on the Matanuska Glacier, not far from Anchorage. The face of this glacier is just unreal — looks like something straight out of a fantasy novel!

Matanuska Glacier in Alaska

Lake Erie beach sunset

As an Ohioan, I have a special relationship with Lake Erie. The great lake used to get a bad rap — but there are actually some gorgeous, tranquil beaches up here, like this one in Huron.

Lake Erie

Avenue of Oaks

There are quite a few former antebellum plantations in the Old South, but my favorite so far is Boone Hall, located just outside of Charleston in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The driveway leading up to the plantation house is known as the Avenue of Oaks, being lined with these massive moss-draped oak trees.

Avenue of Oaks

The Bean in Chicago

Chicago is one of my favorite large cities in the U.S., and no matter how many times I visit, I always find myself stopping by to see the Cloud Gate (AKA “The Bean”) sculpture in Millennium Park. It's just so COOL.

The Cloud Gate (AKA The Bean) in Chicago

White Sands in New Mexico

One of the biggest surprises in my travels in the U.S. has been New Mexico. The entire state is very pretty – often in a stark, desert-like way. One of the most underrated places has to be White Sands National Monument, a 275-square-mile field of gypsum sand dunes. This place is GORGEOUS.

White Sands National Monument

Hanauma Bay

Touristy as it is, snorkeling at Hanauma Bay is one of my must-dos in Honolulu. Doesn't this photo just scream Hawaii?

Hanauma Bay

Valley View

I visited Yosemite National Park for the first time a couple of years ago, and it remains my favorite national park in the U.S. Mostly thanks to views like this. (To read about Yosemite in winter, check out this blog post from My America Holiday.)

Valley View at Yosemite National Park

Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall

Washington, DC, is worth a visit for so many reasons — the memorials and museums being chief among them. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is striking in its simplicity, and I love this photo I took there last year, with an American flag reflected on the wall.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC

Grand Canyon

You definitely can't visit Arizona and NOT see the Grand Canyon. Here's a look at the South Rim (the more-visited side of the canyon) just before sunset.

Grand Canyon South Rim

Rainbow Row

If you want Southern Charm, go to Charleston — the city just oozes it. Take a carriage tour to see historical homes, go to the market, and be sure to take a stroll down the aptly-named “Rainbow Row.”

Rainbow Row in Charleston, South Carolina

Portland Head Light

If you find yourself in Maine, be sure to check out Portland Head Light, the state's most-photographed lighthouse.

Portland Head Light

Ohio winter

As much as I complain about winters in northeast Ohio, there's no denying that they are pretty darn beautiful sometimes. This was taken in my parents' backyard last year after an overnight snowstorm.

Ohio winter

Port of Skagway

The small Alaskan port of Skagway is in a pretty epic location, nestled in between mountains like this. The town itself feels like something out of the Old West — which is apt, since it was a gold mining town before it became a popular stop for cruise ships.

Port of Skagway in Alaska

Arches National Park

Utah is full of national parks filled with incredible rock formations. Arches National Park is the only one I've visited — so far. But it definitely left me wanting to see more.

Arches National Park in Utah

Strawberry Fields in Central Park

Instead of the typical shot of skyscrapers or Times Square, here's a shot of the memorial to John Lennon in New York City‘s Central Park. I love visiting this spot — there are always flowers laid out, and it feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.

Strawberry Fields in Central Park

Alamo Square Park

No visit to San Francisco would be complete without a visit to see the “Painted Ladies” — the string of pastel-colored Victorian homes that line one side of Alamo Square Park. From the far side of the park, you get a really cool view out over the city.

Alamo Square Park in San Francisco

Antelope Canyon

If you find yourself in northern Arizona (perhaps to visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon), don't skip the town of Page. Here you can visit Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon on Navajo land that is famous for its light beams. Visit in the summer for the best viewing.

Antelope Canyon

Half Dome

In Yosemite National Park, not everyone makes it up to Glacier Point. But I promise that the views are absolutely worth it! (And yes, you can drive up here… no rock climbing required!)

Half Dome HDR

Pittsburgh

This shot of the Duquesne Incline climbing up Mount Washington is one of my favorite photos from Pittsburgh. And Pittsburgh is one of my favorite cities in the U.S. It's usually underrated (and skipped) by most tourists, but it's well worth a visit.

Duquesne Incline in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

St. Joe Beach

Every few years, my family heads down to Florida's Gulf Coast for a reunion. We stay on this beach — possibly one of my favorite beaches in the whole world! The sand is soft and it's NEVER crowded.

St. Joe Beach in Florida

Cadillac Ranch

Okay, so this one doesn't quite fit in with the other epic landscapes and vistas in this post, but the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, is probably my favorite roadside attraction along old Route 66. You can bring a can of spraypaint and leave your mark on these half-buried old cars in the desert.

Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas

Bonaventure Cemetery

I LOVE old cemeteries. Call it creepy or morbid, but I find something beautiful in the crumbling statues and tombstones. Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia, is by far my favorite cemetery in the US. The old trees dripping with Spanish moss definitely add to the atmosphere.

Bonaventure Cemetery

American Falls

I may not have *technically* been in the U.S. when I took this shot, but it's of the American Falls at Niagara Falls, which lies in Niagara Falls State Park in New York. So I'm going to say it counts.

American Falls in Niagara Falls

Which photo makes you want to travel in the U.S. the most?

 

25 Awesome Photos of the United States

 

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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71 Comments on “25 Awesome Photos of the United States

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  1. Ohio winters ARE beautiful when there is snow. But pretty gross for the other 3/4 of the time when it’s just raining ice balls. Haha. And I’m an Ohioan so I’m allowed to say it. 😉

      Hahaha, SO true! Did you know that Ohio has 3 of the top 10 cloudiest cities in the US? And people wonder how I can love London despite its poor weather. 😉

    oh Portland headlight…. makes me homesick 🙂 I have not been to Yosemite but its definitely the first trip I’ll make when I’m back in the US. It looks amazing, as do ALL your Alaska photos

      Yosemite IS amazing! It’s somewhere I’ll definitely be going back to one day. And Alaska… I just can’t stay away! I’ve been there 3 times in the past 4 years!

    Yosemite National Park is my #1 place in the USA that I MUST. VISIT. Pretty stoked to see your gorgeous photos of it.

      It’s incredible, Lindsey! You won’t be disappointed. Spend a few days there if you can!

    Gorgeous photos! Good to see a couple from Alaska in there as I am heading there for the first time next summer and am already ridiculously excited! San Fran and Chicago are my two favourite cities in the US and I love Yosemite and Hawaii so great to see them too. The US is incredible in its diverse landscape and I will definitely be exploring more in the future.

      Alaska is definitely worth being ridiculously excited for! It’s pretty epic!

    These are truly awesome photos of US! There are so many people who ignore United States’ natural and outdoor beauty, but they should look at these photos!

      I agree, Renuka! The US is about so much more than just the big cities everybody’s heard about.

    I’ve not been to the US but really want to to! First up to see will definitely be the Grand Canyon!! Really awesome photos here!

      The Grand Canyon is a popular choice for lots of people visiting the US – and for good reason!

    Such a wonderful series! I can’t possibly begin to pick a favorite. You’re such a talented photographer, Amanda. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy travels 🙂

      Aww thanks Lauren! I’ve had the chance to travel so much in the US in the last few years that choosing photos for this post was really tough! So many more than I wanted to include.

    Ahh, the US 🙂 I have a particular liking of the States which basically arose after my high school semester in New York State back in 2008. I’ve only been at the East Coast so far but San Francisco it will be from 22 January 2015 on. I am super excited especially after having seen those two gorgeous pictures!

      San Francisco is an awesome city! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it (just be sure to bring lots of money with you… it’s NOT a cheap place!)

    I love reading posts about the US!! I never thought of visiting Pittsburgh, and it’s only a few hours away from me – haha. We took a road trip a few years ago and hit a lot of these spots. The geography is so different all over the US. 🙂

      The geography is SO different, even from state to state. And yes, definitely go to Pittsburgh! It’s become a really cool city over the last few decades!

    Awesome photos, Amanda! I’m constantly blown away by the geographic diversity of this country.

    It’s too that we always think beauty is over the fence. And these snaps prove that’s not the truth.

    Amazing snaps!

      So true! I’m constantly reminded of this every time I go somewhere new in the US.

    Out of your photos, I’d say going to Hawaii or Arizona is on the top of my list now! Being from the south, I haven’t explored much of the west (but I need to!) I agree that the US has so much more to offer than people realize, including people from there!

      The Southwest is just… AMAZING! That four-corners area where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado meet is pretty incredible. I think one of these years I’ll do a road trip just in that part of the country!

    That picture of Hawaii is amazing!

      It always makes me want to go back!

    amazing photos..but wheres vegas

      Only been there once, and didn’t take any really amazing photos there! 😉

    Oh my gosh, these are absolutely stunning! I want to pack up and go to Antelope Canyon this exact second. I just got an extreme case of wanderlust!

      Yay! Then this post was very successful. 😉

    Hi Amanda!

    Your travel blog is amazing and informative. I love the photos of the places you’ve been to. These photos are memories to last you a lifetime. The places you have been to and are going to see need not be forgotten. I can’t wait to read more about your travels and view your wonderful photos.

    You can actually share your photos and videos to more people. I discovered an awesome website that let’s you share pictures and videos and helps you remember specific locations you’ve traveled to.

    Have you ever taken photos on a trip only to get home and not be able to remember where you took “that” shot? http://www.Trailu.com is your Travel log, Travel Diary or travel companion. As long as your phone or camera is set as “GEO Tagging” or “Location Tagging” to ON, the GPS data of exactly where you took the photo will be decrypted from your photo and #Trailu.com will place your photo on your very own personal travel log map of the world so you can quickly and easily see every photo you’ve taken and exactly where it was taken.

    Just yesterday I was talking to my #travel buddy that I do a “blokes Trip” with once a year and I was looking at a photo that I swore was taken in Da Nang in Central Vietnam – But when I uploaded it, the GPS data said it was taken in Southern Vietnam and then I compared it to other photos the same day and yep, it was taken in Vung Tau in Southern Vietnam.

    Very powerful and totally FREE – I hope it is useful to you. It’s very user-friendly and you’ll never forget those wonderful places you’ve traveled to. Just create an account (quick and easy) and share your amazing photos for more people to see and enjoy.

    I really hope to see all your photos on the Trailu site!

    I’m going on a roadtrip in the states next year and this post gave me a few tips about where to go 🙂 Thanks!

      Great to hear, Helena! Ahhh, you’re gonna have such a great time! Road tripping really is the best way to see the US.

    My favorite is the Yosemite National park. If I see photos like that I just wanna pack my tent and go camping!
    And why does Pittsburgh reminds me of Wellington?

      Yosemite certainly does induce some serious wanderlust!

      And maybe Pittsburgh reminds you of Wellington because of the water and the red cable car? It’s also a bit hilly like Welly. 🙂

    These photos are great! I got to do a bit of train travel in the U.S. this summer and I spent most of my time just staring out the window. There were some beautiful landscapes on the stretch between NYC and Chicago. I’d love to do a road trip sometime!

      You really should head out west sometime if you really want to see some awesome landscapes! Road trips are the best – though train travel across the US would be pretty cool, too!

    I’m drooling over these lovely photos! I haven’t been to America, but I would love to go there soon! I’ll put this link on my Pinterest accunt as a reminder 😀

      There’s definitely lots to see here!

    Amazing cross-section of the full breadth of American landscapes … I need to do an epic road trip through the USA someday!

      I highly, highly recommend it!

    Lovely pictures, Amanda. I have traveled to many beautiful places in my life and I agree, the good old USA offers many marvelous photo ops. I’m a third generation Northern California girl, but as a University of Oregon graduate, I hope you enjoy your travels to Oregon and Washington. P.S. I have several “things to see and do” on my blog if you make it to central Oregon. What a trip!

      Thanks, Nancy! I’m definitely hoping to make this Oregon trip work in the spring! It’s a state I really want to explore!

    I tried to chose the best place.. but no way! each destination is more beautiful than another..
    I love the States. Now these photos provokes me really hard.. I just want to jump out of my bed and run to the airport to catch the first airplane to USA 🙂

      I really love the United States, too!

    For sure my favorite is the Yosemite National Park 🙂

      It’s my favorite national park in the US!

    These are great Amanda! highly inspiring to hit the states!

    Amazing photos! The US really is a huge country with a lot to see and do, even in our own backyards! Thanks for sharing these!

      Yes, I think people usually tend to think about all the cities in the US, but forget about everything else in between!

    I love all the national park and landscapes photos. Antelope Canyon is on my bucket list!

      Definitely bucket list-worthy! Those light beams are such an amazing sight.

    I’m from Europe and plan on visiting US next year with some of my friends and I got the task of making a list with potential destinations and things to do. Your articles saved me, thanks a lot Amanda!

      Great to hear, Peter! If you need any more tips, just let me know!

    I love them all. But my favorite is Avenue of Oaks. I would love to see those. My dad is originally from Ohio and he hates Ohio winters. He is happy to live in the South. LOL!!!

      Haha well I don’t blame him – the weather in Ohio can be pretty brutal!

    26 and youve seen so many places already! I have a lot to catch up!! How did you find all these great scenic spots?!! Which camera do you use in these travels??

      I’m actually 28 now, but still – definitely lots of places in just 28 years!

      I’ve been shooting with an Olympus mirrorless camera for the last few years – currently have an E-P2. 🙂

    Those are absolutely gorgeous. I have done almost half of those and ways to go to finish up the work.

      Thanks very much, Marc! 🙂

    Stunning photos, Amanda!

    We’ve seen some of these places and we’ve completely fallen in love with them, especially Yosemite and Hawaii! Where we haven’t been, but it’s a big dream to get there once is Alaska.
    Oh and the Avenue of Oaks – every picture we see about it makes us want to go and see South Carolina. Amazing how many places you’ve been to already. 🙂

      I’ve been to just over half the US states, and yet there are still so many amazing places I haven’t been!

    All pictures looks really beautiful. Thanks for this informative post. My dream is to travel the best and famous place in the world. And I am really glad I have found your blog.
    Thanks

    All of these places look awesome, especially Rainbow Row! The colours are fantastic and I’m just in love with that horse and cart!

      And taking a carriage tour in Charleston was really fun!

    Fantastic list. From the Bean in Chicago to highlighting Ohio winters to the classics of Yosemite National Park this list is creative. Everyone should experience a lake effect snowfall event there’s nothing like it anywhere else on the planet. Simply magical.

      It certainly is something memorable!

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