Picking the most impressive panoramas in the United States is no easy feat – from mountains to desert, forest to streams, the country's abundance of showstopping views could make even the most jaded traveler weak at the knees. Here are nine of the finest vistas from coast to coast. 

The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from the Marin County Headlands on a sunny clear day, with bright green grass in the foreground
Golden Gate Bridge is best seen from the Marin Headlands © somchaij/Getty Images

Golden Gate Bridge – California

An iconic landmark indelibly associated with the City by the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge stretches 1.7 miles across the Golden Gate Strait, connecting San Francisco to Marin County. Whether it’s shrouded in fog or standing tall on a crystal-clear day, the 1930s-era art deco marvel one of the country’s can’t-miss sights, and the best perspective is from the Marin Headlands, with the city’s skyline as a backdrop. Bonus: from there it’s an easy jaunt to the Pacific Coast Highway, a legendarily scenic route with jaw-dropping views of its own.

Scenic View Of Grand Canyon National Park Against Sky During Sunset
At sunset, the Grand Canyon reflects the colors of the sky © Erik Avent/EyeEm/Getty Images

Grand Canyon – Arizona

The Grand Canyon has to be one of the most photographed sites in the world, but there’s no way pictures can do it justice – as impressive as they may be. Located in northwest Arizona, the mile-deep, 18-mile-wide geological stunner is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and for good reason: between its immense scale and its colorful layers of rock, it’s unlike anything else in the US.

A scenic view of the Overseas Highway, stretching out over turquoise waters in Islamorada, Florida
Part of the Overseas Highway, the Florida Keys's Seven Mile Bridge coasts just above the water © Reese Lassman / EyeEm/Getty Images

Overseas Highway – Florida

The Overseas Highway covers 113 miles from Miami to the Florida Keys, weaving its way from island to island and town to town between the azure waters of the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. Some sections of the road are nondescript, but views from the famous Seven Mile Bridge are positively postcard-esque, especially if you’re riding shotgun – or cycling, jogging, or strolling along the old bridge, which runs parallel to its modern, vehicles-only counterpart.

North American elks resting in a Rocky Mountain meadow in Colorado, United States.
Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best-known places to check out the massive range ©welcomia/Shutterstock

Rocky Mountains – Colorado

It’s near impossible to hear the words “Rocky Mountains” without humming a little John Denver, and when you set eyes on the peaks that inspired the tune, it’s not hard to see why they provoked such an homage. A massive collection of individual ranges spanning some 3,000 miles from Canada to New Mexico, the Rockies are truly a sight to behold. Although they’re well-represented in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park is perhaps the best-known place to check them out.

Diablo Lake at sunrise in North Cascades National Park, Washington, USA
North Cascades National Park was designed to be a wilderness park, and it lives up to its billing © Checubus/Shutterstock

North Cascades National Park – Washington

A wilderness park near the Canadian border, Washington State’s North Cascades National Park is a hiker’s paradise, offering almost 400 miles of trails, from accessible paths to expert-level treks. With more than 300 glaciers, 125-plus alpine lakes, and plenty of deep verdant valleys in between, this “mountainous ecosystem,” as the official site describes it, boasts some of the most pristine landscapes in the Pacific Northwest. 

Breaching humpback whale against snow-capped mountains seen in the distance in Glacier Bay, Alaska.
The rich marine waters of Glacier Bay support an array of wildlife, including the humpback whales that come to feed in summertime © Betty Wiley/Getty Images

Glacier Bay – Alaska

Alaska’s remote Glacier Bay is at once an internationally protected biosphere reserve and a Unesco World Heritage site, with fjords, forests, glaciers, mountains, and a rich marine environment that fosters an ecologically diverse array of wildlife. In the national park, which comprises 3.3 million acres, black and brown bears thrive on shore, harbor seals sun themselves on the floating ice, humpbacks arrive to feed in the summer, and hundreds of species of birds nest in the vicinity. Explore by boat to take it all in.

The Blue Ridge Mountains at twilight, as seen from Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.
Part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains © Dennis Govoni/Getty Images

Blue Ridge Parkway – Virginia and North Carolina

Covering nearly 500 miles of ground, the Blue Ridge Parkway winds through Appalachia, past farmland, historic heritage sites, and lush spreads of forest on its way from Virginia to North Carolina. It’s a drive bookended by beauty: on the northern end, there are breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive, and the southern end stops just short of the Great Smokies, where dazzling mountain vistas abound.

Sunlight coming through Partition Arch in Arches National Park, Utah
Partition is one of Arches National Park's 2,000-plus red sandstone formations © Anton Foltin/Shutterstock

Arches National Park – Utah

Located in eastern Utah, just north of Moab near the Colorado River, Arches National Park has very distinctive look, with thousands of red sandstone arches, millions of years old and naturally occurring – the highest density of such formations in the world. The park is open 24 hours a day year-round, and the rocks glisten at sunrise, so get there early if you can. 

A landscape view of Niagara Falls in the spring or summer, as seen from the US side
Niagara Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world © lucky-photographer/Alamy Stock Photo

Niagara Falls – New York 

Straddling the border between the US and Canada, Niagara Falls is composed of three sets of falls: Horseshoe, American, and Bridal Veil, all of which combine to send over more than 1,000 metric tonnes of water per second. From the Ontario side, the vistas are panoramic in scope, with all three sets of falls – and rainbows galore – in view. But from the American side, you feel the mighty power of the water rushing by – so much so that you might want to grab hold of the railing, just in case.

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