A country as large as the United States is bound to have a cornucopia of breathtaking scenery, and you’ll find something special in every single state in the country. From the snowy mountain peaks in Washington to the white sandy shores of Florida and everywhere in between, “America the Beautiful” is more than just a patriotic anthem.
Some of the most beautiful states in America stand out among the rest with their sweeping nature scenes, impressive man-made metropolises, and all-around splendor that is hard to match.
If you’re looking for beauty, our list of the top 30 most beautiful states in American will give you some insight into some of the most stunning spots.
Table of Contents
- 1. California
- 2. Montana
- 3. Hawaii
- 4. Alaska
- 5. Utah
- 6. Washington
- 7. Colorado
- 8. Arizona
- 9. Florida
- 10. Oregon
- 11. Michigan
- 12. Wyoming
- 13. Tennessee
- 14. Maine
- 15. North Carolina
- 16. Idaho
- 17. Nevada
- 18. Minnesota
- 19. New York
- 20. South Dakota
- 21. South Carolina
- 22. New Mexico
- 23. Maryland
- 24. Vermont
- 25. Virginia
- 26. Massachusetts
- 27. Texas
- 28. Rhode Island
- 29. Georgia
- 30. Pennsylvania
California has earned the #1 spot on our list simply because of its incredible diversity. Whether you’re looking for sun-kissed sand beaches, thick verdant forests, or mountainous desert scenery, you’ll find all that and more in the Golden State.
California is full of charming cities, each with their own distinct vibe. In the north, the city of San Francisco is a hipster mecca with a tantalizing coffee scene, while further south you’ll find the mid-century modern architecture and ritzy nightlife of Palm Springs.
You’ll come across cozy beach towns, star studded cities, and captivating views along the iconic Highway 101 that connects everything in between
The state’s natural scenery is even more impressive than its array of vibrant towns. North-central California is brimming with hills, vineyards, towering redwoods, and large swaths of national parks and forests.
The south is just as impressive with its dramatic desert and rugged mountain ranges.
You may need quite a long time to explore all the treasures of California, but a good place to start is by checking out the Top 10 Largest California Cities.
Montana is full of wide open spaces, majestic mountain scenery, and enchanting ranch towns. It’s also one of the most criminally underrated states, though Glacier National Park certainly gets its fair share of attention.
Even if you’re just driving through the Going-to-the-Sun Road, you’ll catch sight of snow capped peaks, crystal clear glacial lakes, evergreen forests, and maybe even some wildlife.
The state has many unofficial nicknames, but the most popular (and perhaps the most fitting) is “Big Sky Country”. The blue skies are complemented by the sprawling prairies and glorious mountains by day, but at night is when it really comes alive with the help of millions of twinkling stars.
Montana’s cities are also what makes it one of the most beautiful states in America, from the architecturally pleasing Helena to the artsy university city of Missoula and all the small towns in between.
It’s hard to match the absolutely awe-inspiring scenery of Hawaii, and there’s no doubt that it’s one of the most beautiful states in America.
Each of the islands boasts incredible natural wonders, including mountain top waterfalls, gorgeous smoking volcanoes, black sand beaches, and freshwater caves. Experience its beauty by hiking through the lush, rugged mountainside, snorkeling along the coastline, or laying on the beach and taking it all in.
Some of the most stunning areas include Waipio Valley, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and Maui’s Waianapanapa State Park.
You can fully embrace the island lifestyle by learning to surf, drinking copious amounts of local coffee, or simply appreciating the abundance of nature that Hawaii provides.
Alaska is a top contender for the most beautiful state in America, and is definirely worth a visit – even if it is a bit further away than most other states.
This state is home to some of the most dramatic landscapes in the country, with snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes, and dramatic fjords.
The most impressive landscapes in Alaska can only be reached with a combination of insider knowledge and immense dedication, but those who put in the effort will reap the rewards of having some of this gorgeous unspoiled nature all to themselves.
That being said, there are plenty of accessible nature areas around the state, with some of the favorites being:
- Denali National Park and Preserve
- Kenai Fjords National Park
- Glacier Bay National Park
The capital city of Juneau is one of the most beautiful in Alaska, and from here you can embark on a variety of outdoor adventures, from whale watching tours and glacier climbing to dog sledding and all-inclusive cruises.
Don’t forget to check out the Top 10 Best Places In Alaska To See The Northern Lights!
With no less than 5 national parks, Utah is easily one of the most beautiful states in America – especially for those who love dramatic natural landscapes.
Mother nature carved Utah with a creative flourish that isn’t found anywhere else in the country, with jagged hoodoos, magnificent rock formations, and otherworldly canyons that’ll take your breath away. If you can only visit one of its national parks, we recommend Zion, and its soaring red cliffs.
There are a large collection of lavish spa resorts and charming mountain towns up north, and Utah’s lush mountainous areas offer a stark contrast to the red rocks of the desert parks.
In the winter, you’ll find these slopes teeming with skiers and snowboarders from all around the world, while in the summer, the hills bloom with wildflowers.
The cities here boast some of the most impressive skylines in the world with its capital, Salt Lake City, at the forefront. It’s also a great place to kick off some of the Best Day Trips in Utah
Whether you’re looking for a romantic weekend getaway, a mesmerizing national park to hike through, or a new city to explore, Utah checks all the boxes.
Washington’s nickname is well-earned; the Evergreen State is one of the most beautiful in America. The whole state is one vast outdoor playground, with the capital city of Seattle being the gateway to it all.
It may rain a lot, but locals know that these frequent showers give life to the lush vegetation that forests the surrounding mountains. There are 3 national parks on the outskirts of the city, and even Seattle natives have a hard time exploring all of this verdant territory in their lifetime.
No matter which direction you head, the stunning views will follow. To the west, the Olympic Peninsula is carpeted in lush forests and sprawling meadows, while to the east, the rolling hills of the Palouse are simply awe-inspiring.
Washington is truly all about the great outdoors, so whether you’re hiking in the Cascades, mountain biking through the Puget Sound, or looking for whales on your way out to the San Juan Islands, you’ll be surrounded by the incredible scenery that only nature can provide.
No stranger on most lists concerning America’s most beautiful states, Colorado lives up to (and often surpasses) its prestigious reputation.
The state’s main claim to fame is the epic Rocky Mountain National Park, and the incredible backdrop the mountains provide is truly jaw-dropping. You’ll find nothing but postcard-perfect views, miles of hiking trails, beautiful blue lakes, and some stunning scenic drives.
Scenic vistas can be found around the whole state, including world-famous ski resorts, quaint mountain towns, the towering Great Sand Dunes National Park, and the tranquil oasis of Glenwood Springs and Colorado Springs.
Colorado’s vibrant cities add their own flair to this outdoor wonderland as well. The capital city of Denver boasts an impressive skyline and a contagiously fun atmosphere, while smaller cities like Georgetown and Estes Park are equally as beautiful.
Renowned for the aptly named Grand Canyon, Arizona is one of America’s most beautiful states. Arizona is the epitome of the American southwest, with incredible red buttes, painted desserts, and an astonishing 325 days of sunshine each year.
Some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes include the Instagram-worthy Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, the iconic Monument Valley, and Sedona’s red rocks.
For more incredible views, take a scenic drive along the historic Route 66, spend a night stargazing in Flagstaff, or hit up one of the state’s 16 national monuments. You’ll also find Affordable Snowbird Destinations in Arizona as well.
If you’re looking to fully realize your Wild West fantasies, a stopover in Jerome, Bisbee, Buckeye, or Tombstone should do the trick. Those looking to unwind and wash off all the dust can relax in Arizona Hot Springs or any of the other numerous hot springs located around the state.
If you’re looking for sunshine, then look no further than America’s own “Sunshine State”. With so much coastline, it’s no surprise that Florida’s beaches constitute many of the state’s most beautiful areas.
The soft sand beaches can be found on both the Gulf and Pacific coasts, and neither one is more inherently beautiful than the other. You’ll find gorgeous beaches to suit whatever you’re looking for – including:
When it comes to beautiful beaches and unmatchable scenery, the Florida Keys are the state’s real gems. This little chain of islets off of the south coast is teeming with stunning views, luxurious beaches, and colorful coral reefs that are great for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Florida’s iconic Everglades is the largest subtropical wilderness in the world, and these mysterious wetlands are a fascinating sight to see. The colonial city of St. Augustine is one of the most beautiful in the state, and the magical city of Orlando and ritzy glamour of Miami shouldn’t be missed.
Rounding out the west coast entries on our list of the 30 most beautiful states in America is the verdant oasis of Oregon. Few places in the world offer such diverse natural splendor, and nature lovers would be hard-pressed to find a state with more green areas.
Striking contrasts abound, from the serene shores of the crystal clear Crater Lake and the jagged cliffs that surround it to the lush vineyards that dot the northwestern part of the state.
Its rugged coastline and beautiful beaches are extremely picturesque, and if you’re lucky, you might spot migrating whales or seals playing on the rocks.
Oregon is also home to some beautiful cities. Portland is a must-see destination for nature lovers and foodies alike, and you’ll find beautiful parks rubbing shoulders with hip eateries, along with more craft breweries than you could possibly hope to indulge in.
There are also a plethora of charming small towns in Oregon, including from sleepy beach town and historic country communities that were once a part of the Oregon Trail.
The Midwest gem that is Michigan is one of the most beautiful in America. It should come as no great surprise that the “Great Lakes State” (which has coastline on 4 of the 5 Great Lakes) is teeming with picture-perfect scenery and a myriad of idyllic islands.
No matter the season, you’ll find Michigan natives braving the weather to spend time in these beautiful nature areas, and you’ll find pods of anglers cozied up in fish houses along the inland lakes even when the snow is knee-high.
Head to Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula for some of the most beautiful scenery in the state, specifically the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. These colorful sandstone formations jut out over the vibrant blue waters and make for a beautiful picture.
More postcard-perfect views await along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore along Lake Michigan. and after you’ve seen the massive sand dunes and marveled at the lush forest kissing the shoreline, you can make your way to the charming Traverse City, nearby.
Other towns that shouldn’t be missed include Ann Arbor, which serves up small-town America vibes wholeheartedly, and the old-fashioned Mackinac Island (so old-fashioned, in fact, that you’ll find no cars here).
As you make your way across this beautiful state, you’ll encounter jagged mountain tops, lush meadows, and historic farms. Moulton Barn, in particular, is actually worth seeking out for a hauntingly beautiful photoshoot.
Of course, the main draw to Wyoming is the world-famous Yellowstone National Park. This volcanic hot spot is gushing with geysers and full to the brim with verdant forests, dramatic canyons, and lovely alpine rivers.
Often overshadowed by the ever-popular Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park is also a worthy stopping point for those looking to explore a bit of Wyoming’s beautiful nature.
Home to the country’s most visited national park, Tennessee is one of the most beautiful states in America.
Of course, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is exquisite – especially in the autumn, when the fall foliage is in full effect. Take some time to hike on the Appalachian Trail or any of the other hundreds of paths that traverse the park, discover the historic Cades Cove, or take a scenic drive up along the Newfound Gap road for some of the most epic views in the entire park.
Tennessee’s centrally located Cumberland Plateau is home to the world’s second-largest underwater lake, and this little-known attraction is simply stunning.
Located inside of the Craighead Caverns, the Lost Sea looks like something out of a sci-fi movie – and exploring the lake via glass-bottomed boat is something you’re not likely to forget anytime soon.
On Tennessee’s western border you’ll find the majestic Mississippi River – and a scenic boat ride is basically compulsory when you’re in this neck of the woods.
Located at the tippy top of the east coast, Maine is more than just lobster rolls and lighthouse photo ops (though there are, admittedly, plenty of both). This state is one of the most beautiful in America, though it often flies under the radar.
You’ll find rocky coastlines, pebbly beaches, and countless offshore islands that make sailing one of the most popular pastimes. There’s also an abundance of hiking trails around Maine, the most notable being the Appalachian Trail.
Picnics with wine along the scenic coastline are part of Maine’s culture during the summer months, and some of the best places include the charming towns of Camden, Rockland, and Bar Harbor.
15. North Carolina
From soft sand beaches to towering mountain peaks, North Carolina is a state that seemingly has it all! You’ll have your choice of scenery to choose from in this beautiful state, but one of the main draws to North Carolina is the Great Smokies National Park.
You’ll have similar views to those on Tennessee’s park side, but one thing that gives North Carolina the upper hand is the incredibly scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. You can get out and stretch your legs along the Appalachian Trail, or grab lunch in the historic city of Asheville, which acts as the gateway to the Great Smokies.
Those hoping to work on their tan can head to the gorgeous shores of the Outer Banks, though if you’re looking to avoid the crowds you might want to check out the other 10 Best Lakes For Swimming In North Carolina.
Often overshadowed by its more popular neighbors, Idaho is actually one of the most beautiful states in America – and you’ll find more here than potatoes.
Desert and sagebrush landscape dominates much of the scenery, but the stunning mountainous backdrop is what really makes this place stick out.
Idaho is all about unspoiled wilderness, and you’ll find endless opportunities for hiking, skiing, camping, fishing, and kayaking. There are also over 30 state parks in Idaho, and even a road trip through the state will leave you in awe.
Don’t hesitate to visit Idaho City and Stanley for an urban hot spring experience and all the craft beer your heart could desire. Boise is another city worth a visit, as it’s a great gateway to tons of amazing day trips.
The beautiful state of Nevada is teeming with gorgeous scenery that’ll have every outdoor lover swooning. If you can look past the fanfare of Sin City, you’ll find a treasure trove of diverse topography and some of the country’s best natural wonders.
For starters, Lake Tahoe and its dazzling blue waters are a sight you simply must see. You can drive around the edge, hike up the surrounding mountains for sweeping views across the water, or go for a paddle along the glassy surface of the lake.
More stunning landscapes await at Valley of Fire State Park, a sharp contrast to the alpine lake scenery. This hidden gem is defined by swirling red rock formations, petroglyphs and plenty of hiking trails.
Rock climbers shouldn’t miss Red Rock Canyon and its towering limestone formations, while those looking for a relaxing experience can head into Reno or the lush meadows of Ruby Valley and soak in the natural hot springs that abound in this area.
The Midwest never gets enough attention when it comes to choosing the most beautiful states in America, but after some time in Minnesota, you’ll be singing this northern state’s praises.
In the land of 10,000 lakes, you’ll find an abundance of wilderness, beautiful cities, and a gateway to many day trips from Minnesota that are worth stopping by.
Start your trip in Duluth, located on the scenic shores of Lake Superior, for some of the best wilderness areas in the state. You’ll find state parks all the way up the lake’s coastline.
Minneapolis and St. Paul, also known as the Twin Cities, are also incredibly beautiful. The handsome architecture and modern melting pot of the twin cities create a vibe unlike any other city in the country. Add that to the scenic river views of the Mississippi and you’ve got yourself a recipe for one heck of a beautiful place.
19. New York
The state of New York is so much more than just “the Big Apple”, and some might be surprised that it made it onto our list of the top 30 most beautiful states – but New York locals and anyone else who has explored other parts of the state know that it’s full of incredible natural beauty.
New York is home to the Adirondacks and the Catskills mountain ranges, and in the valleys of the peaks you’ll find charming small towns, lovely rivers, and fall foliage shows that’ll take your breath away.
New York also has coastlines on three magnificent bodies of water including Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Some of the most fantastic vistas in New York can be found in its large collection of state parks, with Green Lakes State Park and Letchworth State Park being some of the favorites.
Of course, Niagara Falls is another stunning sight that shouldn’t be missed. This massive waterfall is even more stunning in the autumn when the leaves begin to change color.
New York City usually hogs all the attention, and it’s definitely worth a visit, but you should also check out the state’s true capital, Albany. This historic city is full of old-time charm, and you can bet that it’s never as crowded as the city that never sleeps.
20. South Dakota
Another state that never quite gets the hype it deserves is South Dakota – home of the iconic Mount Rushmore and some of the most scenic spots in the country.
The Badlands are actually where some of the best views will be found, contrary to the misnomer. This national park is filled with dramatic landscapes of rocky crags, colorful canyons, and towering spires. There are endless lookout points, hiking trails, and wildlife in the park as well.
Custer State Park and the surrounding Black Hills constitute another one of the most beautiful areas in South Dakota, comprised of sprawling forests, towering mountains, deep caves, and beautiful blue lakes.
21. South Carolina
Steeped in history, beautiful coastal towns, and all the southern charm you could possibly hope to experience, South Carolina is one of the most beautiful states. The much-loved city of Charleston calls this state home.
This incredibly scenic coastal city boasts historic colonial architecture, unique culture, and most importantly, a beautiful stretch of sand.
Hilton Head Island is a lovely little beach town, as is Myrtle Beach, Kiawah Island, and Folly Beach. Be sure to book your stays well in advance as this coastline fills up fast in the summer.
Aiken and the capital city of Columbia are also worth a visit, and this vibrant metropolis is full of lush gardens, good eats, and plenty of history.
22. New Mexico
New Mexico’s nickname is the “Land of Enchantment”, and there are plenty of surreal vistas here that’ll leave you spellbound. From its otherworldly rock formations to glistening white sand dunes and everything in between, New Mexico should be on the bucket list for everyone searching for the most beautiful state in America.
Some of the must-see areas include the dramatic cliffs of Ghost Ranch, the mystifying cave system of the Carlsbad Caverns, and the breathtaking (if not terrifying) Taos Gorge Bridge. The lush valley of Valles Caldera is another beautiful area that provides a stark contrast from the rest of the arid landscape.
The Blue Hole in Santa Rosa is a great place to take a dip, and its balmy blue waters never manage to sink below 60 degrees. The hole is an impressive 80 feet deep, drawing in scuba divers from all over the country to explore its mystifying depths.
Dominated by the natural beauty of Chesapeake Bay, Maryland is a stunning state that is somehow missed by many in search of the most beautiful state.
If it’s the classic charm of Chesapeake Bay you’re seeking, the views from the Chesapeake City Bridge will likely leave you swooning. Other postcard-perfect views await you in Harpers Ferry, and the Maryland Heights Trail just outside of town will give you the best views of it.
The Assateague Island National Seashore will give you straight-up fairytale vibes, complete with wild ponies and gorgeous white sand – while the Calvert Cliffs of Lusby make for some great bird watching and fossil digging.
Perhaps one of the best places to take in the autumn color shows is the beautiful state of Vermont. Covered from head to toe in rolling hills, picturesque villages, and scenic byways, Vermont makes for a seriously epic road trip.
For the best fall foliage, don’t miss the tiny town of Stowe, who’s lovely white church is perhaps the most photographed building in the state.
Quechee Gorge State Park is another great place to visit when hunting for great views, as is the charming town of Woodstock and the capital city of Burlington.
Burlington is the least populated state capital in the country, but its mouth-watering culinary scene and beautiful vistas over Lake Champlain may have you wanting to stay forever. There are also tons of fun day trips from Burlington that you won’t want to miss.
With one edge of the state on the scenic shores of the Atlantic and the other tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia is one of the most beautiful states in America.
The sandy shores of Antigua Island boast both beautiful views and wild ponies while, the best mountain views can be taken in from one of the many vineyards that dot the countryside with a glass of wine in hand.
If you’d like to get a bit closer to nature while in Virginia, the Shenandoah National Park will take you up into the clouds and provide stunning views of the valleys below. You can hike through this beautiful area, or take a scenic ride along the aptly named Skyline Drive.
The New England states are some of the most beautiful in America, and Massachusetts is no exception. Boasting charming villages, vast stretches of scenic shoreline, and breathtaking mountain views, this state has a little something for everyone.
The famous Cape Cod and its surrounding islands are some of the best places to visit, with idyllic villages, vineyards, and the deep blue sea.
To get a local feel and avoid the crowds, head down the cape between Bourn Bridge and Provincetown, or check out the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Rolling hills and beautiful fall foliage make this a great place for a scenic drive, and you’ll find plenty of hiking trails along the way should you wish to get out and stretch out your legs.
Of course, a trip to Massachusetts wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Boston – and this historic city is brimming with beautiful views over the harbor and a no-nuance approach to its incredibly interesting past.
We all know that everything is bigger in Texas, and in some areas, everything is more beautiful too. Although Texas isn’t the first state that comes to mind when considering beauty, you’ll find a plethora of large cities and gorgeous state parks sprinkled around the state.
Big Bend National Park is one of the best examples of Texas’ diverse landscape, and here you’ll find deep canyons, ancient limestone cliffs, and even a natural hot spring.
One of the coolest areas in the park is the Santa Elena Canyon, a breathtaking place where you can kayak, canoe, or raft down the stream while taking in views of the towering cliffs that surround the rapids.
Rockport Beach is one of the most beautiful areas on the Texan coast. Although it doesn’t get the same attention as some of the better-known stretches of sand like San Padre, the isolation makes it all the more beautiful.
The verdant Gorman Falls also deserve to be mentioned, if only for the comparison of how diverse Texas truly is.
28. Rhode Island
In stark contrast to Texas, Rhode Island proves that size isn’t everything. This tiny state is one of the most beautiful in the country, with colonial villages, soft stretches of sand, and opulent cliff front mansions making up much of the scenery.
The capital city of Providence is one of the oldest in the nation – and it’s handsome historic architecture also makes it one of the most beautiful. Other charming towns that shouldn’t be missed include Newport, Bristol, and Jamestown.
Block Island brings more depth to Rhode Island, with its dramatic bluffs and national wildlife refuge that adds to the state’s list of lovely areas.
If Georgia is on your mind, don’t hesitate to visit this beautiful state! There’s so much more to this southern state than the sprawling metropolis of Atlanta, and you’ll find sweeping nature areas and a hefty dose of southern hospitality that’ll likely have you coming back again and again.
The Blue Ridge Mountains are really the star of the show when it comes to nature, and if you visit the small towns that surround them, you’ll be spoiled with local craft beer, mouth-watering restaurants, and a large collection of beautiful wineries.
The Chattahoochee National Forest is another beautiful place to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city, and you’ll find plenty of hiking trails and scenic lookouts that will keep you breathless for hours on end.
Although it boasts two of America’s greatest cities (Pittsburgh and Philadelphia), there’s more to Pennsylvania than impressive skylines.
The nature here is simply phenomenal, with unspoiled scenery abounds. The glacial lakes of the Pocono Mountains, the waterfalls of Ricketts Glen State Park, and the tranquil shorelines of Lake Eerie all make this one of the most beautiful states in America – especially when autumn rolls around.
You’ll also find a host of charming villages sprinkled throughout the state, from Amish settlements to Dutch communities. There’s not much you won’t love about Pennsylvania!