If you have a taste for adventure and an appreciation of the natural world, there are many places around the country to explore. These scenic views, all located within the continental United States, are easy to get to. If you haven’t yet ventured into America’s backyard, here are some suggestions for where to start.
Horseshoe Bend, near Page, Arizona
This u-shaped bend in the Colorado River was naturally constructed when the land under the meandering river was lifted up by the earth’s tectonic forces, thus forming Glen Canyon in the bedrock and Jurassic sandstone. You can reach this view via tours out of the town of Page, or you can park at the lot between milestones 544 and 545 on Highway 89 and walk about three-quarters of a mile
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
As the prairie grasses softly whisper in the breeze, you will be astounded by the geologic formations at Badlands National Park, accessible off Highway 240 at Cedar Pass. The Badlands were formed millions of years ago when sedimentary rock was created in varying layers, followed by erosion from the Cheyanne River, starting half a million years ago. These natural occurrences have given the towering structure a striped pattern to let you can see the passage of time in the rock itself.
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
This gem of the mid-Atlantic region is bursting with the picturesque tranquility of homes and farms nestled between mountains and oceans of green grass. If you visit during springtime, you can enjoy the beauty of hundreds of species of wildflowers. During mid-to-late fall, the vibrant foliage creates a kaleidoscope image of yellows, oranges, and reds. Get a front-row view of the show from Skyline Drive, which you can pick up from Route 340 in the north near Front Royal, or from the south, where it intersects with US 250 near I-64 in Rockfish Gap.
Drive south to the Keys from Miami, and you will be treated to the most stunning vista in Florida. The Overseas Highway is the 113-mile stretch of Route 1 that the Federal Highway Administration has named an All-American Road, the only one in the state of Florida. Take in the blues and greens of the Atlantic Ocean as you cross each of the highway’s 37 bridges, and marvel at the lush tropical flora of each of the Keys. Just look out for the deer, especially on Big Pine and No Name Key.
The United States has multitudes of scenic views that will take your breath away. Some are right in your own backyard. But even if you have to travel to see them, it’s worth it. These spots are full of wonder and offer the perfect opportunity to slow down and appreciate the view.
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