The Top 10 Outdoor Vacation Spots in the U.S.
To experience the most breathtaking sights across America, pack your car for a road trip to one of these outdoor destinations. With natural hiking trails, blooming wildflowers, and larger-than-life landmarks, you'll discover the best vacations are in America's backyard.
With over 2,500 stone and red rock edifices, Arches National Park is the ideal vacation for a scenic hike that's almost surreal. This site provides an abundance of walking trails with towering stone (as well as several Instagram-worthy stops along the way). For a view that appears to defy gravity, don't miss the walk to Balanced Rock or the North Window Arch while you're there. Both are easy hikes and well worth the stroll through this red rock wonderland.
2. Cadillac Mountain in Bar Harbor, Maine
Maine is known for all its gorgeous rolling mountains, but Cadillac Mountain is a particularly special spot. In America, it's the very first place you can see the sunrise from mid-October until early March. This secluded island offers more than a stunning view, though. With several hiking trails ranging from an easy stroll to professional-level climbs, there's a way for everyone to enjoy an active experience.
3. Gap Cave in Middlesboro, Kentucky
Located in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, this cave showcases a breathtaking collection of striking stalagmites, mineral formations, and flowstone cascades. As tour guides provide a look at the underground cavern, backpackers and tourists can take photos of the shimmering stone and waterfalls.
4. Hurricane Ridge in Port Angeles, Washington
If you're not interested in lacing up hiking boots but still want a stunning view, drive straight to the summit of Hurricane Ridge. The ride is just as scenic as the final destination, with plenty of mountain wildflowers and animals along the way. Be sure to keep your eyes open for Olympic marmots -- a type of squirrel that's unique to Washington and known to inhabit this area.
5. Mount Rainier in Ashford, Washington
The best season to visit this volcano site is summertime -- when wildflowers are in full bloom. The lush meadows fill with shades of pink, red, yellow, blue, and orange as the flowers burst across the meadows. For a view you won't forget, be sure to visit Paradise Valley, where Calypso orchids and magenta Indian paintbrush are known to grow.
6. Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone, Wyoming
This Yellowstone National Park icon is fondly referred to as "Eternity's Timepiece" because of its predictability in eruptions. While some of the park's other geysers are larger, Old Faithful draws a crowd because of its frequency. Odds are, if you wait around an hour, you'll be able to see the boiling hot water spurt from Old Faithful's vent.
7. Place of a Thousand Drips in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
This waterfall, tucked in the rolling hills of the Smoky Mountains, is one of the area's best-kept secrets. The waterfall is named for the many rocks the water must cascade over, often leaving it perpetually dripping. Over time, the water has carved several paths into the stone, creating the illusion of many small waterfalls. Tourists can drive along Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail to find the site. The Smoky Mountains are also home to gem mines, caverns, and rivers for white-water rafting to round out your vacation activities.
8. Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona
Saguaro National Park is -- fittingly -- best known for its treelike Saguaro cacti that can grow over 70 feet tall. But there's more: Within the park, there are 25 species of cacti that show off the nation's most spiky succulents. Guests can take a tour of the desert landscape by driving along Hoholam Road or see the varying cacti on a wilderness hike through King Canyon Trail.
9. The Grand Canyon in Grand Canyon, Arizona
The most famous U.S. National Park earned its top spot for a reason. The iconic beauty of The Grand Canyon's peaks and plummets makes for a timeless getaway destination. And no vacation to the iconic spot would be complete without pausing at the Grand Canyon Skywalk -- a glass observation deck that allows tourists to fully take in the magnificent view.
10. Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park, California
The opportunities for adventure are endless around Yosemite National Park, but don't leave until you've seen Yosemite Falls. The three-tier waterfall boasts an impressive spray range, so cover your camera before getting too close. We suggest walking around the waterfall trail clockwise to get the best view of the falls.