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Old Faithful, Niagara Falls, Arches National Park, White Sands National Monument, Mount Rainier National Park, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Glacier Bay National Park, Redwood National and State Parks, Devils Tower National Monument
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Natural wonders of the U.S. that are seriously stunning

From Niagara Falls to the redwood forests, these stunning natural wonders in the US will leave you speechless

Written by
Howard Halle
Rosie Hewitson
Clara Hogan

You could spend a lifetime exploring America and still not check off everything worth seeing throughout such a large and diverse country. From quirky landmarks to bustling urban centers to incredible national parks, the options for adventures and natural wonders of the U.S. are truly limitless. 

Witness the fiery eruptions of Hawaii's lava-pumping volcanoes, marvel at the snow-capped peaks of Glacier National Park in Alaska, stand in awe among California's majestic redwoods, and feel the mist on your face at Niagara Falls. Each of these destinations showcases the abundant natural beauty in nearly every corner of America, truly living up to the iconic phrase: America the Beautiful."

Natural wonders in the U.S.

This 236,381-acre park in Washington state happens to encompass an active volcano, but since it last erupted in the 19th century, chances are nothing will happen if you go—nothing, that is, except experiencing breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier itself, along with glaciers, waterfalls and meadows filled with wildflowers.

Best time to visit: July through August, when wildflowers transform the park's subalpine meadows and the dry, warm weather provides optimal hiking conditions.

This sand is white alright, owing to the fact that it’s made of gypsum, the same material that comprises plaster, blackboard chalk and drywall. There are 4.5 billion tons of the stuff covering 145,762 acres near Alamogordo, New Mexico. In some places, the dunes can reach up to 60 feet high.

Best time to visit: The many yuccas in White Sands bloom in April, but watch out for windy days. Otherwise, try October to early November when cottonwoods are in bloom. 

Discover the best things to do in New Mexico 


You’ll think you’re in Norway when you see the magnificent fjord and majestic mountains at Glacier Bay National Park. There are 1,045 glaciers in the 3,226,800-acre park, which also houses a 57,700-acre wildlife preserve. Ten miles of trails, plus 700 miles of shoreline, offer ample opportunities for kayaking, camping and hiking.

Best time to visit: The high in Alaska is 70 degrees during June and July, making it the perfect time to go.

Discover the best things to do in Alaska

Located north of Moab Utah, Arches National Park is so named for the 2,000 wind-sculpted sandstone arches gracing the area—the largest such concentration in the world. The most famous of these is the iconic 52-foot-tall Delicate Arch, whose image can be seen on Utah license plates.

Best time to visit: April through May and September through October, when daytime temperatures average about 60 to 80 degrees.

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This protected string of old-growth forests represents what’s left of the massive redwood trees that once covered Northern California and served as home to the Indigenous populations. Trees can reach up to 379 feet in height and nearly 29 feet in diameter and can live 1,800 years or more, making them among the oldest living things on Earth.

Best time to visit: July marks peak tourist time, so to avoid the crowds, consider going anytime during the spring or fall.

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You could say that the entirety of Hawaii is a natural wonder, and you would be right. But if we have to choose just one place on the island to highlight, it's Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, which is home to two major volcanoes: Mauna Loa and Kīlauea. Kīlauea is the most active volcano in the world and the most visited. The park is open 24 hours, year-round. Visitors can view lava and scenery from overlooks or go deeper into the park with a mix of short and long hiking trails. 

Best time to go: Lava is not always visible; check the local news or national park website before you go. A trip in the early morning or evening is best to avoid the crows.

 Discover the best things to do in Hawaii


Straddling the border between New York state and Ontario, Canada, Niagara Falls is actually three waterfalls named Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil, respectively. Combined, they send six million cubic feet of water a minute plunging 160 feet into the Niagara Gorge below.

Best time to visit: Highs in the low 80s, and cooling sprays from the falls make June to August a great time to visit.

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The world's most famous geyser, Old Faithful in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park, lives up to its name, erupting more than 1 million times since its discovery in 1870, at an average of 20 times a day. Each blast spews some 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of water to heights of 100 to 180 feet.

Best time to visit: Early morning or in the evening from April to May and between September and October.


Back in 1864, Yosemite became the first land officially protected for conservation purposes by the federal government. And now we all get to reap the rewards. With its jaw-dropping landscapes—granite cliffs, sequoia groves, flowing rivers, peaceful meadows and stunning waterfalls—Yosemite is one of the most celebrated national parks for a reason and attracts huge crowds every year. 

Best time to visit: Roughly 75 percent of visitors arrive May-October, with the summer being the most popular. April and November are lovely as they are less crowded. 

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Arizonas Grand Canyon needs no introduction, except to say that it took the Colorado River two billion years to carve its impressive dimensions (277 miles long, by 18 miles wide by 1 mile deep). The sedimentary layers exposed by erosion vividly change color with the light. 

Best time to visit: March through May and September through November when daytime temperatures are cool and the crowds are thin.

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Even if you’ve never heard of Monument Valley, you’d recognize it thanks to how Hollywood has used it as a backdrop for countless Westerns. Located on the Arizona–Utah state line, the site is known for its striking sandstone buttes, the largest of which reaches 1,000 feet high. 

Best time to visit: Anytime between April and October; Temps remain relatively cooler, even during the summer months, because of Monument Valley's 5200-foot elevation.

Besides playing a role in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Devil’s Tower in Wyoming was dedicated as the first national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. Rising 867 feet into the air, this butte made of volcanic rock is a sacred site to several First Nation people, including the Lakota, Cheyenne and Kiowa.

Best time to visit: May to June and September to October are best.

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