April 11, 2024 | Peter Kinney

The Most Enchanting Destination In Every State

52 Of America’s Most Charming Attractions

America is home to a wide array of incredible sights and destinations, but there are some that truly take your breath away. 

When it comes to the most enchanting, must-see destinations in each state (including Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.), these places are a cut above the rest.

Enchanting Destinations

Alabama: Little River Canyon National Preserve

Perched atop Lookout Mountain is where you’ll find this breathtaking 15,000-acre preserve. Over thousands of years, the Little River has carved a beautiful canyon into the landscape, which can be seen from Alabama State Road 176. 

Visitors looking for a bit more of a thrill can arrange a whitewater kayaking trip with the preserve.

Waterfall at Little River Canyon National Preserve in northern AlabamaRob Hainer, Shutterstock

Alaska: Mendenhall Ice Caves

These stunning ice caves have been etched into Mendenhall Glacier by streams of meltwater. The otherworldly atmosphere of this incredible natural wonder makes it a great addition to any travel bucket list. 

Be sure to check it out soon, as the caves have been steadily melting due to climate change.

Ice Cave, Mendenhall GlacierSean Lema, Shutterstock

Arizona: Emerald Cave

With its brilliant green waters, this hidden gem is one of the most magical places in the country. The Emerald Cave is tucked away in Black Canyon and makes for an unforgettable adventure.

The best way to see the cave is with a kayak tour or a swim—most hotels have arrangements with tour companies, so it’s easy to get to the cave and back.

Emerald Cave in ArizonaArtistik31, Shutterstock

Arkansas: Hawksbill Crag

Welcome to one of the most photographed places in Arkansas! 

Hiking the Whitaker Point Trail takes you to a magnificent—and perilous—rock outcrop: Hawksbill Crag. Named for its distinctive shape, Hawksbill Crag is an enchanting, exhilarating destination.

Hawksbill Crag, in Arkansasksnyd_10, Shutterstock

California: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

While all of the Big Sur coastline is renowned for stunning views, the most scenic spot is the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. It’s located about 35 miles south of Carmel and includes the Pfeiffer Beach. 

This is one of the most beautiful beaches in the states, featuring majestic cliffs and waterfalls, lush vegetation, and glimpses of otters and dolphins in the shallows. 

Day passes to the park are super affordable, costing just $10 per car.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State ParkWordydave, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Colorado: Bishop Castle

Romance is steeped into the walls of Bishop Castle, the largest self-built castle in America. When he was just 15, Jim Bishop bought the land for $450. 

Years later, he and his wife needed a place to live—so he turned his cabin into the 160-foot-tall palace we see today. Bishop has spent more than 50 years building this unique home, which is now one of the most unique tourist attractions in Colorado.

Colorado: Bishop CastleTexas Tongs, Flickr

Connecticut: Lighthouse Point Park

This 82-acre park is located Just outside of New Haven and makes for the perfect family vacation in the summer months. Here, visitors can enjoy the beach and fishing pier, old lighthouse, and a working carousel from 1911. 

Even during the winter, the waterfront landscape offers incredible views and great birdwatching opportunities as thousands of birds pass by during migration.

Connecticut: Lighthouse Point ParkJay Yuan, Shutterstock

Delaware: Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Located on the edge of Delaware Bay, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect destination for nature-lovers. Visitors can drive along the 12-mile route through the refuge or rough it with a trek on of the reserve’s hiking trails. 

No matter how you take it in, you’ll get incredible views of the salt marshes and wildlife like snow geese, bald eagles, woodchucks, and red foxes.

Delaware: Bombay Hook National Wildlife RefugeJamie Richie, Wikimedia Commons

Florida: Downtown St. Augustine

Downtown St. Augustine is one of the prettiest—and oldest—sites in Florida. In the historic district, you can take in the majestic Castillo de San Marcos, as well as the many restaurants and boutiques. 

The weather is great year-round, so you can also take advantage of the pristine beaches anytime you visit.

florida: downtown st. augustineKevin Ruck, Shutterstock

Georgia: Savannah's River Street

Savannah's River Street is like an urban paradise. The cobblestones along the historic waterfront path are more than 200 years old and the street is lined with restaurants and bars, offering a true taste of southern delights. 

There are also lot of shops and art galleries, and incredible views of cargo ships along the Savanah River.

Georgia: Savannah's River StreetMihai_Andritoiu, Shutterstock

Hawaii: Na Pali Coast

Meaning “high cliffs” in Hawaiian, Na Pali is one of the most breathtaking coastlines in America. You can only get there by boat, helicopter, or a grueling hike, but no matter how you make the journey, a visit is well worth the effort. 

The pristine beaches, towering waterfalls, and mysterious sea caves make for an unforgettable experience.

Hawaii: Na Pali CoastAbbie Warnock-Matthews, Shutterstock

Idaho: Sun Valley

The Sun Valley Lodge achieved fame after Ernest Hemingway lived there while he worked on several writings, including "For Whom the Bell Tolls". 

While Sun Valley is a world-class destination for skiing and winter sports, there are also summertime adventures like horseback riding and fly fishing. 

Visitors can also explore the charming mountain town full of restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques.

Idaho: Sun ValleyCSNafzger, Shutterstock

Illinois: Starved Rock State Park

In a state that’s known for being flat, Starved Rock State Park is a glaring geographical anomaly. The 2,630-acre park is located about 90 minutes from Chicago and has enchanted tourists with its lush greenery, deep canyons, and encounters with protected wildlife. 

The park also has lots of cool waterfalls to explore, including St. Louis Canyon Falls—during the winter, visitors can make the climb up the frozen 80-foot waterfall.

illinois: starved rock state parkNejdet Duzen, Shutterstock

Indiana: The Kissing Bridges Of Parke County

With 31 covered bridges and annual festival to celebrate them, it’s no wonder why Parke County, Indiana, calls itself the "Covered Bridge Capital of the World”. 

These bridges have a romantic reputation and were called “kissing bridges”. The opaque wooden sides still make great cover for couples who wish to sneak in a kiss during a scenic road trip.

Indiana: The Kissing Bridges Of Parke CountyGPA Photo Archive, Flickr

Iowa: Maquoketa Caves State Park

Welcome to the most unique place in Iowa. At this incredible state park, a six-mile hiking trail will take you on a journey through 13 caves. You’ll also get amazing views from the overlooks, and can rest up at one of the many campgrounds and picnic areas. 

Hiking and spelunking in the caves are the most common ways to explore the park, but you can also rent canoes or tubes to drift down the nearby Maquoketa River.

Iowa: Maquoketa Caves State ParkEddie J. Rodriquez, Shutterstock

Kansas: Monument Rocks

These majestic chalk monoliths are often considered to be America’s version of Stonehenge. They’ve stood watch over the land for 80 million years and were created by the natural erosion of an ancient seabed.

Kansas: Monument RocksLaura Gilchrist, Flickr

Kentucky: Cumberland Falls

Located in Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, this awe-inspiring waterfall measures in at 68 feet tall and 125 feet wide, earning it the nickname The Niagara of the South”

While the falls themselves are incredible, they truly become enchanting during certain evenings, when you can catch sight of a “moonbow”. 

This natural phenomenon is like a rainbow and occurs when moonlight gets refracted in the mists of the waterfall. In addition to this rare sight, visitors can also enjoy the park with camping, hiking, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting.

Kentucky: Cumberland FallsAaron Vowels, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Louisiana: Atchafalaya Basin

The Atchafalaya Basin is the largest swamp in America. It’s also more enchanting than the name “swamp” might imply. Here, you’ll find an abundance of native wildlife and flora, including alligators, egrets, Spanish moss, and ancient bald cypress trees. 

In the nearby towns of Lafayette and New Iberia, you can check out some of Louisiana’s best Cajun restaurants.

Louisiana: Atchafalaya BasinSteve Heap, Shutterstock

Maine: Acadia National Park

Main is full of scenic drives but no road trip in this state is complete without a stop at Acadia National Park. Here, visitors are enchanted with picturesque lighthouses, weathered pines, and brilliant sunrises at the summit of Cadillac Mountain. 

Sand Beach is also well worth the visit, with its gorgeous golden sands and crystal-clear waters.

Maine: Acadia National ParkRomiana Lee, Shutterstock

Maryland: Assateague Island

Technically Assateague Island is in two states: one-third is in Virginia, while the rest is in Maryland. The Island is famous for its herds of wild horses, who roam along the beaches. 

As visit here is always memorable, but you can really experience all the island has to offer with by camping there or taking a kayak your through the marshes.

Maryland: Assateague IslandDennis W Donohue, Shutterstock

Massachusetts: Boston's Public Garden

This Victorian-style garden is nestled right in the middle of historic Boston. It was built in 1837 and is the first public botanical garden in America. 

Nowadays, it’s the perfect place to set up a picnic, go for a bike ride, or hop in a paddleboat. There are also lots of swans, which only adds to the fairytale feeling.

Massachusetts: Boston's Public GardenJames Kirkikis, Shutterstock

Michigan: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Situated along the southern shore of Lake Superior, the main draw at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is its unique sandstone cliffs. 

The cliffs stretch on for 15 miles and are best viewed with a thrilling kayak ride through the rock. You can also camp out at Twelvemile Beach Campground, which provides a rare view of the deep blue lake.

Michigan: Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreCroxyBoxy47, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Minnesota: Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park is a watery wonderland. Nestled up in northern Minnesota, near the Canadian border, the park is full of rivers and lakes speckled with small islands. 

During the summer, visitors camp out on the Lake Kabetogama peninsula—the canoe ride there is well worth the effort for the incredible views. During winter, visitors can rent a houseboat, and may even see the Northern Lights.

minnesota: voyageurs national parkBlueBarronPhoto, Shutterstock

Mississippi: Natchez Trace Parkway

Winding from Nashville to Mississippi, the Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile stretch of road that follows historic routes used by Native Americans, European pioneers, and soldiers. 

Today, visitors can see some of the most dazzling natural landscapes in Mississippi, like old cypress swamps and majestic hills overlooking the river.

Mississippi: Natchez Trace ParkwayEWY Media, Shutterstock

Missouri: Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Ha Ha Tonka State has a little bit of everything, from ominous sinkholes and caves to natural bridges and springs. One of the most unique aspects of the park is its castle, which was built in 1905. 

A maze of trails will lead you to the castle and the park’s other wonders.

Missouri: Ha Ha Tonka State Parkmelissamn, Shutterstock

Montana: Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is one of the most-visited parks in America, and with such stunning landscape, it’s easy to see why. 

Here, you’ll find 700 miles of hiking trails, the incredible Going-to-the-Sun Road, and enchanting mountain lakes and glaciers. Lake McDonald is particularly beautiful, with vibrant, colorful rocks beneath the surface of the crystal-clear water.

Montana: Glacier National ParkMaks Ershov, Shutterstock

Nebraska: Scotts Bluff National Monument

Scotts Bluffs towers about 800 feet above the North Platte River, and was once a trail marker for people traveling on the Oregon Trail. 

Now, the 3,000 acres of incredible land around the Bluffs is protected, and part of the Scotts Bluff National Monument. Visits here are best done with a ride in a covered wagon, which takes you back in time as you explore the vast plains.

Nebraska: Scotts Bluff National MonumentDoug Kerr, CC BY-SA 2.0 , Wikimedia Commons

Nevada: Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is famous for its breathtaking scenic views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s also one of the largest alpine lakes in North America and was formed during the Ice Age. 

In addition to the amazing views, visitors can also indulge in creature comforts at one of the nearby ski resorts or casinos.

Nevada: Lake TahoeChristian Abend, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire: Lincoln Ice Castles

The Ice Castles look like something from a fairytale and take on a truly otherworldly appearance during the night, when the ice seems to glow. 

The castles are built new each winter, since they melt away every spring. January is usually the best time to see these beautiful structures.

New Hampshire: Lincoln Ice CastlesPeter E, Flickr

New Jersey: Cape May

Whether you’re enjoying one of the many immaculate beaches or strolling down streets lined with colorful Victorian houses, you’re sure to love a visit to Cape May. 

The town is full of great options for shopping and dining, while those looking for more adventures can check out surfing at the Cove or the boardwalk at Wildwood Beach.

new jersey: cape mayEQRoy, Shutterstock

New Mexico: White Sands National Park

Officially established in 2019, this is one of America’s newest national parks. It’s also one of the most enchanting. 

The park is home to the world’s largest field of gypsum dune, which was formed almost 10,000 years ago. The gypsum dazzles in the light, creating to a beautiful natural display for visitors.

New Mexico: White Sands National ParkAlexander Hatley, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

New York: Niagara Falls

In addition to the beauty of this crescent-shaped natural wonder, Niagara Falls is world famous for having the highest flow rate on the planet

For extra thrills, visitors can go on a Maid of the Mist boat ride, which takes you as close as is safely possible to the rushing waters. Visitors can also have fun with attractions on nearby Clifton Hill or at the incredible wineries in the region.

New York: Niagara FallsWatts, Flickr

North Carolina: The Outer Banks

Hugging the entire coastline of North Carolina, The Outer Banks are a string of islands with some of the most beautiful beaches and historic sites in the state. 

Several of the islands can be accessed with a scenic drive along Highway 12. You can complete the route in a day and stop at picturesque sites like the Bodie Island Lighthouse and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

North Carolina: The Outer BanksJason Schronce, Shutterstock

North Dakota: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

While it didn’t become a national park until 1978, Theodore Roosevelt has been associated with area since 1919. The president used to go hunting in the park and many believe that it was these lands that inspired his conservation efforts. 

Nowadays, visitors can enjoy the park with a hike through the Painted Canyon or a drive along the Theodore Roosevelt Scenic Byway. On clear night skies, the park offers unparalleled views of the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy, and sometimes the Northern Lights.

North Dakota: Theodore Roosevelt National ParkNational Park Service, Flickr

Ohio: Crystal Cave

Welcome to the world’s largest geode. Discovered in 1897, Crystal Cave is the inside of the geode, which people can walk through today. Here, you’ll be dazzled by walls line with crystals, some stretching up to 18 inches long. 

You can also stop by the charming Heineman's Winery, which owns the property the cave is situated on. They've been providing tours of the cave for more than 100 years.

Ohio: Crystal CaveAnalogue Kid, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

In an otherwise flat state, the Wichita Mountains are a majestic anomaly. They’re also home to a 59,000-acre wildlife reserve full of picturesque prairies and lakes. 

A stroll through the trails here offers a unique chance to see bison, longhorn cattle, and elk in their natural habitat.

Oklahoma: Wichita Mountains Wildlife RefugeLarry Smith, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Oregon: Thor's Well

True to its name, Thor’s Well is one of the most epic attractions on the West Coast. Sometimes called the "the drainpipe of the Pacific", the well appears to be a powerful ocean sinkhole—but appearances can be deceiving. 

The well is actually an optical illusion, which is created by a 20-foot impression in the rock that looks like a sinkhole. It’s still an impressive sight and well worth a visit to see up close if you get a chance.

Oregon: Thor's Welllu_sea, Shutterstock

Pennsylvania: Delaware Water Gap

Cutting through the Appalachian Mountains, the Delaware Water Gap is one of the country’s best destinations for outdoorsy tourists. 

You can camp in the area, and enjoy the landscape with hiking, boating, and fishing. There are also three beaches to swim at and lots of breathtaking waterfalls to see.

Pennsylvania: Delaware Water GapHemangini Darji, Shutterstock

Puerto Rico: Culebra

Located about 17 miles east of Puerto Rico is one of the most laidback places in the country: Culebra. There are no grand resorts or luxurious restaurants here, just pristine natural sea life

The untouched beaches are the perfect place for snorkeling, and some are also part of the Luis Peña Channel Natural Reserve. This is where you’ll get a chance to see stingrays and sea turtles in one of their feeding grounds.

Puerto Rico: CulebraLauren Orr, Shutterstock

Rhode Island: Newport Cliff Walk

A stroll down Newport Cliff Walk lets you be enchanted by the perfect combination of nature and luxury. On one side of the boardwalk, you’ll be treated to incredible panoramic views of Narragansett Bay. 

On the other side, you can revel at the majestic mansions that Newport is famous for. The trail is only about 3.5 miles, so you can take in all the sights during relaxing stroll.

Rhode Island: Newport Cliff WalkPaul Brady Photography, Shutterstock

South Carolina: Angel Oak

Just 13 miles from downtown Charleston is where you’ll find one of the most enchanting places in all of South Carolina. While the more than 400-year-old oak tree is the main attraction, the forest it resides in is equally beautiful. 

Entrance to the forest is free and the sound of the birds and the crickets in amongst the rustling of the trees feels like something out of a southern romance novel.

South Carolina: Angel OakRachel Beard, Flickr

South Dakota: Badlands National Park

Traversing through the aptly named Badlands National Park is an otherworldly experience. 

The rust-colored spires and pinnacles that jut out of the land are like something from another planet, making road trips here an eerily enchanting experience.

South Dakota: Badlands National ParkMartin Kraft, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Tennessee: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the most-visited park in America. Whether you’re camping under the stars or hiking past waterfalls, there’s no shortage of cool things to do and see on the parks 800 square miles of beautiful landscape. 

Many people like to include a stop at Clingman’s Dome on their itinerary. It’s the tallest point in Tennessee and offers some incredible views of the southeastern countryside. You can also take scenic train ride to take in this amazing landscape.

Tennessee: Great Smoky Mountains National ParkMargaret.Wiktor, Shutterstock

Texas: Hamilton Pool Preserve

If you’re ever in Austin, then you’ve got to take a short detour west to the Hamilton Pool Reserve.

The jade waters and impressive 50-foot waterfall are thousands of years old and were formed when an underground riverbed collapsed. Now, visitors can take advantage of the site’s natural swimming pool.

Texas: Hamilton Pool PreserveBrett K, Shutterstock

Utah: Bryce Canyon National Park

Whether you’re looking for a great place to pitch your tent or the perfect backdrops from incredible photos, Bryce Canyon is the place to be. 

The red and orange rock formations, called hoodoos, are an incredible sight and every June, the park hosts its Astronomy Festival, where you can get guided tours and an excellent opportunity for stargazing.

Utah: Bryce Canyon National Parkarkanto, Shutterstock

Vermont: Scenic Route 100 Byway

This breathtaking 200-mile byway is undoubtedly one of the most enchanting places in America. Along the way, you can stop and stroll through small towns like Stowe, Kellington, and Waterbury. 

The best time to make this drive is during the Fall, when all the vibrantly colored foliage adds to the charming atmosphere of the area.

Vermont: Scenic Route 100 BywayDoug Kerr, NY, CC BY-SA 2.0 , Wikimedia Commons

Virginia: Natural Bridge

Located near Roanoke, the Natural Bridge is another one of America’s impressive natural wonders.

The 215-foot-tall rock tunnel is the perfect place to snap some unique pictures. It’s also part of the Natural Bridge State Park, which offers lots of opportunities for hiking and stargazing.

virginia: natural bridgeWilliam Silver, Shutterstock

Washington: Hoh Rain Forest

The Hoh Rain Forest is one of the few rainforests in America. Walking among its lichen- and fungus-covered trees makes you feel like you’re in a private oasis. 

According to ecologists, it’s one of the quietest places in the United States. To truly take in the wonders of this old forest, spend a few nights at their campground, which is open all year.

Washington: Hoh Rain ForestDoug Dolde, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Washington, D.C.: The Tidal Basin

Surrounded by national monuments, the Tidal Basin is worth a visit any time, but for the most memorable experience you’ve got to go during the spring. 

That when the cherry blossoms around the Basin go into full bloom, creating a stunning, enchanting display for visitors. The first trees were planted there in 1912 and were a gift from Japan.

Washington, D.C.: The Tidal BasinSean Pavone, Shutterstock

West Virginia: Lindy Point

West Virginia is full of awe-inspiring vistas, but Lindy Point is definitely one of the most dazzling. It’s located in Blackwater Falls State Park and can be reached via a short hike. 

The rest of the park is equally beautiful, especially the majestic gorges and its namesake waterfall.

West Virginia: Lindy PointTempleNick, Shutterstock

Wisconsin: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

The sandstone caves make for a beautiful sight year-round, but they truly become enchanted during the winter. That’s when the waterfalls that flow over the rock formations freeze in time, covering the caves in huge icicles. 

If it’s cold enough, you can walk across the lake to explore the caves.

Apostle Islands National LakeshoreBobak Ha'Eri, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park

Established in 1872, Yellowstone is the oldest national park in America, and remains one of the most incredible destinations in the country. 

The Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithful geyser are the main attractions here, but the whole park is full of natural beauty that is a wonder to behold. 

Yellowstone is very popular with tourists, so if you’re looking to avoid big crowds, plan your visit for the fall or winter.

yellowstone national parkNaughtyNut, Shutterstock


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