Scenic America

Do you want to take a break? Do you want to get away from it all? Well, look no farther than the USA. One way to get away is to indulge yourself with an excursion through scenic America. For, in the USA, there are lots of exciting places to see, interesting residents to meet, and fun things to do.

The purpose of this page is to provide a visual excursion into "scenic America." I realize that this page equally could have been called scenic China, scenic Russia, scenic Switzerland, scenic Peru, and so forth. Undoubtedly, each of these other countries contains some equally compelling nature scenery and city life to explore.

This page, however, focuses on scenic America because this page was inspired by the book titled "Reader's Digest Scenic Wonders of America," which also explains how the 50 scenic sites featured below were selected. Going a step beyond the Reader's Digest book, this page also features the 30 largest USA cities. The featured cities were selected strictly on the basis of population size. The 31st city selected, Roanoke, Virginia, was an exception. Roanoke, Virginia was selected because (as of 2017) it had won the annual All-American City award more than any other USA city (that is, for a total of 7 times).

The 50 scenic sites on the map—and in the slideshow—below are labeled in alphabetical order based on the name of the scenic site (for example, 1 of 50 with Acadia National Park as the first scenic site because its name begins with the letter A). The map uses a red marker to represent the 50 scenic sites depicted on this page. Click a marker on the map to reveal additional information. After opening a scenic marker, you can right click the mouse on the (red scenic) marker to close the marker.

The 31 cities on the map—and in the slideshow—are numbered from 1 to 31 based on the population size of the city (for example, New York City is labeled 1 of 31 on the map because it is the USA's largest city with almost 9 million inhabitants as of 2016). The map uses a gold marker to represent the 31 cities depicted on this page. Again, after opening a city marker, you can right click the mouse on the (gold city) marker to close the marker.

Going another step beyond the Reader's Digest book, the slideshow below also contains 26 bonus photographs. The bonus photographs represent a depiction of "America on the move" (for example, 1 of 26). In a nutshell, America represents an enterprising, innovative, dynamic, and generous mosaic of residents. Much like a multi-patterned quilt, the Americans are amalgamated, interwoven, or stitched together into a united or cohesive whole—and, yes, occasionally, they become entangled into a tad bit of a disjointed or divisive whole—and, yet, the end product is a thing of exquisite beauty. America is a society where its residents are constantly on the move. Its residents, for the most part, are constantly chasing both the almighty dollar and the American Dream. In the process of chasing the American dream, the Americans also find the time to enjoy having a good party (as evidenced by the music videos below).

Some refer to the USA as the land of opportunity, and others refer to the USA as "America the Beautiful"—and, yes, a few detractors across the globe even refer to America as "the Great Satan" with designs on ruling the world. Photographs such as the ones featured in the slideshow below, however, form the basis for "America the Beautiful." The 26 bonus "America on the move" photographs in the slideshow below are not depicted on the map.

Map Showing 50 USA Scenic Sites (Red Markers) and 31 USA Cities (Gold Markers)
  • Left click the mouse on a marker to open it for more information
  • Right click the mouse on the open marker to close it





Slideshow Showing 50 USA Scenic Sites, 31 USA Cities, 26 Bonus USA Photographs, and Maps of the USA
  • Hover mouse cursor over a photograph/slide to pause the slideshow
  • Move mouse cursor off the photograph/slide to resume the slideshow
01 of 50 - Acadia National Park (Bar Harbor, MAINE 04609) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 02 of 50 - Arches National Park (Moab, UTAH 84532) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 03 of 50 - Badlands National Park (Interior, SOUTH DAKOTA 57750) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 04 of 50 - Bayou Country, Louisiana (New Orleans, LOUISIANA 70116 - 70130) Photo Credit: The Library of Congress - Mardi Gras Parade, New Orleans, Louisiana (LOC) - Highsmith, Carol M. 1946-, photographer. 05 of 50 - Big Bend National Park (Big Bend National Park, TEXAS 79834-0129 ) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 06 of 50 - Big Sur Coast (Carmel-By-The-Sea, CALIFORNIA 93923) Photo Credit: Visit California, is a non-profit organization. 07 of 50 - Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Gunnison, COLORADO 81230) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 08 of 50 - Bryce Canyon National Park (Bryce, UTAH 84764) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 09 of 50 - Cape Cod National Seashore (Wellfleet, MASSACHUSETTS 02667) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 10 of 50 - Carlsbad Caverns National Park (Carlsbad, NEW MEXICO 88220) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 11 of 50 - Columbia River Gorge (Hood River, OREGON 97031) Photo Credit: Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture 12 of 50 - Crater Lake National Park (Crater Lake , OREGON 97604 ) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 13 of 50 - Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve (Arco, IDAHO 83213) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 14 of 50 - Death Valley National Park (Death Valley, CALIFORNIA 92328 ) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 15 of 50 - Denali National Park & Preserve (Denali Park, ALASKA 99755) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 16 of 50 - Devils Tower National Monument (Devils Tower, WYOMING 82714) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 17 of 50 - Everglades National Park  (Homestead, FLORIDA 33034 ) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 18 of 50 - Flint Hills, KS (Manhattan, KANSAS 66502) Photo Credit: Jim Hoy [Kansas Tourism Office] 19 of 50 - Glacier National Park (West Glacier, MONTANA 59936 ) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 20 of 50 - Grand Canyon National Park (Grand Canyon, ARIZONA 86023) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 21 of 50 - Great Salt Lake Desert (Wendover, UTAH 84083) Photo Credit: Famartin via Wikimedia Commons 22 of 50 - Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve (Mosca, COLORADO 81146 ) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 23 of 50 - Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Gatlinburg, TENNESSEE 37738 ) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 24 of 50 - Hells Canyon (Imnaha, OREGON 97842) Photo Credit: www.hellscanyonadventures.com 25 of 50 - Hudson Valley (Lake Placid, NY 12946) Photo Credit: Mwanner via Wikimedia Commons 26 of 50 - Mammoth Cave National Park (Mammoth Cave, KENTUCKY 42259-0007) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 27 of 50 - Mississippi Palisades State Park (Savanna ILLINOIS 61074) Photo Credit: Illinois Depart of Natural Resources 28 of 50 - Mount Rainier National Park (Ashford, WASHINGTON 98304) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 29 of 50 - Mount Washington (Sargent's Purchase, NEW HAMPSHIRE 03581) Photo Credit: Department of Natural and Cultural Resources 30 of 50 - Niagra Falls (Niagara Falls, NEW YORK 14303) Photo Credit: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation 31 of 50 - Okefenokee Swamp (Folkston, GEORGIA 31537) Photo Credit: Georgia Department of Economic Development [ExploreGeorgia] 32 of 50 - Olympic National Park (Port Angeles, WASHINGTON 98362) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 33 of 50 - Oregon Coast (Astoria, OR 97103) Photo Credit: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department 34 of 50 - Outer Banks, NC (Avon, NORTH CAROLINA 27915) Photo Credit: U.S. Geological Survey,  United States Department of the Interior  |  Robert Dolan, Harry Lins, and Jodi Jones Smith 35 of 50 - Ozark National Scenic Riverways (Van Buren, MISSOURI 63965 ) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 36 of 50 - Padre Island National Seashore (Corpus Christi, TEXAS 78480) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 37 of 50 - Petrified Forest National Park (Petrified Forest, ARIZONA 86028) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 38 of 50 - Redwood National Park (Crescent City, CALIFORNIA 95531) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 39 of 50 - Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park, COLORADO 80517) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 40 of 50 - Saguaro National Park (Tucson , ARIZONA 85730 ) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 41 of 50 - Scotts Bluff National Monument (Gering, NEBRASKA 69341) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 42 of 50 - Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (Three Rivers, CALIFORNIA 93271 ) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 43 of 50 - Shenandoah National Park (Luray, VIRGINIA 22835) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 44 of 50 - Sleeping Bear Dunes (Empire, MICHIGAN 49630 ) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 45 of 50 - St. Croix National Scenic Riverway (St. Croix Falls, WISCONSIN 54024) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 46 of 50 - Superior National Forest (Duluth, MINNESOTA 55808) Photo Credit: Douglas Kaye via Wikimedia Commons 47 of 50 - Waimea Canyon State Park (Waimea, HAWAII 96796) Photo Credit: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of State Parks 48 of 50 - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (Indiahoma, OKLAHOMA 73552) Photo Credit: Elise Smith via Wikimedia Commons. 49 of 50 - Yellowstone National Park (Yellowstone National Park, WYOMING 82190-0168 ) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 50 of 50 - Yosemite National Park (Yosemite National Park, CA 95389) Photo Credit: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. 01 of 31 - New York City, NEW YORK - U.S. Customs and Border Protection - CBP's Office of Air and Marine in New York City - Photo by James P. De Boer 02 of 31 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA - IIP Photo Archive - Aerial view of downtown Los Angeles, California. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith. 03 of 31 - Chicago, ILLINOIS - IIP Photo Archive - Famed Grant Park. Photo by Tim Brown. 04 of 31 - Houston, TEXAS - IIP Photo Archive - Houston skyline. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress. 05 of 31 - Phoenix, ARIZONA - PoolSafely - 2011 Phoenix event in June 2011. 06 of 31 - Philadelphia, PENNSYLVANIA - IIP Photo Archive - Broad Street -  Photo by Tim Brown. 07 of 31 - San Antonio, TEXAS - US Air Force - Standing guard at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Jonathan Pomeroy 101027-F-2820P-157). 08 of 31 - San Diego, CALIFORNIA - Official U.S. Navy Page - San Diego Bay  (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Miranda Williams/Released)170705-N-BL450-0020. 09 of 31 - Dallas, TEXAS - IIP Photo Archive - Hunt Oil HQ, Dallas. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith. 10 of 31 - San Jose, CALIFORNIA - View from the hill near Almaden lake. Photo Credit: Eugene Zelenko. 11 of 31 - Austin, TEXAS - IIP Photo Archive - The Texas Capitol. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress 12 of 31 - Jacksonville, FLORIDA - Official U.S. Navy Page - Wounded Warrior Project run (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Sippel/Released) 120908-N-AW702-059. 13 of 31 - San Francisco, CALIFORNIA - IIP Photo Archive - Chess Players on Market Street  Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project, Library of Congress. 14 of 31 - Columbus, OHIO - The National Guard - start of the Major League Soccer Cup final game Dec. 6, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley Williams). 15 of 31 - Indianapolis, INDIANA - Official U.S. Navy Page - The Blue Angels' Fat Albert flies over Indianapolis with two Red Eagle Air Sports pilots (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jen Blake/Released) 110512-N-IR859-119. 16 of 31 - Fort Worth, TEXAS - U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos - Amon G. Carter Stadium, U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Andrew Kendrick. 161223-G-LP265-1234 17 of 31 - Charlotte, NORTH CAROLINA - US Air Force - Bank of America Stadium, in Charlotte, NC (Photo Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen, NC National Guard). 091115-F-7564C-072 18 of 31 - Seattle, WASHINGTON - IIP Photo Archive - Seattle skyline - Photo by Carol M. Highsmith. 19 of 31 - Denver, COLORADO - US Air Force - Play ball - a Colorado Rockies game July 7, 2014 (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brandon Valle/Released). 20 of 31 - El Paso, TEXAS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Juarez Mexico and El Paso Texas 21 of 31 - Washington, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - NASA HQ PHOTO - T-38 Aircraft Fly Over Washington (201204050001HQ)  Photo Credit: (NASA/Carla Cioffi). 22 of 31 - Boston, MASSACHUSETTS - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region - Boston, Mass. Skyline. Credit: Bill Butcher/USFWS. 23 of 31 - Detroit, MICHIGAN - uscgHoisting in the #detroitriver, with #detroit and the Rennaissance Center in the background. #uscg #airstationdetroit #greatlakes 24 of 31 - Nashville, TENNESSEE - The National Guard - a concert by the Charlie Daniels Band, on Sept. 11, 2009 (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy, National Guard Bureau Public Affairs). 25 of 31 - Memphis, TENNESSEE - uscg - We're underway! CGC Kankakee departs Memphis. #USCG #Memphis 26 of 31 - Portland, OREGON - USFWS - Pacific Region - Portland Waterfront 27 of 31 - Oklahoma City, OKLAHOMA - U.S. Customs and Border Protection - CBP National Air Training Center in Oklahoma City. Photo by James Tourtellotte. 28 of 31 - Las Vegas, NEVADA - National Nuclear Security Administration - C-17 Departs Las Vegas. 29 of 31 - Louisville, KENTUCKY - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Rain causes high water on Ohio River at Louisville (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo taken by Jack Sweeney). 30 of 31 - Baltimore, MARYLAND - Official U.S. Navy Page - Baltimore Fleet Week 2012 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Johnson/Released) 120615-N-BA418-130. 31 of 31 - Roanoke, VIRGINIA - Portion of the Grandin Road Commercial Historic District - Photo Credit: Patriarca12. 01 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Kids jumping through hoops on the ground. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 02 of 26 (USA on the Move) - DoDEA employees attended the annual picnic on 19 May 2011. 02 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Excavation of the auxiliary spillway continues at Folsom Dam here, Nov. 22, 2011 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Michael J. Nevins) 03 of 26 (USA on the Move) - First truck move - National Nuclear Security Administration 04 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Track-mobile moves rail cars in and out of the de-watering facility August 2009 - USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency. 05 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Barge and ship traffic transporting export cargo on the Mississippi River in the Port of New Orleans - U.S. Department of Agriculture. 06 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Light traffic on Route 66 near Vienna, Virginia. Photo by Tim Brown. IIP Photo Archive. 07 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Amtrak train at Union Station in Kansas City June 1974. Photographer: O'Rear, Charles. The U.S. National Archives. 08 of 26 (USA on the Move) - New Jersey Transit train platform during the evening commuter rush in New York City, N.Y., Sept. 1, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III). 09 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Global Hawk, NASA's New Remote-Controlled Plane. NASA Photograph by Carla Thomas. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. 10 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Oregon State University's (OSU) Victor Villegas drone (a.k.a., unmanned aerial vehicles or unmanned aircraft systems) demonstrations April 17, 2016. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung. 11 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Graduate students demonstrate autonomous robots (Aug. 17, 2011), U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released. 12 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Driverless vehicle: Coming soon to a street near you? June 2014. Photo Credit: Amina K. Khan, National Science Foundation. 11 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Logan Airport (Boston, MA) - Control Tower and Runways Seen from 16th Floor Observation Deck 09/1973. Photographer: Manheim, Michael Philip. The U.S. National Archives. 12 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Officers process international arrivals of passenger flights at Boston Logan International Airport June 21, 2017 in Boston, Mass. U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo by Glenn Fawcett. 13 of 26 (USA on the Move) - inside Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport south of downtown Washington, D.C., in Arlington County, Virginia. Photo by: U.S. Department of State (IIP Bureau) 14 of 26 (USA on the Move) - outside Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport south of downtown Washington, D.C., in Arlington County, Virginia. Photo by: U.S. Department of State (IIP Bureau) 15 of 26 (USA on the Move) - TSA screens nearly 2 million passengers daily and 660 million every year. 16 of 26 (USA on the Move) - 24th Annual Regulatory Information Conference. (March 13, 2012) 17 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Director David H. Petraeus of the Central Intelligence Agency rings opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on September 18, 2012. (Photo by Ben Hider/NYSE Euronext). 18 of 26 (USA on the Move) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson hosts a working dinner in Washington, D.C., May 15, 2017. (State Department photo) 19 of 26 (USA on the Move) - White House backyard 20 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Air Force One - Presidential air transport. 21 of 26 (USA on the Move) - USS Enterprise leads ships of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group. ATLANTIC OCEAN (Jan. 17, 2011) U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Anna Wade/Released. 22 of 26 (USA on the Move) - Space shuttle Atlantis is seen as it launches from pad 39A on Friday, July 8, 2011, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls) 23 of 26 (USA on the Move) - The American people purchase anti-retroviral drugs for Kenyans living with HIV (Photo credit: Riccardo Gangale/USAID Kenya) 100,000 note includes a portrait of President Wilson. American History Museum. United States of America (USA) (Map of USA) Photo Credit: The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ United States of America (USA) (Map of USA) Photo Credit: The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ United States of America (USA) (Map of USA) Photo Credit: The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ United States of America (USA) (Map of USA) Photo Credit: The National Atlas of the United States of America (nationalatlas.gov) United States of America (USA) (National flag of USA) Photo Credit: Flagpedia (flagpedia.net) NASA Sees Bret, Cindy and Dora. Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project, Dennis Chesters. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Solar System and beyond.


This "Scenic America" page concludes with a bloc of accompanying or complementary music videos. The below-featured music videos represent one of the reasons why some refer to America as the "land of the free and the home of the brave."

The reader should keep in mind, however, that there is a "great, wide, beautiful, wonderful world" out there called Earth (to quote William Brighty Rands). It is very important not to lose sight of the fact that the USA is but a part of a much bigger whole known as planet Earth. And, of course, hospitable-to-life planet Earth is a part of an even much bigger whole known as the (vast and desolate) Solar System. Beyond the Solar System, the gargantuan Universe continues seemingly ad infinitum.

Watch (Stevie Wonder, Fun Day)


Watch (Will Smith, Miami)


Watch (Tiesto vs Diplo, C'Mon)


Watch (Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin, Don't You Worry Child)


Watch (Avicii featuring Aloe Blacc, Wake Me Up)


Watch (OneRepublic, Counting Stars)


Watch (Usher featuring Pitbull, DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love)


Watch (Ne-Yo, Champagne Life)


Watch (Ready For The World, Digital Display)


Watch (Beyonce, Sweet Dreams)


Watch (Margaret Berger, Robot Song)


One final aside: The name of the country is the United States of America. Some refer to the country simply as the United States by dropping the "America" part of the country's name. Others drop the "United States" part of the country's name and simply refer to it as America. Still others choose to refer to the country by its abbreviations of USA or US. Whether you call it the USA, US, America, United States, or the United States of America, in effect, they mean the same thing.

Scroll to Top of Page

Additional Resources:

  1. Visit The USA: Guide To USA Holidays & Travel Around America
  2. Find a Park (U.S. National Park Service)
  3. Forest Service Interactive Visitor Map
  4. Discover The Forest
  5. Travel | Reader's Digest
  6. ShareAmerica | How to be ready for your tourist visa interview
  7. Tourism & Visit
  8. Recreation and Travel within the U.S. | USAGov
  9. Visit the United States | Homeland Security
Scroll to Top of Page