Palouse Falls in LaCrosse, WA
Palouse Falls in LaCrosse, WA

A State With a View

From Florida to Washington state, the United States is full of beautiful views. Whether perched on a mountaintop looking out over the natural wonders of the land, standing ankle deep in a river surrounded by cliffs, or meandering among historic buildings in a local or national park, every state has a stunning vantage point to offer. 

Related: 50 Most Beautiful Highway Drives in America

Little River Canyon National Preserve
NPS / Matt Switzer

Alabama | Little River Canyon National Preserve

Fort Payne
Hiking through this area of Little River Canyon in the Southern Appalachians, called Hawks Glide, affords views that include flowering trees and seasonal waterfalls, depending on the time of year.

Flattop Mountain in Anchorage, AK
Valentin Martynov/shutterstock

Alaska | Flattop Mountain

At Flattop Mountain, trails from 1.5 to 5.5 miles lead to the summit and overlooks with panoramic views. A viewpoint directly off a parking area offers up the panorama sans hiking. Access is free year-round.

Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, AZ

Arizona | Camelback Mountain

Arizona is home to many must-see views, including the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, but the incredible beauty from on high doesn't stop there. The Camelback Mountain trails reach a summit of more than 2,704 feet for offer views of the Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area near Phoenix. 

Buffalo National River, AR
Buffalo National River, AR by NPCA Photos (CC BY-ND)
Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park, CA
Gary C. Tognoni/shutterstock

California | Zabriskie Point

Death Valley National Park  
The views from this 713-foot elevation in Death Valley National Park, most popular at dawn and dusk, seem otherworldly but require just a short walk from a nearby parking area. 

Blue Lakes Colorado

Colorado | Blue Lakes

This picturesque trail looks like something out of a fairy tale, with clear blue lakes amid green, lush mountains. Located in Uncompahgre National Forest, the 8.6-mile hike leads to a 11,720-foot peak and views of three major lakes. The view from the road to the trail is equally spectacular.

Mohawk Mountain
Alexander Farnsworth/istockphoto

Connecticut | Mohawk Mountain

Located in the Mohawk State Forest, the 1,683-foot summit of Mohawk Mountain provides bird's-eye views of the Berkshire, Taconic, and Catskill mountain regions. 

Observation Tower At Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, DE
Jon Bilous/shutterstock

Delaware | Observation Tower at Cape Henlopen State Park

Once used by military forces during World War II, this state park's observation tower offers clear views of the coastline and other landscapes in every direction. 

LBJ Memorial Grove on the Potomac
NPS / Victoria Stauffenberg
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Florida | Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

This northern Florida preserve offers stunning views of salt marshes — this particular view is of Round Marsh — coastal dunes, and more.

Cumberland Island National Seashore
NPS Photo
Nuuanu Pali Lookout in Oahu, HI

Hawaii | Nuuanu Pali Lookout

There is no shortage of places to catch a magical view in Hawaii. This local favorite is a windy stone terrace just a short car ride from downtown Honolulu. The view from more than 1,000 feet up looks out over mountains, the coast, and botanical gardens.

Related: 20 Tips for Visiting Hawaii on a Budget

Table Rock Trail in Boise, ID
Garden of the Gods Recreation Area
Illinois Office of Tourism

Illinois | Garden of the Gods Recreation Area

The rocky bluffs affording panoramic views at this recreation area in Illinois' Shawnee National Forest are easily accessed via a quarter-mile trail.

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument IMG_4888
Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument IMG_4888 by OZinOH (CC BY-NC)
Mount Hosmer City Park in Lansing, IA
Zack Frank/shutterstock

Iowa | Mount Hosmer City Park

Reaching 450 feet over Lansing, the top of the bluff in this 104-acre park offers panoramic views of the mighty Mississippi River Valley. 

4-state lookout, White Cloud, Kansas
4-state lookout, White Cloud, Kansas by RubyT (I come here for cameraderie!) (CC BY-NC-ND)

Kansas | Four-State Lookout

White Cloud 
This simple elevated platform in White Cloud promises views of four states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and distant Iowa — on clear days, and there's no missing the Missouri River below. The lookout, which dates to the 1930s, got a significant revamp and expansion in preparation for the 2004 bicentennial celebration of when Lewis and Clark floated by.

Pinnacle Overlook in Middlesboro, KY
Steven C Dishion/shutterstock

Kentucky | Pinnacle Overlook

This renowned overlook is in the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. Considered one of the highlights of the park, it features sprawling mountain views from a 2,440-foot vantage point. 

Oakland Plantation
Great Head Summit

Maine | Great Head Summit

Bar Harbor
Head into Acadia National Park for this view, which rewards hikers as they reach the summit of the 1.7-mile round trip Great Head Trail. 

Precipice by fishfoot (CC BY-NC)

Maryland | Lovers' Leap

On Wills Mountain, off Route 40, is a spot — in popular lore, thought to be where denied lovers leaped to their deaths — from which to view the Cumberland Narrows rock formations at 1,652 feet. The view extends to Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Monument Mountain in Great Barrington, MA

Massachusetts | Monument Mountain

Great Barrington
Climb Monument Mountain to the 1,642-foot summit of Squaw Peak and look out over the Housatonic River Valley, including a sprawling river and rolling mountains virtually unchanged over hundreds of years. The view extends as far as Mount Greylock near Vermont and the Catskills of New York.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
National Parks Service
Palisade Head in Beaver Bay Township, MN
AMB-MD Photography/shutterstock

Minnesota | Palisade Head

Beaver Bay Township
The Palisade Head, at mile 56 on the North Shore Scenic Drive, is an offshoot that leads to high ground with spectacular views. The view of a sheer cliff plunging into blue water is dramatic and accessible by car.

Woodall Mountain
Woodall Mountain by Jimmy Emerson, DVM (CC BY-NC-ND)

Mississippi | Woodall Mountain

The highest point in Mississippi, at 807 feet tall, Woodall Mountain provides sweeping views of the surrounding countryside. Some locals scoff at calling the mound a mountain, though. It's also known as Yow Hill.

Castle Trail in Camdenton, MO
Sharon Day/shutterstock

Missouri | Castle Trail

The Castle Trail in Ha Ha Tonka State Park is beloved for its view of Lake of the Ozarks (and its access to the ruins of a castle). The three scenic lookouts are reachable by a paved and handicapped-accessible trail from the parking lot. 

Related: The Best Hidden Gem in Every State

Big Mountain in Whitefish, MT
Christopher Jackson/shutterstock

Montana | Big Mountain

The main hike on 6,817-foot Big Mountain is the Danny On Trail, which leads to a renowned view of lush land all the way to Glacier National Park. The 7-mile trail goes through bear territory, so bear spray and plenty of noise are highly recommended.

Scotts Bluff Summit in Gering, NE
Zack Frank/shutterstock

Nebraska | Scotts Bluff Summit

Take a free 10-minute summit shuttle ride and hear stories and history of the area on the way to the view at the top of Scotts Bluff. Or do the drive in your own car, or hike 1.6 miles to enjoy the trip in solitude — either way, you'll wind up 800 feet above the North Platte River. 

Related: 30 Beautiful Road Trips That Celebrate American History

Great Basin National Park
NPS Photo
Aerial Tram in Franconia, NH
Nancy Kennedy/shutterstock

New Hampshire | Aerial Tram

An impressive aerial tram offers passengers 360-degree views over land spanning New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Maine, and part of Canada. It includes a ride to and from the 4,080-foot summit of Cannon Mountain and its observation deck and walking paths.

Castle Point in Hoboken, NJ
John Arehart/shutterstock

New Jersey | Castle Point

Located just across the river from New York City, this is one of the best places to see Manhattan from a distance. It is actually the highest point in Hoboken, and part of the Stevens Institute of Technology campus, which is free to enter.

El Morro National Monument
NPS Photo
French Point Mountain in Lake George, NY

New York | French Point Mountain

Lake George
Move over Empire State Building: The lake- and mountain-studded panoramic view from the 1,756-foot summit of French Point Mountain is breathtaking. The 8.8-mile round-trip hike is difficult but well worth the stunning views of the surrounding natural landscape. 

Related: The Best Cheap & Free Stuff New York State Offers

Cape Lookout National Seashore
NPS / Victoria Stauffenberg
The old Four Bears Bridge spanning Lake Sakakawea/Missouri River
The old Four Bears Bridge spanning Lake Sakakawea/Missouri River by Naawada2016 (CC BY-SA)

North Dakota | Crow Flies High State Park

New Town
This historic lookout point in a state recreation area outside New Town provides a sweeping vista of Lake Sakakawea from 2,086 feet above sea level that has barely changed since the time of explorers Lewis and Clark. 

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
NPS / Victoria Stauffenberg

Ohio | Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Paved trails along this park's river of the same name offer lush views of verdant landscapes. 

Chickasaw National Recreation Area
NPS / Victoria Stauffenberg

Oklahoma | Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Murray County 
This south-central Oklahoma park offer gorgeous views of the Lake of the Arbuckles, day and night.  

Oregon Caves National Preserve
NPS Photo
Hyner View State Park (2)
Hyner View State Park (2) by Nicholas A. Tonelli (CC BY)

Pennsylvania | Hyner View

North Bend
Hyner View State Park has easy access to overlooks of the Susquehanna River and is a popular hang-gliding spot, which makes for extra entertainment while enjoying the view. 

Prospect Terrace Park in Providence, RI
Richard Cavalleri/shutterstock

Rhode Island | Prospect Terrace Park

This small park in the College Hill area is a local favorite for impressive views of the capital. The free park at the top of a moderately steep hill is open day and night, though it's most popular for one-of-a-kind sunsets.

Sassafras Mtn View, Lakes Hartwell and Jocasse
Sassafras Mtn View, Lakes Hartwell and Jocasse by Stephen Taylor (CC BY-NC)

South Carolina | Sassafras Mountain

Pickens County
The high point in South Carolina is the top of Sassafras Mountain, reaching 3,533 feet. The free hiking area offers a moderate climb for those who love a challenge. There's a lookout deck off the parking area for those who just want the view.

Badlands National Park
NPS / Brad Barker
Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
Henryk Sadura/shutterstock

Tennessee | Clingmans Dome

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The view from 6,643 feet is worth a visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is free year-round. The highest point, known as Clingmans Dome, is reached by car and a half-mile summit trail traversable only by foot to an observation tower at the peak. On a rare clear day, there's a 100-mile view.

Emory Peak
Emory Peak by Becky Lai (CC BY-NC-ND)
Bryce Canyon National Park in Bryce Canyon, UT

Utah | Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon
The mesmerizing views in Bryce Canyon are many, one seemingly greater than the next. Scenic Route 12 offers more than a dozen lookout points from which to see the shimmering, colorful rock formations known as the "Grand Staircase." 

Harrington's View in Jonesville, VT
Joyce Vincent/shutterstock

Vermont | Harrington's View

Harrington's View is recognized by locals and visitors as the ideal place to view the state's best-known mountain, Mount Mansfield. The 6.6-mile trail that leads to the sweeping vista is easily accessible by car. 

Shenandoah National Park
NPS Photo
Palouse Falls in LaCrosse, WA

Washington | Palouse Falls

The waterfall cascading from nearly 200 feet at Palouse Falls State Park, near Starbuck, is best appreciated from above — a vantage point easily reached with a mere quarter-mile, handicapped-accessible trail. 

Grandview Rim Trail in Grandview, WV
Steve Heap/shutterstock

West Virginia | Grandview Rim Trail

The start of this trail offers a stunning vista of the New River and its dramatic valley. For those who wish to hike the trail, there is another view at the end, some 1,400 feet up. 

Devil's Lake State Park in Baraboo, WI
Kris Wiktor/shutterstock
Fossil Butte