The USA is one of the most diverse and beautiful places on Earth. From the sweeping coastal vistas of Big Sur, California to the breathtaking drama of Niagara Falls, New York, the country contains some of the worlds most incredible natural wonders.
Here are the most spectacular natural wonders we've found:
1. Alabama — Cathedral Cavern State Park
Declared a National Natural Landmark in 1972, these incredible caves were opened as a state park in 2000. The 126-foot-wide by 25-foot-high entrance to the Cathedral Caverns leads to almost 2 miles of public pathways that wind through the dramatic rock formations.
2. Alaska — Denali National Park and Preserve
It could be said that the entire state is one big natural wonder — and with more than 17 national parks, 16 wildlife refuges, two national forests and 25 beautiful rivers, it’s easy to see why. However, the Denali National Park has to take the top prize. Spanning more than 6 million acres and home to Mount McKinley, the continent’s highest peak, the stunning park and preserve has become Alaska’s most popular attraction. The picturesque landscape is home to bears, wolves, moose and caribou, as well as dozens of dinosaur fossil footprints.
3. Arizona — Grand Canyon National park
Maybe it’s an obvious choice, but as one of the planet’s most significant geographic landmarks, the Grand Canyon deserves its top-spot status. Carved over several million years, the epic landscape is considered the most impressive example of arid land erosion. With an average depth of 4,000 feet and running for 277 miles, the Grand Canyon National Park draws millions of visitors from across the globe each year. Pictures don’t do it justice. This place should be on everyone’s bucket list.
4. California — Redwood National Park
When thinking of California, most people associate it with the ocean and beaches. But further inland is one of nature’s most incredible and unique feats. Spanning more than 130,000 acres of Northern California is the Redwood National Park — a vast forest of giant, ancient, redwood trees, which are the planet’s tallest living things. With multiple campsites, 80 miles of hiking trails, three visitor centers, and picnic areas, there are many ways to get up close and personal with these incredible wonders.
5. Connecticut — Dinosaur State Park
In 1966, thousands of 200-million-year-old fossilized dinosaur tracks were discovered in Rocky Hill, Conn., during the construction of a state building. The dinosaur tracks, discovered in an exposed layer of sandstone, have since been preserved, and more than 500 of them are now under a giant geodesic dome at the Dinosaur State Park. The tracks were believed to have been made by a Dilophosaurus — a three-toed, raptor-like theropod that was a fierce predator during the Jurassic age and stood about 8 feet tall and grew as long as 20 feet. The park and visitor center are open all year round.
6. Georgia — Okefenokee Swamp
Designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1974, the Okefenokee Swamp is the largest “blackwateræ swamp in the U.S., spanning 438,000 acres on the Georgia-Florida border. The shallow swamp formed over the past 6,500 years because of the accumulation of peat in the basin of an ancient coastal terrace. It is the origin of the St. Mary’s River and the Suwanee River, the latter of which channels 90 percent of the swamp’s water down to the Gulf Of Mexico. The vast majority of the swamp is a National Wildlife Refuge, and is home to various amphibians and reptiles, including toads, frogs, lizards, turtles, snakes and alligators. It is also the natural habitat of the Florida black bear.
7. Hawaii — Haleakala National Park
Aside from their near-perfect weather, stunning beaches and picturesque landscape, the Hawaiian islands are special for one other reason — their active volcanoes. To this day, the southern half of the Big Island still sees a lot of lava flow and other volcanic activity. Visitors to the island are regularly able to view active lava flows from Mount Kilauea (depending on the level of activity), as well as explore the cratered summit. Mauna Loa, also on the Big Island, is the world’s largest volcano and climbs 30,000 feet, making it taller than Mount Everest. On the island of Maui, there is the Haleakala National Park, where visitors can drive to the summit of the Haleakala volcano — a popular location to watch the sun rise or set from above the clouds.
8. Maryland — Assateague Island
Shared between Maryland and its neighbor, Virginia, Assateague Island is a 37-mile -ong barrier island on the Atlantic coastline just off the shores of Delmarva. Despite containing a wildlife refuge, numerous marshlands and pristine beaches, the island is most well known for the wild horses that roam its beaches. These feral ponies, according to local legend, are said to have been originally left on the island following a shipwreck off the coast which left them stranded. The state park, taking up more than 800 acres, contains 350 campsites and is home to more than 300 species of birds — particularly waterfowl — making it perfect for wildlife lovers looking for a beachside getaway.
9. Michigan — Sleeping Bear Dunes
On the breathtaking shores of Lake Michigan sits the Sleeping Bear Dunes, the enormous sand dune bluffs that tower 450 feet over the crystal waters. Voted “The Most Beautiful Place in America” on ABC’s Good Morning America, the dunes provide incredible views of Glen Lake and play host to the time-honored family tradition of sand skating — where people attempt to climb the dunes at speed before sliding back down again. Trails, paths and campsites surround the picturesque area so visitors can stay and enjoy the beautiful beaches and warm inland waters.
10. Nevada — Valley of Fire
Just an hour drive from the state’s cultural epicenter of the Las Vegas Strip is the Valley Of Fire — Nevada’s oldest state park. Containing some of the oldest and most staggering rock formations known to man, the incredible landscape was created over 150 million years by shifting sand dunes and erosion. Made from bright red sandstone, the rocks seem to glow in the sunshine. The park’s highlight is the Fire Wave — a curved wall of layered rock accessible via a mile and a half hike through the red rocks. Look out for rattlesnakes and kangaroo rats, which populate the area.
Check out more of the most amazing natural wonders in your state.
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