60 Amazing Bucket List Places To Visit in the USA (+ Insider Tips)

Are you looking for some amazing bucket list places to visit in the USA? Then I have got you covered!

My husband and I just moved to the United States, and of course we want to see as much of this beautiful country as we can while we are here. But where to start?

I have asked all my travel blogger friends for their must-visit places in America! They came up with all time favorites, but also total hidden gems.

The result is this list of 60 bucket list destinations in the United States!

Let’s get to it!

stunning shot of the white sands national park at sunset one of thebest bucket list destinations you need to visit in the us

Find US Bucket List Places Near Me

If you are not sure where to start, why not look up bucket list places in your area in the US. You might find hidden gems right around your corner!

1. Antelope Canyon, AZ

stunning picture of red antelope canyon in the us in orange hues and some sunshine coming in
Credit: Zest in a Tote

Arizona has many slot canyons – the most famous being the Lower and Upper Antelope Canyons. Who would have thought that flowing water and wind could chisel rocks into the natural wonder that are Antelope Canyons. A must-see for sure!

We took a long drive to the Lower Antelope Canyon on a sunny afternoon. This canyon is on Indian tribal land and can be seen only with a tour led by a Navajo guide. From the fissures on the ground, you can hardly imagine that a few steps down the stairs will take you into a magical chamber.

There are incredible colours as you go deeper that change with the way sunlight filters in. The top parts of the rocks can glow to yellow / orange shades and the bottom parts take on darker red/ purple hues when the sunlight falls on them directly.

Insider Tip: You need to be comfortable in small spaces and fit to climb steps for this tour.

2. Colchuck Lake, WA

A picture of Colchuck Lake a beautiful mountain lake with green water, big snowy mountains in the background and a beautiful forest USA bucket list adventure
The Hiking Helper

Nestled deep in the North Cascade Mountain range in northern Washington, you’ll find the teal alpine Colchuck Lake. This place is so stunning, it needs to be on everyone’s America bucket list.

Known as the gateway into the ever-popular Enchantments, a hike to Colchuck gives you the chance to experience the magic of this place, without dedicating multiple days to a backpacking trip.

An 8-mile round-trip hike leads you through the forest, past towering mountain views, and eventually opens up to reveal the incredible lake.

Insider Tip: This stunning lake is especially gorgeous during fall, when the golden larches are beginning to change colors.

3. White Sands National Park, NM

picture of a beautiful tree in the white sands national park in new mexico

Located in the Tularosa Basin in New Mexico you can find one of the most magnificent, yet underrated natural wonders of the world – the White Sands National Park. The White Sands National Park should definitely high up your list of USA adventure bucket list destinations.

The glistering white desert in New Mexico is consisting of 275 square miles of gypsum sand. Throughout the year you can join a guided walking tour with a park ranger in a bigger group. The tour is free and the ranger will tell you everything there is to know about the flora, the fauna, and the history of the National Park.

The closest city to the White Sands National Park is Alamogordo, where you can find great accommodation.

Insider Tip: Join the sunset walk with a ranger, the colors of the sky will totally transform the White Desert!

4. Yellowstone National Park, WY

amazing spot everyone needs to visit in the us the yellowstone national park with stunning lake and orange and yellow stones in front of it
Credit: Melanie, The World Travel Girl

Yellowstone National Park, located mostly in Wyoming, is one of the best bucket list places to visit in the US. The world’s first National Park, established in 1892, is a haven for anyone seeking an unforgettable experience.

From the ionic and reliable erupting geyser, Old Faithful, to the vibrant and majestic hot springs, Grand Prismatic Springs, you are in for unparalleled beauty. Whether you plan a day trip through Yellowstone or have more time to explore, it is worth visiting at least once in your life.

Insider Tip: The best time to visit Yellowstone is outside of June-August to avoid the crowds and go as early as possible in the morning to avoid the traffic.

5. The Wave, AZ

two people hiking the wave in arizona which is covered in snow on one side
Sarah from Organized Adventurer

The Wave, located in the North Coyote Buttes area of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona, stands as a geological wonder renowned for its mesmerizing sandstone formations.

Accessible via a permit-only lottery system due to its delicate nature, The Wave offers an otherworldly landscape of swirling, undulating rock patterns that captivate visitors from around the globe.

Every day, up to 64 permit-holders hike the 6-mile round trip trek that starts in Utah and ends in Arizona to see this unique formation for themselves. 

Insider Tip: For the best odds at winning a lottery permit for the Wave, apply for winter weekdays. 

6. Green Mountains, VT

amazing shot from a mountain high up over beautiful orange fall foliage in vermont on the green mountains
Credit: Krysti, Wanderful Horizons

Stretching across the state of Vermont, the Green Mountains encompass nearly 250 miles of pristine forests, majestic peaks, and stunning scenery.

A subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, the area is particularly popular during the autumn months when its landscape explodes with the vibrant colors of fall.

While you’re here, be sure to visit Mount Mansfield for the highest views in the state, go for a hike along the Long Trail, and spend a night camped out under the stars at the Green Mountain National Forest.

Insider Tip: If you’re planning a road trip through Vermont consider adding the Green Mountain Byway to your itinerary. This route travels through 6 small towns in the Green Mountains and offers incredibly scenic views – especially during the fall!

7. Statue of Liberty, NY

statue of liberty in new york, bucket list place to visit in the USA
Credit: Lanie, Make More Adventures

Head to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty, a must-see monument in New York City.

Cross the Statue of Liberty off your NYC bucket list by booking a tour that includes a visit to this national monument and time on Ellis Island. If you book in advance, you can get tickets that include walking up the stairs to the crown.

Insider Tip: You can view the Statue of Liberty by land, but if you want to get closer to it without paying for a tour, ride the Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry is free and will take you extremely close to the Statue of Liberty.

8. Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

amazing picture of a serene mountain lake surrounded by mountains
Credit: Natalie, Always Have A Trip Planned

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most iconic US National Parks. It offers some of the most scenic hiking and best wildlife sighting opportunities in the continental United States. 

From stunning mountains to picturesque meadows to serene lakes, the beauty in this park is endless. With over 300 miles of trails to hike and a 48 mile scenic trail ridge road to drive, there is plenty of opportunity to take in the views and see some wildlife (including moose, black bears, elk, bighorn sheep and more) while in Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Insider Tip: Starting May 24th, 2024, you need a timed entrance to get into Rocky Mountain National Park. Get the earliest timed entrance available! The early morning is the least busy time in the park. This will make it less likely that you will have any issues parking at different trailheads (can be a BIG problem later in the day) and the best opportunity for wildlife sightings (less people to scare the animals away). 

9. Mount Rushmore, SD

famous mount rushmore monument with presidents heads carved into them
Credit: Vanessa Shields of Traveling Ness

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is one of the most impressive landmarks in the United States for its sheer size and craftsmanship. The four president’s faces carved into granite in the Black Hills of South Dakota are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

Each head stands 60 feet tall and the best way to see their faces up close is to walk on President’s Trail to the base of the sculptures.

Insider Tip: For more behind the scenes of how Mount Rushmore was constructed, make a point to visit the Sculptor’s Studio along Presidential Trail open during the summer months.

10. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

amazing picture of north american bucket list item bryce canyon with orange stones on both sides
Credit: Tim from Fork and Wander

Bryce Canyon National Park is the smallest yet one of the most unique parks among the Mighty 5 Utah parks. The park is a breathtaking red-rock canyon filled with unique hoodoos.

The view from the rim is fantastic, but it becomes even more incredible when you descend below it, away from the crowds. You can achieve an amazing, although strenuous, experience in the Canyon by combining the Queen’s Garden Trail, Peekaboo Loop Trail, and The Navajo Loop Trail.

Insider Tip: By parking your car and using the shuttle, you can explore the park without moving your vehicle.

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11. Grand Forks, ND

sun halo in north dakota eclipse over snowy house

I admit, Winter in North Dakota with temperatures way below the freezing point sounds scary. However, it was also one of the most magical trips I have taken so far.

One of my favorite things to see in North Dakota in winter is the sun halo. Sun halos, also known as 22 degree halos, are optical phenomenons that occur due to sunlight reflecting in the ice crystals of the snow in the atmosphere. It takes the form of a ring with a radius of roughly 22 degrees.

Insider Tip: Another spectacular thing to see in North Dakota are the Northern Lights. Ribbons of green, blue and yellow lights dance across the North Dakota winter night sky. They can best be observed between November and March. Try to get at least 20 miles outside of a city to avoid light pollution.

12. Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

amazing shot of the grand canyon from above
Jess from Travel + Tannins

The Grand Canyon, one of the United States most famous National Parks, is an iconic landmark that’s beauty is hard to describe in words.

Located in the northern part of Arizona, the Grand Canyon is home to stunning views of layered sedimentary rocks that create the massive canyon. In fact, the Grand Canyon is actually larger than the entire state of Rhode Island!

This is one of the best bucket list places to visit in the US.

Insider Tip: The Grand Canyon is dog-friendly, but many trails inside the rim do not allow pets to preserve the natural land. But, you don’t need to leave the pup at home, because the Grand Canyon has a kennel open year round where you can leave your dog while you set off hiking the entire canyon!

13. Cape Cod National Seashore, MA

amazing picture of the beautiful serene beach with blue water
Samantha Hamilton

A peninsula along the coast of Massachusetts, Cape Cod is not only home to some of the most charming towns on the New England coast, but it’s also where you can find the most beautiful beaches in the northeast.

The best place to go in the area for the most stunning coastline is the Cape Cod National Seashore, which includes over 43,000 acres of protected land and shoreline, and six stunning beaches backdropped by dramatic sand dunes.

While exploring the National Seashore, be sure to visit the lighthouses, experience the coastal nature trails, and look for seals swimming in the water for the perfect New England beach day.

Insider Tip: You only need to pay the daily entrance fee from June through September, and you can visit for free the rest of the year. Also, parking is free in-season after 4:30 pm if you wanted to stop by for a gorgeous sunset!

14. Glacier Bay National Park, AK

glacier national park in alaska as one ofthe best usa bucket list items with glaciers behind a lake
Kristin Secor

A visit to Glacier Bay National Park should definitely be on your Alaska bucket list.  This breathtaking park offers a pristine wilderness experience unlike any other. Picture yourself surrounded by towering glaciers, majestic mountains, and crystal-clear waters teeming with wildlife.  

While many people will keep their eye on the water or the shoreline in the hopes of spotting cute otters, whales, or bears, don’t forget to look into the mountains as well because you may be lucky enough to spot mountain goats.  If you hear a loud noise, make sure to look at the nearby glaciers as this typically signals that they are calving, an incredible thing to see.

Insider Tip: If you are visiting Alaska by land, take one of the national park cruise tours to experience this unforgettable place

15. Sedona, AZ

stunning sedona picture of rocks on both sides and a person peeking out onto thelandscape
Credit: Heather Arbour

Sedona, Arizona is known for it’s gorgeous red rock canyons, the epic free camping near Sedona, and the energy of seven vortex sites scattered throughout the red rocks.

The red rocks of Sedona are world famous, attracting nearly three million visitors each year. With hikes ranging from easy to strenuous, awesome caves and cliff dwellings to explore, ATV adventures, and views that bring a peace not found anywhere else, Sedona has a little something for any and all types of travelers. 

Insider Tip: Be sure to snag a national parks pass before visiting Sedona so you can get free parking at all the trailheads! 

16. Badlands National Park, SD

stunning badlands national park picture
Credit: Mike, Our Campfire Unplugged

Visiting Badlands National Park is like stepping onto another planet without leaving Earth! This spectacular natural wonder offers explorers over 100 miles of hiking trails that range from easy boardwalks to challenging climbs to strenuous long-distance hikes!

Climb the ladder on the Notch Trail to marvel at the landscape for miles to the west. Along the Loop Drive, stop at the Praire Dog Town to watch these cute “dogs” play in the afternoon sun. Take in the panoramic views at Pinnacle Overlook and Panorama Point.

Insider Tip: A quarter mile west of Dillion Pass is a parking pull-off. Park here, cross the street and get a first-hand experience of the Yellow Mounds. We learned this tip from a National Park volunteer at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center!

17. Glenwood Springs, CO

beautiful blue mountain lake with lush forest and waterfalls behind
Credit: Alexandra, The Bucket List Mermaid

Welcome to Glenwood Springs: a small mountain town nestled in the gorgeous mountains of Colorado. This bucket list destination is a must-visit for adventurers looking to relax in various natural hot springs and mountain spas.

The local favorite is Iron Mountain Hot Springs, which offers 16 natural geothermal springs with mountain and river views. There are also plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, white water rafting, adventure parks, and ziplining.

Some of the best hikes in Colorado, such as Hanging Lake or Maroon Bells, are also easily accessible from this location.  

Insiders Tip: When visiting, don’t stop your relaxation at the thermal baths! Make sure to also check out the Yampah Vapor Caves, one of the only naturally occurring vapor caves in North America. These caves and their therapeutic steam were originally used by the Ute Indians for healing.

18. Arches National Park, UT

beautiful huge arch from orange stones in a national park
Sonia From Carey On Travels

Arches National Park, nestled in the heart of Moab, Utah, contains more than 2,000 natural stone arches, towering pinnacles, and vast rock formations.

The park offers visitors stunning vistas, scenic drives, ranger-led talks and hikes. A variety of hiking trails lead to iconic landmarks such as Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock, and Double Arch.

Insider Tip: There is a large sand dune that is great for sledding just north of the turnoff to the park’s main entrance on Highway 191, called Moab Sand Hill.

19. Napa Valley, CA

cute wine train going through vineyards in napa valley california one of the best bucket list experience sin america
Credit: Goya Galeotta

Nestled just north of San Francisco, Napa Valley is a must-visit on any US travel bucket list. Renowned as one of the world’s most famous wine regions, Napa Valley offers an unforgettable journey through picturesque vineyards and legendary wineries (including some 100-year-old wineries that have shaped the region’s wine industry!).

Whether you’re embarking on wine tours, dining at Michelin-starred restaurants, or staying at some of the best hotels, the region promises an epicurean adventure that’s second to none. While for those seeking relaxation, the spas offer a tranquil retreat in the heart of wine country — truly catering for all!

Insider Tip: Don’t miss out on the Napa Valley Wine Train, an old-world charm that takes you on a leisurely journey through the valley, offering breathtaking views and gourmet meals

20. Grand Teton National Park, WY

stunning mountains in front of field
Credit: Meggie, Parks Family Travel

Grand Teton National Park offers visitors beautiful hikes and breathtaking views. One of the best hikes offering both is Inspiration Point, via Hidden Falls.

Get a round-trip ticket via the Jenny Lake boat shuttle, enjoy a pleasant 0.6 mile hike to a stunning waterfall, and then challenge yourself a little more by climbing up another half mile to the aptly named Inspiration Point.

Insider Tip: If staying in nearby Jackson, spend some time at local gem Phil Baux Park where visitors can practice their bouldering skills at the base of Snow King Mountain.

21. Martha’s Vineyard, MA

cute lighthouse over cliffs
Maria from Martha’s Vineyard Travel Tips

Classic New England architecture, relaxed, yet upscale vibe, charming shops and excellent dining make Martha’s Vineyard an iconic destination for visitors to the East coast.

The island is steeped in history and well-known as a luxury vacation retreat for presidents and movie stars. Some must-see locations include South Beach in Katama, the colorful Gingerbread Cottages in Oak Bluffs and the stunning Gay Head Cliffs and Lighthouse in Aquinnah. 

Insider Tip: Did you know Martha’s Vineyard is also home to the largest, oldest Japanese Pagoda tree in North America? Captain Thomas Milton brought it from China as a seedling and planted it at his home in Edgartown in 1837. You can still see it today next to the Harborside Inn.

22. Crystal River, FL

picture of a manatee in center in cystal river florida
Credit: Hannah Padilla

For a unique experience in the US, visit Crystal River, a small town located an hour north of Tampa. Crystal River is dubbed as the “Manatee Capital of the World”, with hundreds and thousands of manatees living and swimming in the springs nearby. 

Insider Tip: The best time to visit is from November to March. This is because the manatees swim to the springs from the ocean during the winter to escape the ocean, as they have very little body fat to survive colder waters. So come during winter to swim, snorkel, and kayak with the swells of these sea cows!

23. Joshua Tree National Park, CA

beautiful joshua tree national park picture of sunset

Joshua Tree National Park is a desert wonderland in California, famous for its twisted, spiky Joshua trees, unique rock formations, and starry night skies. A haven for hikers and climbers.

Insider Tip: When visiting Joshua Tree, skip the crowded main entrances and head for the less-known Cottonwood Spring entrance. Here, you’ll find not just shorter lines but also access to stunning, less-traveled trails like the Lost Palms Oasis. It’s a serene spot where the desert’s magic truly comes to life, away from the hustle. 

Pack plenty of water and start early from your cool Joshua Tree house rental to catch the sunrise, the colors and silence are surreal. This insider route offers a unique, peaceful way to experience the park’s beauty.

24. Santa Fe, NM

cute adobe style house in orange in santa fe new mexico bucket list destination in america
Credit: Denise Macuk

As one of the most historic places in the county, Santa Fe, located in the heart of New Mexico should be on your USA bucket list. It’s the oldest state capital in the US after all.

If that’s not enough, it has the oldest church in the US (San Miguel Chapel), and the oldest US building in continual use, the Palace of the Goverors, sits right on the Santa Fe Plaza. Today the plaza offers art galleries, boutiques, and some of the best restaurants in Santa Fe.

Insider Tip: To add a dose of fun to your history lesson, stop at the tourist information center and ask for maps of the margarita and chocolate trails of Santa Fe.

25. Blue Ridge Parkway, NC, VA

amazing view over the blue ridge parkway in america
Credit: Anna at Stuck on the go

As “America’s Favorite Drive,” the Blue Ridge Parkway is absolutely one of the most iconic things to see in the US. The road winds for 469 miles from Afton, VA south to Cherokee, NC.

Along the way, there are stunning overlooks with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, plenty of hiking opportunities, and many historical points of interest.

A few stops that you shouldn’t miss are Mount Mitchell, Grandfather Mountain, and Doughton Park in the North Carolina section and Mabry Mill and Peaks of Otter in the Virginia section.

There are plenty of small towns to check out along the Parkway but popular stops include Asheville, Boone/Blowing Rock, Roanoke, and Waynesboro.

Insider Tip: The Blue Ridge Parkway closes often in the winter due to weather so if you want to drive the entire thing, it’s best to visit in a different season.

26. Santa Barbara, CA

stunning seashore in santa barbara with people on the beach at sunset
Credit: Taylor at TayTrumTravels

Nestled along coastal mountains, Santa Barbara is one of California’s most charming cities. Ideal for a 2-4 day getaway, the city offers a variety of experiences, from the historic Spanish Mission to scenic bike rides along the oceanfront.

You can spot seals and sea lions in the wharf. This is a great spot to also try the famous local uni (fresh sea urchin). In the afternoon and evening, you can explore the vibrant Funk Zone for a wine tasting at Pali Wine or the Santa Barbara Wine Collective.

For dinner, head to State Street where you can find local favorites like Zaytoon or Spanish cuisine at Loquita. 

Insider Tip: Visit the East Beach batting cages for a fun, off the beaten path activity. Plus, they have great food. 

27. Hawaii Big Island, HI

A serene sunset with the silhouette of palm trees against a vibrant sky.
Credit: Lucy and Dan, Thoroughly Travel

Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is a volcanic chain of Islands and one of the best bucket list places to visit in the USA. The Island of Hawaii is the largest island and also the most diverse.

The east coast is dry and sunny, and boasts sprawling sandy beaches, bars, restaurants and resorts. It is also great for snorkelling as it has many calm, protected bays and beach parks.

Hawaii definitely needs to be on your list of places to visit in the US.

Insider Tip: Many visitors to Big Island don’t leave Kona, but a great tip is to spend a few nights in Hilo too. The east of the island features gushing waterfalls, a tropical climate and black sand beaches. It’s also a great base to visit the incredible Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and iconic Punalu’u Black Sand Beach – one of the best places to see turtles in Hawaii!

28. Golden Gate Bridge, CA

picture of the golden gate bridge with a big sign in center that shows the details
Credit: Leslie, Backpackers Thailand

Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic marvel of engineering and one of the Wonders of the Modern World. Opened in 1937, the bridge is the most famous and photographed symbol of San Francisco. Connecting San Francisco and Marin County, the bridge is popular among tourists, cyclists, and joggers. Golden Gate Bridge opens a fantastic view of the city and the shores of the San Francisco Bay. It simply demands a spot on everyone’s bucket list.

The timeless aesthetics of the bridge captivates with an Art Deco design and visible attention to detail. It even has its own unique International Orange color, boldly contrasting against the deep blue waters of the bay.

Insider Tip: There are some powerful wind currents at the top of the bridge, so bring a wind jacket and a hat. While the wind may make exploring the bridge a challenge, it only adds to the grandeur of the experience. For the best views, visit the bridge in the afternoon/during sunset, as there’s less chance of fog.

29. Acadia National Park, MA

beautiful picture. ofocean with stunning horizon
Credit: Rebecca Schwartz Fab 5 Family Travel

Acadia National Park is a beautiful summer excursion. Summer in Maine is exquisite, with cooler temperatures than many US destinations.

Acadia is located on Mount Desert Island, and besides the gorgeous views, hikes, kayaking, and whale watching, the region has some of the best seafood, with fresh lobster coming in daily.  

Insider Tip: Plan your trip in early to mid-June due to lower crowds. Many schools are still in session, and not only will you experience fewer crowds at the park and local attractions and restaurants, but there will be better hotels and home rental options.

30. Zion National Park, UT

girl standing in front of a beautiful big arch in a national park that needs to be on everyones us bucket list
Credit: Readymade Travel Plans

Out of 63 national parks in the United States, Zion is one of the most popular and for good reason. This stunning Utah park boasts breathtaking red-rock cliffs and canyons studded with junipers and cascading waterfalls. It’s stunning, especially up against the brilliant blue sky this area has most days of the year.

Enjoy a variety of trails, from an easy paved path to the Emerald Pools to a treacherous trek up to Angel’s Landing or a unique hike splashing through the Virgin River. No matter what you choose, Zion National Park will be an unforgettable vacation!

Insider Tip: Nearby Sand Hollow State Park is a great place to escape the crowds and soak up beautiful scenery. Kayak in the deep-blue reservoir, lounge on a red-sand beach, or ride ATVs to the top of the sand dunes where, on a clear day, you can see as far as the Grand Canyon.

31. Malibu, CA

sunset on a beach with stones and cliffs
Credit: Monica from This Rare Earth

Malibu, a beautiful coastal city in Los Angeles County, California, has earned its place as a bucket list destination in the USA. Whether you visit Malibu in a day or in a full week, the picturesque rocky beaches, panoramic views, and iconic celebrity homes are sure to wow you.

One of the highlights is easily the beaches of Malibu. The distinctive rock formations, caves, and deep blue waters are a must-see. Drive all the way up to Zuma to see Malibu’s famous surfers.

In close proximity is the Getty Villa, a celebrated attraction showcasing ancient Roman and Greek art and architecture.

Insider Tip: When it comes to dining, Malibu Farm restaurant on the pier is a great choice. With breathtaking ocean views, the restaurant serves fresh, organic and locally sourced dishes that run the gamut from brunch to dinner.

32. Key West, FL

cute little town in florida
Credit: Viola Sender

Key West – the tropical island paradise at the southernmost tip of Florida – deserves a spot on your US bucket list.

Experience Old Town’s charming pastel-coloured houses while tasting delicious seafood treats and the island’s signature Key lime pie. Make sure to stop at the Southernmost Point to take an unforgettable photo and commemorate how close Cuba is at just 90 miles.

Join Key West’s legendary Sunset Celebration (a nightly event that took off in the late 1960s) at Mallory Square to watch the glowing pink and red sun sink into the Gulf of Mexico horizon.

Insider Tip: Take full advantage of Key West’s laidback pace by renting a bicycle. It’s the perfect way to explore its narrow streets, discover hidden corners, and navigate charming Old Town effortlessly!

33. Space Needle, WA

seattle skyline and space needle picture front and center

The Space Needle is an iconic symbol of Seattle and a must-see destination in the US. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle has become a signature of the Seattle skyline. 

One of the top things to do in Seattle is to take the elevator up to the open-air observation deck. You’ll love the incredible views of the city, Mount Rainier, and the harbor! Or visit at night to see the sparkling city lights (the Space Needle is open as late as 9pm on some days).

Insider Tip: Enjoy a VIP foodie experience with craft cocktail pairings at the Loupe Lounge atop the Space Needle. The Lounge has a one-of-a-kind revolving glass floor so you’ll enjoy unparalleled views along with your meal!

34. Mount Rainier, WA

stunning mountain with snow behind lush green forest and blue lake
Credit: Jess, Uprooted Traveler

Mount Rainier the tallest mountain in Washington State, towering at a whopping 14,411 feet. Within the park, you’ll find endless mountain peaks, meadows of wildflowers, alpine lakes, and abundant wildlife, ranging from marmots to black bears.

The best way to explore the park is on foot on any of the best hikes in Mount Rainier, like the Skyline Loop Trail, which leads you through fields of technicolor wildflowers up to a viewpoint of the Nisqually Glacier, or the Mount Fremont Lookout, which takes you up to the highest historic fire lookout in the park. 

Insider Tip: To make the most of the park, the visiting season is quite narrow—usually from late July through early October. Outside of this window, Mount Rainier is actually one of the snowiest places in the United States!

35. Big Sur, CA

amazing shot of a highway on a bridge between two cliffs with lots of water behind
Credit: Rose Campeau

Nestled along California’s rugged coastline, Big Sur captivates with its awe-inspiring beauty, earning its spot among the most iconic destinations in the United States.

Towering cliffs plunge into the Pacific Ocean, creating a dramatic backdrop that has lured adventurers and artists alike for decades. The renowned Bixby Creek Bridge, perched high above the waves, is one of the most iconic viewpoints in the country.

Whether you’re exploring the enchanting McWay Falls or winding through the majestic landscapes of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur promises a sensory feast and an unforgettable addition to any travel bucket list.

Insider Tip: Book a night’s stay at Deetjen’s Inn, a national landmark that was constructed of hand sawn redwood trees almost one hundred years ago.

36. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, CO

national park cliffs in the usa
Credit: Sheri Nagle

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, in western Colorado, is one of North America’s deepest canyons, carved over millions of years by the Gunnison River.

This national park earned its name due to the canyon’s extreme depth of 2,722 feet and narrow rim walls that block sunlight from entering. This prevents plants from growing on the canyon walls, making the granite cliffs appear black or dark grey. 

A scenic 1-hour drive leads to the charming mountain town of Ouray, CO, an ideal base for exploring hikes within the park and other nearby outdoor activities like ice climbing and mountain biking. 

Insider Tip: Take a drive along the North Rim for stunning views of the “Painted Wall,” an awesome 2,250-foot cliff of colorful rock.

37. Kanab, UT

the author posing in front of orange cliffs with petroglyphs
Credit: Janae from Adventures With TuckNae

Kanab, Utah, is a town in southern Utah that needs to be on your US bucket list! Although most of south Utah is spectacular, Kanab stands out for sure. 

There are plenty of things to do in the Kanab area, but a few of the highlights include hiking through the famous Belly of the Dragon tunnel, visiting the Kanab sand caves, and ATVing to Peekaboo Slot Canyon. 

Insider Tip: Consider visiting in the late fall or early winter months for fewer crowds and to avoid the summer heat. 

38. Kenai Fjords National Park, AK

stunning kenai fjords ocean in front of cliffs in america
Credit: Emily Concannon, Emily Embarks

Hidden among the glaciers and fjords of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, the Kenai Fjords National Park just so happens to be one of the only national parks in the United States that is primarily accessible by boat!

Boasting towering glaciers like Aialik, stunning fjords, and an abundance of wildlife, those who visit will step onboard one of the iconic Kenai Fjords Tours and explore the park’s wonders from the water.

Covering an area of over 1,000 square miles, the Kenai Fjords National Park is home to an array of wildlife, including sea lions, sea otters, Dall porpoises, humpback and killer whales, as well as over 200 species of birds!

Insider Tip: Despite the Kenai Fjords being primarily accessible by boat, those who opt to take the long route to the outlook of Aialik Glacier can hike the 8.2-mile out-and-back trail to the Harding Icefield!

39. Empire State Building, NY

view from the empire state building in new york over ny skyline
Samantha Oppenheimer of Find Love and Travel

One of the best destinations in the US is, of course, New York City. 

Not only is the Empire a bucket list destination, but it is also one of the most iconic NYC landmarks .

The Empire State Building stands an impressive 102 stories and offers a unique and fun interactive experience on your way to the top. It was built in 1930 and is now famous for its observation deck and Immersive experience. 

The Empire State Building has two separate observation decks, which both offer 360-degree views of New York City’s incredible skyline. However, in my personal opinion, the general admission is more than enough to see.

Insider Tip: For an elevated experience, get your tickets in advance for sunrise or sunset.

40. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, MI

two people hiking along a nice shoreline
Credit: Linda Egeler

Nestled along the pristine shores of Lake Michigan, the shifting sand dunes and towering bluffs of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore deserve to be on your list of must-visit destinations.

Conquer the iconic Dune Climb, and race to the bottom while risking a face-plant in the sand. Enjoy the 7.4 mile Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, which offers  incredible overlooks of the Glen Lakes, the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Lake Michigan and surrounding forests.

Cool off in the crystal clear waters of Lake Michigan. Relax and skip stones on sandy beaches that are both family-friendly and dog-friendly.  

Insider Tip: If you only have time for one hike during your visit to Sleeping Bear, the Empire Bluff trail is not to be missed!  At 1.5 miles round trip, this well-maintained trail winds through a lovely beech-maple forest.  It opens up on a high bluff with a spectacular, panoramic view of Lake Michigan. 

41. Volcanoes National Park, HI

amazing blue lake in a volcano

Volcanoes National Park is a must-visit destination to add to your USA bucket list. Nestled on the Big Island of Hawaii, this national park offers a rare glimpse into the raw power of nature, where Kilauea and Mauna Loa, two of the world’s most active volcanoes, command the landscape. 

Volcanoes National Park is not just a journey through stunning volcanic landscapes; it’s an immersive experience into the creation and transformation of the Hawaiian Islands themselves. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a nature lover, or a family looking for an educational adventure, the park’s unique ecosystems and cultural significance promise an unforgettable experience.

This spot needs to be on everyone’s USA bucket list.

Insider Tip: If you are visiting the Big Island with Kids, I recommend exploring the Kīlauea Iki Overlook/Trail and the Thurston Lava Tube. Another great option is Devastation Trail, which allows you to see the aftermath of an eruption!

42. Cape Flattery, WA

stunning rugged coastline of cape flattery
Credit: Meeshka Brand from Sand & Elevation

Imagine standing on the edge of a rugged Pacific Northwest cliff, looking out towards aquamarine water and evergreen tree-topped sea stacks while seabirds fly above you.

This stunning scenery describes what you’ll see at just one of four breathtaking viewpoints at Cape Flattery in Washington State, the most northwestern point of the contiguous United States, just outside the boundaries of Olympic National Park.

From here, you’ll see sea caves carved by the Pacific Ocean and Tatoosh Island just off the coastline. Enjoy views of Vancouver Island in Canada across the Strait of Juan de Fuca on a clear day.

Insider Tip: After Cape Flattery, take a walk on sandy Hobuck Beach only ten minutes away. You don’t need to stay at the resort there to visit the beach. All you need is a Makah Recreation Pass.

43. The White House, DC

the famous white house behind a fence on a sunny day one of the most important buildings in america
Credit: Mayuri Patel

One of the top Bucket list places to visit in the United States, is the official residence of the President of the USA- the White House. The White House is an iconic neoclassical building designed by James Hoban in 1800. The building has been expanded and renovated over the years.

Being the symbol of the U.S. government and the presidency, the White House must be included in your Washington DC Itinerary.

In addition to the main residence, the White House complex includes the West Wing, where the President’s Oval Office is located, and the East Wing, which houses the First Lady’s office.

When you visit Washington DC, do not forget to take a tour of this iconic building. Note that public tour requests must be submitted through a Member of Congress.

Insider Tip: If you want to get the perfect picture of the White House, head to Prospect Park to get the best views.

44. Everglades National Park, FL

alligator swimming in the everglades in florida
Credit: Victoria Heinz

The Everglades, a unique tropical wetland in Florida, is a vast and diverse ecosystem that serves as a haven for wildlife and a source of fresh water for millions. Spanning over 1.5 million acres, it is home to numerous rare and endangered species, including the elusive Florida panther and the American crocodile. 

The Everglades is characterized by its slow-moving waters, sawgrass marshes, and mangrove forests, creating a mosaic of habitats that support a rich array of plant and animal life. Visitors to the Everglades can explore its beauty through hiking trails, airboat tours, and wildlife spotting, experiencing a natural wonder unlike any other.

Insider tip: While airboat tours are very popular and can be fun, they can also disturb local wildlife and aren’t the most sustainable. Instead, consider going on a kayak tour, which allows you to see more of the Everglades and experience it in peace.

45. Las Vegas, NV

stunning skyline of las vegas at night with lights on
Jazzmine Woodard of Jet Set Jazzmine

Las Vegas, Nevada is the ultimate American tourist destination with every kind of attraction! Vegas is known for casinos and showgirls but there’s so much more.

Stay on the Las Vegas Strip for convenient access to local things to do like riding the LINQ High Roller or dining at a celebrity chef restaurant.  And Vegas is close to other iconic American sites like the Grand Canyon so it’s great for road trips!

There’s no bad time to visit Las Vegas as winters are mild with plenty of indoor activities. But summer is when the famous Vegas pool parties are in full swing.

Insider Tip: Buy a case of water for your hotel room. Reasonably priced water is scarce and you’ll want to stay hydrated in the desert!

46. Lake Powell, UT

blue lake with cliffs in the background
Credit: Artifacts

Lake Powell is a fixture of any road trip across the American southwest.  A reservoir of the Colorado river, the lake winds upward from northern Arizona into southern Utah.

This uniquely scenic area is best seen from the water.  Sign up for a boat tour to explore the lake’s meandering upper reaches and towering red and white cliff faces. Or rent a kayak and navigate its turquoise waters yourself.  

When you are finished outdoors, take a tour of the Glen Canyon Dam and have a meal at one of the nearby resorts. 

Insider Tip: The lake’s water levels have fluctuated in recent years.  Be sure to check in advance what activities are running during your intended travel dates. 

47. Disneyland, CA

disneyland california castle in pink light at night one of the bucket list places in the us you should see
Credit: Tina from Hey Mickey Travel

Disneyland is the most famous theme park in the United States and is a bucket list place to visit for lots of families!  Designed by Walt Disney himself, Disneyland is the original Disney park and is full of nostalgia and magic for every member of the family.

Disneyland is comprised of two distinct parks, several resorts, and Downtown Disney—an entertainment and shopping district.  Besides iconic attractions like Dumbo the Flying Elephant and “It’s a Small World”,
Disneyland is home to your favorite characters come to life! 

You can also enjoy whimsical snacks and world-class entertainment during your day at Disneyland.  It is truly a trip of a lifetime!

Insider Tip: Because the two parks (Disneyland Park and California Adventure Park) are literally steps from each other, make sure you get a park hopper ticket and add Genie+ to maximize your park time!

48. Savannah, GA

statue in a park on a cemetary in savannah with flowers
Credit: Erin Clarkson | Savannah First-Timer’s Guide

If you’re a history buff searching for unique destinations to visit in the US, you might want to add Savannah, GA to your bucket list. The city has beautiful architecture, a bustling riverfront, and enough historic landmarks to keep you busy for days!

A few must-see attractions in Savannah include the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Bonaventure Cemetery, Forsyth Park, and the Owens Thomas House and Slave Quarters.

Insider Tip: Be sure to take a guided tour of Bonaventure Cemetery with Bonaventure Don. He packs so much insider information into his presentation that you’ll wish the tour could last all day! He’ll even leave you with a mystery to solve regarding a missing monument. Bonaventure Cemetery looks prettiest during the early spring when thousands of hot pink azaleas bloom throughout its grounds.

49. Devils Tower National Monument, WY

stunning mountain monument with sunset in the background
Credit: Jenny from Girls Who Travel

Devils Tower is an incredible geographical feature. You can visit this national monument, hike around it, or even climb the tower. But there are two really fun and unique things to do in the area you should not miss!

Go for a sunset hayride through the historic Campstool Ranch, listen to stories of the ranchers who have lived there for eight generations, all while enjoying beautiful views of the monument.

Insider Tip: Stay at the KOA campground, located in the shadow of Devils Tower, and spend your evening in the company of other campers to watch ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind’, which was filmed on-site. Wander back to your tent under the bright stars, wondering just a little if aliens really exist!

50. Saguaro National Park, AZ

petroglyph site in the saguaro national park with mountains and lush forest in the backgorund
Credit: Becky from Cultivate Traveling

Nestled around Tucson you can find the Saguaro National Park. The park offers two distinct parks. On the west side, you’ll find a dense population of the iconic saguaros in a more compact space. Venture to the east, and the park opens with expansive acreage, backcountry trails, and camping options for the more adventurous spirits.

The saguaro cactus stands as an emblem of the Southwest, thriving in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. These green giants offer a stunning backdrop to a landscape teeming with wildlife, from the Gila monsters and bobcats to coyotes and rattlesnakes.

Saguaros are slow growers. In about 125 years, they are mature, flowering giants, often living to see 150 to 200 years. They are a reminder of nature’s resilience and splendor, right in the Southwest’s backyard near Tucson, Arizona.

Insider Tip: And if you’re into a bit of history, the 800-year-old petroglyphs on the Signal Hill Trail are a must-see.

51. Lake Tahoe, CA, NV

beautiful blue water in lake tahoe with snowy mountains in the background

Lake Tahoe is the perfect place to visit in the US, especially in summer.

Sitting right on the border of Nevada and California, Lake Tahoe is rich with scenic beauty. The crystal clear lake surrounded by the alpine mountains, and forest covered cliffs provides spectacular views that no one should miss.

In addition to swimming, you can also enjoy views from the water by going kayaking or taking a chartered boat tour. The water of the lake is so clear, that you can almost see down to the bottom. There are also many hikes surrounding the lake that give you incredible views of the mountains next to the emerald water’s surface. 

Insider Tip: North Lake Tahoe is quieter than the South Lake area, but there are some great beaches and its a good place to stay if you’re looking to be off the beaten path. North Lake Tahoe is also close to other touristy historic towns like Truckee or Virginia City for a day trip.

52. The Bean, IL

the bean monument in chicago glistring in the sun
Credit: Kim at Explore Your Bucket List

Located in the heart of Chicago, in Millennium Park, is the Cloud Gate sculpture affectionately known as The Bean.

The piece of art measures 66 feet long and 33 feet high and is made of 168 polished stainless-steel plates with no seams. This makes for a smooth, shiny surface that provides mirror-like optical illusions. Of course, this location is a magnet for those wanting memorable selfie pictures both in front of and underneath the iconic structure. And best of all it is free to visit!

Insider Tip: The Bean is polished multiple times daily – go early in the morning, before the crowds, when it has just been cleaned to get the best reflection pictures.

53. Jewel Cave National Monument, SD

stunning jewel cave monument in orange with stones and other carvings
Credit: Travel The Parks

If you get a chance you’ve got to check out Jewel Cave National Monument! Literally, it’s a true gem! Why? because there are tons of sparkling calcite crystals. When they catch the light just right, they are a truly magical sight.

Taking a guided tour, you can observe all he cave’s secrets. There’s a tour for everyone. Whether you’re on the Scenic tour or the Historic Lantern tour, the draperies, frostwork, cave bacon, and cave popcorn are all present here.

This is an awesome bucket list place to visit in the US.

Insider Tip: Volunteer for the caboose and you’ll get decent shots without people.

54. Cumberland Island, GA

ruins in a lush park in cumbrland island
Morgan Middleton author of Middletons on the Move

Cumberland Island is a barrier island off the coast of Georgia that is only accessible by boat – private or via a ferry out of St Mary’s.

This island is worth visiting to check out its wild horses, the ruins of the Dungeness Mansion, miles of natural beaches, and beautiful walking trails through the wilderness.

The island has a few vehicles but they are only available to residents and park rangers. Guests to the island can walk or ride bicycles and explore the natural beauty of the area. 

Insider Tip: You can usually find a private charter to and from the island for a decent price if you want to visit for a longer period of time.

55. St. Augustine, FL

little busy street of traditional wooden houses
Credit: Two Geeks Travel

St. Augustine, Florida is an incredible place to visit due to its long history and vibrant atmosphere. As the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the United States, St. Augustine offers a glimpse into the nation’s past.

Visitors can explore the well-preserved Spanish colonial buildings, stroll along old, cobbled streets, and see historical landmarks like Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine Lighthouse, and the Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.

There is so much to do between beautiful beaches, amazing restaurants, and lively cultural scene, make St. Augustine a captivating destination.

Insider Tip: Finding a parking spot can be a hassle in the historic district. Just a short walk away, the city has built a new parking garage. This convenient option saves you the time and frustration of searching for street parking.

56. Carmel Beach, CA

stunning blue water and cliffs on a beach
Credit: Ruma, Places Allow Pets

Carmel Beach is one of the most visited beaches on the Central California Coastline at Ocean Avenue’s base. This Monterey County coast attracts locals and visitors for its beautiful scenic beauty and exciting activities.

Enjoying the beach fire along the white sands is a great experience for every visitor. I loved walking through the Scenic Pathway. This Decomposing granite road starts from the Scenic Road and ends near the Martin Way. 

Insider Tip: Carmel Beach is dog-friendly and perfect for beach fire, surfing, hiking, etc. Pups can enjoy playing off-leash while following the voice commands of owners. 

57. Cannon Beach, OR

steps leading into the forest
Credit: Jenn Fisher

Cannon Beach is located in Ecola State Park at 2864 S Pacific Street, OR and can be reached from Portland in under 2 hours. Cannon Beach is amazing for all five senses for nature lovers and should definitely be on your bucket list in the US.

Insider Tip: Take the amazing hike on the Crescent Beach Trail. I experienced being immersed in old growth Sitka spruce and western Hemlock habitat. Maybe due to the density of the forest or maybe the park’s energy, but the peaceful ambiance, punctuated by the rustling of leaves, made it an ideal setting for meditation and personal reflection. I took in the sights and sounds during a memorable forest bath that resonated long after the hike.

58. Chickasaw National Recreation Area, OK

lake ina forest
Credit: Rae Lynn Payton, Naturally Oklahoma

The Chickasaw National Recreation Area, located in south-central Oklahoma, is a unique destination known for its beautiful natural springs, streams, and rich history. Visitors can explore its hiking trails and educational center and find many opportunities for wildlife viewing.

The nearby Chickasaw Cultural Center offers a rich insight into the history and culture of the Chickasaw people. It’s a diverse and engaging location for outdoor enthusiasts and families alike.

Insider Tip: Looking to see some American bison? A small herd resides within the park. Visitors can often see them grazing in the afternoons off of Highway 177 at Bison Viewpoint.

Another Tip: The popular Little Niagara Falls is best known for its swimming, but the best secluded swimming spots are further down Travertine Creek. Park at a pullover spot along Perimeter Road and hike down to the banks of the creek. 

59. Kauai, Waimea Canyon, HI

stunning view of cliffs and lush countryside in hawaii
Credit: Adam Sterling

When visiting Kauai, Waimea Canyon should be at the top of your list. The canyon, nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, is over a mile wide and 3,500 feet deep. It is also one of the wettest places on Earth, so pay attention to the weather before you go.

The easy drive is along the canyon’s rim and provides many gorgeous views – especially if you take some easy hikes! Some flora unique to Kauai can only be seen on these hikes. 

Insider Tip: I used a tour I bought from Shaka Guide (a self-guided tour smartphone app), and it took about 6 hours. In addition to historical context, it will tell you when and where to stop for hikes and beautiful sights!  

60. Red Rocks Amphitheater, CO

amazing shot of the red rocks amphitheater in the usa

Lastly on my list of bucket list places to visit in the USA is this hidden gem.

The most iconic music venue in Denver is Red Rocks Amphitheater. The amphitheater overlooks Denver and has incredible acoustics thanks to the walls of red sandstone. There’s really nothing like listening to live music as the sun sets during a summer concert at Red Rocks.

U2, John Denver, the Grateful Dead, the Eagles, and the Beatles have all played shows at Red Rocks. 

Insider Tip: Although most people choose to stay in Denver, you can get a more local feel by choosing a B&B or hotel in Golden. Historic downtown Golden is only about 10 minutes from the venue.

Conclusion: Bucket List Places To Visit in The USA

In this post my favorite travel bloggers have shared their most fascinating insider tips on bucket list places to visit in the USA.

My goal is to visit all 60 of these places on my North America Bucket List – and you should too. From stunning national parks to significant historical buildings, this list has all the highlights of the USA to offer.

From Niagra Falls to the most important Unesco World Heritage Sites in the United States – this list has them all!

Lastly, make sure to check out my favorite – the White Sands National Park in New Mexico.

blonde girl pink dress in front of blue door santorini

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in New Mexico. She spends about half of the year traveling to various destinations together with her husband.

She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.