Here are 30+ america’s most amazing and beautiful landmarks.These sites, in short, are attractions that all Americans should feel proud of. And our appreciation, and protection, of them will guarantee that future generations will be able to admire them, too.
Niagara Falls, NY
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More than 750,000 gallons of water per second thunder down this iconic 167-foot waterfall—the most powerful on the North American continent. The falls straddle the border between the U.S. and Canada, and though some argue that Horseshoe Falls—set on the Ontario side—is more spectacular than the smaller American Falls, the landmark has held a particular place in American history ever since 1901, when Michigan schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to go over the falls (and survive) in a barrel.
How to See It: Take a half-hour water tour on the Maid of the Mist ferry, which has boarding docks in both countries.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, SD
Carved into a granite mountain face in South Dakota’s southwesterly Black Hills, this sculpture of four of America’s most influential presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt) was considered an extraordinary feat of engineering when it was completed in 1941—and it’s still majestic today, bringing in more than two million visitors per year.
How to See It: If you visit in winter, you’ll be able to avoid the summer crowds and see the monument dusted with snow. In warmer months, though, try to catch the evening lighting ceremony (starting at 8 or 9 p.m.), where park rangers slowly illuminate the enormous granite faces above.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
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Stretching 1.7 miles high above the mist-enshrouded waters of San Francisco Bay, this peaked, vermilion-painted suspension bridge (the color is officially known as International Orange) is as striking today as it was when it was completed in 1937. The natural surroundings—including the coves and forested bluffs of Marin County; the island of Alcatraz; and numerous sailboats, barges, kite-surfers, and even frolicking seals—can all be seen from the bridge on a clear day.
How to See It: Walking at least partway along the bridge’s pedestrian path allows for the most dramatic views (and best photo ops).