If you want to confine your travels to must-see historical and natural sites in the United States, there's plenty to see. Check out iconic monuments and nature at some of these must-see landmarks that showcase our country’s beauty and historical significance in all their glory. Take a look at these epic seven attractions offering a variety experiences that are truly a slice of Americana.
The most powerful falls in North America straddle the border between Canada and the United States in the twin cities of Niagara, N.Y., and Niagara, Ontario. Every minute, as much as six million cubic feet of water plummets over the gorge. The Niagra Falls are made up of two sections separated by Goat Island. Be sure to drive over the Canada for the view from there, as well.
Sixty-foot heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln make up the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota. Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln Borglum carved the faces between 1927 and 1939. About two million people visit the monument in the Black Hills every year.
The highest mountain in North America sits in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve. Mount McKinley, also known as Denali, has a summit elevation of 20,320 feet above sea level. The entire park covers 9,429 miles, giving you more than enough places to explore.
Yellowstone National Park
The first national park in the world was established March 1, 1872 by Ulysses S. Grant. Sitting mostly in Wyoming, parts of the vastness extend into Montana and Idaho. Once used as a laundry, Old Faithful Geyser is the most popular attraction in Yellowstone National Park, where you can see wildlife galore and different ecosystems. Lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges make up the rest of the 3,468-square-mile park.
While the Taj Majal and Great Pyramids memorialize individuals, so too does the Washington Monument, a tribute to the life of America’s first president George Washington. The 555-foot tall monument in Washington, D.C., contains more than 36,000 blocks. Architect Robert Mills won a contest to design the obelisk. Construction started in 1848 and was completed in 1884, nearly 30 years after the architect’s death.
The 726-foot high Hoover Dam has been called one of the Top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century. The dam sits on the border of Arizona and Nevada about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, backing up water from the Colorado River and creating Lake Mead. Construction began in 1930 by the Six Companies and finished in five years, nearly two years ahead of schedule.
You might remember this monument from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” One of the nation’s most interesting rock formations rises 1,267 feet above the surrounding terrain with a summit at 5,112 feet. Devils Tower in the Black Hills of South Dakota was called Bear Lodge by the Lakota Indians for its striking surface that looks as if it was clawed by a bear. In reality, it’s a volcanic neck.