Earth Day, on April 22, is a chance to appreciate our planet and all its wonders.
It’s also an excellent opportunity, for anyone able, to visit the places in the US that inspire an inspirational connection with the Earth.
Though, of course, these sites are open to visitors much of the year, and there’s no wrong time to admire the stunning natural beauty of the American landscape. Here are some of the most beautiful natural places in the US.
Sequoia National Park, California
If you want to feel small compared to the vastness of nature, stand next to a giant sequoia. The trees of California’s Sequoia National Park can reach hundreds of feet high, and live for hundreds of years.
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Crater Lake, Oregon
Crater Lake is a testament to nature’s power. Perched high in the clouds, the volcanic crater, or caldera, was formed 7,700 years ago, but it’s still renowned today as the deepest lake in the US. While the clouds sometimes block the view from the caldera rim, when the weather is clear you can appreciate how shockingly clear the water is.
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Niagara Falls, New York
It hasn’t been a secret for a while, but plenty of folks take Niagara Falls for granted. They shouldn’t. 3,160 tons of water flows over Niagara Falls every second, blasting onlookers with spray and wonder. There’s a reason it was the first state park in the US.
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Badlands National Park, South Dakota
There are parts of this Earth people would barely recognize as their own planet. The Badlands is one of those places. Geologic deposits here hold fossils of ancient rhinos, and there are plenty of live critters to see scampering up the rocks.
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Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Antelope Canyon’s wavy walls seem to invite explorers to venture deeper. While the small slot canyon pales in size compared to the Grand Canyon not too far away, Antelope Canyon provides a more intimate, and equally dazzling, experience.
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Molokini Crater, Hawaii
While only a small spit of land appears above the surface of Molokini Crater, located in the ocean between Maui and Kahoolawe, the best views are through snorkel goggles. With 250 varieties of animals and 38 varieties of coral, the site is arguably the best snorkeling spot in the entire country.
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Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana
65 species of reptiles and amphibians, 250 species of birds, over 100 different species of fish, and a population of bald eagles swim and swoop through Atchafalaya Basin, America’s largest river swamp.
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Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
When you see pictures of whales leaping out of the water or glaciers crashing into the ocean or any other fantastical winter wonderland sight, they probably came from Glacier.
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