Americans are taking vacations again as the country continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, but international travel is still a challenge, so many are looking for destinations in their own backyard.
Luckily, this is a continent-sized country with countless stunning attractions, ranging from the natural wonders of Yellowstone, Yosemite, and other natural parks to man-made wonders such as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and Hoover Dam on the Nevada-Arizona border. (Here is the best summer destination for outdoor fun in every state.)
There are also places that combine the natural and the man-made, including Mount Rushmore, which is part mountain and part monumental sculpture, and New York’s Central Park, which designer Frederick Law Olmsted described as “the lungs of the city,” thanks in large part to the more than 400 species of trees, plants, and flowers that grow there.
To whet the appetite, and perhaps to inspire some travel plans, 24/7 Tempo has compiled stunning photographs of America’s biggest tourist attractions by land area, based on Google searches.
Some of these are comparatively small, with their size measured in acres rather than square miles. Among these are the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; Grand Central Terminal in New York City; and Alcatraz Island, a quick ferry ride from San Francisco. For less conventional adventures, consider visiting the strangest roadside attraction in every state.
On the other end of our list is Lake Michigan. It’s not the largest of the Great Lakes, but it’s the only one that’s entirely within the U.S. (the rest are shared with Canada). With an area of more than 22,000 square miles it’s bigger than some countries. There’s lots to see and do on and around the lake, including fishing, canoe and kayak excursions, museums, spas, even wineries.
Big or smaller(er), all these are amazingly photogenic places, and just about everybody has a camera in hand these days to create stunning images of their own.