A lot of people in the United States believe that in order to see something beautiful they have to get a passport to visit another country. Fortunately, this is not true. The United States is full of beauty, magic, and art, all you need to do is look for it. Scattered all across the country are ancient relics, awe-inspiring landscapes, and natural masterpieces. If you're looking for a bit of an adventure, but you don't want to spend your life savings to leave the country, then check out this list of hidden gems of beauty that are right in your own backyard.There is evidence that proves that humans have used the land that is now known as Glacier National Park for the past 10,000 years! The history of Glacier National Park is fascinating, but it's quite obvious that people go to this national park for its breathtaking views. Covering a little more than 1,500 square miles, Glacier National Park is known for its stunning landscape and diverse ecosystems, drawing the attention of nature lovers everywhere.
Horseshoe Bend is a great example of how incredibly strong flowing water can be. Created from a flowing river, Horseshoe Bend gives us a look into the past and how the United States was formed. Horseshoe Bend is considered to be a part of the Grand Canyon, so it tends to attract the attention of families and adrenaline junkies alike.
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The Georgia Guidestones
Located in Elbert County, Georgia, the Guidestones are often compared to the infamous Stonehenge of England. The history of the Georgia Guidestones has left people in confusion for decades. In 1979, a man who went by the pseudonym Robert C. Christian approached a local granite company to commission them to build the Guidestones, which are an astounding 750 feet tall. The four monstrous stones have "instructions" for mankind on how we're supposed to live. Many people believe that the stones are related to the occult or even the Illuminati, but because of the mystery surrounding the man who had them built, no one will truly ever know their purpose.
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The Great Serpent Mound
Located in Adams County, Ohio, the Great Serpent Mound dates back to prehistoric times. There has been much debate on how old the mound actually is and who created it, but the most recent studies show that the mound was created by the people of the Adena culture over 1,000 years ago! Scientists aren't entirely sure what this massive serpent-shaped mound was used for, but they believe that the 1,300-foot long mound was used as a mortuary to aid the dead in their journey.
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Thurston Lava Tube at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Thurston Lava Tube is a breathtaking sight for those that love adventure. The Thurston Lava Tube, which is between 350 and 500 years old, was once a flowing river of lava. As the outside of the lava hardens, the middle still flows for many years to come. Eventually, the lava will stop flowing, creating a lava tube as a result.
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Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, Connecticut
Most Americans think that they have to travel across the ocean in order to see a castle. Little do they know that there's one much closer than they think. Built between 1914 and 1919, the Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, Connecticut, looks like it jumped right out of the pages of a mystery novel. Complete with hidden rooms, doors that can only be opened by completing a puzzle, and a hand-carved bar, Gillette Castle is certainly a sight to see! But make sure to watch out for restless spirits because there are plenty of rumors of ghost sightings at Gillette Castle.
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If you're looking for a place that will surely take your breath away, the Snoqualmie Falls is the place for you. One of Washington's most popular attractions, the infamous 270-foot waterfall attracts more than 1.5 million visitors a year.
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Gila Cliff Dwellings
For thousands of years, the Gila Cliff Dwellings were used as shelter by different nomadic groups. Eventually, the cliff dwellings became home to the people of the Mogollon culture. The Mogollon people used the cliff dwellings for raising their children, crafting pottery, and living life the best way they knew how. The Mogollon people may not have had much use for the Gila Cliff Dwellings once they decided to move on, but fortunately for us, the cliff dwellings are still perfectly intact, allowing us to get a glimpse into the mysterious past.
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The Painted Hills
Located in Wheeler County, Oregon, the Painted Hills cover over 3,000 acres of land. The Painted Hills got their name from the colorful stratifications of blacks, golds, yellows, and reds that run throughout it. Apparently, the colors look different depending on the time of day, but experts claim that the best time to visit the Painted Hills is in the late afternoon.
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The Grotto of Redemption
Created from petrified wood, precious stones, and minerals, the Grotto of Redemption is "considered to be the world's most complete man-made collection of minerals, fossils, shells, and petrifications in one place." Built by Father Paul Matthias Dobberstein in 1912 to pay homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who Father Dobberstein claimed to have saved his life from pneumonia, the Grotto of Redemption is a religious landmark that receives over 100,000 visitors a year.
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The Grand Prismatic Spring is not only the largest hot spring in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, but it's actually the largest hot spring in the ENTIRE United States.
This colorful hot spring is 370 feet across and 160 feet deep, which is quite impressive, but the incredible size of Grand Prismatic Spring isn't what attracts most people to Yellowstone. As you can see, the Grand Prismatic Spring is absolutely gorgeous with its vibrant colors!
Jim Peaco, National Park Service / Public Domain
Red Mountain Pass
Listed as one of the most dangerous roads in America, the Red Mountain Pass isn’t something for the faint of heart. With its winding roads, steep hills, risky avalanches, and fatal drops, the Red Mountain Pass claims the lives of people every single year. Despite the warnings of danger, adrenaline junkies and travelers make the trip just to take in the breathtaking scenery of Red Mountain Pass.
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Winterthur Museum and Country Estate
Approximately 60 years ago, horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont opened up his childhood home to the public as a museum. Winterthur Museum and Country Estate has over 90,000 objects that were made or used in America, a fairytale cottage, and a 60-acre garden. Du Pont's goal was to share the love of his land with anyone who would appreciate it, and it's safe to say that he definitely succeeded in his task!
Located off of the coast of the Bayfield Peninsula in northern Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands consist of 22 different islands in Lake Superior. The Apostle Islands not only host 800 different plant species, but they're also the home to the most black bears in the United States.
Skagit Valley Tulip Fields in Mount Vernon, Washington
In 1892, an immigrant from England named George Gibbs bought five dollars worth of flower bulbs. A few years later, he dug them up only to discover that they significantly multiplied. Soon enough, word got around that flower bulbs grew extremely well in the area. In 1950, William Roozen started his own bulb-growing farm in Skagit County, Washington. Eventually, Roozen would have so many flowers that people from all over the world wanted to visit the farm, leading to the creation of the Skagit County Tulip Festival. Today, Roozen’s tulips bring in over one million visitors a year!
The Florida Everglades
If you want to leave the United States, without having to get a passport, then the Florida Everglades might just be the place for you. The Florida Everglades is a tropical wetland of sawgrass marshes, mangroves , and pine flatwoods that cover 800 square miles of land with extremely diverse ecosystems. The Everglades is home to the West Indian manatee, the endangered leatherback turtle, and the Florida panther, and let's not forget about those alligators.
More than 13,000 years ago, the Ice Age floods from glacial Lake Missoula carved Palouse River Canyon. Palouse Falls, which is an astounding 200 feet tall, is a high point for those that want to camp in Palouse Falls State Park. Not only do they get to enjoy being outside with nature, but they also get to witness the history of the United States right in front of their very eyes.
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The Devil's Tower, located in Wyoming, was originally called the "Bear's House" by Native Americans in the area. During an expedition, Colonel Richard Irving Dodge's interpreter misunderstood what the Natives were saying, so it was renamed the Devil's Tower. Even though some people believe that the Devil's Tower is an ancient petrified tree, the tower is actually a laccolithic butte made out of igneous rock.
Garden of the Gods
Popular for its hiking, rock climbing, and horseback riding, the Garden of the Gods attracts the attention of adventure seekers from all over the world. The Garden of the Gods was surveyed in 1859, when Colorado City was being set up. One of the surveyors thought it would be the perfect place for a beer garden, but the other surveyor said: "Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.”
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Eternal Flame Falls, New York
If you're looking for a bit of mystery and mysticism, then you need to head to the Eternal Flame Falls in New York. Located behind a small waterfall in Shale Creek Preserve is a grotto that emits natural gas 24/7. Because of the emission of gas, a flame can be lit underneath the waterfall. The flame can be seen almost year round, but when it does go out, someone always makes sure to relight it once again.
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Slab City, California
Known as the last free place on Earth, Slab City attracts the "less than desirable" members of society. Those that would rather travel than work a 9-5 job. Those that wish to live differently than the way society tells them that they need to live. Complete with a library, art, and HUGE sculptures, Slab City is considered a national monument.