America’s most beautiful unspoiled places

Noble Horvath

Quiet places around the US The USA’s remotest nooks and farthest flung crannies, from sprawling national parks to tiny islands home only to wild creatures, are beautiful. Explore them through these stunning photos for some virtual peace and quiet. Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you […]


The USA’s remotest nooks and farthest flung crannies, from sprawling national parks to tiny islands home only to wild creatures, are beautiful. Explore them through these stunning photos for some virtual peace and quiet.



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Loggerhead turtles nest on this barrier island off the southeast coast of Georgia and wild horses graze on the dune grass, which sprouts in tufts on the pale, biscuity sand. This wilderness is vast. There’s nearly 10,000 acres of it, from salt-sprayed forests to wetlands and marshes.



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Palm-fringed beaches and teal waters are pretty much a given in Hawaii. But Moloka‘i, nicknamed ‘The Friendly Isle’, is more rural than other islands. It’s only 38 miles (48km) long and 10 miles (16km) wide but has the highest sea cliffs in the world and the longest continuous fringing reef.



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The Chisos Mountains meander through this vast national park in southwest Texas. It also encompasses swathes of the Chihuahuan Desert, although you’re unlikely to meet any small dogs out here. The area is stuffed with limestone cliffs, waterfalls and mountain peaks, and the Rio Grande river slices through Santa Elena Canyon.



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There’s hardly any sign of life at Bonneville Salt Flats, a blazingly white, lunar-esque landscape whose surface cracks and curls in the sunshine. These salt pans sprawl across more than 30,000 acres and, unsurprisingly, nothing grows or lives here.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Prairie once carpeted vast swathes of the US. Today, few pockets of this ecosystem remain and most of them form part of Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Trails wind through undulating fields of copper-hued grass, shimmering in the breeze, and past fields grazed by bison and white-tail deer.



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Monhegan Island, off the mid-coast of Maine, is an inspiring landscape. Not surprising then that the majority of the 70-odd people who live on the mountainous enclave are artists. It’s a place with moody woodland, ocean bluffs, craggy outcrops and salty sea air.



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These shortbread-hued dunes seem to go on forever, curving, dipping and rising in soft peaks. In fact they go on for 275 square miles (712sq km), brightening the landscape between the San Andres and Sacramento mountain ranges. The dunes are formed by gypsum sand – a rare mineral found only in a few places on Earth. It dissolves in water so it’s almost a miracle such large quantities of it exist in one place but thanks to New Mexico’s dry climate, the sand thrives here.



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Herds of wild horses roam the pale beaches and rolling dunes of Carova Beach, a tiny Outer Banks spot. The graceful animals are thought to be descended from Spanish mustangs shipwrecked here in the 1400s. The unspoiled nature of the place has allowed them to live freely here for centuries.



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With 5.4 million acres of pine forests, mountains, canyons, lakes and open grasslands, there’s plenty of peace and quiet here. It’s also where the Crazy Horse Memorial is located, a tribute to the late Sioux warrior. Crazy Horse, who was killed in 1877, is famed for his role in the Sioux Wars, as Native peoples resisted the invasion of the Great Plains. The mammoth mountain carving is thought to be the largest in the world – the face alone reaches 87 feet (27m).



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The beauty of North Cascades National Park is undeniable. Glacier crowns top mountain peaks, forested trails lead to tall waterfalls and lakes are the color of creamy turquoise. The park is home to grizzly bears, gray wolves and more than 200 species of bird.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Part of the Great Lakes, Isle Royale National Park is an archipelago of more than 200 islands – some of which have their own mini lakes, waterfalls and even shipwrecks. The largest, Isle Royale, has wildlife including wolves and moose.



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Why did the crocodile cross the road? Because, in Everglades National Park, stuff like that just happens. Nature is big and abundant in Florida’s vast, subtropical wilderness. The park itself covers only a small section of the sprawling wetland that’s home to mangroves, the endangered Florida panther and the American alligator.



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This barrier island is home to beaches as soft as caster sugar and best-known for its wild ponies. Two herds of feral horses (the wild descendants of domestic animals) thrive here, one managed by the National Park System and one by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company.



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Dry Tortugas National Park is a chain of seven islands best known for 19th-century Fort Jefferson. It was originally built to protect the US from attack from the Gulf of Mexico. Elsewhere, sea turtles nest on the sand, while surrounding waters are home to shipwrecks, corals and reef sharks.



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The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness stretches along Minnesota’s border with Canada and is part of the Superior National Forest. With 1,000 lakes, rivers and streams, this watery expanse is incredibly peaceful. Black bears are known to hang out by the shore.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Former US president Theodore Roosevelt declared Burney Falls, a broad, spring-fed waterfall that crashes into a shimmering pool, the “eighth wonder of the world”. You could heap equal praise of many parts of Shasta Cascade, a glorious area of mountains, forests, lava beds and lakes northeast of San Francisco.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Kenai Fjords is one of Alaska’s smallest national parks, although it punches above its weight when it comes to gaspingly beautiful scenery. In Resurrection Bay, glaciers like solid, sculpted meringues are mirrored perfectly on the water’s surface. Wildlife that call Kenai Fjords home include moose and clown-faced puffins.



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The peach, apricot and golden stripes of Oregon’s Painted Hills are truly stunning. Early morning light washes them with pale pastels and in the afternoon, the dipping sun seems to illuminate the rocks from within. The bands of color show how the climate and geology have changed over time.



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