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See something stunning at these 10 state parks

10Best logo 10Best 8/27/2020 10Best Editors, Special to USA TODAY 10Best
a sunset over a body of water: View of Cannon Beach © iStock / Paul_Rodriguez View of Cannon Beach

Spectacular sights

National parks might get all the fame and glory, but the United States is dotted with some stunning state parks as well. Check out these 10 fantastic views in state parks across the country.

a body of water with a mountain in the background: Foliage around the water at Sinnemahoning State Park © iStock / MichelleMorrisonPhoto Foliage around the water at Sinnemahoning State Park

Sinnemahoning State Park - Pennsylvania

This mountainous Pennsylvania park is home to hundreds of elk along with the rare bald eagle. If you're planning a visit, you can hike Sinnemahoning's impressive peaks and valleys in the summer or snowshoe or ski them in the winter.

And if you're a hunter or a fisherman, you're welcome to go in search of white-tailed deer, black bears, catfish and brown trout, along with many other kinds of game. 

a canyon with a mountain in the background: Sunrise at Dead Horse Point State Park © iStock / tonda Sunrise at Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park - Utah

Dead Horse Point State Park overlooks the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park – highly impressive natural surroundings. The park earned its name when cowboys used its terrain as a natural corral in the 1800s. Today, its plateau, cliffs and desert colors make it a favorite for lovers of the lore and landscape of the American West.

a herd of cattle grazing on a dry grass field: Bison grazing in Custer State Park © iStock / tonda Bison grazing in Custer State Park

Custer State Park - South Dakota

Visit this wildlife refuge in the Black Hills of South Dakota for scenic drives along with a chance to spot one of the 1,500 free-roaming bison that wander Custer's grasses. You might also see feral burros (known as "begging burros" because they'll saunter up to your car for a roadside snack), mountain lions or bighorn sheep. 

a river running through a forest: Chugach State Park during summer © iStock / aimintang Chugach State Park during summer

Chugach State Park - Alaska


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This Alaskan state park, America's third largest, was established in 1970 to protect Anchorage's water supply, scenic views and recreational areas. There's an amazing variety of landscape, providing you the chance to see glaciers, lakes, rivers, dense forests and an abundance of wildlife. There's even whale watching when you reach Chugach's Beluga Point.

a group of people on a rocky beach: Slide Rock State Park © iStock / Kiyoshi Tanno Slide Rock State Park

Slide Rock State Park - Arizona

Slide Rock is home to a really, really fun natural water slide formed on the slippery bed of Oak Creek. This state park welcomes bathing-suit clad visitors in the summer months, vying for a chance to slip and slide down nature's recreational wonder. 

a canyon with a mountain in the background: Palo Duro Canyon State Park © iStock / DenisTangneyJr Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Palo Duro Canyon State Park - Texas

Painter and "Mother of American Modernism" Georgia O' Keeffe spent her formative years near Palo Duro and once decreed, "It is a burning, seething cauldron, filled with dramatic light and color." Find your own inspiration as you gaze out onto "The Grand Canyon of Texas."

a body of water with a mountain in the background: The view from Ecola State Park © iStock / JPLDesigns The view from Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park - Oregon

Ecola plays a notable role in American history; it's a Lewis and Clark State Historical Park. Those two fearless explorers documented their battle against difficult terrain to find a stranded whale on what is now known as Oregon's Cannon Beach. Hike the park's spruce forests before laying your blanket on one of its many sandy shores.

a painting of a canyon: Fire wave rock at Valley of Fire © iStock / Fyletto Fire wave rock at Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire State Park - Nevada

There's an easy way to go back in time to the age of the dinosaurs: just visit the oldest state park in Nevada. The park's red sandstone formations appear to go up in flames when the sun hits them just right, earning the site its name. Adding to the the Valley of Fire's ancient mystique, visitors can find petroglyphs dotting this Mojave Desert marvel.

a sandy beach next to a body of water: St. Andrews State Park © iStock / CathysCamera St. Andrews State Park

St. Andrews State Park - Florida

White sands and emerald waters make St. Andrews State Park a lovely spot to stop for visitors to the Florida Panhandle. This beach park is known for its water sports and bird-watching, so pack a lunch and plan to spend your day enjoying the air-and-sea offerings of this former military reservation.

a group of people on a rock: Hoodoos at Goblin Valley State Park © iStock / bluejayphoto Hoodoos at Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley State Park - Utah

Goblin Valley is the land of the hoodoos, thin and tall rock spires that rise up (some as high as buildings) from the otherwise flat ground. These towers of rock are mysterious and awe-inspiring, reminiscent of totems and a real must-see for any fan of ancient, unusual landscapes.

10Best is a part of the USA TODAY Network, providing an authentically local point of view on destinations around the world, in addition to travel and lifestyle advice.

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