What do you see out of your office window? Another concrete building? Jeff in accounting who always seems to take two parking spots? It’s time to see something beautiful. Count up your PTO and prepare your suitcase. There’s a world of breathtaking places just out the door.
In order to compile the definitive list of spectacular sites, we searched throughout North America to find sweeping landscapes, famous views, and sights that elicit the word “wow.” Ready to experience what the continent has to offer? In no particular order, here are the most breathtaking places in North America.
1. Haida Gwaii – British Columbia – Canada
Remote, wild, and epically beautiful, Haida Gwaii is in a league of its own. Formally called the Queen Charlotte Islands, this archipelago offers a truly breathtaking getaway. Paddle on the untampered waters when you sign up for a kayaking tour (such as with the popular Green Coast Kayaking) through Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. And don’t miss a hike along the mossy Golden Spruce Trail, which is more than Instagram-worthy, or a trek along Pesuta Shipwreck Hike that stops in front of the wooden bones of the Pesuta, which was wrecked during a rough storm in 1928.
2. Coronach – Saskatchewan – Canada
If you get a sense of the Wild West when you’re in Coronach, good. Located 12 km above the international border, this area still speaks of days when outlaws and cowboys needed a place to hide out from the world. Coronach is the gateway to Big Muddy Badlands, a red, dusty, unique place that looks something out of Mars. Keep your eyes open for Castle Butte, an odd formation that seems to jut out of the earth just to impress you.
3. Banff/Lake Louise – Alberta – Canada
Be honest: As soon as you read “breathtaking,” Banff popped into your mind. Images of Banff National Park and Lake Louise are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Maybe it’s the jagged green forest trees or waters so blue the sky gets jealous, or maybe there’s just something majestic about being small in a place so expansive. Whatever it is, this area never fails to inspire. While you’re here, make time to see views from Johnston Canyon, Mt. Weed, Sulphur Mountain, and those iconic bright red chairs.
4. Penticton – British Columbia – Canada
Wine vines and sandy shores—aka, the two best things in life. Penticton, British Columbia, is located between two lakes and surrounded by rolling mountains and welcoming vineyards. For scenic views of the landscape, lace up your walking shoes for the Kettle Valley Railway Trail. And once you’re ready for something stronger than water, marvel at 40+ wineries that surround the town. In particular, Bench 1775 Winery has tables that overlook the waters of Okanagan Lake, and Maple Leaf Spirits lets you experience the majesty of the vineyards up close.
5. Rocky Harbour – Newfoundland and Labrador – Canada
As an enclave within Gros Morne National Park, Rocky Harbour has access to some of the most stunning sights in Newfoundland and Labrador. The town’s name itself comes from the rocky reefs that welcome entry into the habour. While in town, you absolutely must sign up for boat tours (like with the esteemed Bon Tours), or kayak your way along the shoreline and past the increasingly tall cliffs. You might also want to stop into Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse and see the views of the shore from this quaint landmark.
6. Hamilton – Ontario – Canada
Whether you’re looking for a place to propose or want to show your children somewhere that’s as colourful as their cartoons, Hamilton, Ontario, has what you need. Specifically, Gage Park Tropical Greenhouse is where you’ll find the prettiest sights in the city. The flowers grown here often end up in City Hall and other prominent landmarks around town. The Gage Park Rose Garden is also a winner, with over a dozen hybrid tea varieties. For additional pretty views, make your way to Bayfront Park Pier 4, which winds around Hamilton Harbour. Sunset is one of the best times for a stroll, when you’ll see ducks creating gentle wakes in the water.
7. Revelstoke – British Columbia – Canada
There are places in this world so lovely, you’re not sure if you’re in Canada or Narnia. Revelstoke is one such place. When you’re hiking, paragliding, or skiing around Revelstoke Mountain, you can’t help but wonder if those tall, proud mountains came straight out of a storybook. Consider yourself a hardcore cyclist? You’re going to love the sights from the Keystone Standard Basin Trail. It’s 11 km long and considered a black diamond-level of difficulty.
8. Alma – New Brunswick – Canada
Watching the tide ebb and flow is one of the most relaxing things to do. But if you really want to kick it up a notch, visit Alma, New Brunswick. This charming coastal village has prime views of the highest tides in the world. See it for yourself when you’re walking on the wharf or making a quick stroll along the shorelines. You might also want to make a stop at nearby Cape Enrage. Despite the less-than-hospitable name, these cliffs are nothing short of exquisite against the blue bay.
9. Churchill – Manitoba – Canada
Unless you live in Antarctica, chances are you’ve never seen a polar bear town quite like Churchill, Manitoba. In fact, this city is often called the polar bear capital of the world, given its proximity to the packs of polar bears on Hudson Bay. See the bears up close with local tours through Churchill Wild. If Beluga whale watching is more your thing, Churchill is home to some of the largest gathering spots for these majestic creatures. Sea North Tours will give you the best views of the whales as they glide through the waters.
10. Parkdale – Oregon – United States
Located at the foot of the famous Mt. Hood (the tallest peak in Oregon), Parkdale is living its best life. With rolling greens next to the epic mountain, you’re excused if all you want to do is lie in the grass and stare at the land until the sky turns inky black. While you’re here, be sure to stop into Hutson Museum to see Native American artifacts, as well as unique rocks and minerals dug up from the land. The museum is perched close to the century-old Mt. Hood Railroad, which offers its own set of rustic sights. Just don’t stand in the middle of the tracks, OK?
11. Hilo – Hawaii – United States
Hawaii is just another word for paradise. The shiny black volcanos stand proud, the sapphire blue waters gently hug the shoreline, and the palm trees are just as green in real life as in your imagination. For the cream of the crop, make your way to Hilo. This town, located on the Big Island, has perfect views of the Pacific, not to mention a downtown that embraces relaxed coastal living. Hilo is also close to the famed Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where you can see the epic beauty and devastation these beasts have created on the island. Trust us. This is one of the most beautiful landscapes in North America.
12. La Ronge – Saskatchewan – Canada
You’ve never seen the Northern Lights quite like this. La Ronge, Saskatchewan, has some of the clearest views of the night sky, creating a truly stunning light show filled with bright greens and shimmering purples. Looking for something to do during the daylight hours? Canoeing along Lac La Ronge in summer or ice skating on it in winter also provides a world of beautiful sights (not to mention some very attractive pictures to send back home).
13. Kamloops – British Columbia – Canada
Your pooch can enjoy one of the most breathtaking places in British Columbia with you when you head to Kamloops, British Columbia. We’re talking about Peterson Creek Park in particular, where you’ll find scenic trails that offer views of rolling hills and well-tread dirt paths. The jewel of the park is Bridal Veil Falls, a whimsical waterfall that’s a favourite in the area. If your idea of scenic has more to do with swirling wine than misty water, Kamloops has that covered, too. The Kamloops Wine Trail features tastings of reds and whites amongst the vines at local wineries like Harper’s Trail, Monte Creek Ranch, and Privato.
14. Durango – Colorado – United States
Durango, Colorado, may be a small city but it offers plenty of big-time beauty. Start with Mesa Verde, one of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in America. The ancient homes were carved into the rocks roughly 1,400 years ago, and the near-600 individual homes are still viewable today. Your one-bedroom apartment won’t look the same after touring this astonishing site. Fancy some whitewater rafting on the rushing Lower Animas River? Hitch a ride with Durango Rivertrippers & Adventure Tours and hold on tight. If you really want your breath taken away, sign up for one of the longest zip lines in America with Soaring® Tree Top Adventures, which takes you flying over the San Juan Mountains.
15. Lillooet – British Columbia – Canada
When you’re standing on the lush green fields overlooking the Fraser River, you can understand why so many people consider Lillooet a gorgeous getaway. Located toward the south end of British Columbia, this town offers charm for days. For the best views, go on a hike over to Seton Lake. The water seems to cut through the hills themselves and offers a hidden gem feel to the area.
16. Niagara Falls – Ontario – Canada
There’s a reason Niagara Falls finds itself on so many bucket lists. The crashing waters are, simply put, awe-inspiring. Hold your breath when you sign up for a Journey Behind the Falls tour, where you’ll see the pounding waters from a cave nook. Another thing that’s breathtaking around the Niagara Falls area? The on-site Butterfly Conservatory. Walk into what feels like a burst of colourful confetti when you walk through the exhibit. It’ll be easy to understand why this is one of the top North American travel destinations of all time.
17. Mexico City – Federal District – Mexico
Mexico City is a mix of old world and new world, not to mention a blend of everything grand, regal, and chaotic all in one place. For this reason, it’s one of the most beautiful places in North America. Highlights include the stunning Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral (one of the largest cathedrals in the world); Palacio de Bellas Artes, which showcases art, dance, and theatre; and Plaza de las Tres Culturas, which has ruins and structures like Aztec pyramids, the Spanish Templo de Santiago (built in the 17th century), and the Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco.
18. Whitehorse – Yukon Territory – Canada
If you’ve ever wanted to throw your daily planner out the window and escape to somewhere wild and beautiful, Whitehorse is ready to welcome you. Located in the Yukon, this town is at the crest of the some of the most breathtaking places in Canada—namely, Kluane National Park. This park contains the tallest peak in the country (Mount Logan) and offers views of what nature looks like in its purest form. Get to know the town and its scenic views (like Miles Canyon) when you take a tour with Who What Where Tours. Or, join a Northern Tales tour to see the Aurora Borealis lights in person.
19. Oshawa – Ontario – Canada
With its prime spot on the shores of Lake Ontario, did you really think that Oshawa wouldn’t make the list? Oshawa is packed with recreational hot spots, but a favourite is nearby Rouge Beach, where you’ll find ample areas to swim, fish, and kayak through the gentle marshes. For lovely sights around town, keep your eyes open for the pieces of public art sprinkled throughout the city. This includes the Oshawa Murals, 15 large paintings that depict life in the area.
20. Tofino – British Columbia – Canada
If hippie Volkswagen buses could talk, they’d ask for a summer drive to Tofino, British Columbia. This town is living beach life to the fullest, with perfect surf, soft sand, and sunsets that seem to stretch to the ends of the earth. Chesterman Beach is the most popular stretch of strand. At 2.7 km long, there’s enough space to stretch your legs and tide pools to delight the kiddos. Just remember that sun screen.
21. Sault Ste. Marie – Ontario – Canada
We all know that Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, offers plenty of pretty sights, including the Art Gallery of Algoma, Parks Canada Canal, Chippewa Falls, and the steep cliffs off of Alona Bay. However, the real rock star is Agawa Canyon. A ride along the Agawa Canyon Train Tour is one of the best ways to experience this breathtaking sight, where you’ll wind past the bursts of trees and teeter close to the edge. Yes, you’re going to want to look down.
22. Old Montreal – Montreal – Quebec
It’s one of the oldest cities in the country and contains a glamour of yesteryear that only seems more dignified as time wears on. We’re talking about the Old Montreal district of Montreal, which is filled with architecture that takes you to the regal past. The crown sight of the area, of course, is the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal. With its wealth of candles, gold fixtures, and spiral architecture, it’s nothing short of breathtaking. You’ll also want to spend time in Place d’Armes, a pedestrian square in the heart of the neighbourhood surrounding by stunning buildings.
23. Cabo Rojo – Puerto Rico
Sitting on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico is the pretty town of Cobo Rojo. Stunning beaches, historical buildings, rum bars, and a great food scene are all present here. Make a stop at Joyuda Lagoon, a natural reservoir that’s perfect for a quick fishing trip. Or walk down Calle Ruiz Belvis, an amazing avenue lined with buildings that are painted in pastel colours. You might even pop into Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge, a beautiful natural habitat that is home to the endangered yellow-shouldered blackbird.
24. Georgian Bay – Ontario – Canada
It’s often considered the sixth Great Lake, and for good reason. Georgian Bay is home to nearly 30,000 islands and roughly 2,000 km of sandy beaches. You’re going to love seeing how turquoise blue the waters really are. They’re quite the sight against the pale white cliffs and expansive forests. There are several small communities that line the Bay, though some of the best are along the Bruce Peninsula, including Sauble Beach, Tobermory, Wiarton, and Lion’s Head. Rock climbing, kayaking, lighthouse touring, and hiking on Bruce Trail are all top activities to see the wondrous shoreline from unique vantage points.
25. Osoyoos – British Columbia – Canada
Osoyoos can feel like an oxymoron, being a desert town in the middle of lush wine country. But perhaps the extremes are precisely why the grapes grow so plump and the tours around the vines offer sights unlike anywhere else. See rolling vineyards against the warm waters of Osoyoos Lake when you go on a Desert Country Wine Tour. Or see the area on your own when you book a bike with Heatstroke Cycle & Sport.
26. Red Deer – Alberta – Canada
One of the best features of Red Deer is that you can just as easily enjoy the lively downtown area as the great outdoors. It’s the latter category that really makes the town stand out, with Maskepetoon Park as the local favourite. This river area was largely ignored by visitors until the 1950s, making it still feel new and undiscovered. Additionally, the park is a designated pollinator park, so you’ll see a ton of buzzing bees and other winged critters doing their thing. Bower Ponds is also lovely, as this area features a serenity garden and natural amphitheatre.
27. Peterborough – Ontario – Canada
We can say, with utter and total certainty, that you have never dined in a place like Lock 21 in Peterborough, Ontario. It’s a restaurant you can only get to by canoe, kayak, or boat, and is located directly underneath the world’s tallest hydraulic lift lock (which lifts boats from the water). Once the powerful machine has clocked out for the day, the restaurant below begins cooking up 5-course fine-dining meals against the background of stone, steel, and blue waters. The truly breathtaking restaurant has already gained strong word of mouth during its trial runs, and anticipation is high for the grand opening later this year. Of course, if you’d like to stay a little more on the ground, a stroll through Harper Park or a tour through the Art Gallery of Peterborough showcase beauty as well.
28. Lafayette – Louisiana – United States
Located in the heart of Cajun country, Lafayette can feel like another world—especially when you find yourself on a swamp tour on Lake Martin. Trees appear to sprout out of nowhere, with low branches kissing the water’s surface and humid air warming the pathways. Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tours is regarded as the best way to see the landscape—and the occasional gator sunning himself on overturned trees.
29. Page – Arizona – United States
There’s a lot more to Arizona than the Grand Canyon. In fact, Page is one of the best vacation spots in the U.S. Located on the shores of Lake Powell, this desert town is centrally located near a number of famous sights. This includes Rainbow Bridge National Monument, the world’s largest known natural bridge and a sacred landmark to the local Native American culture. Upper Antelope Canyon, which features curvy orange and red rocks you can squeeze your way through, is another favourite spot. And of course, you won’t want to miss Horseshoe Bend, one of the most stunning sights in the country, with its dark blue and green waters curving in a horseshoe shape around the proud red rocks.
30. Ponca – Arkansas – United States
There’s a good chance you’ve seen Ponca, Arkansas, and had no idea where those postcard-worthy Ozark views were taken. You were likely looking at images of Hawksbill Crag, a wing-like rock formation that juts out into open sky against a backdrop of forest. Views of this particular structure are best in autumn, when reds, oranges, and yellows paint the background in a sea of colour. Hawksbill Crag Trail in Ozark National Forest is about 5 km roundtrip and leads you to incredible lookouts.
31. Old Havana – Havana – Cuba
There’s still a place where classic cars roam and seasoned gentlemen surround themselves in billows of cigar smoke. That place is Old Havana, Cuba. Make time to play dominos in Plaza Vieja and go for a walk along Paseo del Prado. Keep your eyes open for Calle Obispo, the main avenue that runs along the seawall and Castillo de Los Tres Reyes Del Morro, a massive stone fortress from the 1700s. Be sure to have your finger on the shutter button when you pass by Havana Cathedral, one of the loveliest sights in the city.
32. Antigonish – Nova Scotia – Canada
You’ll easily understand why Antigonish made the list when you’re cycling along Sunrise Trail. This epic path touches down in town before wrapping around St. George’s Bay. Let’s just say that this trail is worth waking up for. In addition to this pathway, you’ll also want to check out Antigonish Landing Trail, which starts just a few steps from the Antigonish Heritage Museum and is one of those perfectly serene routes that allows you to think, breathe, and spot clear views of eagles, ducks, and osprey.
33. Tulum – Riviera Maya – Mexico
How often can you pair ancient ruins from the Mayan era with knotted rain forests? Well, if you’re in Tulum, Mexico, these sights are part of the norm. After your tour through the broken and beautiful ruins, cool off from the tropical heat when you snorkel along the shoreline. And if you really want an adventure, sign up for a cenote tour. What’s a cenote, exactly? It’s an underground cave that’s often filled with swimming water. Trust us, you haven’t seen anything like it.
34. Samana Province – Samana – Dominican Republic
From the pastel-hued homes to the golden sand beaches, Samana City is a welcoming place in the Dominican Republic. Be adventurous and check out El Salto del Limon, a waterfall that’s well-hidden in the jungle. Breathtaking sights plus an Indiana Jones-adventure? This is what the Dominican Republic is all about.
We go through life and have our to-do lists, our commutes, and our routines. But sometimes, oh but sometimes, we get the chance to drop everything and witness something exquisite. Whether you’re staying in Canada or heading south, there’s a beautiful world open in its splendor. Go see it!