There's a song they play during the seventh-inning stretch at baseball games, and it isn't called "America the Mediocre." The wonders of this country are as vast and varied as the people who inhabit it, be it a towering skyline or remarkable feat of engineering, a mountain lake or iconic stretch of coastline, an otherworldly desert scape or a redwood forest bathed in fog. Every state (and/or Commonwealth!) has its own gems to contribute, which is why we polled residents and tourism boards across the country to determine the must-hit, must-Instagram, most beautiful place in all 50 states.
As the US passes another birthday, what better way to celebrate than seeing all these bad boys on a proper Great American road trip? Data scientist and dude we’d definitely let ride shotgun Randal Olson ran our picks through a rad algorithm to find the optimal, shortest route by road across the lower 48 (Hawaii and Alaska, arguably the most stunning states, are sadly less than geographically conducive to road trips). Not accounting for traffic, seeing the best of the US will clock you 10.2 days at 14,750 miles. And there’s really no telling how many thousands of beautiful runners-up you’ll spy along the way.