Travel is the best way to challenge comfort zones. Whether that means eating a dish you’ve never tried before, experiencing different climates, cultures, and languages, or seeing your country from new angles, life is more rewarding when you traverse new territory.
We asked 1,000 travelers how adventurous they get when sightseeing, and over 44 percent responded: As long as we don’t get hurt, let’s go!
To test the limits, we’ve found nine remarkable places to seek adventure at every level—literally. From the tip-top of observation decks to subterranean caves, here are some of the best places to get views of America from new heights. And once you get enough visual inspiration, be sure to follow our Travel Sensations series to explore your other senses.
ABOVE THE GROUND
House on the Rock
Peer down the trap door-style window at tree tops 156 feet below. We dare you.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is best viewed from above, and Clingmans Dome delivers 360-degree scenes from 6,643 feet.
Sunrise, sunset, midday; there’s no bad time to take in this awe-inducing landscape. Reds, oranges, and golds glow across craggy spires as shadows throw shapes over the ground. See it all from above when you hike the Rim Trail.
ON THE GROUND
White Sands National Monument
Almost blindingly beautiful, these bleached out dunes will transport you to another world. Stay for sunset when the sky casts pink and blue hues over the rolling white landscape.
Mother Nature is so powerful she can turn trash into treasure. See her work her magic turning glass into smooth, colorful stones.
This mossy waterfall haven is a must for earth-loving adventurers. Get up close to the fresh, rushing waters of Spouting Rock waterfall to cool off after a long hike.
BELOW THE GROUND
Standing at the bottom of these swirly marvels of color, you may need to pinch yourself to make sure it’s real.
Neptune Memorial Reef
Dive down and pay tribute to those put to rest here as you explore sea life and man-made structures dressed in coral and other marine organisms in this underwater lost city.
An underground waterfall lit by colorful lights greets you when you journey deep below the surface of Lookout Mountain. Go for an extended tour to traverse all the wondrous cave spaces.
Where are your favorite scenic views? Follow #ComeToYourSenses and visit the Travel Sensations hub to explore more amazing immersive journeys.
Clingmans Dome, NC:
Middle Left: Shutterstock.com/Jon Bilous
Middle Right: Shutterstock.com/anthony heflin
Bottom: Shutterstock.com/Adventures On Wheels
Top Left: Shutterstock.com/Andrew Schmidbauer
Top Middle Left: Shutterstock.com/Bob Pool
Top Middle Right: Shutterstock.com/rkriminger
Top Right: Shutterstock.com/TechWizard
Bottom: Shutterstock.com/Andrew Schmidbauer
Bottom Left: Shutterstock.com/Filip Fuxa
Bottom Right: Shutterstock.com/Tim Stirling
Neptune Memorial Reef, FL:
All Photos: Flickr/Todd Murray