3. Eastern Promenade, Portland, ME
Lost in Portland, Maine! Stuck on Congress Street. You have no idea where you are. You pass neighborhood after neighborhood and business after business. Even the cross streets seem foreign. You travel up a steepish hill and begin to descend. Suddenly, there in front of you is an entire panorama of Casco Bay.
Beautiful, you cast your eyes from one side to the other, taking in the sail boats, and islands which are green with summer, all enhanced by the surrounding blue water. And the big sky – not unlike the Great Plains. You are not the only one enjoying this splendid view. People are walking, jogging, holding hands and just sitting to soak in the spectacular sight. This is a gorgeous vista, definitely one of the top ten vistas in the United States.
Closest City: Portland, ME
2. Niagara Falls, New York
I know, Niagara Falls? This seems like a no-brainer. I recently visited the Falls for the first time. When people heard I was going, they said things to me like “you will be disappointed. The Falls are much smaller than you would expect” Really? As I stood beside the Falls, one word came to my mind, magnificent.
I was awestruck by the Falls, with their celadon green water and white froth. Beauty and power – all of that water falling off the edge endlessly, wearing down the rocks below. You could hear the roar and feel the vibration. It was like putting your finger on the Earth’s heartbeat.
Closest City: Niagara Falls, NY, and Buffalo, NY
1. Red Shirt Table, South Dakota
I first saw Red Shirt Table on a trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. We were being driven to the airport in Rapid City, SD very early in the morning. We stopped to look at the view and for a millisecond I thought we were at the Grand Canyon.
The land had dropped away, and we could see for miles. Below us was a myriad of rock formations, ancient, striated and dotted here and there with trees. Once this area was a vast inland sea, and I swear the wind sounded like waves breaking gently on the shores.
A word of caution, Red Shirt Table is sacred land for the Lakota people on Pine Ridge. This place commands respect and quiet meditation. As you stand in the silence, you can almost feel the presence of the Great Spirit as he keeps his eagle eye on you. Look up, the eagle is circling overhead. The impressions of beauty and mystery are what sets Red Shirt Table at the top of our list. If you need to clear your head and ponder something greater than yourself, this is the place to begin.
Closest City: Rapid City, SD
And So, Hit the Road.
The US has an almost endless number of beautiful vistas and gorgeous panoramas. We’ve chosen 10 of our favorites, but we are fortunate indeed to have access to so many wonderful places. Take a trip this summer, even if it is close to your home. Odds are there are some great views within a very short distance.