10 Of The Best Places In The United States To Take Photos

Written by Robert Lowdon

Robert Lowdon is an internationally published commercial photographer based out of Toronto, Canada. He spends his time photographing architecture and industrial projects for the most part.

Published August 28, 2022

landscape photography of white sands taken at sunset

When it comes to photography, the United States is a goldmine of opportunity. With so many diverse and stunning landscapes, it’s no wonder that photographers love shooting here. From the rock formations of Utah to the red deserts of Arizona, there are endless photo opportunities to be had in America.

In this blog post, we will explore 10 of the best places in the US to take photos. So pack your camera and get ready for an adventure!

Grand Canyon National Park

The sun sets across the north rim of the grand canyon.
North rim, grand canyon

The Grand Canyon in Arizona is one of America’s most iconic landmarks, and for good reason. This stunning natural wonder is over 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and over a mile deep. With its colorful rocks and dramatic cliffs, the Grand Canyon is a must-see for anyone interested in nature photography.

Hiking along the canyon’s rim offers some of the best views in the park.

You can visit both the North Rim and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon by car or hike from one side to the other. The hike is pretty intense and takes several days to accomplish – you’ll need specific training and a permit.

Personal Experience at Grand Canyon

The South Rim is busier and offers better photo opportunities. But, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is still breathtaking. If you can photograph both you should.

I have been to both the North Rim and the South Rim of the Canyon. I found the North to be less busy. The viewing areas are smaller but still amazing to see.

White Sands National Park

The sunsets across the white sand of white sands.
White sands national park

Located in the Chihuahuan Desert of southern New Mexico, White Sands National Monument is a must-see for any photo enthusiast. This unique park is home to the world’s largest gypsum dune field, made up of white sand that gleams in the sun.

Visitors can explore the dunes on foot, and there are also numerous hiking trails and picnic areas. The park is open year-round, but you might be better off going in the winter.

Personal Experience at White Sands

I found White Sands to easily be one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. I recommend going late in the day near sunset. The white sand in combination with the setting sun won’t leave you disappointed.

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe bend at sunset
Horseshoe bend

Located near Page, Arizona, Horseshoe Bend is a natural wonder of the Colorado River. The river cuts through the natural rock creating a very dynamic scene.

You can walk right up to the edge of the cliff. The view is breathtaking and will result in many great photographs.

Personal Experience at Horseshoe Bend

The views are amazing at Horseshoe Bend. You can walk straight up to the cliff bank and look right down, but be careful. Many people have fallen off over the years.

Sunset can be beautiful but make sure to wear a headlamp for the hike back. It’s easy to get lost. You don’t want to be stranded or worse.

Arches National Park

Arches national park at sunset
Arches national park

Arches National Park is a stunning park located in eastern Utah. The park is home to over 2,000 natural arches, as well as numerous other geological formations.

The most popular attraction in the park is the Delicate Arch, which can be seen from the main road. There are also many hiking trails throughout the park, offering opportunities to see some of the more remote areas.

Personal Experience at Arches

Arches is a big park with a lot of great photo opportunities. Be sure to explore the many areas. If you are planning on hiking in any area, make sure to go early in the morning. You’ll avoid crowds and heat. Always carry water.

Bryce Canyon National Park

The orange rocks glow late in the day at bryce canyon national park.
Bryce canyon national park

Located in southwestern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its unique hoodoos- rock formations that look like spires or pillars. The park is home to over 100 miles of hiking trails, offering opportunities to explore the different areas of the park.

The most popular attraction in the park is Bryce Canyon itself. All of the trails allow you to explore the unique rock formations located within.

Personal Experience at Bryce Canyon

Many of the best viewpoints are from the edge of the canyon but don’t be afraid to hike down. The rock formations are absolutely stunning.

Death Valley National Park

Death valley sunrise
Bad water basin, death valley

Death Valley National Park is a stunning park located in eastern California and western Nevada. The park is home to a variety of different landscapes, including mountains, valleys, canyons, and dunes.

The most popular attraction in the park is Badwater Basin, which is the lowest point in North America. Death Valley National Park is open year-round and can be better to visit in the winter.

It is the hottest place on earth, so you might want to avoid going there during the first week of July like I did. But if you can handle the heat, you will get the park almost to yourself.

Personal Experience at Death Valley

It is the hottest place on earth, so you might want to avoid going there during the first week of July like I did. But if you can handle the heat, you will get the park almost to yourself.

Get up early to avoid the extreme heat of the afternoon. It’s still hot but not as bad.

Also, Death Valley is a remote park with extreme weather and few services. If you run out of water, have little gas or get lost you can be in a very dangerous scenario. So tell people where you are going, have a full tank of gas, and bring lots of water.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite national park lakes
Yosemite national park

Located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in eastern California, Yosemite National Park is a stunning park known for its dramatic cliffs and waterfalls. The most popular attraction in the park is Yosemite Valley, which is home to El Capitan, Half Dome, and other iconic landmarks.

The park is open year-round and most visited in the summer. Yosemite National Park is a must-see for any photographer.

Personal Experience at Yosemite

Yosemite is extremely busy in the summertime. It can even seem like a major city. So expect delays and crowded areas.

I am usually out photographing sunrises and sunsets when I am taking landscape photos. Coincidentally, these are always the best times to visit because most tourists don’t arrive until late morning and usually leave by supper time. So if you want to capture amazing scenery free of crowds plan your visit accordingly.

Zion National Park

Zion national park
Zion canyon

Zion National Park is a stunning park located in southwestern Utah. The park is home to a variety of different landscapes.

The most popular attraction in the park is Zion Canyon itself, which is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the park. The park is open year-round and offers a variety of different natural wonders to photograph.

Personal Experience at Zion

Zion might just be the busiest national park in the United States. In the summer months most of the road is closed and you will have to take a bus to reach most of the park. This is great for cutting down on traffic, but if you are visiting during the longer summer days it can cause you to miss sunrise or sunset shots.

Related: 5 of the Best Places to Visit In the American Southwest

Monument Valley

Monument valley sunset
Monument valley in winter

Monument Valley is a stunning area located in southeastern Utah. The valley is home to a variety of different rock formations, including buttes and mesas.

The most popular attraction in the park is the iconic rock formations. The valley is iconic and has been seen in many motion pictures over the last 100 years.

Monument Valley should be on any photographer’s list of places to visit.

Personal Experience at Monument Valley

Monument Valley is a big open valley with several rock formations. You will need a car to get around. I personally went in the winter, I found the light dusting of snow across the landscape to give a different look.

Antelope Canyon

The brilliant orange glowing walls of antelope canyon.
Antelope canyon

Antelope Canyon is a stunning slot canyon located in northeastern Arizona. The canyon is known for its beautiful and intricate sandstone formations, which are best seen during the late afternoon light.

Antelope Canyon is open year-round and offers a variety of different tours, including walk-in tours, photography tours, and Upper Antelope Canyon tours. The park is a must-see for any nature lover or photographer.

You will need to go on a guided tour to visit. It is worth the cost and I recommend doing it.

Personal Experience at Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is a very unique place. The pictures you can get there are stunning, to say the least.

You will need to go on a guided tour to visit. It is worth the cost and I recommend doing it.

Honorable Mentions

The United States has many absolutely beautiful places to take pictures. Of course not everyone could make our list but here are a few others you might want to consider:

Glacier National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Acadia National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Columbia River Gorge

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Big Bend National Park

Sequoia National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Niagara Falls

Denali National Park

Conclusion

Nature lovers and photographers will love these ten best places in the United States to take photos. These national parks and areas offer stunning landscapes and opportunities for great shots. Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Death Valley National Park, Yosemite National Park, Zion National Park, Monument Valley, and Antelope Canyon are all must-sees for anyone interested in photography.

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