Marcus Aurelius once wrote, “The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” Our souls can often be touched by the color of our sights too, and there is absolutely no shortage of distinctly American locations that provide breathtakingly colorful views to be savored.
Here is a list of 10 different cities in the United States that should appeal to any tourist looking for a distinctly colorful trip:
Texas Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country is a geographical region includes 25 counties, and bluebonnets—the species of the genus Lupinus, all six species of which are designated as the state flower of Texas—can be found on virtually all roadsides in Central Texas every spring. Peak bluebonnet season in Texas is generally late March to early April.
Despite the name, bluebonnets come in varying shades of pink, purple, and white. Some of the best places in Texas Hill Country to view bluebonnets include Brenham, home to the Bluebonnet Trail which offers 80 miles of scenic roads and wildflowers in Washington County; Ennis, which considers itself the “official Bluebonnet City of Texas” and offers its own 40-mile trails; and Kingsland in Llano County, which was widely regarded as offering some of the best bluebonnet photo opportunities of 2016.
Grand Prismatic Spring
The largest hot spring in the country and the third largest in the world, the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park’s Midway Geyser Basin is famous for its striking colors which match the rainbow dispersion of white light by an optical prism: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. The spring’s vivid colors are the result of microbial mats, which tend to be more orange and red in the summer and a darker green in the winter.
The hot spring radiates extremely hot water but its beauty remains a sight to behold. The center of Grand Prismatic Spring is a customary shade of blue, but the stark red, orange, yellow, and green lining the edges are the remarkable result of the spring’s pigmented thermophilic bacteria.
South Beach, also known as SoBe, is the neighborhood in the coastal resort city of Miami Beach, Florida, that is commonly associated with Miami’s famed Art Deco District. According to the National Register of Historic Buildings, South Beach is home to over 800 Art Deco structures.
Some of the most notable Art Deco structures in South Beach include the Delano South Beach hotel, with its finned tower and modern style; the McAlpin on Ocean Drive, which may be one of the most photographed buildings in South Beach; and the Hotel Breakwater, whose towering illuminated sign bearing its name is visible for miles.
Denali National Park
Aurora Borealis, also known simply as Aurora or more commonly known as the Northern Lights, is a natural light display in the sky that is predominantly seen in areas with high latitude. Alaska is thus the best place in the United States to see the Northern Lights, and few Alaskan locations are as serene as Denali, the park that also happens to be home to the highest mountain peak in North America.
The lack of pollution in the park makes it an ideal place to view Aurora Borealis. It is difficult to predict the appearance of the Northern Lights any further in advance than a few hours, but January to March are popular times because of the longer nights while September and October are preferable among those hoping to avoid cold weather.
Mad River Valley
People hoping to take in marvelous fall foliage have several options in New England, but Vermont’s Mad River Valley offers access to the Long Trail, the oldest long-distance trail in the United States. Numerous other activities are available to Green Mountain visitors.
Mad River Glen features chairlift rides over the foliage, Sugarbush Soaring offers scenic glider flights, and multiple companies offer driving tours through local roads. Additionally, Mad River Valley is also home to kayaking, canoeing, and fishing activities.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park claims to be the largest collection of hoodoos—odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion—in the world. The result is a stunning collection of red, orange, and white rock.
Bryce Canyon offers not only a scenic drive, but also remarkable hiking trails. Because of the darkness at night, visitors staying at one of the park’s two campgrounds can take in a mesmerizing display of stars at night.
Waimea Canyon State Park is known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” A geologic wonder, Waimea Canyon provides visitors with deep red rocks among lush greens.
Visitors can partake in any number of hiking trails at Waimea Canyon as well as seasonal trout fishing offerings. Tourists will also view an assortment of bird, flowers, and plant life that is simply stunning.
The Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains on the border between Pitkin County and Gunnison County in Colorado. Roughly one-third of a mile separates Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak.
Maroon Bells is an extremely popular destination for many tourists visiting the Aspen area, and its stunning view of the Maroon Bells from the Maroon Creek valley is widely photographed. The mudstone gives the Bells a distinctive maroon color, but is considered largely unsafe for mountain climbers because the United States Forest Service warns that such mountains are loose and unstable.
National Cherry Blossom Festival
If you are looking for a particularly colorful time to visit the nation’s capital, the spring celebration known as the National Cherry Blossom Festival is quite ideal. The Peak Bloom Date varies from year to year, depending on weather conditions.
While blooming typically begins in early April, National Park Service horticulturists cannot make an accurate prediction much more than 10 days prior. The blooming period can last as long as two weeks.
Summer months can often be an ideal time to take in the assortment of beautiful wildflowers around Lake Tahoe, which straddles the state line between California and Nevada. Purple Large Leaf Lupines customarily bloom for only a few weeks, but yellow Mule Ears grow all over the meadows and last all summer.
Lake Tahoe has a wide variety of walking and hiking options around the lake, and additional wildflowers in the area include the Corn Lily and Snow Flower.