Lifestyle, Travel

The Best US Outdoor Destinations for Shutterbugs

There are thousands of different tourist destinations in the US, each with its own unique charms. Some are culinary capitals, drawing foodies from all around the world. A handful of them have vibrant art and music scenes, calling forth artisans from all walks of life. Other destinations are known for their gorgeous natural sceneries or their striking cityscapes. And it’s here that you’ll find many shutterbugs looking to take inspiration from their surrounding environment.

The Best US Outdoor Destinations for Shutterbugs

Before Embarking On Your Journey

If you’re looking to go on a cross-country road trip, you must be prepared with a checklist of must-see (and must-photograph) destinations. Photographers who have nature as their muse often have to go through literal highs and lows in search of the perfect shot. So before heading off on a photography adventure, you also need to be prepared with backpacking essentials in your arsenal, especially if you’re heading to a national park. Pack your navigation equipment, some gear to protect you from the elements, and first aid supplies to ensure that you’re safe and comfortable. You might have to camp overnight to catch a glorious picture of the sky unsullied by city lights and pollution. So, if you’re into astrophotography, make sure to pack camping equipment as well, such as a tent and sleeping bags.

The Best US Outdoor Destinations for Shutterbugs

As a shutterbug, you also need to have all your photography tools in your backpack. Be prepared to have your gear exposed to different elements by bringing along the right photography equipment. Invest in quality gear to ensure that your photos are of stellar quality, whether you opt for a handy mirrorless camera or a versatile DSLR. You should also consider bringing along a camera bag to make sure that your expensive equipment is secure. It’ll also allow you to pack extra batteries for all the hours you’ll be taking plenty of amazing photos!

With that out of the way, here are 10 of the best outdoor destinations in the US with the best views:

The Best US Outdoor Destinations for Shutterbugs

1. Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is found in the state of Arizona. It’s, without a doubt, one of the most famous tourist destinations in the US. The vast expanse of golden-colored rock formations with ripples and patterns makes for a fantastic photograph.

The park is divided into two main areas: the South Rim and the North Rim. The South Rim has camping and lodging options, as well as a free shuttle system. In this area, you’ll find the Grand Canyon Village, which is filled with preserved historic landmarks and structures. There’s also the Desert View Drive, a scenic, four-hour drive that shows you the canyon in all its glory.

The North Rim is the more wild and secluded section. It’s also far less commercialized than the South Rim, so this is where you’ll likely get your perfect shot. The area also offers camping and lodging options, but there are fewer commercial spaces and more nature to enjoy.

Here’s where you can find entrances to the park, that could also change your itinerary:

  • 1 mile north of Tusayan on Highway 64 (South Entrance to the South Rim)
  • 29 miles west of Cameron on Highway 64 (East Entrance to the South Rim)
  • 30 miles north of the nearest gas station at Jacob Lake on Highway 67 (North Rim Entrance)

The Best US Outdoor Destinations for Shutterbugs

2. Yosemite National Park

Located in Northern California, Yosemite is a favorite among adventure-seekers and landscape photographers. While it’s most known for its waterfalls, it’s also home to plenty of other gorgeous natural landscapes. With a wide array of valleys, meadows, and forests, shutterbugs are sure to be spoiled for choice.

The park boasts plenty of beautiful natural formations, including Yosemite Falls and The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. You can also find a number of historic lodges and manmade structures there, like Wawona Hotel and the Pioneer Yosemite History Center.

Each of the different park entrances is worth exploring on its own. These are:

  • 1. Past Groveland, along Highway 120 (Big Oak Flat Entrance)
  • 2. Past Mariposa, along Highway 140 (Arch Rock Entrance)
  • 3. Past Oakhurst, along Highway 41 (South Entrance)
  • 4. Past Lee Vining, just off Highway 395 (Tioga Pass Entrance)

The Best US Outdoor Destinations for Shutterbugs

3. New York City

Moving on to picturesque cityscapes, we couldn’t write this list without mentioning New York City. The iconic Big Apple is an inspiration to plenty of photographers. But its fame is not without beauty.

The Best US Outdoor Destinations for Shutterbugs

The Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building make for great subjects. The city is also the home of Central Park — the perfect getaway if you ever want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Plus, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for nature photography there.

The Best US Outdoor Destinations for Shutterbugs

Here are some more notable landmarks:

  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Grand Central Terminal
  • Broadway

The Best US Outdoor Destinations for Shutterbugs

4. Galveston Texas

A town that many people might not think about going to Galveston, has some great activities and locations that are perfect for those who want to capture great images while experiencing different things. Texas is a big state that showcases different cultures and has a rich history, meaning a trip here will certainly be enriching.

The Hotel Galvez has a beautiful facade that is best captured during dusk so you can get the accommodation’s lighting while still having enough ambient brightness to prevent any static in your photos. It also makes for a comfortable stay for those who are traveling.

Here are some other popular locations you can check out to take memorable photos:

  • Stewart Beach
  • The Bryan Museum
  • Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
  • 1982 Bishop’s Palace
  • The Strand Historic District

The Best US Outdoor Destinations for Shutterbugs

5. Washington, DC

Finally, there’s Washington, DC to cap off your bucket list. With so many historic monuments, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial are the obvious choices, but you can also look for lesser-known spots.

One place to start with is the Key Bridge early in the morning. The fog lingering over the surface of the water makes for a poignant shot. It’s also worth visiting during the cherry blossom season in the spring.

Here are some more notable landmarks that you might want to take snapshots of:

  • United States Capitol
  • The White House
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • Smithsonian National Zoological Park
  • US National Arboretum

Have you found your next shoot location? There are so many photogenic destinations in the US. All you have to do now is book a trip and head out. Have fun on your photography adventure!

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