Our list of the most Instagrammable places in the USA may be a bit of a surprise to you. We've skipped the obvious places, so you won't find the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, or the Grand Canyon below. Instead, we're going for the stunning scenes that often get overlooked by visiting tourists. They're not exactly local secrets, but they'll certainly liven up your Instagram feed.

    The diverse landscapes of the States offer everything from snow-capped mountains to jungle-covered valleys and from alpine lakes to barren deserts. And that’s before you get into the human contributions, with a range of striking constructions and art installations available for you to photograph.

    1

    Big Sur, California

    Road trip from beach to beach

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    Big Sur is a 70-mile strip of dramatic and isolated coastline along the Pacific Coast Highway. The scenery is breathtaking and there are numerous beaches and quaint beach towns where you can stop to enjoy the relaxed vibe. These characterful towns are dotted throughout this rugged landscape and make for great stopovers as you travel from cove to cove. The most popular town here is Monterey, but other places to stay include Carmel-By-The-Sea and Marina. 

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    2

    Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, Colorado

    Feast your eyes on spectacular mountain scenery

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    Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre in Colorado is one to tick-off your list if you're an outdoor enthusiast. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery, immersed in its iconic red and orange hues, on the many hiking trails the park has to offer. For a short hike, venture down the Trading Post Trail, which takes you through 1.5 miles of cinnamon-dusted buttes. Make sure to stop by the visitor centre to get information on the different trails and the park’s history. Also worth visiting is the amphitheatre. The theatre is geologically formed by the red rocks, giving it impressive acoustics. Look out for any concerts or events during your trip.

    Location: 18300 West Alameda Parkway, Morrison, CO 80465, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +1 720-865-2494

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    3

    The Montauk Lighthouse, New York

    An iconic historical beacon in The Hamptons

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    The Montauk Point Light is both an elegantly constructed historical landmark and the cherry on top of a starkly beautiful part of the east coast of the USA. The 110.5-ft-tall lighthouse is the 4th oldest in the country, the oldest in the state, and was the first public works project in the US. It first illuminated the easternmost point of Long Island in 1797, when the nation was just 21 years old. Its old-fashioned design and striking colours of brilliant white and rusty red really stand out against the blue sky and the rugged terrain of the surrounding state park.

    Location: Montauk Point State Park, 2000 Montauk Hwy, Montauk, NY 11954, USA

    Phone: +1 631-668-2544

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    4

    Wynwood Walls, Florida

    Miami’s outstanding urban art installation

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    The Wynwood Walls in Miami are a vibrant and colourful celebration of urban art, showcasing outstanding designs in an open space. The area was opened in 2009 by the late real estate agent Tony Goldman as part of an effort to make the area more pedestrian-friendly. It built upon the area's established art credentials, but the extraordinarily high-quality wall art has since expanded well beyond the original buildings, encompassing entire buildings beyond the Wynwood neighbourhood. Head to the area on the second Saturday of the month for a community-wide art walk.

    Location: 2520 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127, USA

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    5

    Lake Tahoe, California

    An all-year adventure playground

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    The massive Lake Tahoe straddles the border between California and Nevada. Being in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it's a great place to cool off in summer and ski in winter. It's one of the largest and deepest lakes in the country and is ringed with beaches, national forests, and snow-capped mountains. While it's a must-visit for photographers, Lake Tahoe is also great for hiking, biking, winter sports, water sports and just driving around, enjoying the views. Check out Sand Harbor and sunsets at Bonsai Rock, especially.

    Location: Lake Tahoe, California, USA

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    6

    Nā Pali Coast State Park, Hawaii

    Kauai Island’s stunning shoreline

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    Nā Pali Coast State Park is about as far from civilization as you can get on Hawaii's Kauai Island, being right on the opposite shore from the major cities. The steep ridges and verdant valleys of this side of the island make for breathtaking scenery which, with only one road in and out of the area, is generally quiet and peaceful. In fact, the better part of the park – including its little white-sand coves – is completely inaccessible to land vehicles, making it both a hiker’s paradise and a great spot to see from a helicopter or boat.

    Location: Kapaʻa, HI 96746, USA

    Phone: +1 808-274-3444

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    7

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California

    See the amazing permanent art exhibitions

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    The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is a huge place, containing more than 150,000 works spanning from ancient to modern art. Urban Light is undoubtedly one of the star attractions. Created in 2008, it features 202 restored streetlights from the 1920s and '30s, all arranged in a tightly packed grid. Naturally, it's more impressive and Insta-worthy in the evenings. A short walk away is the famous Levitated Mass, which is a 340-ton boulder balanced over a walkway, allowing viewers to stand under it. Check out the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department for some more Instagram inspiration.

    Location: 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA

    Open: Monday–Tuesday and Thursday from 11 am to 5 pm, Friday from 11 am to 8 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm (closed on Wednesdays)

    Phone: +1 323-857-6000

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    8

    Half Dome from Glacier Point, California

    One of the star shots of Yosemite National Park

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    Yosemite National Park has been a must-visit for photographers since Ansel Adams made the place famous with his 1927 shots. Glacier Point and its fantastic view of the iconic Half Dome is one of the more popular viewpoints, especially as there’s a road right up to it. However, it's right in the middle of one of America's favourite national parks, so you can bet that there's a good choice of hiking trails nearby. In fact, there's a trailhead right by the viewpoint, as well as a small museum, an amphitheatre, and other facilities.

    Location: Glacier Point Rd, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA

    Phone: +1 209-372-0200

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    9

    Badlands National Park, South Dakota

    Explore the scenery from Dances with Wolves

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    The Badlands National Park encompasses colourful views of rugged mountains and countryside. The Door Trail, among others, takes you through buttes, pinnacles, and ridges of rock with crisp horizontal bands of multicoloured rock, which has revealed a rich fossil record stretching back 33 million years or more. The park contains the endangered black-footed ferret as well as historical sites relating to Native American traditions and Cold War preparations. Be sure to check out Red Shirt Table which, at 3,340 ft, is the highest point in the park and offers great views over its 64,144-acre expanse.

    Location: Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA

    Phone: +1 605-433-5361

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    10

    Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

    The view made famous by Instagram

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    There are several spots across the western USA named Horseshoe Bend, but the most famous and most photographed is undoubtedly the one in Page, Arizona. Located just south of the border with Utah, the sweeping bend in the Colorado River has created a striking slot canyon that is a wonder to behold. The view from the overlook, 1,000 ft above the river, only started to become popular in 2018, following increasing appearances on Instagram. It’s amazing at any time of the day but is particularly popular (if hard to photograph) at sunset.

    Location: Page, AZ 86040, USA

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    Ben Reeves | Compulsive Traveller

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