As 2022 comes to an end, one of the biggest trends has become very clear: Travel is back. Big time. What’s helping drive many people’s travel decisions when it comes to choosing where to go? The best views.
Every year, Google issues its annual Year in Search report, looking at what people were most interested in during the previous year. As part of the 2022 report, Google revealed the Top Scenic Spots category, with a ranking of the most beautiful views in the U.S. based on searches on Google Maps.
What is it about a beautiful view that catapulted this category to the top of Google’s Year in Search report? Perhaps it’s the fact that we all need a little beauty after several years of pandemic-induced gloom and doom. Or perhaps it’s just that travel is defined these days by the perfect Instagram shot.
The most searched-for view in America in 2022? The Dumbo Manhattan Bridge View, which can be seen in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn on Washington Street between Front and Water Streets. In this iconic view, brick factory buildings and the Manhattan Bridge frame a breathtaking scene, with the Empire State Building in the distance.
Coming up number two on the list was the Golden Gate View Point, where you can see an epic panorama of the suspension bridge that spans the Golden Gate, a one-mile-wide strait connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
Third on the list: Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas. At this free attraction in front of the Bellagio Hotel, more than a thousand fountains send water a thousand feet into the air, accompanied by a show of music and light.
Read on for the ranking of the top 10 best views in the U.S., along with insider tips from local guides and Google Map users who reviewed these bucket-list scenic travel spots.
1. Dumbo: Manhattan Bridge View – Brooklyn, New York
The beauty of the Dumbo – Manhattan Bridge View inspired Google Map users to send this view to the top of the list of the most scenic spots in America. “The area is flooded with restaurants along the street to have quick bites or just take quick breaks from the winter chills during winter,” says local guide Kelvin Ofula. “The view is just breathtaking.”
2. Golden Gate View Point – Mill Valley, California
“It has great views. I suggest that you park next to Highway and take a hike trail to this overlook on the hill. It is short hike but it’s good workout. There will be plenty of folks on this overlook so take your time for photos. [Million dollar] views— especially during sunset time,” advises local guide Aalok Gautam when describing the Golden Gate View Point.
3. Bellagio Fountain – Las Vegas
The Bellagio Fountain dazzles visitors in Las Vegas. “The Bellagio Fountains are a wonderful break from all of the foot traffic on the Strip. It’s worth stopping and taking a break from your fast paced day to day Las Vegas experience to watch,” says local guide Anirudh Girey.
4. Statue of Liberty View Point – New York City
When it comes to visiting the Statue of Liberty, timing is everything. “A historical landmark and staple of New York. Definitely recommend getting tickets in advance,” advises local guide John Pozo. “If you’re looking for tickets for the Crown you’re [going to] want to put off your trip [until] after January. I tried getting tickets for it but [it was] booked through January. The pedestal was worth the ticket price. Stunning view of New York and the surrounding islands…Walking the island itself was pretty great and not too busy. I got in on the 9am boat and I’d [recommend] getting in early. Less crowded and easier time for photos.”
5. Horseshoe Bend – Page, Arizona
At the Grand Canyon—one of the seven natural wonders of the world—Horseshoe Bend is the place to go for the best view. “The river view is stunning,” says local guide Krishna Sathvik Mantripragada. “Be cautious along the edges because many individuals have fallen into rivers and died. We went for sunset and it was the most crowded and full of people; you have to wait for a picture without getting someone [in] it. You pay $10 for parking and hike for about half a mile to the view. Absolutely worthwhile and highly suggested for anyone visiting Arizona.”
6. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad – Bryson City, North Carolina
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad combines two great travel loves: trains and national parks. “Such an amazing experience. The whole trip was about 4-5 hours long and so you can buy your lunch before the trip or pack lunch for yourself,” says local guide Peter Miral. “The train ride was full of scenic forests, lakes, etc. The host and caretaker of each cabin was extremely nice and helpful with little drops of knowledge provided to the whole visitors. They also have a singer that entertains people with beautiful country songs. You do stop by a kayak/water rafting area for about an hour, which was nice so you can rest for a little bit before heading back.”
7. Gatlinburg SkyBridge – Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Gatlinburg SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America, stretches 700 feet across a deep valley in the Smoky Mountains at Gatlinburg, Tennessee. “We loved the setting and experience,” says Bettina NJ. “Strongly suggest going around 6-7 pm and enjoying the atmosphere. Live music was playing, sun was setting and the lights made it all so pretty. Nice smooth ride up and down. The night view down was spectacular.”
8. Pennsylvania Grand Canyon – Wellsboro, Pennsylvania
Another lesser-known canyon in America also made the list: the PA Grand Canyon. “I loved visiting this place,” says local guide Scott Dunn. “This is really God’s country. I will visit here again and would recommend stopping here at least once in your life. There are lots of trails to hike and they have walkways that are [also] easy. Beautiful place to take photos but photos [will] never capture the true beauty.”
9. Beverly Hills Sign – Beverly Hills, California
The Hollywood sign looms large over Los Angeles, but it was the Beverly Hills Sign that made the Google list. “This is a park at the border of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills,” says local guide Tahseena Kahn. “The park runs along the Santa Monica [Blvd.] from Doheny to several blocks. There’s a fountain and some benches. People with kids come for a picnic. Some exercise with their trainer.”
10. Glacier Point – Yosemite Valley, California
A legendary overlook in Yosemite National Park, Glacier Point is known for its sweeping views of Half Dome, Yosemite Valley and Yosemite Falls. “Moderate hike with about 3,000 feet ascent,” says local guide Devin Bunch. “No shuttle to the top currently so you have to hike to the top. You should be in decent shape and have plenty of water with you as there currently isn’t any available at the top. Spectacular views from the top that are well worth the hike.”
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