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    17 Incredible Natural Wonders In The US That Are So Beautiful They Seem Fake

    Sometimes, pictures don't do a place justice.

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    1. Maroon Bells — Colorado

    2. The Wave — Arizona

    Red sandstone rock in the form of a wave
    Praveen P.n / Getty Images

    Certain natural wonders are just jaw-dropping and the Wave is one such wonder. Here, layer upon layer of red rock creates a perfectly fluid wave (that, yes, is made of rock). And as you'd expect from a sight that you'll never forget, it isn't always easy to visit. You'll need to score one of the 64 daily permits to Coyote Buttes North to see it. But if you can secure a spot, it's well worth the effort.

    Read more: 17 Ridonkulously Beautiful Places In Arizona You've Gotta See To Believe

    3. Grand Tetons — Wyoming

    Old barn sits in a field with snow-covered mountains in the background
    Lokapik / Getty Images

    There are plenty of beautiful mountain ranges in the US, but none are as visually stunning as the Tetons. Unlike most mountains, which are buffered by foothills, these ones seem to rise up out of the plains, making the visual just a lil' extra awe-inspiring. You can get up close and personal with the Tetons (which FYI means "teat" or "nipple" in French) at Grand Teton National Park, where you can take in the views from your paddleboard at Jenny Lake or from the trail on your way to Taggart Lake.

    4. White Sands National Park — New Mexico

    Person stands on perfectly white sand dunes
    Yayaernst / Getty Images

    Chances are when you hear the words "white sand," your imagination takes you to the shores of the Maldives or Tahiti. But there's enough stark white sand to make any beach lover drool in the unsuspecting state of New Mexico (which also happens to be landlocked). In the state's White Sands National Park, mounds of sand made of gypsum crystals create dunes that are perfect for sand sledding and hiking (if you can manage to put down your camera).

    Read more: 19 Supercool Things You Had No Idea You Could Do In New Mexico

    5. Shoshone Falls — Idaho

    Waterfalls surrounded by rock and plateaus fall into the water below
    Bennymarty / Getty Images

    Shoshone Falls (aka the "Niagara of the West") is even higher than its more renowned cousin: The falls are 212 feet tall, 45 feet higher than Niagara Falls. But it isn't just about size. These Idaho falls are surrounded by vistas that only the West can provide and a two-mile hike will take you to one of Evel Knievel's jump sites (a mission that was NOT successful).

    6. Skagit Valley — Washington

    7. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park — Hawaii

    Lava flows off cliffs and into the ocean in Hawaii
    Ken Mccurdy / Getty Images

    There are a million places more beautiful in Hawaii, but when it comes to unbelievable sights Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has everything beat. By a lot. That's because the park's two volcanoes — Kīlauea and Mauna Loa — are both active and Kīlauea is currently erupting. There is nothing so humbling as seeing geological forces create new land; it's a phenomenon you can witness when you check out the Halema'uma'u Crater viewpoint or cruise along Crater Rim Drive.

    Just keep in mind this is an erupting volcano, so if you visit, be sure to stay on marked trails and avoid cliff edges and earth cracks. In addition, if you have heart or respiratory problems, you may want to check the air quality before you go, as the the escaping volcanic gases are hazardous.

    Read more: 15 Beautiful Places In Hawaii That Confirm It Is — Without A Doubt — The Best State

    8. Mendenhall Ice Caves — Alaska

    A man looking in awe at the shapes and color of the ice inside the ice caves.
    Piriya Photography / Getty Images

    Just 12 miles from Juneau is the Mendenhall Glacier, and while it may not be as big as the Hubbard Glacier (or get as much attention), it offers visitors a little something extra: the chance to go inside it. That's right. When water flows through the glacier, it forms a passageway or cave, allowing you to literally walk through/under a glacier. Pretty amazing. Of course, you'll want to go with an expert guide and keep your expectations in check: Glaciers are always changing, so a cave that's there one day may be gone the next.

    9. Mammoth Cave National Park — Kentucky

    10. Barataria Preserve — Louisiana

    11. Cherry Springs State Park — Pennsylvania

    Lit tent at night beneath the Milky Way
    Michael Ver Sprill / Getty Images

    You can come to Cherry Springs State Park for the hiking or the large stands of black cherry trees the park was named after, but the park really shines (quite literally) at night. The precise location of the park (41.6501 degrees north, 77.8164 degrees west) provides a peek into the nucleus of the Milky Way. And if that isn't cool enough, the park, approved by the International Dark-Sky Association, also has an astronomy field that gives visitors a 360-degree view of the night sky from the top of a 2,300-foot high mountain.

    Stars > Sleep.

    12. Cadillac Mountain — Maine

    13. Florida's Coral Reef — Florida

    14. Thor's Well — Oregon

    Water gushing into a hole on the rocky ocean shore
    Morgan Somers / Getty Images

    There's something amazing and almost disturbing about watching the ocean be sucked continually into a giant sinkhole. This breathtaking spot off the coast of Oregon near Cape Perpetua appears to endlessly (and violently) swallow sea water. And while it's estimated that the hole is only around 20 feet deep, the effect is surreal and a little scary. Thor's Well looks the most dramatic at high tide or during a storm, but keep in mind that while this is the best time to see the natural wonder, it can also be extremely dangerous if you wander too close so always keep a safe distance. If you want more, hike to the nearby Spouting Horn or Devil's Churn, where the power of the ocean is again on full display.

    15. Rainbow Falls — New York

    Tiered rock and waterfalls loom above a natural pool
    Jgorzynik / Getty Images

    It's hard to believe this fairyland exists in New York, which is most known for Niagara Falls and man-made wonders like the Empire State Building. But exist it does, and those who make the trip to Watkins Glen State Park in the state's Finger Lakes region will be rewarded with views of a stunning gorge crafted by 19 waterfalls and natural pools. From the park's Gorge Trail, you'll pass through the Glen of Pools area — deep pools surrounded by layered rock — before hitting Rainbow Falls. From there, make your way under (yes, under the falls!) as you peer over the edge at the pools below.

    16. Fairyland Canyon — Utah

    Red spires in a desert setting
    Hotaik Sung / Getty Images

    Fairyland Canyon in Bryce Canyon National Park is one of those otherworldly, once-in-a-lifetime destinations. To get eye level with the canyon's orangish red hoodoos (tall, thin spires of rock), adventurous travelers can follow the Fairyland Loop trail, a strenuous eight-mile hike that'll take between four and five hours. For a more mellow excursion (that's paved in parts), hop on the Rim Trail at the Fairyland Canyon overlook and make your way toward Bryce Point. You'll get views of the hoodoos and Main Amphitheater from above, and you can turn around anytime.

    Read more: 22 Places In Utah That Are So Beautiful, I Can't Believe They're Even Real

    17. Hyperion — California

    Any we missed? What US natural wonders blew you away?

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    Jay Fleckenstein / BuzzFeed

    Correction: The Rainbow Falls pictured is in Watkins Glen State Park in New York's Finger Lakes region. An earlier version of this post misstated it was in Adirondack State Park Reserve (which also has a Rainbow Falls!).