Today's post is all about various scenic towns in North America. I have compiled a list of 15 different towns that even with just pictures, are amazing to look at.
Sitka is an Alaskan city and borough near Juneau, the state capital. It's spread over Baranof Island, part of Chichagof Island and others. It was part of Russia until 1867 and St. Michael’s Orthodox Cathedral is topped with an onion dome. The 1842 Russian Bishop’s House is nearby. Sitka National Historical Park is the site of Russia’s defeat of the indigenous Tlingit people and has a trail dotted with totem poles.
Squamish is a town north of Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada. It's at the northern tip of the island-dotted Howe Sound, and surrounded by mountains like the Stawamus Chief, a huge granite monolith. The Sea to Sky Gondola has views of the sound and nearby Shannon Falls, a towering waterfall cascading down a series of cliffs. The Britannia Mine Museum has underground train tours. Bike trails criss-cross the area.
Bristol is a town in the historic county seat of Bristol County, Rhode Island, United States. Bristol, a deepwater seaport, is named after Bristol, England. Until 1854, Bristol was one of the five state capitals of Rhode Island. Major industries include boat building (and related marine industries), manufacturing, education, and tourism. Bristol is the proud home of Roger Williams University, which is named after Rhode Island’s founder.
Taos is a town in northern New Mexico’s high desert, bounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It’s known for historic adobe buildings such as Taos Pueblo, a multistory adobe complex inhabited by Native Americans for centuries. A longtime artist colony, Taos also offers many galleries and museums showcasing regional artwork, including the Harwood Museum of Art and the Taos Art Museum.
You know a town is special when a part of it is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Well, that happens to be the case with Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. This colorful port town—literally, many of the buildings are painted all sorts of pinks, reds, blues, and yellows—is one of the most welcoming towns in North America. Make your way to the waterfront and take a guided tour of the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. There’s even a working boat building shop on-site that’s worth taking a peek at.
Woodstock is a town in Vermont. Historic buildings surrounding the central square, known as the Green, include the 1880s pink sandstone Norman Williams Public Library. Just north, Billings Farm & Museum is a functioning dairy farm, with an 1890 farmhouse and exhibits re-creating 19th-century farm life. Trails lace Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, which contains an 1800s Queen Anne–style mansion.
Yellowknife is the capital city of Canada’s Northwest Territories. It lies on the north shore of Great Slave Lake, with possible views of the northern lights in fall and winter. Exhibits at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, by Frame Lake near downtown, highlight the area’s human and natural history. The Ingraham Trail, a scenic drive, crosses the Yellowknife River and heads east to lakes and trails. You can explore the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center and the Northern Arts and Cultural Center, but the main show in town is the aurora borealis. You might know them as the northern lights.
Holland is a city on the shore of Lake Macatawa, in Michigan. The much-photographed Big Red Lighthouse stands by the channel that connects this lake to Lake Michigan. Nearby, the beachfront Holland State Park shelters deer and migratory birds. Windmill Island Gardens is home to De Zwaan, a centuries-old windmill. May’s Tulip Time Festival, recalling Holland’s Dutch roots, sees tulips blooming all over the city.
Banff is a resort town in the province of Alberta, located within Banff National Park. The peaks of Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade, part of the Rocky Mountains, dominate its skyline. On Banff Avenue, the main thoroughfare, boutiques and restaurants mix with château-style hotels and souvenir shops. The surrounding 6,500 square kilometres of parkland are home to wildlife including elk and grizzly bears.
The San Juan Islands are full of hidden treasures, including roaming pods of orcas, several postcard-landscaped islands both inhabited and uninhabited, and more cute towns than you can count. Take Friday Harbor, Washington, for example. With its stunning landscape of tall pine trees and a gorgeous waterfront district, this needs to be your next vacation destination. Between kayaking with wild killer whales, enjoying fresh produce at the farmer’s market, and slurping down oysters at Coho Restaurant, you won’t soon regret your time driving through the Pacific Northwest.
The Yukon is known for two things: gold and being surrounded by the Canadian wilderness. Whitehorse is the capital of northwest Canada’s Yukon territory. To the south are the basalt cliffs of Miles Canyon, site of a former gold rush town. From the canyon, the Yukon River Loop Trail winds north past the Whitehorse Fishway fish ladder toward the S.S. Klondike, a restored sternwheeler that once plied the Yukon River. North, the Takhini Hot Pools’ mineral springs offer views of the northern lights in winter.
The mountain towns of the Colorado Rockies are about as famous as the mountains itself: Vail, Telluride, and Aspen reign supreme, but Ouray, Colorado, deserves your attention. Why? Because “The Switzerland of America” is an outdoor lover’s mecca. The trails of Box Canyon Falls Park are great for hiking and the natural hot springs are perfect for washing away any leftover worries. And if you’re wondering about where to grab grub, the elk steaks at the Outlaw Restaurant are must-eats.
Cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, friendly locals, and towering cathedrals await you in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The main site in town is the pink granite parish of Parroquia de San Miguel, but don’t just limit yourself to driving around city center. Climb on the back of a thoroughbred and go for a horseback ride through Coyote Canyon. And since you’re on vacation, treat yourself to a crafty meal at Café Roma.
St. John's, a city on Newfoundland island off Canada's Atlantic coast, is the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador province. Its harbour was settled by the British in the 1600s. Downtown is known for its colourful row houses. Above the city is Signal Hill with walking trails and the site of the first transatlantic wireless communication, Cabot Tower, which commemorates John Cabot's discovery of Newfoundland.
San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital and largest city, sits on the island's Atlantic coast. Its widest beach fronts the Isla Verde resort strip, known for its bars, nightclubs and casinos. Cobblestoned Old San Juan features colorful Spanish colonial buildings and 16th-century landmarks including El Morro and La Fortaleza, massive fortresses with sweeping ocean views, as well as the Paseo de la Princesa bayside promenade.