Virginia: Skyline Drive
This iconic road, the only public one in Shenandoah National Park, runs for 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Though the drive should take you about three hours, realistically it will take you much longer because you will want to stop and take pictures at many of the road’s 70 overlooks and wildlife sightings.
Washington: Hoh Rainforest
This temperate rainforest in Olympic National Park receives an average of 12 feet of rain a year, and is one of the oldest living ecosystems on the planet. Multiple hiking trails bring visitors through the moss- and fern-covered trees, which are largely sitka spruce and western hemlock.
West Virginia: Cranberry Glades
The acidic soil of these boreal bogs in the Allegheny Mountains is home to many plants that usually live at higher altitudes, including carnivorous pitcher plants, cranberries, skunk cabbage, and sphagnum moss.
Wisconsin: Apostle Islands
A group of about 20 islands in Lake Superior, the Apostle Islands are covered in pits and caverns, old growth forest, and waterfalls. They are accessible by boat during the warmer months, but if the lake freezes deep enough to provide safe passage in the winter, visitors can walk to some of the islands, which are covered in beautiful ice formations.
Wyoming: Grand Prismatic Spring
The Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone. Its color rings are due to bacteria that inhabit different temperature zones in the water, which is scalding in the center and cooler at the edges of the pool.