Daily Escape

alley of oak trees leading to old plantation home during the day
Gabe Popa via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Oak Alley Plantation (Vacherie, Louisiana)

Be transported back to the 19th century as you stroll among the sprawling 25 acres of Oak Alley Plantation. Restored to its original glory over several decades, the estate is named for its long, tree-lined path, perfect for a contemplative walk as history appears around you. 

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Adirondack Park

Adirondack Park

With seemingly bottomless lakes and a diverse mountain landscape, the Adirondack Park covers roughly 6 million acres of New York’s lush countryside. Filled with pristine camping grounds, the state-owned Adirondack Forest Preserve within the park is an ideal location to spot wildlife, from large, dangerous animals such as moose and black bears to smaller species including muskrats and foxes. 960 1280

Chris Murray / Aurora / Getty Images  

Redwood National and State Parks

Redwood National and State Parks

Home to some of the world’s oldest living organisms and the tallest trees on Earth — including Hyperion, which stands close to 380 feet — Redwood National and State Parks welcome an average of more than 400,000 visitors per year. They’re located in Humboldt County along the coast of California. 960 1280

William Fawcett, fotoVoyager, Getty Images  

Mount Hood National Forest

Mount Hood National Forest

One trip to majestic Mount Hood, and it’s easy to see why so many Americans are infatuated with the Pacific Northwest. Known as the crown jewel of the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, the highest point in Oregon, is also considered an active volcano, although it hasn’t erupted in about 150 years. 960 1280

deebrowning / iStock / Getty Images  

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park

You may technically be in Southern California when you travel to Channel Islands National Park, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Encompassing about 250,000 acres, the park consists of 5 islands, including Anacapa (pictured), and the ocean surrounding them. 960 1280

Edwin H. Beckenbach, Getty Images  

Coconino National Forest

Coconino National Forest

Covering nearly 2 million acres in northern Arizona, Coconino National Forest is divided into 3 different districts, each with its own attractions, including a group of volcanic summits known as the San Francisco Peaks; the largest natural lake in the state, Mormon Lake; the scenic Mogollon Rim; and the expansive red-rock canyons in Sedona (pictured). 960 1280

William Fawcett, fotoVoyager, Getty Images  

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake in southern Oregon has azure waters that make up the deepest lake in the country. Surrounded by sheer cliffs, the fifth-oldest national park also boasts some of the United States’ cleanest air, allowing hikers to see clearly into the distance along more than 90 miles of trails. 960 1280

Bill Ross, Getty Images  

Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument

Deep within the Black Hills of Crook County, WY, lies an impressive geologic laccolith known as Devils Tower National Monument. Protruding from the ground to an astounding 1,200-plus feet above the Belle Fourche River, Devils Tower was formed by igneous rock intruding between the layers of surrounding sedimentary rocks. 960 1280

Kennan Harvey, Getty Images  

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Filled with amazing natural features, from Old Faithful to the Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park is primarily in Wyoming but spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho as well. Established in 1872, America’s first national park also provides incredible picturesque landscapes, including the Lower Falls (pictured). 960 1280

Gary Cook, FotoWare ColorFactory, Getty Images  

Hurricane Hole

Hurricane Hole

Located on St. John in the US Virgin Islands, Hurricane Hole consists of 3 separate bays — Otter Creek, Water Creek and Princess Bay — and provides pristine blue waters and once-in-a-lifetime snorkeling adventures. 960 1280

Christian Wheatley, Getty Images  

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Moab, UT, is home to some of the most glorious rock formations in the US, and the same can be said for nearby Arches National Park. With more than 2,000 natural stone arches, this red-rock wonderland also includes an unbelievable number of hiking trails, spires and monoliths unlike any others you’ll find in the world. 960 1280

Mark Brodkin Photography, Getty Images  

Mosquito Bay

Mosquito Bay

Truly a sight to see, Mosquito Bay — located on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques — offers one of the most unusual water experiences you can have. Also known as Bioluminescent Bay, it gets its name from microscopic organisms that reside in the water and generate a phosphorus blue glow when agitated. 960 1280

Puerto Rico Tourism Company  

Tonto National Forest

Tonto National Forest

Encompassing nearly 3 million acres of beautiful desert countryside, Tonto National Forest is the fifth-largest forest of its kind in the United States. It’s most impressive feature, the Salt River (pictured), measures almost 200 miles long. It’s the perfect place to go tubing, as it acts as a lazy river for locals trying to escape Arizona’s sweltering summer heat. 960 1280

Sean Foster / Moment / Getty Images  

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Nestled deep within the Sierra Nevada, Yosemite National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the country, let alone California. With plenty of scenic overlooks, countless breathtaking waterfalls and stunning, ancient sequoias, Yosemite is paradise for even the most novice of outdoorsmen. 960 1280

Sapna Reddy Photography, Getty Images  

Meadow Brook Hall (Rochester Hills, MI)

Meadow Brook Hall (Rochester Hills, MI)

Explore the fourth-largest historic home in the United States. Spanning 110 rooms, the 88,000 square-foot mansion was built in a Tudor Revival style, between 1926 and 1929, by the widow of auto pioneer John Francis Dodge. The mansion and surrounding 1,400-acre grounds were donated to Michigan State University in 1957. 960 1280

Meadow Brook Hall  

Hearst Castle (San Simeon, CA)

Hearst Castle (San Simeon, CA)

This Mediterranean Revival-style mansion was designed for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst by Julia Morgan, the first woman architect licensed in California. Morgan’s vision, shaped over the course of a 28-year collaboration with Hearst, features 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens and so much more -- including the world’s largest private zoo. 960 1280

Alex Proimos, flickr  

Flagler Museum (Palm Beach, FL)

Flagler Museum (Palm Beach, FL)

Once hailed by a New York newspaper as "more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world," this 55-room mansion, built by oil tycoon Henry Flagler in 1901, later came close to demolition -- until one of Flagler’s granddaughters saved it in 1959. You’ll need a good 2 hours to tour the property -- must-see stops include the Louis XV-style Grand Ballroom and the atrium garden. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Hillwood Estate (Washington, DC)

Hillwood Estate (Washington, DC)

Post Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post had 3 estates, including Mar-a-Lago on Palm Beach Island. Donald Trump now owns that one, but the real star of Post’s collection is Hillwood Estate. Post loved this urban oasis in the heart of DC more than any of her other estates -- her ashes are interred in the estate’s Rose Garden. The biggest draw is the estate’s decorative arts collection, from Faberge eggs to 18th and 19th-century French art. 960 1280

Jennifer Boyer, flickr  

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Akron, OH)

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Akron, OH)

This swanky country estate ranks as the 12th largest house in the United States. The Tudor Revival-style home, which originally spanned 3,000 acres (it’s now on 70 acres), was built between 1912 and 1915 by the founder of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Above the manor’s front door is a stone inscription: “Non nobis solum,” meaning, “Not for us alone.” In keeping with that motto, the estate is open seasonally to the public. 960 1280

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens  

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores, MI)

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores, MI)

This 87-acre estate, just northeast of Detroit, was the home of Edsel Ford (Henry’s son) and his wife, Eleanor. Before her death in 1976, Eleanor stated that the property be used for the “benefit of the public.” Today, visitors can tour the 20,000-square-foot home to see the intimate family photos that take you back to 1927, when the home was built, and beyond, to the home’s heyday in the 1940s. On the grounds, be sure to check out Josephine Ford’s child-sized playhouse, built by her grandmother in 1930. 960 1280

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House  

Oheka Castle (Huntington, NY)

Oheka Castle (Huntington, NY)

Head to Long Island’s Gold Coast for a tour of this sprawling estate -- the second-largest private home in the US. The estate comprises 127 rooms and over 109,000 square feet. Oheka was built between 1914 and 1919 to serve as the country home of investment banker Otto Hermann Kahn (the name Oheka is an acronym for his name). Oheka also served as partial inspiration for Gatsby’s estate in Fitzgerald’s novel. 960 1280

Michael Fucci  

Moody Mansion (Galveston, TX)

Moody Mansion (Galveston, TX)

Step into turn-of-the-century splendor at this sprawling 28,000-square-foot, 4-story mansion. Completed in 1895, the estate was the home of American financier William Lewis Moody Jr. – once proclaimed by TIME magazine to be one of the 10 wealthiest men in America. Now a museum, the estate offers tours of 20 rooms. Among the beautiful touches is a gold leaf ceiling in the dining room. 960 1280

JR Gordon, flickr  

Virginia Robinson Estate (Beverly Hills)

Virginia Robinson Estate (Beverly Hills)

Beverly Hills is home to plenty of jaw-dropping homes, but only one is open to public tours. This 6-acre estate, once home to Harry and Virginia Robinson (of Robinson’s department store), was built in 1911. The estate’s architectural highlight is its playhouse/pool pavilion, which was added in 1924. Its memorable features include a reflecting swimming pool, as well as Tuscan columns and arches with sgraffiti, an Italian style of wall décor similar to fresco. 960 1280

Virginia Robinson Estate  

Pabst Mansion (Milwaukee)

Pabst Mansion (Milwaukee)

This Flemish Renaissance Revival-style beaut was home to German-American beer baron Frederick Pabst between 1892 and 1908. The property was later purchased by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and for the next 67 years, it served as home to 5 archbishops. Centrally located in downtown Milwaukee, the estate is open year-round to the public, offering visitors a chance to behold the estate’s signature feature: intricate woodwork. 960 1280

Pabst Mansion   

Glensheen (Duluth, MN)

Glensheen (Duluth, MN)

This 7.6-acre estate was built between 1905 and 1908 by lawyer and businessman Chester Adgate Congdon. The lakefront property features 38 rooms, and an exterior inspired by neoclassical French and English touches. Throughout the house are fine works of art by American and European masters of the day. But the mansion also has a dark side: In 1977, Congdon’s daughter and her nurse were murdered here. While tour guides at the mansion were once prohibited from speaking about the murders, today they’ll speak briefly about it ... upon request. 960 1280

Richard Ruan, flickr  

Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Dutchess County, NY)

Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Dutchess County, NY)

This gorgeous home in the tranquil hamlet of Staatsburg, NY, is regarded by architecture scholars as one of the finest examples of an estate built during America’s Gilded Age. Tour the grounds and see a massive portico, balustrades, floral swags and pilasters that all add up to one big impression: The owners sure had it good here. 960 1280

Rolf Müller, Wikimedia Commons   

Biltmore Estate (Asheville, NC)

Biltmore Estate (Asheville, NC)

In the mountains of Asheville, NC, this luxurious Châteauesque-styled mansion awaits. Built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895, Biltmore is the largest privately owned house in America – it spans an astonishing 178,926 square feet and 250 rooms. You’ll be fascinated to see how the era’s wealthy lived: Tour highlights include an indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, 2-story library and early 20th-century exercise equipment. 960 1280

Michael, flickr  

Blue (Santorini, Greece)

Blue (Santorini, Greece)

Chances are you’ve probably seen pictures of these striking roofs without knowing what you were looking at. Although there are more than 250 churches on the island of Santorini, the blue-domed ones in Oia and Fira are easily the most iconic and most photographed. 960 1280

Patryk Kosmider/Getty Images/iStockphoto  

Purple (Provence, France)

Purple (Provence, France)

With its charming hilltop towns, picturesque views and outstanding local food, the Luberon in Provence, France, is already a popular travel destination. Tourists who visit the region between June and August are also treated to the sight (and smell) of field after field blooming with lavender. 960 1280

Matteo Colombo / Moment / Getty Images  

Green (Cliffs of Moher, Ireland)

Green (Cliffs of Moher, Ireland)

Ireland’s most visited natural attraction, the Cliffs of Moher stretch for 5 miles along the western coastline of Ireland, rising to 702 feet at their highest point. Visitors can spend their time staring out over the crashing Atlantic Ocean or just taking in the lush, green Irish countryside. 960 1280

Amir Aizat Bin Mohd Ariff / EyeEm / Getty Images  

Yellow (Izamal, Mexico)

Yellow (Izamal, Mexico)

Known as the Yellow City for obvious reasons, Izamal is steeped in religious tradition that dates back thousands of years. Its ancient Mayan pyramids, which are located just blocks from the town's Franciscan monastery, are ripe for exploration.
960 1280

Tuul / Robert Harding World Imagery / Getty Images  

Pink (Lake Hillier, Australia)

Pink (Lake Hillier, Australia)

Flying over Middle Island off the coast of Western Australia, it would be nearly impossible to miss the bubblegum-pink waters of Lake Hillier. Scientists believe this lake gets its surreal coloring from  salt-loving algae, the only organisms to make a home there. 960 1280

Auscape / Universal Images Group / Getty Images  

Gold (Jerusalem, Israel)

Gold (Jerusalem, Israel)

A holy location for 3 major religions, the Dome of the Rock dominates the skyline of the Old City in Jerusalem. Constructed more than 1,300 years ago, this golden dome has served as a site for both worship and controversy. 960 1280

Marji Lang  

Gray (Yosemite Valley, CA)

Gray (Yosemite Valley, CA)

Towering 4,000 feet above the valley floor, the granite cliffs of Yosemite have inspired people for more than 200 years. Yosemite was the first site to be designated for public use and preservation — thanks to a grant signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1864 — so it's no wonder it is the most revisited park in the United States. 960 1280

  

Orange (Sahara Desert, Morocco)

Orange (Sahara Desert, Morocco)

Covering an area larger than the United States, the Sahara makes up about 8% of the world’s land surface. The orange sands of the Moroccan Sahara are an accessible entry point for adventurers hoping to experience the largest hot desert in the world. 960 1280

Des / RooM / Getty Images  

Red (Sedona, AZ)

Red (Sedona, AZ)

The red rocks of Sedona call to adventurous spirits and spiritual travelers alike. But if vortexes and hiking aren’t your things, you can always unwind at one of Sedona’s resorts or boutique wineries. 960 1280

Matthew Micah Wright / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images  

Black (Vik, Iceland)

Black (Vik, Iceland)

Reynishverfi beach isn’t on anyone’s list of warm-weather vacation spots. But its black sand, bizarre basalt columns and jutting rock formations make Vik, Iceland, a can’t-miss coastal destination.    960 1280

JorunnSjofn photography / Moment / Getty Images  

White (Valdez, AK)

White (Valdez, AK)

Grab your warmest boots and head to Valdez, AK. Between October and April, an average of more than 300 inches of snow falls on this scenic port city, giving it the title of snowiest city in the United States. 960 1280

Andreas Mohaupt / Moment / Getty Images  

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