VACATION IDEAS

Photos: Extreme America

Explore these photos of a dozen extreme American locations—including our highest high, lowest low, and biggest lake, river, and city.

  1. Lake Superior, the largest lake in the U.S., was shaped by glaciers that cut through granite 10,000 years ago.

    (Konstantin Lobastov / Dreamstime.com)
  2. Lake Superior's inlets offer some of the best canoeing in the U.S.

    (Aliaksandr Nikitsin / Dreamstime.com)
  3. With its own climate, similar to that of a coastal region, Lake Superior has had its share of legendary shipwrecks and is home to iconic lighthouses.

    (fstockfoto / Dreamstime.com)
  4. Even if Denali National Park weren't home to the highest point in the U.S., Mount McKinley, its pristine taiga and mountain lakes would be worth a visit.

    (Jerryway / Dreamstime.com)
  5. Denali National Park is open year-round, but most visitors see it before mid-September, when autumn arrives early here in the far north.

    (Gail Johnson / Dreamstime.com)
  6. Denali National Park has a Big Five all its own: Look for moose, caribou, wolves, grizzly bears, and Dall sheep.

    (Jerryway / Dreamstime.com)
  7. Death Valley is where you'll find the lowest point in the U.S.—Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level.

    (Sergiyn / Dreamstime.com)
  8. Summer temperatures in Death Valley are typically well into the 100s, the hottest in the U.S.

    (Bayda127 / Dreamstime.com)
  9. Sure, Death Valley is hotter than Lake Havasu City, AZ, but more than 50,000 people actually live here, where the temperature frequently tops 100 degrees.

    (Timrobertsaerial / Dreamstime.com)
  10. Lake Havasu is about 150 miles from Las Vegas, and its 45 miles of lakefront attract boaters, anglers, and hikers.

    (Courtesy Milonica/Wikimedia Commons)
  11. The founder of Lake Havasu City bought London Bridge in 1968 and had it shipped more than 5,000 miles to be reassembled in Arizona.

    (Timrobertsaerial / Dreamstime.com)
  12. Faribanks, AK, is the coldest community in the U.S., which is good news for intrepid travelers who want to try their hand at dogsledding.

    (Gary Whitton / Dreamstime.com)
  13. Temperatures in Fairbanks are routinely below -5, and sometimes dip into the negative 40s.

    (Gary Whitton / Dreamstime.com)
  14. The Northern Lights draw thousands of visitors to Fairbanks. If you stay three nights between August and April, you have an 80 percent chance of a clear view of the aurora, which is reaching a peak in 2013 due to sunspot activity.

    (Karrapavan / Dreamstime.com)
  15. The easternmost point in the U.S.? No, it's not the Maine Coast, but St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    (Krothapalli1 / Dreamstime.com)
  16. You can enjoy the beach, resort comfort, and old-world architecture in St. Croix.

    (Linda Morland / Dreamstime.com)
  17. American Samoa, which is west of French Polynesia in the South Pacific, is a good place to find empty white sand beaches.

    (Saikit Leung / Dreamstime.com)
  18. Think your town has pedigree? Sky City, NM (formerly Acoma), has had a Native American community here since 1150.

    (Josemaria Toscano / Dreamstime.com)
  19. Visitors to Sky City, NM, can explore its pueblo past with guided tours.

    (Josemaria Toscano / Dreamstime.com)
  20. Times Square earned its nickname "The Crossroads of the World" because of New York City's position as the biggest American city, with more than 8 million residents.

    (Courtesy Terabass/Wikimedia Commons)
  21. New York wasn't always the nation's biggest city. The construction of the Erie Canal in the 19th century helped rocket the city to the economic preeminence it enjoys to this day.

    (Courtesy Dschwen/Wikimedia Commons)
  22. This time of year, there's no better way to enjoy the Big Apple than to lace up at one of its many public skating rinks, like the one at Rockefeller Center.

    (Courtesy Mr Bullitt/Wikimedia Commons)
  23. Yeah, it doesn't get any smaller than Buford, WY, home to one man, who operates a gas station and convenience store off Interstate 80 between Laramie and Cheyenne.

    (Courtesy frankenstoen/Wikimedia Commons)
  24. Virginia is the birthplace of more presidents—eight—than any other state. Its place in American history is secure, with destinations like Colonial Williamsburg drawing visitors from around the world.

    (Courtesy Larry Pieniazek/Wikimedia Commons)
  25. Historic Richmond, home to the state capitol, is just one of Virginia's dozens of noteworthy sites.

    (Courtesy Anderskev/Wikimedia Commons)
  26. Memphis, TN, is one of the sights along the nation's biggest river, the Mississippi.

    (Benkrut / Dreamstime.com)
  27. The mighty Mississippi originates in Minnesota, above, and travels more than 2,000 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.

    (Dan Thornberg / Dreamstime.com)

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