8 Can’t-Miss Waterfalls (There’s More to See Than Niagara Falls)

Shoshone Falls in Idaho

I’ve asked my seven-year-old daughter several times recently where she wants to go this summer. The answer is always the same: Niagara Falls. I don’t even know what she knows about Niagara Falls. Anyway, Niagara Falls is nearly eight hours from where we live, so it’s not really on the table, but it did make me wonder why you never hear about any other waterfalls in the United States.

I did some quick research, and there are literally hundreds of waterfalls here in the U.S. alone, many of which are far more beautiful than Niagara Falls. If you like the outdoors and/or are planning a family road trip this summer, here are eight must-see waterfalls worth stopping for along the way

  • Big Manitou Falls (Wisconsin): Wisconsin’s tallest waterfall splashes 165 feet into the Black River. You’ll find beautiful scenic overlooks, as well as nearby nature trails and campgrounds.
  • Brandywine Falls (Ohio): Take the 1.5 mile Brandywine Gorge Trail to explore beyond the waterfall down to the creek level. Located just south of Cleveland, the falls are easily reached from Brandywine Road inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
  • Fall Creek Falls (Tennessee): Just a short walk will bring you to this 256 foot drop into the Cane Creek Gorge. Located in Fall Creek Falls State Park, you’ll find a few more impressive waterfalls too, including Cane Creek Falls and Rockhouse Falls.
  • Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River (Wyoming): It’s easy to see great views from Lookout Point, or you can hike along several overlook trails to see the waterfalls. Twice as high as Niagara Falls at 308 feet tall, you’ll find the largest volume of water in the Rocky Mountains.
  • Multnomah Falls (Oregon): Just 30 minutes outside Portland, these falls are a must. From the parking area off of I-84, the falls are just a five-minute walk away. For an even closer view, walk a few hundred feet up the paved trail to Benson River, which spans the falls.
  • Rainbow Falls (North Carolina): Located in the Nantahala National Forest, Rainbow Falls is one of four waterfalls on a two mile stretch of the Horsepasture River.
  • Shoshone Falls (Idaho): Best viewed in the spring and summer, there are plenty of grassy areas and hiking trails that offer perfect vantage points for viewing the falls. Just ten minutes off I-93, it’s worth a stop to see these falls cascading into the Snake River.
  • Yosemite Falls (California): The tallest waterfall in North America at nearly 2,500 feet tall, it’s easy to see from Yosemite Village and Yosemite Lodge. A one-mile loop trail leads to the base of the falls, or you can take an all-day hike to the top of the falls.

There are certainly more amazing waterfalls in the United States that are not on this list, like Havasu Falls and Deer Creek Falls, but given the level of difficulty in getting to these falls, I kept those off the list. All of the above waterfalls are easily accessible either by way of a lookout point or a short walk.

If you decide to travel to see waterfalls whether as part of a trip to a national park or a stop along the way to another final destination, be sure to check in with the park service or the local tourism bureau to get the scoop on the best time of year for the most ideal viewing.

Do you like to take your family to see waterfalls? Do you have any favorite waterfalls you like to visit year after year?