America's most breathtaking views aren't reachable by elevators or highway off-ramps. They're hidden at the end of rocky trails, at the bottom of canyons, deep in caves, and even underwater. This means that – if you're willing to put the work in – you won't have to share the vista. Here's where to head if you want to get some serious perspective.
Hudson River, New York City
It's not that hard to find a good eye-level view of the country's most recognizable skyline – just visit the Empire State Building. It's more of a challenge to get a good vantage point from down low. Enter the kayak. From Manhattan Kayak Company's boathouse at Pier 66, kayakers point out into the Hudson River for an introductory tour and to take in glorious and downright intimidating views of the entire west side of the city. "When you're in Manhattan, you barely see the next corner," says guide Jules Gismondi. "That openness you get on the water, it just feels great." Even better? Go at night and watch as the sun sets over New Jersey and the looping lights of the George Washington Bridge, the USS Intrepid, and the Chrysler Building switch on.
More information: Day trips with Manhattan Kayak cost $40 per person. Evening trips cost double and are worth it.
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