Where will color take you? From the red rocks of Utah to the wildflowers of New Hampshire, explore Sherwin-Williams color palettes curated for each state. Our #TravelBySWColor guide is here to show you some of the most colorful spots across the country.
Wait, waterfalls?! Alabama was made for road tripping, windows down and singing loud as you cruise from beautiful Gulf Coast beaches all the way up to jaw-dropping spots like Noccalula Falls, near Gadsden, which marks the start of the mighty Appalachians. Have you ever seen sheets of cascading water resemble crisp linen? You will here.
They say everything’s bigger in Texas, but Alaska begs to differ. Here in the Last Frontier, you’ll shiver as you gaze at glacier-choked peaks and wildlife you typically only see in nature magazines. To explore the Inside Passage, in the state’s southeast, you’ll ride in your share of float planes—the mountain air awaits!
No, this cactus doesn’t only live in cartoons. The saguaro is real, and you can stand beside the quirky, towering desert plant in many spots around Arizona, particularly within the parks and botanical gardens in and around Phoenix. It’s practically a must when you’re exploring the arid landscapes of the Grand Canyon State.
The Natural State comes by its name honestly. Northwest Arkansas in particular is a quilt of scenic river valleys, low, bumpy mountains, and protected forestland. Indeed, the state’s palette is dominated by every shade of green! Head to Beaver Lake, just south of the Missouri border, and find your own verdant inspiration.
Love the larger-than-life style of the Golden state? Put on your sunglasses and enjoy the colorful views native to the one and only California. From the dusty hues at Joshua Tree to the aquatic shades that swirl at Venice Beach (pictured here), this coastal beauty has a little bit of everything.
Ready for the Rockies?! There’s nothing monotone about this state and its world-famous mountain range. While the high peaks west of Denver exude the deep greens of aspen leaves and evergreens, the landscape takes on a dustier hue in Colorado’s southwest. But you can always expect snowmelt-driven streams to punctuate your hike, as pictured above in Chicago Basin in the San Juans.
From the inland hardwood forests to the coast of Long Island Sound, Conneticut’s colors enchant. Make your way to Esker Point Beach in the state’s southeast corner and ponder how the color of the sea morphs from oyster white to honorable blue as it rolls out toward Fishers Island.
Blink and you’ll miss it! Sandwiched between the metro hubs of DC and Philadelphia, Delaware is good at hiding its charms. Case in point: The Jasper Crane Rose Garden in the heart of urban Wilmington provides a calm refuge for visitors and a chance to admire dozens of different rose varieties. How many colors will you count?
Ready to live your best salt life? It’s hard to beat beach time on a trip to Florida, but take a moment to peer behind the coastal resorts and theme parks to catch a glimpse of Old Florida. Even a small park like the Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek stands ready to usher you into a different Florida, and you just might find it refreshing to step inside.
Take it slow and immerse yourself in the South. Georgia has it all: Sift your toes into the sand on a lazy stroll along Tybee Beach. Taste the best of local produce (and find your perfect Georgia peach!) at the Forsyth Farmers Market. Get a dose of history, along with a shot of that iconic live oak-lined drive for your Instagram, at Wormsloe Historic Site. From the swaying of the Spanish moss to the gentle lapping of bay waves, this state is sure to leave an impression.
Take a deep breath in and say it with a smile as you exhale: Hawaii! You’ve made it here, now what will you do? Learn to surf at Waikiki? Snorkel off a Maui black-sand beach? Explore the Garden Isle of Kauai? Or simply stop and smell the coral-hued hibiscus wherever you happen to be (like the Big Island’s Kailua-Kona, in the photo above).
In the middle of Idaho Falls, on a small island in the Snake River, set between two roaring sections of the town’s namesake waterfalls, you’ll find the tranquil Japanese Friendship Garden. It’s a bit of a microcosm of the state as a whole: the raw, sublime power of nature mixed with its meditative beauty.
There’s plenty more to Illinois than its largest city, but Chicago looms large. Make your way to North Avenue Beach and look south to the goliaths of the skyline and you’ll see why this metropolis captures the imagination. How many colors will you see reflected in the shimmering windows of its skyscrapers?
To immerse yourself in the Hoosier State, start by skipping rocks into the Ohio River in the south and end with a dip at Marquette Beach Park, on Lake Michigan, at the state’s northern tip. Everywhere in between, stop to admire wildflowers of every shade, from the confident yellow of black-eyed Susans to the real red of the royal catchfly.
Maybe you’re crossing Iowa via the southern backroad of Highway 2 (pictured); or perhaps you’re hopping between cities—Davenport, Des Moines, and on to Omaha. Wherever you are in the Hawkeye State, keep your eye on the colors: the green of the fields, the cream of the gravel farm road, and whatever colorful shade adorns that grain silo on the horizon.
If ever there was a place perfect for a windows-down, music-up type of road trip, it’s the back highways of Kansas. In season, watch for hay bales punctuating the farmland landscapes between urban centers like Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City. This is America’s heartland, and it makes for one sweet journey.
The bluegrass still looks pretty green in the great state of Kentucky, and it’s that shade that dominates the rolling farmland, Appalachian foothills, and secluded hollows across the state. Just take the vista above, for example, captured outside the aptly named city of Bowling Green.
Feel the heat and hospitality, taste the sugar and spice, meet the Mississippi where it meets the sea—this is Louisiana. The easy green of the bayou will seep into your pores, while the hues of a Gulf sunset will be sure to catch your eye. Feed your impulses in Louisiana and your world will take on new brightness.
There’s something about Maine’s rocky coastline that demands attention. Picture the drama of jagged chunks of granite being pounded by the incoming waves of a raging sea—it’s hard to look away. And you don’t have to. From the coastal parks of Portland (pictured) to the wilds of Downeast, this natural ballet is always within easy view.
Who doesn’t need a city escape, even on vacation? On your visit to Baltimore, make time to check out the Cylburn Arboretum, just north of downtown. This former private estate provides a natural landscape bursting with calming gardens and stands of trees, woven through by the Jones Falls stream.
Yes, there’s more to Massachussets than Boston—a lot more! Around 60% of the state is covered in trees, so get ready for some serious forest bathing. Even within smaller cities like Springfield, there are places like Forest Park where soothing greens, browns, and golds provide a haven for nature lovers.
It’s time to high-five the mitten! Make your way to the very tippy top of the Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and ferry over to little Mackinac Island. On its southeast coast you’ll find the impressive limestone Arch Rock. Follow the walkway around it and peek through to spot the great green of the foliage and the soulful blue waves of Lake Huron.
Follow your north star to the Land of 1,000 Lakes. There’s so much natural wonderland to explore in Minnesota, from the shores of Lake Superior to the vast tracts of forest south of the Canadian border to—of course—all those lakes. But make sure not to skip historic Minneapolis, where you’ll catch views like the Stone Arch Bridge, pictured above.
You’re standing on a trail by the water, the land all around you a maze of marsh grasses, winding streams, and stands of tupelo trees. This is the Pascagoula River delta, near the city of Gautier in Mississippi’s southeast corner. Breathe in the soulful blue air of the Magnolia State, the salty scent of the Gulf blowing from just over the horizon.
Missouri’s nickname reads almost like a dare: Show-Me! The state certainly reciprocates, providing gorgeous views of low, rugged mountains, expansive forests, and some impressive lake systems (a small corner of Lake of the Ozarks can be seen above). But whatever you do, don’t miss the one-of-a-kind Gateway Arch in St. Louis!
You’re in Montana, be bold! This is the land of big azure skies, jagged snow-capped peaks, and flourescent-tinted glacial lakes. Wherever you are in the state, epic is just around the corner. Whether you’re bucket-list hopping between Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks or tracing the western boundaries of the Great Plains, let color be your guide and you won’t fail to find the trip of a lifetime.
Ready to let Nebraska surprise you? Be on the lookout for tumblin’ tumbleweeds as you make your way through the western Sandhills, but break out the bathing suits (yep, you heard right!) when you hit the beach at McConaughy Lake. Wherever you are, keep an eye peeled for hints of gold in late-summer wildflowers and the clouds during a perfect Midwestern sunset.
Just west of Las Vegas, multi-hued rocks burst from the desert scrub, rising to mountains of painted cliffs. Welcome to Blue Diamond, your next Nevada must-see. It’s part of the larger Red Rock Canyon, and whether you’re a mountain biker, climber, or simply a color admirer, this spot will enchant your dreams for years to come.
Welcome to the Granite State! Yes, there are plenty of strong grays and formidable charcoals here, but there’s also a lighter side to New Hampshire. You’ll find it in the wildflowers the color of snowflakes lining your ridgeline hiking trail, in the sunlight reflecting off the waters of Chocorua Lake as you view it from high above. Make time to take in both aspects of New Hampshire’s palette when you visit and you just may learn how to balance the sturdy and the soft, the granite and the wildflower, in your life back home.
It’s all about the sand on the barrier island of Sea Isle City, in southern New Jersey. Top the dunes and you’ll feel the ocean breeze on your face, views over the unbroken Atlantic waves. This is just one end of a shore that runs up to Fort Hancock near the mouth of Hudson Bay. That’s a whole lot of beach—pack those flip flops!
“Red or green?” Choose your chile when you sit down to a delectable plate of New Mexican food. On a hike, though, it’s definitely red that stands out most. Northwest of Albuquerque, the land rises into the Jemez Mountains, crisscrossed with trails through slot canyons, past rusty red bluffs, and among forests of aspen and cottonwood.
Ready to get lost (in a good way)? New York’s Adirondacks make up the largest protected area in the Lower 48, and your activity list is only limited by your imagination—hiking, biking, skiing, birdwatching, paddling, camping…it’s all here. Far from the bustle of NYC, let the placid palette of the Adirondacks inspire you.
Travel from west to east across North Carolina and the colors morph with the changing landscape. The western region is dominated by broad mountains. In the middle, the hilly Piedmont holds the biggest cities but hides plenty of pockets of colorful natural escape. And finally, the Coastal Plain rolls down to the ocean, past places like Green Swamp Preserve (pictured).
Let the wind coursing across the northern Great Plains soothe you. North Dakota is wide, its roads long and straight. But remember: For every endless field of wheat, there’s also a surprise in store. Spot bison on high bluffs in Theodore Roosevelt National Park or tour rebuilt Mandan and Hidatsa settlements at Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site.
Take a bite and let the sweet juice dribble down your chin. Ohio holds the bounty of farm fields, waiting to be tasted at countless roadside stands and pick-your-owns, farm stores and farmers markets. What flavors will the colors of Ohio hold for you?
Drive across Oklahoma and you’ll encounter landscapes where horseback seems the most appropriate way to travel. Elsewhere, fields of wheat will meet your eyes and lead them all the way to the horizon. But the Sooner State is also home to the western reaches of the Ouachita Mountains and the Ozarks. Stand at the highlands and look west at sunset to see the land spilling down toward an azalea horizon.
In northern Oregon, you’re presented with a striking contrast. The landscape plummets from the 11,250-foot peak of Mt. Hood, topped with glaciers, to just 170 feet in the Columbia River Valley. Stand at the right spot in between and you’ll be able to take in both at once, a true Oregon vista.
Fact: Pennsylvania does have a coastline, and a lighthouse! A narrow spit of land extends into the waters of Lake Eire north of the city of Erie, and it’s here that you’ll discover the 19th-century Presque Isle Lighthouse. Yep, there are beaches, too. You brought your bathing suit, right?
Around 14% of Rhode Island is water, thanks to the large Narragansett Bay that runs up its middle. They don’t call it the Ocean State for nothing! So while you’re here, be sure to experience the state’s lovely coastal towns and cities, including historic Newport, famous for its extravagant Guilded Age mansions. There are plenty of sandy beaches nearby, as well as rocky shores as in the image above.
Greenville, SC might just be the most exciting city you’ve never heard of. Falls Park on the Reedy features a picturesque waterfall splashing through the middle of downtown, traversed by a parabolic pedestrian bridge and surrounded by top-notch shops, restaurants, and watering holes. Grab the crew and go!
The Black Hills are punctuation mark on the western edge of South Dakota. Granite peaks rise in spires out of the forest, crisp lake waters lap the walls of naked rock. Head to Custer to start your Black Hills adventure, and pretty much any road you choose will hold views like these.
Tennessee is a state of mountains and flats, forests and plains. Its waters flow in mighty rivers, cascading falls, and scenic resorvoirs (as in Bays Mountain Park, pictured above). What colors will you uncover when you explore the Volunteer State: from the blues and barbecue of Memphis to the country notes of Nashville to the hazy peaks of the Great Smokies?
Y’all ready for a Lone Star adventure? Step into your cowboy boots, ride the Gulfstream, and keep an eye out for armadillos—a Texas trip brings a combination of delights you won’t find anywhere else. For a swimming hole and a rock scramble to write home about, set your compass toward Hamilton Pool Preserve, just west of Austin.
Deep red sandstone, turquoise lakes lapping desert shores, towering rock spires the hue of honeycomb. Utah’s palette is nothing if not rich. Are you ready to explore it? Scope out the world-famous arches in and around Moab (Corona Arch is featured in the video above), take a dip in Fifth Water Hot Springs in the mountains southeast of Provo, and spend a day on one of the state’s massive desert lakes. You’ll return home with lifelong memories and the color inspiration to match.
Flatlanders, pack your hiking boots and charge that camera. The Green Mountain State is just that—one endless canvas of rugged peaks and straight-out-of-a-postcard rolling farm fields of deepest green. Whether you’re snapping a Monarch portrait in Dover Town Park or summitting Mt. Mansfield, the state’s highest peak, Vermont is sure to paint you a picture worth remembering.
Virginia’s storied Blue Ridge is made even more vibrant by the colors that surround it: the emeralds and olives of the mountain forests, the cerulean and cream of a clouded sky. The range extends up the entire western border of the state—follow it and you’ll find a lifetime’s worth of nature escapes.
What do a cup o’ joe and a mountain have in common? You’ll find out in Washington. Head to your favorite Seattle coffeshop and note the dominant shade of your double latte. Next, drive east up into the Cascades and match that hue with the slopeside boulders of Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Welcome to the Evergreen State!
Leave the interstate behind and let those country roads take you to the heart of West Virginia. Seneca Rocks, Harpers Ferry, the New River Gorge…it doesn’t matter so much where you’re headed, just drive! The shot above was captured in Hedgesville, just south of the looping Potomac River in the state’s northeast.
A field of sunflowers can brighten even the cloudiest of days. And what’s not to smile about in Wisconsin, where you have the beach-lined shores of Lake Michigan, hopping cities like Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay, and the pristine forests and lakes of the Northwoods? Where will you head first?
Welcome to cowboy country. You’ll feel its wildness in the mountain chains that spread like fingers from the state’s northwest: the Snowies, the Winds, the Bighorns. And of course, it’s in the northwest that you’ll find that jewel of American natural wonders, Yellowstone National Park, and its many geologic delights.