An orange sun glistening off evergreens dusted by virgin snow…the tide caressing a shoreline of powdery sands…fragile strands of morning light filtering through a sea of misty clouds…now, that’s what anyone would call a scenic view. It’s the stuff of tourists’ hopes and travelers’ dreams, but too few actually experience such a breathtaking vista.

1. Close your eyes and visualize yourself in a beautiful place. Stop with the first scene that comes to mind and hold the image. It’s your first clue of where to look.

2. Narrow a beach vision to a specific location. Season is an important factor here, since one of the best summer beaches is Waikiki, Hawaii. If it’s a winter trip you’re after, consider Cancun, Mexico. If you’re looking for romance, you can’t go wrong with Larvatto Beach in Monaco.

3. Pinpoint an incredible locale for your fantasy of snowy peaks and winter wonderlands. One great option is a Lake Tahoe ski resort and casino in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Another, if you’re feeling courageous, would be a haunted snowy getaway, such as the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.

4. Realize your dream of spending a night in the wild by finding rental property in scenic woodland areas such as Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which offers log cabins and spacious chalets. Other wilderness adventures can be found in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, amid hiking trails filled with untamed splendor.

5. If your eyes are dotted by twinkling city lights, you might be fantasizing about Pittsburgh, one of the most beautiful cities in America. Climb up Mount Washington and enjoy the sight of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers crashing into each other, forming the mighty Ohio. You will see lights flashing from 15 bridges against the backdrop of a hundred reflective skyscrapers streaking across the horizon.

6. Contact the locals and share your vision. A little friendliness will go a long way and just might land you some valuable information about how to find the secret spots and less touristy locations.

7. Follow the sun. Gorgeous lighting only enhances amazing scenery, and is found most often at sunrise and sunset. Losing an hour or two of sleep will certainly be worth it.

8. Stop dreaming and plan your sightseeing trip with season, location, adventure, and lighting in mind. The payoff will be more than words can describe.

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