America's Most Beautiful and Iconic Bridges

Bixby Creek Bridge
Bixby Creek Bridge | © Ron W / Flickr
Elizabeth Nicholas

Bridges can be marvels of architecture, as impressive as well-designed buildings. Many of the most stunning and show-stopping bridges can be found in the U.S.A. Here are some of the best.

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Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge

When it was opened in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest and tallest suspension bridge in the world, spanning 4,200 feet and reaching over 746 feet high. While that honor now belongs to a bridge in Japan, the Golden Gate Bridge remains one of the world’s most famous and iconic bridges. It connects San Francisco to Marin County, and has been described as one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It is one of the most photographed structures in the United States.

Brooklyn Bridge, New York

The Brooklyn Bridge connects Brooklyn with Manhattan

It is a New York City rite of passage to walk the gorgeous Brooklyn Bridge, which connects Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn Heights. The bridge, which was built over 14 years in the late-19th century, is over 1,595 feet long. It was the first steel-wire suspension bridge ever created. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964. For the best views of the city, walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn at sunset, and take in the sweeping views of Manhattan from the other side.

Mackinac Bridge, Michigan

The Mackinac Bridge at sunset

The 26,372 foot Mackinac Bridge spans the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. The bridge was a serious labor of love, originally conceived of in the 1880s and not completed until 1957. The beautiful bridge takes those who cross it over not one but two of the majestic Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Florida

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge

From a distance, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge looks like a group of billowing sails. The bridge, which spans the city of Tampa Bay, is a whopping 21,877 feet long. Former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham was apparently inspired to suggest the design for the bridge by a visit to France, where he saw the similar-looking Brotonne Bridge, and thought one might look nice closer to home.

Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado

The Royal Gorge Bridge spans an enormous canyon

Unique among American bridges, an entire theme park has arisen around the interest in and affection for the Royal Gorge Bridge. Located near Canon City, Colorado, the park features gondolas, a Skycoaster, and ziplining, all great ways to see the spectacular 955-foot gorge that the bridge traverses. The Royal Gorge Bridge began construction in 1929, and was the world’s largest for many years; it still takes top honors as the tallest bridge in the United States.

Bixby Creek Bridge, California

Bixby Creek Bridge

Those who follow California Instagram accounts are likely to be familiar with the Bixby Creek Bridge, whose graceful architecture and soaring backdrop against the Big Sur coastline makes it a natural spot for travelers to stop and get a shot. When the bridge was opened in 1932, it was the longest concrete span on the California State Highway System. And in true California entertainment-industry style, the bridge is so beautiful that it even inspired a Death Cab for Cutie song, “Narrow Stairs”.

New River Gorge Bridge, West Virginia

New River Gorge Bridge

Arching gracefully over a river in West Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains, the New River Gorge Bridge was the world’s longest single-span arch bridge for many years, and is still the fourth longest in the world. The bridge is such a source of pride for West Virginia that the state commemorates the bridge by stamping its likeness onto the West Virginia state quarter.

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