The 10 Most Scenic Marathon Destinations in The U.S.

The first step in running a half-marathon, or marathon, is deciding exactly where you want to run it. Cities all over the U.S. host marathons, and though some destinations, like Chicago, New York City and Boston, receive more publicity than others, there are hundreds of hidden trails scattered throughout the country.

There are plenty of determinants when choosing a marathon, such as weather, terrain, and experience. Because there are marathons throughout the year, choose a few months during the year that will allow you to train and perform at your very best. Next, choose the type of terrain you prefer, such as more of a flat, or hilly trail. Your experience level will determine which courses will allow peak performance. For example, the Chicago marathon is a great beginner marathon due to its flat course. Yet, if crowds of people overwhelm you, or the competitive aspect racing intimidates you, you may want to consider other options.

We have narrowed down a list solely based on the most scenic trails in the U.S., regardless of any other factors. This list surely won’t disappoint.

Lake Tahoe Marathon in Lake Tahoe, CA

Lake Tahoe(photo credit: SteveD. via photopin cc)

Big Sur International Marathon in Big Sur, CA

Big Sur(photo credit: SteveD. via photopin cc)

Mount Lemon Marathon in Tuscon, AZ

Mount Lemon Tucson Arizona(photo credit: Mother Goose Kinchlea via photopin cc)

Honolulu Marathon in Honolulu, HI

Honolulu Hawaii(photo credit: atmtx via photopin cc)

Napa Valley Marathon in Napa Valley, CA

Napa Valley(photo credit: jimg944 via photopin cc)

New York Marathon in New York City, NY

New York City Marathon(photo credit: U.S. Coast Guard via photopin cc)

Pikes Peak Marathon in Manitou Springs, CO

Manitou Springs(photo credit: designsbykari via photopin cc)

Twin Cities Marathon in Twin Cities, MN

Twin Cities Marathon(photo credit: crossn81 via photopin cc)

Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, TX

Marine Corps Marathon(photo credit: United States Marine Corps Official Page via photopin cc)

Bear Lake Marathon in Garden City, UT

Garden City Utah(photo credit: Photo Dean via photopin cc)

These marathons all have one thing in common in that they’ll provide a scenic route during all 26.2 miles. Though some of these marathons aren’t for the lighthearted, there’s no doubt that your breath won’t be taken away by some of these amazing nature sights.

Whether you’re attempting a PR, running with a friend, or doing it just for fun, these marathons are sure to provide some of the most beautiful sights you’ve ever seen. Take advantage of all the races right here in the United States.

What marathon do you wish you could participate in?


  1. Wow! These truly are beautiful marathon destinations! I fear that if I were running a marathon at one of these locations though, I would get so distracted from all the sites, and would want to take pictures, that….. I would “run” a marathon in about 8 hours – ha ha!


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