Nat Geo's "America the Beautiful" book
Stephen Alvarez/ National Geographic Image Collection

America the Beautiful in National Geographic Photos: An Exclusive Book Excerpt

Fall in love with the U.S.A. all over again with America the Beautiful: A Story in Photographs, a patriotic collection of National Geographic's images. The publication includes more than 250 photos of all 50 states and 6 territories of the United States of America, organized by region and inspired by the lyrics of "America the Beautiful."

In addition to the elite imagery that National Geographic is famous for, the book features a foreword by best-selling historian Jill Lepore. Inside, a selection of notable Americans share their connections to places they cherish: Barack Obama on Hawaii, Jimmy Buffett on Florida, Mary Steenburgen on Arkansas, John Mellencamp on Indiana, Ronda Rousey on North Dakota, and more. 

This excerpt, which is exclusive to Frommer's, samples a few of the best photographs and provides a taste of some of the more unexpected celebrity reminiscences.

Pictured above: Puerto Rico: Cueva Ventana sits on top of a limestone cliff in Arecibo and overlooks the Rio Grande de Arecibo and valley below. (Stephen Alvarez, 2014)

Nat Geo's "America the Beautiful" book: New York City Mayflower reproduction
B. Anthony Stewart/National Geographic Image Collection
New York City
The Mayflower II, a reproduction of the 17th-century Mayflower ship, enters the New York Harbor after a solitary voyage across the Atlantic. Upon arrival, the captain and crew received a ticker tape parade in New York City. (B. Anthony Stewart, 1957)
Nat Geo's "America the Beautiful" book: Northern Mariana Islands
Mark Robertson/ National Geographic Image Collection
Northern Mariana Islands
With a full moon shining above, water cascades from rocky tidal pools on Saipan into the Pacific Ocean. (Mark Robertson, 2012)
Kilili Sablan, first delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: "Imagine feeling that the land beneath your feet has been home to your ancestors for thousands of years. That is how the people of the Marianas feel every day. As minute as our islands may be in the vastness of the Pacific, they are enduring. And we feel enduringly rooted to them."
Nat Geo's "America the Beautiful" book: Wyoming
Robbie George/ National Geographic Image Collection
A barn built by settlers John and T.A. Moulton around 1916 sits in the Mormon Row historic district inside Grand Teton National Park. (Robbie George, 2008)
Nat Geo's "America the Beautiful" book: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Stephen St. John/ National Geographic Image Collection
Dolle's has been making its saltwater taffy—as well as fudge, caramel, and brittle—on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk since 1927. (Stephen St. John, 2011)
Johnny Weir, figure skater: "Delaware is a tiny treasure. When I was 12, I moved to Newark, a quaint college town full of youthful energy and life. Year-round I was on the ice, skating at an elite facility with some of the best in the world. In the summer, I could head to the boardwalk to eat fries with malt vinegar or chew on saltwater taffy."
Nat Geo's "America the Beautiful" book: Chicago, Illinois
Jim Richardson/ National Geographic Image Collection
Chicago's lights—mostly those of the city's streetlamps—burn bright under a blanket of clouds. (Jim Richardson, 2008)
Nat Geo's "America the Beautiful" book: Kansas farmland
George Steinmetz/ National Geographic Image Collection
Combines move across the fields, harvesting wheat from a farm. (George Steinmetz, 2013)
Nat Geo's "America the Beautiful" book: Northern Lights in Alaska
Steven Miley/ Design Pics/ National Geographic Image Collection

The moon and the aurora borealis shine over a snow-covered Richardson Highway just south of Alaska's Delta Junction. (Steven Miley, 2017)

Jewel, singer-songwriter: "Alaska is one of the last truly wild places, a treasure. A teacher of scale and proportion. Here you remember you are not bigger than nature. You do not control nature. Here you learn the exhale of receding tides and autumn days. The exuberant inhale of salmon rushing rivers. You learn to respect and care for Mother, and in turn you learn what it is to be cared for."

Nat Geo's "America the Beautiful" book: Lorman, Mississippi
Randy Olson/ National Geographic Image Collection
A man eats outside the Old Country Store in Lorman. A former general store built on a local plantation in 1875, the rustic building is now home to a gift shop, thrift store, and Mr. D's restaurant, serving "heavenly" fried chicken. (Randy Olson, 1998)
Nat Geo's "America the Beautiful" book: Niagara Falls
Mike Theiss/ National Geographic Image Collection
New York State
The American Falls is the second-largest of the three waterfalls that collectively make up Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the country. (Mike Theiss, 2015)
Nat Geo's "America the Beautiful" book: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Kenneth Garrett/ National Geographic Image Collection
South Carolina
Sailors push their vessel toward the ocean as beachgoers walk by on Hilton Head Island. (Kenneth Garrett, 2006)
Darius Rucker, country singer and lead vocalist of Hootie & the Blowfish: "People ask why I still live in South Carolina, and I tell them all they need to do is visit to understand. Charleston is my hometown and my favorite place in the world. The city—and the state as a whole—is filled with genuine people and a laid-back energy that I love."
Nat Geo's "America the Beautiful" book: Montana
Keith Ladzinski/ National Geographic Image Collection
Riders walk their horses by a lake, backed by a sunlit mountain range. (Keith Ladzinski, 2015)
America the Beautiful: A Story in Photographs (National Geographic)
America the Beautiful: A Story in Photographs
America the Beautiful: A Story in Photographs (National Geographic Books, 400 pages, 2020) is available for sale now.