According to the National Bridge Inventory, there are more than 619,000 bridges in America as of 2020. Narrowing them down to the most famous bridges in the US was a challenge but a fun one, nevertheless.
While a third of them need repair, replacement or major rehab, many American bridges are still passable and remain some of the most majestic and breathtaking bridges you’ll ever see in your life.
No road trip will be complete without passing by these famous bridges.
So if you’re making an itinerary, check out our picks and see if you can incorporate them into your next road trip.
The Most Famous Bridges in the US
These selections for the most famous bridges in the US were picked based on their aesthetic, architectural, historical, and cultural significance.
1. Brooklyn Bridge (New York City, New York)
Known as: An iconic New York City landmark
The Brooklyn Bridge is a suspension/cable-stay hybrid bridge in New York City that connects Manhattan to the neighboring borough of Brooklyn and spans the East River.
For years it was the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere.
It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and to this day is considered an outstanding feat of engineering.
This bridge has been featured in dozens of feature films and TV series, further cementing its status as one of the most famous bridges in the US.
The Brooklyn Bridge Walkway is an excellent place to get shots of one of the towers with the pylons in the frame.
Head over to nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park to get a shot of the Manhattan skyline and the bridge.
Or you can simply take a walk on the waterfront between Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge and take a photo from one of the long benches lining the waterfront.
Nearby Attractions and Things To Do: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Front Street Pizza, Jane’s Carousel
2. Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, California)
Known as: The most recognized and photographed bridge in the world
Opened in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous bridges on the West Coast and the most photographed bridge in the world. It spans the Golden Gate, the one-mile-wide strait connecting San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean.
You can access the bridge from San Francisco on the southern side to Marin County on the north.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a favorite target for destruction in movies like X-Men: The Last Stand, Godzilla, San Andreas, and Terminator Genisys.
Sadly, its popularity also attracts a certain kind of crowd. The Golden Gate Bridge is the most-used suicide site in America (and second in the world after China’s Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge).
A Suicide Deterrent System (SDS) is being built to hopefully bring the number of suicides down, which is estimated to be completed by end of 2022.
There are several areas where you can take non-stop photos of the spectacular Golden Gate bridge. These include:
- Welcome Center — This will probably be the most crowded spot to take photos of the Golden Gate Bridge, but the stunning view makes it worth it.
- Fort Point National Historic Site — Stay at the parking lot for a shot of the whole bridge, but go up to the fort’s rooftop if you want to shoot with a skyline too!
- Baker Beach — It’s a bit far from the bridge, but you won’t be trampled by crowds here. The cover photo of this article was taken from Baker Beach
- Crissy Field — Favorite among locals, this spot has a great view of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s perfect for biking and just marveling at the sights.
Of course, you can always take photos of the bridge on your way up to the pedestrian or bicycle pathway.
Nearby Attractions: San Francisco
3. Royal Gorge Bridge (Cañon City, Colorado)
Known as: The highest suspension bridge in the US
The Royal Gorge Bridge was built for six months in 1929 at a cost of $350,000 (that’s about $20 million today) as a tourist attraction. That is, it was never meant to be a transportation route.
It crosses the Royal Gorge 956 feet above the Arkansas River, making it the highest suspension bridge in the US (and in the world at one point).
The bridge is within a theme park with America’s highest zip line, a Skycoaster, an aerial gondola, and a guided climbing tour.
If you’re not comfortable with heights, you can still appreciate the bridge from below through the Royal Gorge Route Railroad or whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River.
Point Sublime within the theme park is one of the best places to take photos of the Royal Gorge Bridge. You can take gorgeous shots of the bridge, the gorge, the Arkansas River, and the Sangre de Cristo mountains at any time of the day.
If you’re reluctant to pay to enter the park just to take photos, head toward the historic Denver & Rio Grande locomotive No. 499 and walk out onto the viewing platform.
Nearby Attractions: Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, Red Canyon Park, Pikes Peak, Prospect Lake
Cars? Only at specific times and when the park is closed
4. Mackinac Bridge (Mackinaw City, Michigan)
Known as: The third-longest suspension bridge in the US
The Mackinac Bridge spans the Straits of Mackinac and connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan via St. Ignace on the north and Mackinaw City on the south.
Those with difficulty crossing bridges, a phenomenon known as gephyrophobia, should probably stay away since the Mackinac Bridge is officially known as the “world’s longest suspension bridge between anchorages,” meaning there’s a stretch when you’ll only see water for a while.
Fort Michilimackinac State Park in Mackinaw City offers great vantage points, particularly Fort Michilimackinac on the west side and the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse on the east side.
Straits State Park in St. Ignace on the other side of the bridge also has several observation decks.
Nearby Attractions: Ice Breaker Mackinaw Museum, McGulpin Point, Mackinac Island
Pedestrians? No (except for the annual Mackinac Bridge Walk)
3. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway (Metairie, Louisiana)
Known as: The longest bridge in the US
Simply known as the “Causeway,” the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the longest continuous over-the-water bridge in the world and the longest bridge in the US.
The Causeway is actually two parallel toll bridges crossing Lake Pontchartrain, connecting Metairie (on the south) to Mandeville (on the north).
As you can see in the photo, there’s not much to look at while you’re here; only endless water as far as the eye can see.
On a good day, driving from one end to another takes 25 minutes; longer if it’s foggy or there’s heavy traffic for some reason.
The bridge is so long that there’s an eight-mile stretch of the bridge where drivers lose sight of land on both sides of the horizon.
The best ways to take photos of this bridge are from a boat on the lake or from the air.
Taking photos of the seemingly endless stretch of road from your vehicle on the bridge is also popular.
Nearby Attractions: New Orleans, Fontainebleau State Park
6. Frankford Avenue Bridge (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Known as: The oldest stone bridge in the US
The Frankford Avenue Bridge was built in 1697 to connect William Penn’s mansion with the then-newly established city of Philadelphia.
Many notable travelers have crossed this bridge. In fact, President Washington also passed this bridge on his way to New York for his first presidential inaugural ceremony in 1789.
In 1988, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, cementing its place in US history.
After many renovations, today, the Frankford Avenue Bridge over Pennypack Creek in Pennypack Park is still accommodating light cars and pedestrians on foot.
Honestly, it’s not that difficult to photograph this famous bridge. Make your way to Pennypack Creek from different sides and you’re likely to get photos of the bridge, including its distinctive arches.
Nearby Attractions: Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia Museum of Art
7. Bixby Creek Bridge (Carmel, California)
Known for: Being located in one of the most stunning landscapes (and yes, being that famous bridge on Big Little Lies)
The Bixby Creek Bridge stands 260 feet above the bottom of a steep canyon carved by Bixby Creek.
This bridge is located along the Pacific Coast Highway, connecting Carmel-by-the-Sea to San Simeon.
Whether it’s photographed against the Pacific Ocean or against the rocky canyon, photos of this bridge are well-liked on social media.
Castle Rock Viewpoint on the north side of the bridge is the most accessible and has a large parking area, which makes it the most crowded as well.
Another spot is from the Old Coast Road, which is actually where travelers passed before this bridge was built.
Hurricane Point View is further south and gives a great view of the bridge from a distance.
Nearby Attractions: McWay Falls, Point Sur Lighthouse, Pfeiffer Beach
8. George Washington Bridge (Fort Lee, New Jersey)
Known as: The world’s busiest extension bridge
The George Washington Bridge, also known as the GW Bridge, is a double-decked suspension bridge spanning the Hudson River connecting Manhattan, New York with Fort Lee, New Jersey.
It’s one of the busiest motor-vehicle bridges in the world with 103 million passing by each year. Given that, it’s no surprise that there’s heavy traffic during peak hours.
If there’s no ongoing repair, you’re lucky to see this bridge with impressive tower lighting or the world’s largest free-flying American flag (flown from 7am to 1pm on federal holidays and September 11).
Ross Dock Park on the New Jersey side is a favorite spot for photographers, as you can capture the bridge with the iconic Manhattan skyline in the background.
Fort Washington Park is its counterpart on the New York side, where you can get right under the bridge.
Nearby Attractions: Little Red Lighthouse, Fort Lee Historic Park, Fort Tryon Park
9. Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge (Niagara Falls, New York)
Known for: Its spectacular views of the Niagara Falls
Some of these famous bridges connect to a whole other country.
Known simply as “Rainbow Bridge,” this steel-arch bridge is a world-famous tourist site. It spans Niagara Gorge and connects the cities of Niagara Falls, New York, USA with Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
This bridge offers spectacular views of Niagara Falls and has since become an attraction in itself.
The Niagara Falls Observation Tower provides a view of both the Horseshoe Falls and the Rainbow Bridge.
Cave of Winds takes you down on the Niagara River level to see the Bridal Veil Falls up close. You can take photos of Rainbow Bridge from a distance, slightly obscured by mist from the falls.
Of course, any spot on the pedestrian pathway is a good spot to take plenty of photos with Niagara Falls as your backdrop.
Note: Make sure to have your passport with you; bear in mind you’re entering another country.
Nearby Attractions: Niagara Falls, Prospect Point Park, Schoellkopf Power Plant Ruins, Aquarium of Niagara, Niagara SkyWheel
10. Ambassador Bridge (Detroit, Michigan)
Known as: The largest international suspension bridge in the world
The Ambassador Bridge is another way of passing to and from Canada and the USA. This suspension bridge was built across the Detroit River and connects Detroit, Michigan, USA with Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
It facilitates more than $360 million worth of goods every single day. Interestingly, it’s the only privately owned US–Canada border crossing.
Windsor Sculpture Park on the Canadian side has great vantage points of the water and the Ambassador Bridge, especially during sunset.
On the US side, Riverside Park also has excellent views of the Detroit River and the Ambassador Bridge
Nearby Attractions: Motown Museum, Outdoor Adventure Center, and The BELT, Adventure Bay Family Water Park, Art Windsor-Essex
11. Glen Canyon Dam Bridge (Page, Arizona)
Known for: Its critical role in the completion of the Glen Canyon Dam
Glen Canyon Dam forms Lake Powell, one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the US. When the dam was being built, a bridge was built to make it easier for workers and construction materials to be transported from one side to the other.
Today, this famous bridge is a tourist attraction on its own.
Parking at the Carl B. Hayden Visitor Center is free and is the easiest way to take photos of the bridge.
Glen Canyon Dam Overlook is a designated vista point south of the Glen Canyon Dam located 1,000 feet over a bend in the Colorado River. It is slightly difficult to get to but worth the breathtaking view of the dam, the bridge, and the river.
13. Chesapeake Bay Bridge (Annapolis, Maryland)
Known as: One of the scariest bridges in the world
Officially known as the Gov. William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge and locally known as Bay Bridge, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is a dual-span bridge that connects Stevensville on the Eastern Shore to Annapolis on the Western Shore.
Considering its height from the water, the low guardrails, and the frequency of high winds, it’s no wonder this bridge is almost always included in lists of the scariest bridges in the US and even the world.
Note: This is NOT the same as the equally famous bridge Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel, officially the Lucius J. Kellam Jr. Bridge–Tunnel, which also crosses the Chesapeake Bay but is located further south in Virginia.
Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis is a favorite spot of photographers.
Its counterpart on the Eastern Shore is Terrapin Nature Park where you can get a panoramic view of the bridge on the horizon.
Nearby Attractions: Stevensville Historic District, Love Point, Annapolis Historic District, Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park
Pedestrians? No (except during the annual Bay Bridge Run)
Other Famous Bridges
13. Sunshine Skyway Bridge (St. Petersburg, Florida)
Known as: The longest cable-stayed concrete bridge in the world
Best Spots for Photos: Skyway Fishing Pier, Fort DeSoto County Park, Pinellas Point Park
14. Seven Mile Bridge (Florida Keys, Florida)
Known as: The longest bridge in the Florida Keys
Best Spots for Photos: Marathon, Pigeon Key
Bikes? Yes, only on the Old Seven Mile Bridge
Pedestrians? Yes, only on the Old Seven Mile Bridge
Cars? Yes, only on the New Seven Mile Bridge
15. Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Tacoma, Washington)
Known as: The most dramatic failure-turned-success story in modern bridge engineering
Best Spots for Photos: Tacoma Narrows Park, Point Defiance Park, Titlow Beach Park
16. Delaware Memorial Bridge (New Castle, Delaware)
Known as: A memorial to soldiers who gave their lives in World War II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and Operation Desert Storm
Best Spots for Photos: New Castle Battery Park, Riverview Beach Park
17. London Bridge (Lake Havasu City, Arizona)
Known as: The actual London Bridge from that nursery rhyme, shipped stone by stone across the pond and reconstructed in Lake Havasu
Best Spot for Photos: Shoreline Trail
18. John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge (Covington, Kentucky)
Known as: Historic Ohio River landmark
Best Spots for Photos: Smale Riverfront Park, Ohio River Trail, George Rogers Clark Park, Covington Plaza
19. Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Observatory (Prospect, Maine)
Known as: The tallest bridge observatory in the world
Best Spots for Photos: Fort Knox, Verona Island, Bucksport
20. Edmund Pettus Bridge (Selma, Alabama)
Known as: The famous bridge where civil rights marchers were brutally beaten up in 1965 (Bloody Sunday)
Best Spots for Photos: Historic Riverfront Park, Civil Rights Memorial Park
Famous Pedestrian-Only Bridges
There are some famous bridges that don’t allow vehicles of any kind, but pedestrians can take in the sights and marvel at the views from all angles. These are my top 5:
21. Walnut Street Bridge (Chattanooga, Tennessee)
Known as: One of the oldest and longest pedestrian truss bridges in the US
Best Spots for Photos: Coolidge Park, Tennessee Riverwalk
22. Mile High Swinging Bridge (Grandfather Mountain State Park, North Carolina)
Known as: The highest suspension pedestrian footbridge in the US
23. Newport Southbank Bridge aka “Purple People Bridge” (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Famous for: The bridge’s distinct purple hue
Best Spots for Photos: Sawyer Point Park & Yeatman’s Cove, Newport on the Levee
24. SkyDance Bridge (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Known as: A bridge and an artwork in one, inspired by the scissor-tailed flycatcher, Oklahoma’s state bird.
Best Spot for Photos: Scissortail Park
25. Benson Bridge, Multnomah Falls (Cascade Locks, Oregon)
Known as: A distinguishing characteristic of Multnomah Falls and the most photographed footbridge in Oregon.
Best Spots for Photos: Base of Multnomah Falls
How Many Famous Bridges in the US Have You Seen?
As I hope you’ve learned by now, bridges are more than structures that connect one piece of land to another.
They are marvels of engineering that mark history, reflect the culture of a specific time and place, and inspire awe and creativity in anyone who sees them.
We hope these famous bridges motivate you to include them in your next vacation itinerary.