21 Most Beautiful Cemeteries in the U.S.

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Cemeteries are places where we lay our dead to rest and honor their memories. As such, they’re somber places that even fill some people with a sense of dread, perhaps because cemeteries remind them of their own mortality. For others, there is a superstitious fear of the dead.

When you step back, though, you might notice that many cemeteries are beautiful places due to both design and the preservation of the natural landscape. Moreover, there’s nothing wrong with recognizing that and appreciating and even visiting them for their own sake.

Here are 21 of the most beautiful cemeteries in the U.S. They’re worth a visit, and you might even choose one as your own final resting place.

1. Punchbowl Crater– Honolulu, Hawaii

Punchbowl Crater– Honolulu, Hawaii
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Punchbowl Crater is part of an extinct volcano on the island of Oahu. Inside it, you’ll find the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. It honors men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and millions visit it each year, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hawaii.

2. Neptune Memorial Reef– Key Biscayne, Florida

Neptune Memorial Reef
Image Credit: By AbhiSuryawanshi – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, WikiCommons

This unique cemetery is actually in the Atlantic Ocean about 3 miles east of Key Biscayne. It’s an example of a “green burial,” which prioritizes the preservation of the natural environment and oneness with it. The cemetery is a human-made reef, with structures containing and memorializing those who choose to be buried there. After construction, the reef became a haven for marine life, and visitors can don scuba gear to visit it.

3. Forest Home Cemetery– Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Forest Home Cemetery Milwaukee Wisconsin
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Founded in 1850, this cemetery has a garden theme meant to help soothe the grieving of loved ones remembering their departed. It’s notable for its beautiful landscaping, monuments, and arched roadways.

4. Colorado Burial Cemetery– Florence, Colorado

Colorado Cemetery
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“Natural burial” minimizes unnatural materials. Instead, bodies decompose naturally and return to the earth after being wrapped in shrouds or biodegradable containers and placed in the ground. This Colorado cemetery is dedicated to preserving and restoring the land.

5. Bonaventure Cemetery– Savannah, Georgia

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, GA
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Once privately owned and spanning 14 acres, this cemetery, founded in 1846, now has more than 100 acres to it. Antiquity and charm define this cemetery, and there’s even a group dedicated to its preservation and upkeep.

6. Graceland– Chicago, Illinois

Graceland Cemetary in Chicago, Illinois
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No, this is not where Elvis is; that’s the Graceland in Memphis, assuming he wasn’t abducted by aliens after all. At this beautifully landscaped Chicago cemetery, you will find the gravesites of plenty of other historical figures, though.

7. Sleepy Hollow Ceremony– Tarrytown, New York

Sleepy hollow cemetery
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Given the name, it’s no surprise that this cemetery is rich in legend and folklore, and you can even go on spooky lantern tours. This is the final resting site of author Washington Irving, whose famous short story made Sleepy Hollow immortal.

8. Woodlawn Cemetery– Bronx, New York

Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.
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The Bronx in New York City is home to this famous cemetery that contains the graves of many famous American cultural figures, Miles Davis and Irving Berlin being among them. It’s also rumored to be the haunting place of several ghosts, and you can learn about them during a Halloween tour.

9. Laurel Hill Cemetery– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Wanting someplace better than a local churchyard for his daughter’s burial, a local Quaker established this cemetery that combines tranquility with natural beauty. It’s now a National Historic Landmark and contains tens of thousands of graves.

10. Magnolia Cemetery– Charleston, South Carolina

Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina
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Thousands of Civil War veterans, as well as many famous Charleston historical figures, are buried here. At this cemetery that once was a rice plantation, you can also go on Confederate ghost walks every October.

11. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1– New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans, Louisiana
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Because New Orleans is very close to or below sea level, there are above-ground cemeteries. Due to the striking architecture of the tombs and the sidewalks between them, these cemeteries are colloquially known as “Cities of the Dead.” St. Louis No. 1 is the oldest active cemetery in the city, and it holds the tomb of the famous voodoo priestess Marie Laveau.

12. Moles Greenacres Memorial Park– Washington State

Cemetery - Washington DC United States
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This cemetery has multiple locations in the state, and constant renovations make Greenacres innovative in its field. For example, it has a funeral home on site, a cremation garden, and a natural burial site called “The Meadow.”

13. Lake View Cemetery– Cleveland, Ohio

Lake View Cemetery– Cleveland, Ohio
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Founded in 1869 and covering more than 285 acres, Lake View is one of the largest and most beautiful cemeteries in the country. Its foundation is dedicated to maintaining the cemetery’s historic buildings, monuments, and garden.

14. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery– Concord, Massachusetts

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Massachusetts
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The “other Sleepy Hollow” is actually one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the U.S. It’s particularly known for Author’s Ridge, the final resting place of literary notables such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, and other writers.

15. Green-Wood Cemetery– Brooklyn, New York

Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn
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One of the greenest and prettiest locations in the city, this cemetery has views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty in addition to its up-close scenery. It’s also the location of Battle Hill, site of the largest battle of the Revolutionary War.

16. Hollywood Forever Cemetery– Los Angeles, California

Hollywood Forever Cemetery– Los Angeles, California
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Hollywood’s first cemetery is more than a century old and holds the graves of many famous Hollywood figures, one of the best-known being Rudolph Valentino. The cemetery also hosts a Dia de los Muertos event each year.

17. Oakland Cemetery– Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta
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A 2008 tornado inflicted severe damage on this cemetery that dates back to 1850, but thanks to abundant donations, it’s been restored. Tours are available to help you find and appreciate the graves of influential figures interred here.

18. Hollywood Cemetery– Richmond, Virginia

Hollywood Cemetery– Richmond, Virginia
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This historic cemetery is one of the prettiest locations in Virginia’s capital. With stunning scenery and greenery, it is home to former presidents James Monrow and John Tyler, thousands of soldiers, and Confederate president Jefferson Davis.

19. Granary Burying Ground– Boston, Massachusetts

Granary Burying Ground– Boston, Massachusetts
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The Granary, dating back to 1660, is one of the country’s oldest cemeteries, but it’s only Boston’s third-oldest. It has a lot of history, as it’s the burial site for Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and victims of the Boston Massacre. In all, more than 5,000 people are interred here.

20. Mountain View Cemetery– Oakland, California

Mountain View Cemetery– Oakland, California
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Located on 226 acres with views of San Francisco Bay, this cemetery also claims the fact that its designer was Frederick Law Olmsted, the man who designed New York’s Central Park. This beautiful cemetery is popular with families who like to picnic, jog, and walk their dogs.

21. Arlington National Cemetery– Arlington, Virginia

Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia
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The Arlington grounds are the final resting place of more than 400,000 veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces dating back to the Civil War, and this is one of the most well-tended cemeteries in the country. Famous sites include the grave of President John F. Kennedy and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. At the latter, which soldiers guard 24 hours a day, the famous Changing of the Guard ritual takes place every 30 minutes and regularly draws a crowd of spectators.

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Robert Sihler is an educator, freelance writer, and rock climbing guide and instructor living with his family in Driftwood, Texas. In his spare time, he enjoys reading fiction, streaming films, completing crossword puzzles, and rock climbing. When he goes on vacation, he likes to visit the mountains of the West and climb remote, obscure peaks that have seen few or no prior ascents.