The BEST Episodes of Aerial America
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Feb 6, 2020
Network: Smithsonian Channel
Take off on a thrilling flight across America. This epic series offers rare glimpses of our nation's most treasured landmarks, all seen from breathtaking heights. From busy cityscapes to quiet landscapes, we capture the history and the pageantry of our amazing country, which is as diverse as the people who occupy it.
#1 - Oregon
Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Jul 17, 2011
Individualistic, eccentric and freethinking: a mix that's intrinsically "Made in Oregon." These traits belong not just to the people of this diverse state, but also to the landscape itself. From Crater Lake to the High Cascades to the perilous Pacific coastline, this state is full of natural beauty. From Lewis and Clark's search for "land's end" to the thousands of emigrants who arrived via the Oregon Trail, the state has always attracted the adventurous type.
#2 - Alaska's Fire and Ice
Season 5 - Episode 9 - Aired Jul 6, 2014
It's twice the size of Texas, features 16 of the 20 tallest mountains in the nation and is home to the biggest earthquake of the 20th century. Everything about Alaska is larger, tougher, and more extreme than any other state. This breathtaking two-part journey soars over its one-half million square miles of winter wonderland and shows why countless adventurers have come to the 49th State over the centuries in search of gold, silver, mountain-peak views, dog-sledding glory, and more.
#3 - Arizona
Season 3 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 2, 2012
The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, but it's just one of many breathtaking marvels you'll find in Arizona. Explore the Copper State's remarkable history and its awe-inspiring landscapes, spectacular sunsets and infamous gunfights. From Tombstone to tent jails, from the Valley of the Sun to lost cities of gold, this aerial tour celebrates and studies a colorful state filled with equally colorful characters.
#4 - Made in the U.S.A.
Season 4 - Episode 5 - Aired Aug 11, 2013
"Made in the USA" isn't just a label. It's a testament to American ingenuity and the pioneers and risk takers who have given us everything from jumbo jets to microchips, and ketchup to cornflakes. This cross-country journey celebrates the nation's crowning industrial achievements and the people behind them. Soar above Starbucks headquarters, Motown Records, Talladega Superspeedway, and more, exploring stories of inspiration, innovation, and invention.
#5 - Beyond Hollywood
Season 4 - Episode 7 - Aired Aug 25, 2013
Virtually anywhere you go in America, Hollywood has already been there, telling a story and sharing it with the world. Join us on a coast-to-coast tour of countless locations made famous by Hollywood's greatest films. From the Manhattan skyline that Woody Allen romanticized to the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art that Rocky Balboa climbed, we bring you America as it's been captured and immortalized in film.
#6 - Texas
Season 5 - Episode 1 - Aired Feb 23, 2014
To capture Texas, you need to go big, and this aerial exploration spans thousands of square miles to reveal the great sites of the Lone Star State. Witness its lush forests, forbidding deserts, and shimmering modern cities. High-altitude views of landmarks reveal a rich, complex past where bloody battles for independence began and where the era of American idealism ended one dark November day. From humble beginnings to boastful proclamations, see why "everything's bigger in Texas."
#7 - Alaska's Call of the Wild
Season 5 - Episode 10 - Aired Jul 6, 2014
For centuries, thousands of adventurers have answered Alaska's "call of the wild," seeking thrills and fortunes in a state rife with postcard-perfect beauty... and lethal dangers. Take flight across ancient glaciers, rugged mountain ranges, primeval forests, and pristine waterways. Then discover how the state's unique charm has attracted bold visitors, from Russian fur traders to a young survivalist on a one-way trip "into the wild" to the thousands of dog sledders facing off in the "Last Great Race on Earth!"
#8 - Florida
Season 3 - Episode 8 - Aired Oct 12, 2012
Explore the grassy waters, sandy shores, and intriguing history of Florida. From big orange groves to Little Havana, from launching rockets to hanging chads, the Sunshine State offers spectacular views and seminal moments that are uniquely its own. Soar over the metropolis of Miami and the spring break mecca: Panama City. This is a first-class Floridian vacation, and you have a window seat!
#9 - Hawaii
Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Jul 17, 2010
Join us on a non-stop journey by air over our nation's most exotic and breathtaking state. From lush green cliffs to black-sand beaches, from ancient ruins to modern city life, this aerial tour reveals the grandeur of the Aloha State. From Molokai to Maui, discover the stunning landscapes and astonishing stories of Hawaii's eight major islands without ever touching the ground.
#10 - Montana
Season 4 - Episode 2 - Aired Jul 21, 2013
Big skies, big adventure, and big spirits: this is Montana. It's where fertile plains collide with the Rocky Mountains and the country's fastest land mammals run the grasslands known as the American Serengeti. It's also where Lewis and Clark faced towering stone obstacles and Custer faced an even more daunting foe. This aerial journey showcases the Treasure State's mountains and milestones, its legends and landmarks, all from spectacular heights.
#11 - Virginia
Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Jul 24, 2010
It's been called the New World and the Old Dominion. It is the birthplace of eight U.S. presidents, and the legend of Pocahontas. It's the site of Williamsburg, perhaps the most ambitious history lesson in America. Virginia proudly celebrates its past without losing its sense of fun. Join us as we travel across a diverse and rugged landscape into the realm of pirates, the source of myths and the heart of American democracy.
#12 - Pennsylvania
Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired Mar 11, 2012
This thrilling ride over the Keystone State takes you over large cities and across small towns, where tradition thrives, Nittany Lions roar, and freedom rings. It's where the first football game was played and the bloodiest Civil War battle was fought. Where American Independence began and America's westward expansion commenced. Whether you prefer cheese steak or chocolate, Andy Warhol or Rocky Balboa, this aerial tour of Pennsylvania has something for everyone!
#13 - Massachusetts
Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Jul 31, 2011
Henry David Thoreau said of its shores: "A man may stand here and put all of America behind him." In many ways, Massachusetts is America. The state is home to revolutionaries, a haven for artists, and the birthplace of education and higher learning. From the journeys of pilgrims to the ride of Paul Revere, from the witch trials of Salem to the Curse of the Bambino, we invite you on a flight spanning hundreds of years and just as many spectacular sights.
#14 - Utah
Season 5 - Episode 4 - Aired Mar 16, 2014
From the unearthly pinnacles of Arches National Park to the blinding white terrain of the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah has an alien beauty that you must see to believe. It has a history uniquely its own, from the tragedy of the Donner Party to the arrival of Brigham Young, an American leader who built Mormonism into one of the most successful religions in the world. This journey over the Beehive State celebrates a land that offers endless surprises and possibilities.
#15 - Washington D.C.
Season 6 - Episode 1 - Aired Apr 26, 2015
Washington, DC, does not boast towering buildings, but its skyline still inspires awe through its history, purpose, and what happens inside its walls. Explore the Nation's Capital from above as we swoop over its monuments, memorials, historic neighborhoods, and beckoning waters. We celebrate a city of stately American symbols and turbulent history, including scandals, protests, assassinations, and battles that rocked it to its core. But through it all, D.C. has survived and thrived, proving itself a city worthy of the nation it represents.
#16 - Amazing Destinations
Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired Jul 14, 2013
From its Great Lakes to its Grand Canyon, its Rocky Mountain peaks to its Key West reefs, America is a land of amazing destinations. This adventure over the nation's most remarkable landscapes and landmarks captures her breathtaking beauty, while demonstrating how its sense of wonder has inspired countless artists, thinkers, and revolutionaries. Join us on this cross-country tour over iconic and unknown sights, and discover a side of America you've never seen before.
#17 - The Dakotas
Season 5 - Episode 5 - Aired Mar 23, 2014
Take in the soaring views above a state that inspired a future president, launched the country's first millionaire, and kept a dark, rich secret under its expansive prairies for centuries. This lofty journey over North Dakota highlights the Roughrider State's grand beauty, which healed a grieving Teddy Roosevelt and transformed him into a defender of America's wild land. Explore the state's booms and busts, from fur trade explosions to frontier battles to the thousands of oil wells that dot the land and house flaming vents that are visible from space.
#18 - Best Small Towns
Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired Apr 13, 2014
Smithsonian Magazine and Smithsonian Channel team up to take one of our signature series to even greater heights! Join us on a cross-country tour over our nation's most fascinating small towns, from Medora, North Dakota, where Teddy Roosevelt once sought solace, to Carmel, California, where Dirty Harry became mayor. This soaring journey shows the road less traveled is often the one best traveled, as only Aerial America can.
#19 - Natural Wonders
Season 7 - Episode 3 - Aired May 8, 2016
Massive forces have transformed our nation over billions of years, sculpting and shaping it into the breathtaking landscape we know today. All around us, natural wonders abound, from South Dakota's badlands to Yellowstone's boiling cauldrons to West Virginia's stunning spine of quartzite. See them all from towering heights on this cross-country voyage over America's most astonishing natural sights, formed inch-by-inch over a period of time.
#20 - Southern California
Season 7 - Episode 11 - Aired Jul 10, 2016
Southern California: land of movie moguls and big celebrities, Spanish missionaries and military heroes. It's a region full of character, from the people it has attracted over the centuries to the natural wonders that make up the Golden State's lower half. Join us as we soar above towering mountains of sand, race across a valley that's also the hottest place on Earth, and discover volcanic craters that are nothing short of otherworldly as we celebrate the sites, stories and spirit of this land of extremes.
#21 - New Jersey
Season 6 - Episode 3 - Aired May 10, 2015
New Jersey is one of America's 13 original states, and one of its most fascinating. It's where the nation's first industrial city was built, where some of Hollywood's biggest studios began, and where a brilliant inventor devised a way to light the world. We trace the Garden State's most dramatic historic moments, from Washington's fateful Delaware crossing to Hindenburg's fiery crash to Superstorm Sandy's furious attack. We also celebrate Jersey's quiet misty valleys, fields of plenty, miles of sunlit shores, and plucky, innovative spirit.
#22 - Vermont
Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Aug 14, 2010
When Robert Frost penned "The Road Not Taken," he was writing about Vermont, and his poem captures the state's unscathed beauty and independent spirit. This state of freethinking and green living attracts all sorts, from artists like Norman Rockwell and the von Trapp family, to nature enthusiasts drawn to its hiking trails, ski slopes and autumn foliage. This aerial tour over the Green Mountain State captures the beauty and history of a state that chose its own path.
#23 - Connecticut
Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Jul 31, 2010
From sleeping giants to Captain Kidd's buried treasure, Connecticut isn't as quaint as you think. Join us on an aerial journey across a state rich in Native American legends, colonial history, and good old New England charm. This is where Mark Twain created some of fiction's greatest characters and where Benedict Arnold committed America's greatest act of treason. Savor the state's coastal blue waters and mountains ablaze with autumn colors, from a bird's-eye view.
#24 - Rhode Island
Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Aug 28, 2010
This aerial journey is short on mileage but long on history. Known as the Ocean State, even though 60% of it is covered in woodland and parks, Rhode Island features 400 miles of tidal shorelines and is the sailing capital of the world. With an array of lighthouses and even more stories of rumrunners, pirates and captains of industry, this state represents our nation's progress and its excesses. See it from the sky and witness the East Coast’s tiny gleaming treasure.
#25 - Illinois
Season 6 - Episode 7 - Aired Jun 7, 2015
It's given us American icons as notorious as Al Capone and as heroic as Abraham Lincoln. It's where endless rows of corn blanket the fields and towering buildings touch the sky. The state of Illinois is full of awe-inspiring sights and captivating drama, and this aerial excursion explores it all. From the Great Fire of Chicago to the Great Migration that brought Muddy Waters and the blues up north, we visit the places and people that tell Illinois' powerful story.