Running half marathons in the USA allows you to visit iconic landmarks
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25 Best US Half Marathons: 13 Miles Around the Country

There’s no better goal worth pursuing than conquering a half marathon finish line!  And some of the top worldwide best half marathons are in the USA!  When choosing a race from among the best US half marathons, think views, morale and camaraderie, surrounding attractions, and a course that is both challenging and rewarding enough to earn its place after your months of hard work and dedicated training!  Here are the 25 best US half marathons that fit the bill!  From big cities, to rolling hills, to seaside scenery, to nocturnal runs and National Park courses, you are guaranteed not to go wrong with any of them!

 

The best US half marathons

Disclosure: Below are some affiliate links-these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t make any recommendations on this page that I haven’t tested or personally used! Enjoy this guide to the 25 best US Half Marathons!

 

 

25 Best US Half Marathons

 

Get ready to be tempted with an awesome collection of the best half marathons across the USA!  Each one will have you itching to lace up your running shoes!

 

 

Anchorage Mayor’s Half Marathon

 

When: June

Location: Anchorage, Alaska

Surrounding Attractions: Cook Inlet, Chugach Mountains, Anchorage, hiking

Best For: Destination runners, outdoor lovers, small towners, animal lovers

 

This race holds two claims to fame.  It is Alaska’s largest half marathon race, and it is held during summer solstice each year, so runners can take advantage of a day with extra daylight!  The aim of this race is to celebrate all things summer, in Alaska’s biggest city!  Enjoy the surrounding views of Denali and forested trails, and get ready to celebrate (with the extra daylight) all things summer!

 

This course has a small town feel to it, with portions of trail running, and even the chance to run across a moose or bear!

 

More information on the Anchorage Mayor’s Half Marathon

 

 

Run Sedona – Sedona Half Marathon

 

When: February

Location: Sedona, Arizona

Surrounding Attractions:  Sedona hiking (like my favorite Fay Canyon) and outdoor attractions, Verde Valley, Flagstaff, and all the best hikes in Grand Canyon National Park!

Best For:  red rock lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and quirky, eclectic Southwestern charmers

 

You’ll forget it’s winter when you run this bright Arizonian course!  There are few places in the world where you can appreciate red rock scenery more than in Sedona, Arizona.  And what better way to appreciate these stunning views, then to run through them. 

 

This course has some challenging terrain and elevation, due to its surrounding red rock hewn habitat, but you may not even notice with views like these!  When you are done running, there is an over-abundance of outdoor opportunities to explore, from tons of Sedona hikes, to further explorations into the Verde Valley, or Grand Canyon National Park!

 

More information on the Run Sedona Half Marathon

 

Fay Canyon in Sedona Arizona
Sedona scenery

 

 

Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon

 

When: July

Where: Sonoma, California

Surrounding Attractions: California wine country and wineries

Best For:  wine appreciators

 

Do you like running and wine?  This race concept is simple – run, sip!  Work hard on the course, relax afterwards in the best place in the country to enjoy a post race glass of superb wine. 

 

The rewards after the race may take the spotlight when choosing this half marathon, but don’t think that the course and the views aren’t a reward in themselves.  This half marathon is a perfect way to enjoy the iconic rolling hills, pastures, and valleys of California.

 

More information on the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon

 

 

Plenty of California countryside
Plenty of California countryside

 

 

Golden Leaf Half Marathon

 

When: September

Where: Snowmass Village, Aspen, Colorado

Surrounding Attractions:  outdoor opportunities in Aspen and Snowmass Village, downtown Aspen, neighboring mountain towns

Best For:  backcountry trail runners, high elevation runners, outdoor appreciators, small town Colorado seekers, mountain appreciators

 

 

Nothing says Colorado running like backcountry trails and elevation gains!  Which is what you will get if you run the Golden Leaf Half, one of Colorado’s most cherished running events. 

 

If you are looking for rugged trail running, characteristic of Colorado, then this challenging course is for you!  And afterwards you can have your fill of all of the surrounding area’s best hiking trails and charming mountain towns like Snowmass Village and Aspen, which at this time of year, will be draped in some pretty dazzling autumn colors.

 

More information on the Golden Leaf Half Marathon

 

 

Disney Princess Half Marathon

 

When: February

Where: Orlando, Florida

Surrounding Attractions: Disneyworld, Universal Studios, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Sea World

Best For:  your inner child at heart, all things Disney, high energy, whimsical, and costumed crowds!

 

If you’ve never run with hundreds of other costumed runners, donned in their favorite Disney characters, then you haven’t experienced a Disney Half Marathon!  Disney characters abound along this course, so get ready for lots of childhood memories to be cheering you on!

 

The energy of this one is high, the costumes will keep you chuckling, and the spectator support will keep you energized.  Your inner child will not be disappointed in this magical and fun running experience!

 

More information on the Disney Princess Half Marathon

 

Best half marathons in the USA
Disney World is home to one of the best half marathons in the USA

 

 

Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon

 

When: April

Where: Boise, Idaho

Surrounding Attractions: surrounding National Forests and hiking, Snake River, downtown Boise

Best For:  remote destinationers, off the beaten path runners, uphill and high elevation runners, rugged outdoor appreciators

 

If you’re looking for the best running experience in Idaho, this is it!  This iconic US half marathon race is an oldie but goodie, having existed now for almost half a century!  Get ready for some uphill climbs and 2,000 feet of total elevation gain on this one!  Afterwards, enjoy the one of a kind down to earth Boise atmosphere!

 

More information on the Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon

 

 

Chicago Half Marathon

 

When: September

Where: Chicago, Illinois

Surrounding Attractions:  museums, restaurants, city tours, Lake Michigan, city parks,  sporting venues and events

Best For:  big city appreciators, lake lifers, sports junkies

 

A big name in US half marathons, in one of the biggest cities in the country!  This half marathon lives up to its big city reputation, and running this course is a great way to experience Chicago up close and personal, from a very unique perspective! 

 

Lake Shore Drive is one of the most reputable roadways in Chicago, and it is completely shut down for runners on this day!  This is a course filled with skyline and lake views, a pleasant mix of big city Chicago, as well as some of its outdoor offerings.

 

More information on the Chicago Half Marathon

 

The Chicago skyline
Check out the Chicago skyline on one of the best half marathons in the USA!

 

 

Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon

 

When: March

Where: Lexington, Kentucky

Surrounding Attractions: horse racing roots, set of the film “Seabiscuit”, downtown Lexington

Best For:  southern charmers, outdoor appreciators, small towners, horse enthusiasts

 

Run a half marathon in the state that made bluegrass famous.  This race embodies what many have come to know Kentucky for – a rural course through the dappled farmland, rolling pastures, and thriving thoroughbred establishments of Kentucky. 

 

A little lower on spectator and crowd energy than many big city races, you’ll be able to reconnect with nature and your inner thoughts on this course, and it may even be peaceful enough for you to hear the neighboring resident thoroughbreds “cheering” you on!  There are over a dozen thoroughbred farm establishments along these hilly 13 miles!

 

More information on Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon

 

 

Rock and Roll New Orleans Half Marathon

 

When: March

Where: New Orleans, Louisiana

Surrounding Attractions:  French Quarter, Garden District, the Mississippi River, and many other iconic New Orleans neighborhoods, tours, and restaurants, including Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, and Cafe Du Monde.

Best For:  eclectic city runners, Cajun foodies, southern charmers, outdoor appreciators, high energy course and camaraderie

 

This flat and fast half marathon course comes with all the eclectic funk, gusto, and high energy that New Orleans brings to just about everything!  Don’t just see the famous sights of this southern city, run through them! 

 

This course weaves through several well loved neighborhoods, including the French Quarter, Charles Avenue, and the stately Garden District, all accompanied by the sounds of New Orleans jazz along the course!  And afterwards, take your time exploring the unique New Orleans sights like the Mississippi River, the French Quarter, and the cemeteries.  Eat a beignet, listen to jazz, and take a swamp tour to unwind!

 

More information on the Rock and Roll New Orleans Half Marathon

 

The sights to see in New Orleans at one of the best half marathons in the USA
The sights to see in New Orleans during one of the best half marathons in the USA

 

 

Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon

 

When: June

Where: Portland, Maine

Surrounding Attractions:  New England coastline, colonial architecture, scenic waterfront, seaside summertimers

Best For:  nautical appreciators, beachers and coasters, slow and storied pace, quintessential New England, history buffs

 

If you appreciate New England and its slow pace, cute small towns, lighthouses, historic war sights, and miles of beaches and coastline, then you will appreciate this nautical themed US half marathon!  Run through this bay of Portland and enjoy 13 miles of boating sights, colonial architecture, a cobble-stoned finish, and panoramic expanses of New England waterfront!

 

More information on the Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon

 

 

Run to Remember Boston Half Marathon

 

When: May

Where: Boston, Massachusetts

Surrounding Attractions:  sporting venues, Boston Harbor, historical buildings, tours, and sights

Best For: big city runners, history buffs, high morale and pride

 

This long standing half marathon is held in remembrance of law enforcement and first responders lost in the line of duty.  Spirits and morale are high, and runners can nominate a hero to run in honor of.  In honor of that, this course winds past several historic and cherished Boston landmarks,  including the State House, Boston Common, and the Charles River.

 

More information on the Run to Remember Boston Half Marathon

 

Views of Boston Harbor
Views of Boston Harbor

 

 

Missoula Half Marathon

 

When: July

Where: Missoula, Montana

Surrounding Attractions: Bitterroot River, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park

>Check out this perfect 1 day Yellowstone Itinerary and these top 8 hikes in Grand Teton National Park!

Best For:  outdoor appreciators, rugged and rural runners, high elevation runners

 

Montana has a LOT of untouched expanses, and on these 13 miles, you can experience a glimpse of the best of Montana, in one of its beloved small towns with strong western roots. 

 

This rural course parallels the Bitterroot River, passing through serene Montana countryside, to finish in Missoula, whose local residents do a fantastic job of offering support to its runners!  Get ready for some scenic, high elevation, Rocky Mountain views!

 

More information on the Missoula Half Marathon

 

 

Route 66 Half Marathon

 

When: November

Where: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Surrounding Attractions: Route 66, downtown Tulsa, Tulsa riverfront

Best For:  history buffs, Americana, high energy

 

This high energy course embraces its namesake, Route 66, with two separate sections of running on this iconic roadway!  Though Oklahoma may be known as a relatively flat state, this course is surprisingly hilly, so be ready!  Spectator and crowd support is one of the best aspects of this US half marathon, so embrace the high energy of this race!

 

More information on the Route 66 Half Marathon

 

 

Amica Newport Half Marathon

 

When: October

Where: Newport, Rhode Island

Surrounding Attractions: Easton Beach and Bay, downtown Newport, historic mansions and coastal neighborhoods

Best For: maritimers, New Englanders, ocean view appreciators, colonial historians

 

This coastal course packs the oceanside views, as well as paths through historic Rhode Island neighborhoods and New England countryside!  The course views of Easton Beach and Bay are arguably hard to beat!

 

More information on the Amica Newport Half Marathon

 

 

Run Crazy Horse Half Marathon

 

When: October

Where: Hill City, South Dakota

Surrounding Attractions: Crazy Horse Memorial, the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, the state high point hike at Black Elk Peak, and Wind Cave and Badlands National Parks

Best For: outdoor appreciators, history buffs, off the beaten path

 

The Crazy Horse Memorial is one of the most impressive monuments in the state of South Dakota, if not the entire country!  There is also nothing to complain about when running through the spire-filled Black Hills region of South Dakota.  The bonus of this rugged, outdoorsy course?  After a short, initial, uphill climb, its smooth sailing with a mostly downhill course!

 

Be sure to check out Custer State Park, a jewel of South Dakota, as well as this itinerary that will walk you through how to see the best of BOTH National Parks in South Dakota!

 

More information on Run Crazy Horse Half Marathon

 

This region of South Dakota is brimming with intriguing spires!
This region of South Dakota is brimming with intriguing spires!

 

 

St. Jude Rock and Roll Nashville Half Marathon

 

When: April

Where: Nashville, Tennessee

Surrounding Attractions:  downtown Nashville, country music venues

Best For: southern charmers, country music lovers

 

Follow this course through the streets of Nashville, filled with the sights and on course sounds of country music and honky tonk, for a finish at the home of the Tennessee Titans!  Nothing quite says Nashville like this energy packed course!  And if you like the Rock and Roll Nashville Half Marathon, be sure to check out the entire series of Rock and Roll Half Marathon races across the country!

 

More information on the Rock and Roll Nashville Half Marathon

 

 

Covered Bridges Half Marathon

 

When: June

Where: Woodstock, Vermont

Surrounding Attractions: farms, hiking, White Mountain and Green Mountain National Forests, covered bridges

Best For:  history appreciators, Americana, outdoor lovers

 

What do you think of when you think of the American Northeast?  If it’s covered bridges, then this is the half marathon course for you!  Not only do runners have a chance to run through covered bridges, characteristic of this region, but they also get to enjoy plenty of farmland and river views in this quintessential New England race! 

 

Need another reason?  There’s a majority downhill on this course.  Need still one more reason?  Vermont maple syrup and cheese are the prizes for the top finishers!

 

More information on Covered Bridges Half Marathon

 

 

Kaua’i Half Marathon

 

When: September

Where: Kaua’i, Hawaii

Surrounding Attractions: beaches, jungle, resorts, outdoor opportunities

Best For: island lovers, tropical adventurers, beachers

 

There’s nothing that can beat running through the lush and vibrant countryside of Hawaii, with a backdrop of jungle mountain peaks!  Some steady climbs occur, culminating at the “Tunnel of Trees”, but the oceanside views at the finish are a welcoming reward!  As stunningly beautiful as this Hawaiian favorite is, be ready for some potentially intense heat and humidity!

 

More information on the Kaua’i Half Marathon

 

Hawaii is home to one of the best half marathons in the USA
Hawaii is home to one of the best half marathons in the USA

 

 

Glacier Half Marathon

 

When: June

Where: Glacier National Park, Montana

Surrounding Attractions: Glacier National Park, Lake McDonald, National Forests, Going to the Sun Road

Best For:  National Park lovers, outdoor sight-see-ers and appreciators, mountaineers, rugged runners, uphillers and high elevation gainers

 

There’s a reason this half marathon lands a spot on the list of the “best National Park Half Marathons and Marathons” list! Those that have run the Glacier Half Marathon will staunchly argue that it is the most jaw droppingly scenic best half marathon course in the USA!  And they have good reason to say so.  This course runs through the heart of Montana’s pristine Glacier National Park, so it is simply brimming with mountain, valley, and crystal clear lake views the entire way!

 

If you have ever wanted to experience “Big Sky Country”, this race will accomplish that goal!  It’ll make you work for it, with a challenging uphill climb of 1,000 feet of elevation gain in the first half of the race, reaching a high point along the course at 6,000 feet!  But the reward and subsequent bragging rights will be worth it!

 

More information on the Glacier Half Marathon

 

 

Rock and Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

 

When: November

Where: Las Vegas

Surrounding Attractions: The Strip, casinos and nightlife, Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire State Park

Best For:  high energy, big city, night runners, night lifers

 

Of course Las Vegas would have to put on a night time half marathon, it’s only fitting!  This half marathon is amped as high as it possibly gets on race energy, and fully embodies the surrounding Vegas vibe! 

 

This race is so big, it actually shuts down the iconic Las Vegas Strip while it is being run!  After a sunset start, almost all 13 miles are run on Las Vegas Boulevard, with a fitting finish at The Mirage Casino.

 

More information on the Rock and Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

 

Get ready for the Vegas energy on this best half marathon in the USA
Ready for the nightime energy of Las Vegas?

 

 

The Cowtown Half Marathon

 

When: February

Where: Fort Worth, Texas

Surrounding Attractions:  Fort Worth Stockyards, downtown Fort Worth, museums and restaurants

Best For: city lovers, high energy, big crowds, cowboy and history buffs

 

Everything is bigger in Texas, so why not run the biggest half marathon event to be held in the Lone Star State?  Experience Fort Worth’s rich cattle drive history on a course through the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. 

 

It’s a big event, with lots of runners and spectators alike, and an overwhelming amount of spectator support and high energy.  If you want more proof of this race’s awesomeness, check out the high number of its repeat racers!

 

More information on the Cowtown Half Marathon

 

 

Zion Half Marathon

 

When: February

Where: Zion National Park, Utah

Surrounding Attractions: Zion National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park

Best For:  National Parkers, outdoor lovers, red rock junkies

 

Nothing says Utah quite like Zion National Park!  It is truly a treat to visit this gem, but it is even better to run through it!  If you can’t get enough of red rock scenery, you will feel right at home here, and may even forget that you are running 13 miles of rugged and challenging terrain filled with mesas, mountains, and canyons, all under the watchful eye of “The Watchman”. 

 

There’s a lot of uphill on this one, but the payoff is some pretty spectacular views, and the feeling of having this National Park more to yourself than you’d ever have on any other given day!  Interested in other National Park half marathons?  Check out the whole National Park series organized by Vacation Races!

 

More information on the Zion Half Marathon

 

National Parks are a great place to run half marathons in the USA
National Parks are a great setting for running the best half marathons in the USA

 

 

San Francisco Half Marathon

 

When: July

Where: San Francisco, California

Surrounding Attractions: Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, Embarcadero waterfront, downtown San Francisco

Best For:  hill runners, city lovers, high energy, historical appreciators, waterfront runners

 

There’s a lot of San Francisco icons to appreciate in this half marathon.  Most importantly, the chance to actually run across the Golden Gate Bridge as part of the course. 

 

As well as running through San Francisco neighborhoods, the Embarcadero waterfront, Mission Street, and views of the Bay!  This is a sentimental favorite of mine, as my first half marathon took place in San Francisco over a decade ago!

 

More information on the San Francisco Half Marathon

 

Running half marathons in the USA allows you to visit iconic landmarks
Running half marathons in the USA allows you to visit iconic landmarks

 

 

La Jolla Half Marathon

 

When: April

Where: La Jolla, California

Surrounding Attractions: Torrey Pines State Park, La Jolla Cove, downtown La Jolla, seaside hiking

Best For:  ocean and beachers, outdoor appreciators

 

Just outside of San Diego lies the rugged seaside community of La Jolla, the perfect setting for this US half marathon!  This course epitomizes the best of oceanside California, which is simply never a bad backdrop to have while running! 

 

In addition to running California’s coastline, runners will also traverse Torrey Pines State Park and La Jolla Cove, where you’ll have a pretty solid chance of catching some views of basking sea lions!

 

More information on the La Jolla Half Marathon

 

 

Big Sur Half Marathon

 

When: November

Where: Big Sur, California

Surrounding Attractions: California coastline, beach towns, coastal state parks, hiking and camping

Best For: beach, coastline, and ocean lovers

 

One more beachy Californian half marathon just for good measure!  If you are an ocean view runner (and who isn’t really?), then this is another Californian contestant you should check out!  Highlighting its best quality, this course is almost entirely run along the coast, with shimmering ocean views to guide you over those 13 miles!

 

More information on the Big Sur Half Marathon

 

Get ready for some epic California coastlines
Get ready for some epic California coastlines on the best half marathons in the USA

 

 

 

There you have it!  The 26 best half marathons in the USA, encompassing every aspect of long distance running that a runner could want! Whether you are a big city or small town runner, mountain or ocean viewer, or a combination in between, committing to training for and running a half marathon in any of these destinations will be a challenge you never regret taking on!

 

 

 

 

Now that you know where running can take you, are you ready to get started training? 

  • If you are looking for some guidance, everything you need can be found in this collection of training resources, filled with expert advice from over a decade of personal and proven experience!  Training calendars, printables, checklists, and more are all here, including:

 

 

 

Want 1:1 Coaching to Develop the Perfectly Customized Half Marathon Training Calendar Just For You?  Get more info on all my coaching services, or fill out this INTEREST FORM to get started today!

 

 

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