Do you love the great outdoors? Get a thrill from hiking, surfing, bird-watching, boat tours and expeditions under the sun? If so, forget the normal everyday vacation and book a getaway at one of these nature-oriented destinations!
From stunning state parks to red-stained beaches and volcanoes, you and Mother Nature will have plenty of time to reconnect on one of these trips!
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park, which spans over 3,400 square miles, is one of the most popular destinations in the US. There are five main entrances to the park, but experts recommend a visit to the northern and southern region for the best views and nature-driven activities. The northern region is open and spacious, with vast wildlife like bald eagles and wild wolves. This region is also home to the Yellowstone Caldera, which is the largest super-volcano on the planet. The southern region is home to the geysers, with the most famous being Old Faithful, as well as Yellowstone Lake, which is the largest high-mountain lake in the country. In addition to these regions, Yellowstone also has a ton of other great outdoor activities, like back-country hiking, bicycling, horseback riding through the canyons, boating and fishing, not to mention some of the most beautiful views of mountains, lakes and nature in the country. If you want to camp, park experts and rangers suggest you book your campsite months in advance, as those fill up very quickly, especially during the summer months.
Maui, the second largest island in Hawaii, is home to some of the most gorgeous sights and parks in the world. Travel insiders deem a trip to Haleakala National Park a must-do when visiting Maui. The park is stretched along Maui’s coastline and is home to the highest peak on the island, which rises 10,023 feet above sea level. You can hike, surf, star gaze and discover endangered species, like silverswords and Hawaiian Geese. Another popular park in Maui is the Wai’anapanapa State Park. People flock to this park to see the exotic black sand beaches and over 122 acres of astounding natural beauty, tropical forests and intermediate hiking trails.
For a once-in-a-lifetime view, head to Kaihalulu beach. This beach is made up of red “wine soaked” sand which was formed by eroded volcanic cinders. The beach is hidden from sight and takes about a 10-minute hike to reach. For more adventure, head to Ho’okipa beach, which is where you’ll find the roughest waves and the more experienced surfers. After you’ve soaked up enough sun, go on a scenic drive down on the Road to Hana. The road twists through lush and abundant rainforest, past cascading waterfalls and Maui’s breathtaking northeast coastline. The lush shades of green, bright colors of the flowers and stark blue of the ocean make this drive a must for nature lovers.
Baxter State Park, Maine
Baxter State Park in Maine is best known for the majestic Mt. Katahdin, which officially marks the end of the Appalachian Trail. Mt. Katahdin is comprised of a cluster of mountains, with the highest peak reaching over 5,200 feet. Because Katahdin ends the trail, it makes a very popular hiking and backpacking destination. The most popular trail goes along the Knife Edge, which traverses around the Pamola Peak and Baxter Peak.
Baxter State Park is also home to many bodies of water, with the three largest being the Grand Lake Matagamon, Webster Lake and Nesowadnehunk Lake. These lakes offer a great selection of outdoor activities like canoeing, kayaking, boating, swimming and fishing. Many of the lakes and ponds are connected by small streams and rivers, many of which contain stunning waterfalls, like Ledge Falls and the popular Green Falls, which is tucked away between Bald Mountain and South Podgy Mountain. The wooded areas of the park are also home to some interesting wildlife, including bobcats, white-tailed deer, chipmunks, red foxes, lemmings, bears, coyotes and endangered owls.