Where to get in touch with nature

Where to Get in Touch With Nature: 8 Places to Add to Your Bucket List

Steve Russell - January 25, 2023

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When planning your summer vacation, why not escape the hustle and bustle of the connected world and head to one of America’s most gorgeous scenic getaways? Traveling outside of WiFi service can connect you with something much deeper than the world wide web. Where should you go if you want to get in touch with nature? Add these eight places to your bucket list for a holiday that renews your wonder in our incredible planet. 

1. Garden of the Gods, CO 

Nestled against Pike’s Peak, the Garden of the Gods features stunning red rock formations. The park features sculpted sandstone towering 300 feet high. The climate makes this the ideal summertime trip for when you want to escape to (slightly) cooler climes. 

The new GeoTrekker theater experience runs every 20 minutes, telling you and your family about the park’s history. The Visitor and Nature Center features interactive exhibits educational for the entire family. 

You can sign up for one of the park’s guided walks to learn more about flora and fauna of the region. However, you can also take a self-guided hike to go off solo and commune with mother nature. 

2. Jackson Hole, WY

Here’s another ideal location for connecting with nature over your summer vacation. High temperatures range from the high seventies to the low eighties, just about perfect for many folks. 

What makes Jackson Hole an ideal place to get in touch with nature is its proximity to Grand Teton National Park. Visitors can fly in from either coast, although the airport remains closed through June of 2022 for runway repairs. 

Visitors have several choices of lodging. If getting in touch with nature is your goal, the area is open for backcountry camping. Before visiting, learn what you should expect from the native wildlife and follow all safety measures to deter bears. 

3. Mt. Shasta, CA 

Here’s one more temperate escape for those seeking cooler climates during the hot summer months. Although located in the Golden State, Mt. Shasta maintains summer highs in the high 70s to low 80s, pleasant compared to much of the country. 

What makes this location stand out are the giant redwoods. Wander the trails at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park or Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Visit the Sacramento River and Iron Canyon to get away from the crowds. 

4. White Sands, NM 

If you stumbled across white sands unawares, you might think that you had found snow in the desert. The glistening white sands of New Mexico consist of gypsum, creating one of the nation’s largest dune fields. 

Visitors can purchase sleds to enjoy the sensation of flying through the “snow” in shorts. However, backcountry camping remains closed, with no word on when it may resume. 

You’ll find plenty of room to get away when you hike one of the many trails. Be aware the glare from the white sands can cause severe burns — wear your protection. 

5. Blue Ridge Mountains, PA

Those along the eastern seaboard can get in touch with nature in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Although they span several states, you’ll find some of the most picturesque locations in southern Pennsylvania and Virginia near the northern end of the chain. 

The mountains get their distinctive color from the many trees covering them and the surrounding valleys. These emit isoprene into the atmosphere, creating the signature tint. 

You’ll find ample places to camp throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains. However, most locations charge a fee. 

6. Mauna Kea Beach, HI

If you want to get off the shore, head west to Hawaii’s Mauna Kea Beach. This beach is what many picture when they envision the states, the glistening white sands descending gradually to the water’s edge. 

If you want to swim with the dolphins, you’re in luck. You’ll find several places where you can rent snorkeling gear. Stick around after dark to watch the manta rays come in or book a night dive with these mysterious creatures. 

7. Sedona, AZ

If your spirit cries out for nature’s renewal, heal it with a trip to Sedona, AZ. The town is surrounded by national forest land featuring soaring red rock formations that turn even amateur photographers into Picassos. 

Camping spots abound, although you’ll find available parking on state trust lands a bit difficult to come by these days. However, you’ll find no shortage of hotels to hang your hat on, from boutique inns to luxurious resorts. 

8. Niagara Falls, NY

You don’t need a passport to visit Niagara Falls. However, you might want one if it’s the hot nightlife and fine restaurants across the border on the Canadian side you seek. 

However, you’ll find plenty of campgrounds on both sides of the famous falls. You’ll also find hiking trails for every level of expertise, complete with quiet, private spots where you can chant “om.” 

Where to Get in Touch With Nature 

With warmer weather here, it’s time to get out and explore your world. Where will you go? 

If you want to get in touch with nature, try any of the eight above locations. You’ll come home with a roll full of photographs and a heart full of unforgettable memories. 

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About the author

Steve Russell

Steve is the Managing Editor of Environment.co and regularly contributes articles related to wildlife, biodiversity, and recycling. His passions include wildlife photography and bird watching.