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Even though you don’t have to go very far from your home to connect with nature, there are benefits to traveling by car or flying to some of the most picturesque places on Earth.

The famous Tunnel View at Yosemite

Here is a list of eleven of the best outdoor sightseeing locations on the planet, representing fantastic locations to see rare animals, places to connect with ancient cultures, and a plethora of breathtaking views you have to see to believe, to help you plan the trip of a lifetime that will allow you to leave the stresses of modern life behind.

Examine some of the outdoor hotspots that provide some of the most breathtaking views in the globe, ranging from the glaciers of New Zealand to the jungles of Costa Rica. There’s a national park or other natural site below that calls your name, regardless of whether you’re drawn to the rugged charm of camping in the outdoors or you can’t live without certain luxuries.

Yosemite, USA, California

inside national park

Some believe that Yosemite is the location of Alex Honnold’s audacious ropeless climb of El Capitan, which was documented for the Academy Award–winning documentary Free Solo. However, this national park, which is about the size of Rhode Island, has something to offer even those who are afraid of heights. Hiking 800 miles of hiking trails, you can glance up at the mature Mariposa Grove sequoias, look down from Glacier Point overlooking Yosemite Falls, or just enjoy the quiet grandeur of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Indeed, this epicenter of granite climbing should be at the top of the agenda for everyone with an interest in rock climbing.

Utah’s Zion National Park

mountains by water

Nothing makes Utahns happier than spending time in nature, come summer or winter. And it’s simple to understand why after taking in the sandstone canyons that line the Virgin River in Zion National Park. For the best experience, book a spot at Watchman Campground months in advance. However, it’s well worth the effort to see the expansive vistas from Angel’s Landing, meander through The Narrows, and take in the thousands of plant species that call these 232 square miles of paradise home.

New Zealand’s Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

Its not every day that the great outdoors double as an art gallery but Hossa is an exception to the rule. Though only...

Not feeling up to the demands of Everest? Visit the location of the tallest peak in New Zealand, where Sir Edmund Hillary got ready for his historic journey. Glaciers abound in addition to the eponymous peak and other breathtaking summits. They contribute to Aoraki’s popularity for heli-skiing, Tasman Glacier’s terminal lake is also reachable by boat from October to May, so boots are not necessary to enjoy a great day on Mount Cook. In the park proper, Mount Cook Village has everything from budget hostels to five-star hotels for those who don’t want to rough it in a tent.

Finland’s Hossa National Park

Scotlands rough and tumble topography is full of geological points of interest but seeing it all can be a challenge....

The wide outdoors can serve as an art gallery daily, but Hossa is an exception to the norm. The archaic artwork on the rocky outcroppings of Värikallio and Julma-Ölkky depicts images from at least four thousand years ago, despite the area having only been designated as a national park of Finland in 2017. It should come as no surprise that Hossa’s natural atmosphere has inspired art for millennia, from suspension bridges crossing glistening lakes to rushing rapids and serene pine forests. If old tales are to be believed, even sorcery.

Scotland’s Isle of Arran

trees by water

Scotland’s rugged terrain is home to many interesting geological features, although it might be difficult to observe them all. For this reason, a two-hour drive around the Isle of Arran—often said to as Scotland in miniature—on the A841 might serve as a quick route to a thorough tourist experience. With lots of reasons to stop and set up a tent for some wild camping, including gorgeous peaks, sandy beaches, and lush woodlands. If you’re not in the mood to board a ferry and return to Glasgow by train, there are lots of glitzier options available, even if you may not be able to stay at the iconic Brodrick Castle.

Costa Rica’s Corcovado National Park

sunset by water

Corcovado is the greatest place to take in the full scope of Costa Rica’s abundance of biodiversity and natural beauty, and it’s hard to find a finer example of living life to the fullest than here. Though Corcovado is home to one of the last great stands of lowland tropical old-growth forest in the world, it is also home to mountains, mangrove swamps, and sandy beaches. Corcovado is home to a variety of monkeys, colorful macaws, endangered tapirs, and occasionally, jaguars. It is a place where wildlife abounds. But fear not—all park visitors are required to hire a qualified guide, who can assist you make the most of these 424 square kilometers along the Osa Peninsula while providing peace of mind regarding any predators.

Maine’s Acadia National Park

animals on mountain

Acadia, a national park on the aptly named Mount Desert Island, provides visitors willing to venture east to coastal Maine with a little bit of everything. Acadia has many breathtaking vantage spots, ranging from the exhilarating climb of the Beehive Trail to the more leisurely ascent of Cadillac Mountain. Stretch down on Sand Beach, observe (and hear) the waves crash against the rocks at Thunder Hole, or simply take a picture in front of the renowned Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse for a closer look at the coast. While it is not permitted to camp overnight in Acadia, there is another opportunity to experience the Atlantic ambiance in this well-liked area of Vacationland: by staying in Bar Harbor, which is close by.

Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains

mountains with person in nature

Many more mountains in Africa are worth seeing than Kilimanjaro, and this one in northern Ethiopia is very noteworthy. A few of the unique animals that have contributed to the area’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site include gelada baboons with tufted hair and ibex who dart over sheer cliffs. Beautiful locations like Gidir Got and Imet Gogo offer the chance to see enormous, sharp peaks rising over the high plateaus and lower lowlands, in addition to the local flora and animals.

North Cascades National Park, United States of America

mountains in the distance

The North Cascades National Park offers untamed, breathtaking nature that is perfect for those seeking a true escape from civilization without having to leave the Lower 48. Situated within a few hours’ drive from Seattle, the park has a wide variety of day treks that wind through mountains, forests, and streams. However, those who are determined to see the park’s eponymous mountain range in all directions can obtain a permit for Sahale Glacier Camp, where they can spend the night at 7,400 feet and awaken with a sense of being high in the Himalayas.

India’s Ladakh

nature with mountains and trees

Go to Ladakh if you’d prefer to see the real Himalayas. Ladakh, which means “the land of high passes” in Tibetan, is a very scenic and sparsely populated area in northern India that makes an excellent base for trekking. A perfect entryway to the Markha Valley and all the white water rafting, mountaineering, and trekking you could want is the regional capital of Leh, a former trading hub and destination in and of itself for anyone interested in seeing some monasteries up close. The Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary and India’s first-ever Dark Sky Reserve are located in the larger Ladakh region, which is a refuge for both astronomers and wildlife enthusiasts. Even though Ladakh has a wide range of attractions, those who are prepared to pay for an aerial view may now access several of the region’s best spots more easily than before.

Chile, Argentina, and Patagonia

At the extreme edge of South America, Patagonia is a harsh yet enticing location that attracts outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world with its mountains, glaciers, and temperate zones. And for good reason—visiting El Chalten to witness Mt. Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre against the backdrop of a vivid blue lagoon is well worth a day trek, and strolling on the Perito Moreno glacier at El Calafate feels like stepping onto the surface of another planet. And those are just a handful of the numerous beautiful places that make up this vast region that lies between the southern parallels 40 and 55. While there are plenty of hostels and well-established campsites in the area, individuals who genuinely wish to camp in the wild are allowed to do so.

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