The Great Outdoors: 26 Amazing Experiences
Collected by Serena Renner, AFAR Contributor
Natural wonders that make you feel small.
Lake Maninjau, Tanjung Raya, Agam Regency, West Sumatra, Indonesia
This is what I think of when travel comes to mind. I think untrammeled territory, wide open country, bits and pieces of the world I've never seen before, people doing things I didn't know they still do or ever did, and a big, booming landscape....
Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico
The ocean churns as a 36-ton mammal swims up to the boat. With your arm plunged into the cool water, you await the touch of a California gray whale. Like a house cat craving a scratch on the head, the whale pushes its rubbery skin, rough with...
Roys Peak, Otago 9381, New Zealand
The guidebooks say this is a difficult trek but well worth it. After a huffing and puffing trek to the top of Roy’s Peak, I would most certainly like to concur. 11k in approximately 4-5 hours, a decent level of fitness is most needed for this...
Mono Lake, California 93541, USA
The colors and incredible rocks at Mono Lake draw you in. It is like no place I have ever visited. The rock formations are called Tufa towers which form in a variety of ways at Mono Lake. The most visible formations are the towers on the lake’s...
Sierra Buttes, California 96125, USA
One of the most spectacular views in the central high Sierra (about one hour's drive north of Truckee, CA) is surprisingly accessible. This wasn't always the case. The first time I saw these lakes--near to far, Young America, Upper Sardine, Lower...
Black Sand Beach, California, USA
We began our walk up the Lost Coast Trail by enjoying Black Sands Beach, which doesn't really have very much sand, in the Kings Range National Conservation Area. For the next 24 miles from Black Sands Beach, the Lost Coast Trail is primarily on...
Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand
Lake Tekapo is a sweet little slice of heaven, and a paradise you'll have all to your own, should you visit outside the high season. The glacial waters running out of the Southern Alps are every bit as mesmerizing as they are refreshing - which is...
Page, AZ 86040, USA
I saw this place in so many photos before but when I got there and saw it in person it was such an overwhelming experience. Getting there is easy. You take the Interstate 89 South from Page and after 7 minutes you get to the parking lot. The road...
The little city of Banos is situated on the side of volcano Tungurahua and has gorgeous waterfalls like this one, the Pailon del Diablo or Devil's Cauldron. To get up this high the trail first drops about 1000 feet into the valley and then climbs...
Kalispell, MT, MT, USA
After an hour's drive down a dirt road from the tiny town of Polebridge, Montana, we did a steep one-mile climb to our home for the night--the Hornet Peak Fire Lookout Tower. Before modern technology, Forest Service employees lived in towers like...
Skradinski Buk is the name given to the series of tiers of cascades and waterfalls located in Krka National Park. The water flows from the Krka River and the volume is so great that it literally thunders as it rages, full force, over the karst...
Icefields Pkwy, Jasper, AB, Canada
745 U.S. 89, Kanab, UT 84741, USA
If you don’t win a coveted lottery permit to visit “the Wave” off Highway 89 in Utah, consider the nearby Buckskin Gulch. Covering more than 15 miles, Buckskin is a backpacking paradise for many avid hikers, but all you really need is an afternoon...
Cannonville, UT 84718, USA
Within striking distance of Bryce Canyon lies a landscape full of monolithic stone spires known as sedimentary pipes. Here, the stone towers complement multicolored sandstone layers, hinting at 180 million years of geologic time. In 1948, a...
Lummi Island, WA 98262, USA
On Lummi Island, about three hours from Seattle, you can bike miles of farm roads, search for an ancient Native American petroglyph on Sunset Beach, and take a “wild foraging-and-feasting” sea kayaking trip with Elakah Expeditions to prowl the...