50 Unpredictable Places Around The World To Get In Touch With Nature (Photos)
Travel rejuvenates our bodies and minds while breeding enlightenment, solidarity and understanding.
Nature strengthens our physiques, combats stress and induces self-awareness, insight and innovation.
When you combine the two, magic happens.
While there's certainly nothing wrong with traveling to the world's great cities, there's something to be said of seeking out the wilderness if we're fortunate enough to traverse the globe.
It helps remind us not all of the world's wonders are man-made, and that nature is the foundation of all life on Earth.
The realities of modern life separate us from the natural world far too often; it's vital we return to the wild from time to time. To borrow from Henry David Thoreau:
We need the tonic of wildness... At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.
There are a myriad of natural destinations across the globe, many of them quite well known, from the Seven Natural Wonders to the plethora of national parks scattered throughout this beautiful planet.
We're all likely familiar with notable locations such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Great Barrier Reef, Serengeti National Park, the Grand Canyon, Mount Everest and so on.
These are all worth visiting, and we should celebrate the fact that governments around the world have made an effort to protect and preserve the scenery, wildlife and history of these areas.
But there are many lesser known, and arguably underrated, natural playgrounds throughout the planet that are also worth visiting.
These locations are often relatively untouched by tourism and offer views as magnificent as the most sought after destinations in the world, epitomizing peace and tranquility.
Visiting these places helps remind us that all nature, regardless of location or notereity, is worthy of respect, attention, protection and celebration.
We are lucky to live in such a beautiful and diverse world, and traveling through nature is one of the healthiest ways to recognize this.
So go hiking, swimming and camping. Sing songs in the woods and sleep under the stars. Spend days in the wild, completely cut off from civilization.
Listen to nature's music, embrace its chaotic symmetry and revel in all its delights.
Above all, value and care for it.
Here are 50 unpredictable places to get in touch with nature you should travel to:
1. Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy
This park is one of the oldest protected areas in the Alps, but it's often overshadowed by Italy's great cities and historic destinations.
It has some of the most beautiful mountains and valleys in the region, making it Heaven for those who love a good hike.
2. The Long Range Traverse, Newfoundland, Canada
This 25-mile trek through Gros Morne National Park will take you far away from people and much closer to moose, arctic hare, caribou and possibly even black bears.
It offers some of the most spectacular views in the Canadian wilderness.
3. Pantanal, Brazil
When it comes to Brazilian nature, the Amazon gets most of the attention, but the Pantanal deserves far more credit.
It's the largest wetland in the world and home to an incredibly diverse assortment of plants and animals: jaguars, giant anteaters, capybaras, giant river otters and more.
4. Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland
Iceland is a magical country worth visiting for a plethora of reasons.
But the Gullfoss Waterfall stands as one of the most incredible destinations in the entire country simply for its sheer beauty.
5. Sarek National Park, Sweden
If you want to get away from civilizations and closer to glaciers, white rapids and epic scenery, go to Sarek. But bring a map; there aren't any trails.
6. White Sands National Park, New Mexico, USA
You won't find another location on Earth quite like White Sands National Park.
With waves of sands for miles upon miles, it's the world's largest gypsum dune field, making it a rare treasure.
7. Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
If you're a fan of kayaking, head to this beautiful natural playground. It contains waterfalls, caves and the world's oldest evergreen forest.
8. Pinnacles National Park, California, USA
Welcome to America's newest national park. It's a testament to California's epically diverse geography, with stunning views and beautiful wildflowers.
9. National Park of American Samoa, American Samoa, USA
Grab your snorkeling equipment and head to this incredible paradise. Believe it or not, this is part of the United States.
10. Historic St. Mary's City, Maryland, USA
This hidden gem is located along the banks of the St. Mary's River, where the state of Maryland was founded.
Go hiking, swimming, sailing, kayaking, fishing and crabbing while taking in the spectacular views of the Chesapeake region.
11. Atacama Desert, Chile
Known as the driest location in the world, this is one of the most extreme locations on the planet.
But it's incredibly beautiful and if you wait until night falls, you may not find a clearer view of the stars anywhere else.
12. Lake Powell, Arizona, USA
This stunning 186- mile-long lake is ideal for a myriad of outdoor activities. If you love to play in the water, head here.
13. Triglav, Slovenia
One of the hidden gems of Europe, Triglav is absolutely picturesque. Hike near Lake Bohinj, go canoeing or just sit back and take in the alpine air.
14. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, USA
Often overshadowed by the more famous Arches National Park, this is one of Utah's most beautiful regions. Full of canyons and cliffs, it's a true natural playground.
15. Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Like waterfalls? Head to this incredible national park. Located close to an active volcano, there are also hot springs and beautiful forests to explore.
16. Mestia, Georgia
Located close to Russia in the northern part of Georgia, this is one of Eurasia's treasures.
Hike to Chalati Glacier, and take in beautiful views of the Caucasus Mountains.
17. Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia
This region is home to some of the most massive sand dune's in the world, and it's unlike any place on Earth.
Go here simply to watch the sunrise. You won't be disappointed.
18. North Cascades National Park, Washington, USA
This is arguably one of the most underrated national parks in America.
Explore glaciers and beautiful mountains, while exposing yourself to an incredible array of wildlife.
19. West Highland Way, Scotland
This 90-mile trek through the Scottish highlands offers stunning views of one of the most mystical landscapes on earth.
It's an incredible combination of nature and history.
20. Abel Tasman Coast Track, New Zealand
This hike offers fantastic coastal views while passing through picturesque beaches.
Lasting 32 miles, this trek will also expose you to beautiful wildlife, including fur seals and dolphins.
21. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA
Overshadowed by some of America's more famous national parks, Shenandoah is well worth a visit.
There's nothing quite like watching the sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains.
22. Tara River Canyon, Montenegro
The longest canyon in Montenegro and the deepest river canyon in Europe, this place is ideal for rafting.
The views aren't too shabby either.
23. Hoàng Liên National Park, Vietnam
Located in the Sapa district of Vietnam, this park is home to beautiful rainforests and the country's highest mountain, Fansipan.
There are also hundreds of species of birds, among a wide variety of flora and fauna.
24. Snowdonia National Park, Wales
This is definitely one of the most beautiful regions of the United Kingdom.
The rugged terrain offers an ideal blend of nature, culture and history.
25. Rapa Nui National Park, Easter Island, Chile
This Chilean island was settled by people of Polynesian origin around 300 AD.
It's home to beautiful stone sculptures known as moai, combining beautiful views with culture and history.
26. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA
While many have likely heard of this park, it's not nearly as popular as places like Yellowstone or Yosemite.
But with some of the most epic scenery in America, there's no excuse not to head here.
27. Los Roques Archipelago, Venezuela
If you desire a paradise far from civilization, go to Los Roques Arcipelago.
It contains 300 uninhabited islands, and is Heaven for lovers of diving and snorkeling.
28. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan, USA
This is definitely one of the most underrated national parks in America.
Head here for a plethora of outdoor activities, from hiking to kayaking.
29. Ladakh, India
Located in the Indian Himalayas, Ladakh is easily one of the best places to camp in the world.
For lovers of mountaineering, hiking and rafting, it's perfect.
30. Lake Malawi National Park, Malawi
Combining mountain views with crystal clear water, this national park is incredible.
It's also home to a stunningly diverse array of aquatic life, so bring your snorkeling gear.
31. Biscayne National Park, Florida, USA
This national park is home to coral reefs, pirate shipwrecks and an incredible assortment of sea life.
Come here for everything from snorkeling to camping.
32. Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
Come here for everything from backpacking to meditation. Located in the Guatemalan Highlands, it's one of the most beautiful locations in the world.
33. Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA
This magical national park combines mountains, rivers and desert. Home to hundreds of species of bird, it's a dreamworld for outdoor enthusiasts.
34. Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador
Named after the active Cotopaxi volcano, this is one of the most beautiful regions in South America.
It's home to wild horses, lakes, glaciers as well as a wide array of wildlife, including the Andean Fox.
35. Waldseilgarten, Germany
Like trees and camping? Go to Waldseilgarten, Germany, where you can literally sleep in a tent hanging from a tree.
36. Katmai National Park, Alaska, USA
It's no secret Alaska is one of the most incredible locations in the world when it comes to nature.
Katmai is particularly special, combining North America's largest protected brown bear population with spectacular volcanic landscape.
37. Rago, Norway
Home to epic waterfalls and picturesque landscape, Rago is perfect for camping and hiking.
The rocky and mountainous scenery is stunning.
38. Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru
If you're looking for adventure and beautiful views, head here.
Located in the Andes, it's perfect for camping, hiking, mountaineering and more.
39. Kalalau Trail, Hawaii, USA
This 11 mile trail is located in one of the most remote parts of Kauai.
It ends at the Kalalau Valley, which is renowned for its beauty.
40. Cape Range National Park, Australia
Love beaches and camping? Head here. This national park has over 100 camping spots along the beach, and if you're a fan of snorkeling and swimming, head out into the water to find yourself greeted by coral reef and fish.
41. Skellig Michael, Ireland
This extremely remote island is located off the coast of southwest Ireland, offering awe-inspiring views.
Once home to Christian monks, it's a perfect blend of history, solitude and nature.
42. The Adirondacks, New York, USA
Only a few hours outside New York City, the Adirondack Mountains are exceptionally beautiful.
Come here for camping, swimming, hiking and adventure.
43. Ein Avdat National Park, Israel
Full of magnificent canyons and gorges, this place epitomizes peacefulness. It's a wonderful place to hike and explore.
44. Garden of the Gods, Colorado, USA
Located in Colorado Springs, this is one of the most dramatic landscapes in America.
The combination of red rocks and perpetually blue skies is unreal.
45. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
If you want to visit the real-life Pandora (planet in the movie "Avatar"), come to this incredible park.
The spectacular sandstone pillars are one of the most beautiful sights on Earth.
46. Komodo Island National Park, Indonesia
It seems like something out of a fairy tale, but Komodo Island National Park is very real.
The volcanic islands are home to thousands of Komodo dragons, but don't get too close; they're deadly and aggressive.
47. Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan
Picture monkeys in a hot tub, and that's what you have at Jigokudani Monkey Park. You've got to see it.
48. Great Basin National Park, Nevada, USA
As one of the darkest places in America, this location offers some of the best views of the stars anywhere.
It's the perfect blend of solitude and beauty.
49. Mapungubwe National Park, South Africa
If you love animals, come to this park. It contains lions, elephants, zebra, wild dogs, rhinos and much more.
50. Tayrona National Park, Colombia
This national park is the ideal blend of serenity and adventure.
Located along the Caribbean and not far from Santa Marta, this stunning coastline is home to everything from coral reefs to monkeys.
Citations: National Park Service (NPS), 10 of Europes best national parks that youve probably never heard of (The Guardian ), Worlds Best Hikes 20 Dream Trails (National Geographic ), 10 of Southeast Asias Most Spectacular National Parks (Huffington Post), 15 National Parks Youve Never Heard Of (Huffington Post), The 35 Most Amazing National Parks on Earth (Huffington Post), The 25 Best Places To Go Camping Around the World Because We Want To Go To There (Bustle), Readers travel tips 10 of the best beach camping spots (The Guardian)