By Bridget Castner
Calling all adventure and nature enthusiasts! If you’re looking for the best outdoor vacation spots, we’ve got you covered. From tropical rainforests to geothermal pools, here are the top destinations to immerse yourself in nature.
Thailand is a popular bucket list destination thanks to its exquisite food, friendly locals, and stunning nature. Khao Sok National Park features centuries-old rainforests, vastly diverse wildlife, and the village of Khao Sok and Cheow Lan Lake. You can even hike to hidden waterfalls, or explore one of the many caves inside the park. Head north near Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai to hike a mountain jungle where you'll be greeted by beautiful forests and wildlife. Phang Nga Bay in Phuket is said to be one of the most beautiful places in Thailand with its limestone islands, caves, and beaches.
Relaxing on vacation in Thailand is key, especially after a full day of adventure. Visit a monastery where English-speaking meditation lessons are given and meditate with the monks. Choose from one-day sessions, or multi-day retreats depending on your preferences!
Consider a Cape Town vacation for some of the most stunning natural beauty in the world. You can visit Krom River Hiking Trail, a winding path through indigenous forests, beautiful valleys, and a river, or go for a dip in the St. James Tidal Pool, one of the most popular natural swimming pools in Cape Town.
Another gorgeous outdoor spot is Kirstenbosch Gardens, a great family-friendly activity in Cape Town where kids can run around the lush meadows or relax with a picnic. Explore the treetop canopy walkway known as The Boomslang to marvel at incredible views of Table Mountain, and don't leave Cape Town without hiking (or taking the cable car) up Table Mountain. There are also plenty of beaches in Cape Town, most notably Boulders Beach where you can get up close and personal with African penguins!
There are so many beautiful sights to see on a vacation in Colombia. Take Valle de Cocora for example: Located near the colonial town of Salento, the valley is home to the “wax palm”, which is the tallest palm tree in the world. These trees grow as tall as 200 feet in this natural cloud forest, and tower over the gorgeous bright green hills.
One of the best places to hike in Colombia is Monserrate in Bogota. This high mountain provides astonishing views of the city, and if hiking isn't your thing, there's also a cable car. Other great outdoor activities include taking a sunset cruise through Cartagena, paragliding in Medellin, and exploring the Rosario Islands beaches.
No matter what time of year you travel to Iceland, there are always endless activities perfect for your mind, body, and soul. If you're in Iceland in the summer, be sure to book a whale-watching tour to marvel at the over 20 different whale species that inhabit the country. If you travel to Iceland in the winter, make sure to be on the lookout for the marvelous Northern Lights.
Tour some of the oldest caves in the world such as the Vatnshellir Cave, a natural landmark that's about 8,000 years old and feels like the center of the Earth. Make the most of a relaxing getaway and soak yourself in the healing wonders of Iceland's natural hot springs or geothermal pools, like the popular Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon.
If you’re looking for places in South America to add to your nature bucket list, make sure Peru is on it. Hike, kayak, and spot rare wildlife like tapirs and rainbow macaws in the Amazon Forest, then surf the north coast of Lima or explore the mysterious ruins of Kuelap.
One of the most popular destinations in Peru is, of course, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Machu Picchu. It was built in the 15th century and is known for its captivating structures, panoramic views, and stunning dry-stone walls. It's the perfect place to enjoy the serene outdoors while exploring the fascinating past.
A world-famous destination thanks to its marvelous natural beauty and spirituality, Bali is perfect for adventurers and relaxation-seekers. Nyang Nyang, a beautiful secluded beach in Bali, is the perfect mix of both. You can simply relax on the beach all day, surf or paraglide in the water, or explore around the area and maybe even catch a glimpse of some curious monkeys peeking around.
Enjoy a scenic hike through bamboo and jackfruit trees to get to the biggest waterfall in Bali, Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfall, where there's even a shallow pool for swimming. If you’re an early riser and feeling adventurous, climb up the active volcano Mount Batur. Located 5,633 feet above sea level, it is one of the most popular hikes near Ubud and is said to be one of the most beautiful sunrise hikes in the world.
Now that you know some of the best outdoor vacation spots, where will you adventure first?