It’s no secret that travel can do wonders for the spirit: it expands your knowledge, allows you to explore new cultures, and can even boost your creativity. There are numerous studies that illustrate the immense benefits of nature. After all, as humans, we have a natural, biological connection to the earth we call home.
One study found that spending at least two hours per week in a natural environment will increase overall health and well-being. In a book written by Florence Williams called, “The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative,” Williams references evidence that suggests reuniting with nature improves short-term memory, reduces stress, lowers your blood pressure, and can even reduce inflammation in the body.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has caused many people to delay their dreams and let go travel plans, replacing them with mandatory quarantines and self-isolation. However, during a time when the American passport is severely restricted, it’s time to think about the beauty that’s right in our own backyard, and particularly the nature East to West.
Americans are often considered the most overworked developed nation in the world, and much of that time is spent indoors. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed with simply existing or disconnected from the world around you, it’s time to re-immerse. And although the coronavirus has limited travel capabilities, there are still beautiful ways to get reacquainted with nature in America. Here are a few ideas:
No matter where you live in the United States, chances are there’s ample camping opportunities within a 2-3 hour driving journey. Camping is one of the most effective ways of getting reacquainted with nature because it puts you front and center, where you’ll sleep amongst the stars and surroundings.
It also provides a chance to unplug. In a society where the average person is ultra-connected to their screen, camping encourages you to put the electronics down and socialize around a campfire, bathe in a forest or on the shore, walk in the woods, listen to the sounds of the birds and insects, and get your hands a bit dirty.
Be sure to check out online camping checklists to make sure you’re bringing everything you need, and if you’ve never used your tent before, practice putting it up beforehand to ensure you don’t run into any unforeseen issues, like missing parts or torn product.
Visit a National Park
America’s National Parks are a force to be reckoned with. Full of natural splendor, each park preserves some of the world’s most beautiful wild spaces. On the East Coast, Acadia National Park is arguably the most renowned option—and for good reason. Granite outcroppings, crashing surf, Cadillac Mountain frame this park, and there’s plenty to see and do.
Over in Bryce Canyon National Park, you’ll find clay-colored rock spires, towering geological formations, and an impressive natural limestone amphitheatre. In Yosemite, discover wildflower meadows, stunning alpine lakes, and panoramic views of lush valley floors. Over in the Sequoia National Park, get lost in the Giant Forest and explore an underground marble cave. This national park boasts the world’s biggest trees and the longest cave, and there’s no shortage of jaw-dropping sights to see on this western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
And over in Zion National Park, walk through low waters to stare up towards towering slot canyons and red rock cliffs. This spot is also a haven for adrenaline junkies who crave more exciting adventures, like wild hiking or canyoneering through its sandstone mazes.
Go On a Road Trip
Since the days of Route 66, road trips have become a synonymous part of the American travel experience. With sanitation safety becoming the new norm, why not take this chance to be the driver in your own travel adventure and get behind the wheel? There are plenty of classic American road trips to revel in.
The Pacific Coast Highway takes you from Seattle to San Diego, with plenty of national parks and beautiful scenery along the way. The historic Route 66 road continues to captivate Americans for its quirky roadside pit stops, diners, neon signs, and deserts. Whether you’re going on a short road trip or a cross-country road trip, be sure to get your vehicle checked in advance, and consider Olive insurance solutions for extended vehicle warranties.
Hike a Mountain
There are a myriad of reasons why hiking is good for the soul. When you hit the trail, you’ll find that the daily conundrums of life slip away around you. With each step, you let go a little more, and your focus becomes on putting one foot in front of the other and admiring the beauty of the nature around you.
Rarely does an activity capture so much of your attention as hiking does, particularly as you move towards a peak. When you reach the top, you’re rewarded with an expansive panoramic view of your achievements, and you’ll be filled with a sense of wonder and satisfaction. You’ll find plenty of mountains across national parks; choose one that matches your athletic capabilities and appeals to your sense of style.