Mountains, valleys, waterfalls, lakes, wildlife, deserts — nature is truly miraculous. But being outside doesn’t necessarily mean you’re rappelling off sheer rock or jetting down precipitous ski trails; it could also mean a walk through an urban park or along a grand boulevard. I’ll take you there.
As a native New Yorker, born and bred in Brooklyn, I came to nature late. A patch of grass in front of my house and a fig tree in the backyard, the East River, and hordes of pigeons, squirrels, and sparrows constituted my experience with the great outdoors for many years.
That all changed for me during a camping trip to Maine with my brother — a largely tree-hugging anti-urbanite, in the best possible sense. During that trip, when we saw nary a town, I learned to hike, discovered what a cairn is, and fully realized that the great outdoors is just as appealing and engrossing as any castle or cathedral that had long fascinated me. It was also a stark contrast to my everyday existence of being constantly surrounded by eight million other people in an endless cacophony of car horns, police sirens, screeching subway car brakes, blasting boom boxes, garbage trucks, and ever-present construction. It was a place where I could truly be alone, listening to the more dulcet sounds of birds and breezes, inhaling the scent of pine and grass, enjoying what no hammer or chisel could ever create.
Of course, appreciating the great outdoors doesn’t necessarily mean you have to isolate yourself in some remote forest or atop a mountain. A great bike ride, a stroll through a botanic garden, a relaxing cruise, or a couple of hours at a farmers market can be an equally rewarding way to enjoy a glorious day.
These are some of favorite spots to be outside.
- Killarney National Park (Ireland)
- Balboa Park (San Diego, California)
- Gilmore Car Museum (Hickory Corners, Michigan)
- Christmas Markets in Germany: Cologne
- Christmas Markets in Germany: Heidelberg
- Christmas Markets in Germany: Düsseldorf
- Christmas Markets in Germany: Stuttgart
- Christmas Markets in Germany: Freiburg
- Christmas Markets in Germany: Nuremberg
- Christmas Markets in Germany: Frankfurt
- The Plazas of Mendoza, Argentina
- Good Things, Small Packages: New Zealand’s Abel Tasman National Park
- Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens: An Amusement Park for All Ages
- Ljubljana’s Very Special Circular Square
- Three Stellar Attractions at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver
- The Ghost at Symonds Street Cemetery in Auckland, New Zealand
- Purmamarca: The Most Colorful Place in Argentina
- Ambling Around One of the World’s Most Beautiful Gardens at Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry, Ireland
- Split’s Marjan Hill: Perfect View, No Tourists
- Crashing a Constitution Day Parade in Bergen, Norway
- Tulip Mania at Keukenhof
- Traveling the Mission Trail in San Antonio, Texas
- Visiting the Feathered Guests at Güira Oga
- Lake Bled Remains a Romantic Idyll in Any Weather
- Life in Bronze and Granite in Oslo’s Vigeland Park
- A Dark and Stormy Afternoon in Historic Bellafontaine Cemetery
- Finding Peace and Harmony in Half an Acre
- My Own Private Estonia
- Driving Without Mirrors in the Canary Islands
- Man Meets Montana Moose
- Hiking With Huskies in Finnish Lapland
- Falling for Iguazú
- A “Sea of Sin” in the Very Wild West
- Swiss Camels and an Exploding Snowman