Friday, April 22 is Earth Day, a holiday that was first observed in 1970. It's usually a day when people talk about preserving the environment, and it's also the perfect opportunity to take some time to enjoy nature.
When you hear about the most beautiful places to enjoy nature, you probably think about popular international destinations, such as Australian beaches or the Himalayan mountains. But there are actually endless opportunities to enjoy nature in our own country. If you're in the mood to plan your next adventurous trip leaving behind your emails and social media for a while, here are nine gorgeous locations in the U.S. you can visit.
1. Supai, Arizona
The wonders of the Grand Canyon are well known, but the nearby remote village of Supai is a hidden gem that contains some of the most beautiful waterfalls. It's only accessible by foot, so be ready to put in some work if you're going to make your way there. It's an eight-mile hike to even get down to the Havasupai Falls. But it's worth the effort. There's also a camping area that's perfect for an overnight stay. No TVs or iPads needed when you have the open, clear night skies.
2. Apostle Islands, Wisconsin
Wisconsin may not be your first stop for beautiful nature, but that might all change when you check out the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore of Lake Superior. It's a chain of 21 islands where you can hike, camp, kayak, and even go on a cruise of nonstop sightseeing excursions. There are shuttles that take you to different stops on several different islands. The best time of year to visit is in late spring and early summer.
3. Maroon Bells, Colorado
Revel in the breathtaking view of two peaks of the Rocky Mountains, which is one of the most photographed destinations in the U.S. It's not surprising, considering that the photos almost look doctored. But the beauty of Maroon Bells is certainly real, and you can drive all the way up there between late May and early October each year. It only costs $10 a vehicle. There are multiple different trails you can hike as well.
4. Old Man's Cave, Ohio
Enjoy many different waterfalls and gorges in the Hocking Hills State Park, although many people say Old Man's Cave is the most beautiful of them all. It takes about one hour or less to walk through the one-way loop to Old Man's Cave. Swimming isn't permitted there or in any other waterfalls in this state park, but there's a designated beach area at Lake Logan.
5. Mendenhall Glacier Caves, Alaska
Admittedly, Alaska probably isn't exactly easy to get to from where you live, but if you can make the trip, it will be well worth it. There are 12 miles of caverns to explore in the Mendenhall Glacier Caves, and the retreat of the glacier created Mendenhall Lake in 1929. Since then, the glacier was withdrawn an addition 1.75 miles. The views are breathtaking to say the least, and it will certainly be unlike any visit to nature that you have experienced before.
6. Thor's Well, Oregon
This location lives up to its name. This Oregon attraction sucks water down from the Pacific Ocean and makes it look both terrifying and jaw-dropping. They say the best time to visit Thor's Well is during a storm or when it's high tide, but you have to be extremely careful not to get pulled under by one of the holes. The sinkhole looks really deep, but it's really only 20 feet.
7. Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
Well, you can cross "see a volcano" off your bucket list after you visit Haleakala National Park, which preserves the incredible volcanic landscape of the upper slopes of Haleakala and the ecosystems of Kipahulu Valley. There are over 35 miles of trails, and you can cover a lot of ground because of the long, sunny days. Haleakala means "House of the Sun," and it's not hard to figure out why.
8. Fayetteville, West Virginia
Fayetteville is a well-kept secret that offers a small-town feel, which is perfect for a quick getaway. The beautiful New River Gorge Bridge was completed in 1976, and it was the longest arch bridge at the time. The Civil War Trail passes through Fayetteville, so you can do some historic sightseeing while you're there as well. Another lovely spot to visit in the area is Beauty Mountain, an upland area of cliffs and boulders along the rim of the New River Gorge.
9. Angel Oak, South Carolina
The Angel Oak is one of those ancient trees that will make you feel like you've traveled back in time. It's about 400 or 500 years old, and the branches and leaves cover more than 17,000 square feet. You can visit this magnificent piece of nature by going to Johns Island, which is near Charleston, South Carolina.
This short list doesn't even begin to scratch at the surface of the beautiful nature this country has to offer. If you haven't planned a trip for 2022 yet that will allow you to unplug and really enjoy the earth around you, you've got plenty of inspiration here to get your plans going.