Malee Baker Oot

Malee is a freelance writer, outdoor enthusiast, and overzealous amateur photographer. She currently lives just outside Washington, DC with her sassy coonhound Cash.

Best Areas for Pocono Leaf Peeping

When it comes to fall leaf-peeping, Pennsylvania’s colorful seasonal display is the longest and most varied in the entire country. The Pocono Mountains region, in particular, is home to over 120 different varieties of trees, plants, and shrubs—including birches, maples, oaks, aspens—making it one of the best places in the state to admire the seasonal transition. And with more than 260 miles of trails, two national parks, and nine state parks, there are plenty of ways to revel in the stunning se

Bikepacking the Blue Ridge

Driving along the western edge of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, there’s no doubt we’re in horse country. Shards of morning sunlight illuminate wildflower-freckled pastures, and the roadside is dotted with equine-friendly accommodations. There’s even a diner called The Hitching Post. But, the 125,000-acre recreation area spread over northeastern Tennessee and southeastern Kentucky has also emerged as one of the Southeast’s premier mountain biking destinations – thanks in

How to Eat Your Way Through Florida’s Adventure Coast

Florida’s Adventure Coast is renowned for outdoor pursuits, from pristine paddling along the Weeki Wachee River to avifauna-rich hikes in the Withlacoochee State Forest. But one of the region’s best-kept secrets is its vibrant dining scene. From perfectly smoked barbeque to freshly caught seafood to hand-dipped ice cream that wraps up the day on a sweet note, there’s something to please every palate. There are plenty of options for adult beverages, too, from craft brews to vineyards (yes, vineya

An Angler’s Guide to the Best Fishing on Florida’s Adventure Coast

Florida has been hailed as the Fishing Capital of the World, and the Adventure Coast is one of the state’s sweet spots for casting a line. A pristine paradise for anglers, the region offers a wide array of experiences, from exploring the ecologically rich waters of the Gulf of Mexico to kayak fishing the picturesque Withlacoochee River. And in the summer, visitors can join in the local tradition of scalloping: Since all you need is a mask, snorkel, and Florida Saltwater Fishing License to explor

10 of the Best Swimming Holes in the United States

America’s swimming holes are national treasures. When temperatures begin to climb, jumping into these refreshing oases is more than just a great way to cool off: It’s a beloved summertime ritual that’s equally sweet in its simplicity—all you really need is a swimsuit and a bit of insider savvy to find the best spots. Fortunately, the country is sprinkled with an abundance of natural swimming holes, from far-flung plunge pools to rapid-rippled natural waterslides to serene springs for soaking. Gr

6 Best 3-Day Backpacking Trips Around the World

Dreaming of trekking along mountaintops, summiting peaks, and meandering around rivers? Yeah, us too. However, it isn’t always possible to hit the trail for months at a time. But fortunately, there are plenty of short-and-sweet backpacking trips around the world that pack a major punch. From the high peaks of the Himalayas to the Fiordland Region of New Zealand’s South Island, here are three of our favorite three-day backpacking trips around the world. So we aren’t all taking on Mt. Everest, bu

Have You Visited the DWGNRA? ⛰

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DWGNRA) has a natural magnetism, with the dramatic rift in the Appalachian Mountains drawing admirers for centuries. Victorian-era vacationers and artists first sought out the Delaware Water Gap as a fresh air escape, and modern-day outdoor lovers still have plenty of reasons to visit the geological marvel that was once hailed as a scenic Wonder of the World. The best way to experience the beauty here is with trip to the 70,000-acre Delaware Water

What You Need to Know About Summertime Bugs and How to Protect Yourself

Sweet summer. The days are longer, the shorts and flip flops appear, and barbecue grills become weekend gathering spots. But, summer can also mean the arrival of unwanted seasonal pests. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to thwart summertime bugs, whether you’re gathering for a backyard cookout, heading out on a hike, or planning a weekend camping trip. Here’s what you need to know about summertime bugs, including tips on preventing bites and stings. Hovering flies waiting to descend on pic

8 Best Panoramic Views in the Poconos ⛰

In Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, scenic views are abundant. The region’s cascading waterfalls, majestic peaks, and vast woodlands have enchanted visitors for centuries. There are no shortage of spectacular natural wonders to explore, but when it comes to must-see panoramic views in the Poconos, we’ve narrowed down a few of the standouts below. Some are harder to reach than others, but all are worthy of a visit, a photo, and, most certainly, some time to absorb the beauty. At the summit of Ca

6 Under-the-Radar Countries to Visit Now

In the age of social media, it almost seems as if no place on the planet has escaped the lens of a smartphone camera. But beyond the trending hotspots, there are places still overlooked by travelers. Countries that are overshadowed by bigger, more illustrious neighbors. Some far-flung spots that are deemed too remote and others that are inexplicably ignored. Fortunately, the planet is still studded with hidden gems. Here are six of the best under-the-radar countries to visit right now. The olde

An Insider’s Guide to Florida’s Beautiful and Unique Weekiwachee Preserve

A mosaic of marshlands, floodplain forests, shimmering lakes, and grasslands, the Weekiwachee Preserve is an outdoor oasis for nature lovers. Spread over the southwest corner of Hernando County along Florida’s Adventure Coast, the 11,206-acre ecological treasure also serves as a fantastic destination for hiking, biking, paddling, and birdwatching. Bounded by the Weekiwachee and Mud rivers to the north, the preserve also blends into an extensive network of coastal conservation lands extending nor

The Best African Safaris for Shutterbugs

For globetrotting photographers, it’s hard to beat an African safari for inspiration. From shooting leggy giraffes silhouetted by the setting sun to snapping dizzyingly intimate portraits of the continent’s big cats, Africa provides a lifetime’s worth of incredible images to capture. While the options are abundant, here are a few of the best safari destinations in Africa for traveling shutterbugs to get you started. At Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, photographers are treated to an arresting ba

6 Amazing Safaris That Aren't in Africa

The word safari usually conjures up images of the African savannah, with elephants nibbling acacia leaves, sunbathing lions sprawled on rocky kopjes, and leggy giraffes silhouetted by the setting sun. Sure, with destinations like the Serengeti, the Okavango Delta, and the Zambezi Valley, the continent is undoubtedly home to some of the planet’s most iconic safaris. But there are rich animal habitats all over the world, from the foothills of the Himalayas to the forests of Europe. Here are six o

Magnificent Masoala

Bouncing over a line of assailing waves, our boat speeds away from the riverine town of Maroansetra, bound for the lushly forested Masoala Peninsula. Nosy Mangabe clogs the horizon, a perfectly placed puff of cloud lending the 520-hectare islet the appearance of a smouldering volcano. I almost expect to see dinosaurs wandering the island’s liana-tangled flanks, but instead, snow-white cattle egrets dust the treetops. Casting waves toward fisherman in hand-wooden pirogues, we skirt Nosy Mangabe’s

The Unique History of Philpott Lake: A Hidden Gem in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia | News

Hidden away in the history-steeped foothills along the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Philpott Lake is one of the most breathtaking bodies of water in Virginia. Over the last 65 years, it has evolved into one of the most beloved outdoor destinations in the state. Surrounded by nearly 20,000 acres of protected federal and state lands, the 3,000-acre lake extends into Franklin, Henry, and Patrick counties of Southwest Virginia, providing a literal aquatic oasis for outdoor lovers. To

Climate change could subtly drive Madagascar’s greater bamboo lemur closer to extinction

Rising temperatures have been charged with driving some of the planet’s most devastating natural disasters, but sometimes the impacts of climate change appear more subtly – as in the case of the greater bamboo lemur. Thought to be extinct in the wild just a few decades ago – until researchers discovered a remnant population in 1986 — Madagascar’s largest bamboo-noshing lemur still faces challenges like habitat loss and subsistence hunting. And now, climate change could gradually push the already

America’s national parks are hit harder by climate change than the rest of the country

Driving glacial retreat, sea-level rise, and loss of forest diversity, global climate change is already affecting ecosystems across America – especially in the country’s national parks. Now, a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters suggests America’s national parks are being more intensely impacted by climate change than the country as a whole, becoming both warmer and drier. Led by Patrick Gonzalez, adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley, the stu

The Most Chilling Legends of the Southeast—And How to Explore Them

From the Shenandoah Valley to the Great Smoky Mountains, the Southeast is brimming with spine-tingling lore. With mysterious disappearances, legendary creatures, and heaps of hauntings, the region has plenty of intrigue. These are a few of the most chilling legends still lingering in the Southeast. Check them out—if you dare. After sunset, when the ethereal glow of phosphorescent foxfire illuminates the dense forests and waterlogged thickets of the Great Dismal Swamp, the place can play tricks
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