5 Backpacking Trips for Beginners Ready to Explore

Ready to make the leap from casual hiker to full-on backpacker? The Blue Ridge is full of accessible escapes that are just remote enough for first forays into backcountry overnights. From spruce groves in the mountains to isolated wetlands near the coast, here are a handful of beginner-friendly destinations with easy-to-follow routes and minimal elevation change. Spread over the flanks of Spruce Mountain, a knob-studded ridgeline in West Virginia’s branch of the Allegheny Mountains, the Spruce

Celebrate a Return to Travel with These 15 Iconic Hikes • Mindful Escapes

After a year of hunkering down, borders are opening and travelers are ready to rediscover the world. These 15 iconic hikes, detailed by travel writer Malee Baker Oot, offer a chance to celebrate the world from a new perspective. The planet is crisscrossed with epic trails, from the Alps to the Andes. There are snowy summit trips for fleet-footed peak-baggers, long and leisurely rambles for wildlife lovers, and everything in between. While the options are almost infinite, here are a few epic hik

Where to Go For an Epic VanLife Ski Trip

If Instagram is a way measure to the cultural zeitgeist, the #VanLife movement has been having a moment. A significant number of Americans are embracing a semi-nomadic lifestyle — at least temporarily, and hitting the road to seek out life-list destinations, under-the-radar spots, and outdoor adventures. Of course, there are perks to road-tripping in a van or RV — you can travel on a budget, with the freedom and flexibility to spend extra time in jaw-dropping locations and bring pets along on t

The Best Dive Spots in the U.S. During the Winter Months

Winter may not seem like an ideal time for a subaquatic adventure, but throughout the United States, there are diving destinations that are especially spectacular during the winter. From inland locations to wildlife-rich springs, to warm coastal waters, there are winter destinations for divers of all skill levels scattered throughout the United States. And for beginners considering a trip, PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), the world’s largest organization of divers and ocean

The 5 Best Beaches for Camping Like a Castaway in 2021

Discovering a private stretch of beach is like stumbling on a slice of paradise. And, one of the best ways to seek out your own swath of shoreline is with a beach camping trip. Offering a chance to spy migrating marine creatures, catch epic sunrises, and fall asleep to the sound of the tide, a beach campout makes for an idyllic getaway any time of year. In the south, ocean temperatures are still warm enough for swimming well into the fall, and beaches situated along the Atlantic Flyway offer the

The 10 Best National Forests to Visit in America

America’s National Forest system stretches over 193 million acres, including 154 protected forests and grasslands spread over 43 different states and Puerto Rico. But, with 158,000 miles of trails, along with more than 36.6 million acres of federally designated wilderness, there’s a lot out there to explore. For starters, here’s a shortlist of some of the country’s most stunning national forests. Just south of Glacier National Park, Montana’s 2.4-million-acre Flathead National Forest extends ov

Best Backpacking Trips for Adventurers To Take at Least Once

For many backpackers, America’s Triple Crown of Hiking – a title bestowed for completing the Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail – is a life-list aspiration. But, beyond the country’s legendary long trails, there are plenty of other iconic treks. From the glacial peaks of the Cascades to the thickly forested foothills of the southern Appalachian Mountains, here’s are a few of the country’s most spectacular backpacking trips. Threading a rugged stretch of

A road trip in West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest

Soaring above the North Fork of the Potomac River’s South Branch, the 900-foot Tuscarora quartzite formation known as Seneca Rocks is an exceptionally photogenic natural landmark sculpted by more than 440 years of geological processes. The formation’s interior pinnacle, known as the Gendarme, toppled in 1987, and today, the crag includes both a north and a south peak. The first recorded ascents of the vertiginous crag began in the 1930s, although a climbing party that scaled the massif in 1939 d

8 Things to Do on a Road Trip through Southern Maryland

Just 40 miles south of Washington, D.C., a bulge in the Potomac River has become the final resting place for more than 150 sunken vessels, including a longboat from the Revolutionary War. Now protected as the Mallows Bay-Potomac National Marine Sanctuary, the ship graveyard harbors the remains of an entire emergency fleet of wooden steamships, hastily constructed during the first World War, when German submarines were creating havoc in the seas. Even with shipyards around the country churning ou

10 things to do on a Southwest Virginia road trip

Spread over the ridges and valleys of Appalachia, Southwest Virginia lays claim to some of the Old Dominion state’s most spectacular natural wonders. The region is blanketed by massive swaths of the Jefferson National Forest, threaded by the oldest waterway in the U.S., and crowned by the highest peak in the state. Southwest Virginia is also celebrated as the birthplace of country music, spearheaded by legends like the Carter Family and the Stanley Brothers. Then, there’s moonshine. During Prohi

Chasing Winter: 7 Best Places to Hit the Slopes When It’s Summer in the States

For some folks, finding powder year-round is what it’s all about. Fortunately, the arrival of summer in the United States doesn’t have to mean shelving the skis for the season. When it’s warming up in the Lower 48, there’s still plenty of snow to be found in the Southern Hemisphere. From the high Andes to the Southern Alps, here are seven of the best places on the planet to hit the slopes when it’s summertime in the U.S. Nestled in Australia’s Snowy Mountains within the bounds of Kosciuszko Nat

10 of the Best Day Hikes in America

For hikers, America offers a scenic smorgasbord. It has 419 national park system sites scattered throughout the country and it’s home to some of the planet’s most celebrated long-distance footpaths, including the Appalachian Trail in the East, and the Pacific Crest Trail in the West. The U.S. is also brimming with epic day-hikes, from the high peaks of the Sierras to the blue-hued summits of the Smokies. For all those hikers who can’t spend months tackling an epic long-distance trail, here are a

How to Pack for Your First Safari

Whether it’s a visit to the Serengeti for the annual wildebeest migration, a trip through the Okavango Delta in a dugout canoe, or a mountain gorilla spotting trek in the Virunga Mountains, an African safari is an unforgettable experience. But, packing for your first safari can seem like a formidable task. While every trip is unique, there are a few gear essentials that will ensure you stay comfortable, healthy, and make the most of your inaugural safari. Forget about being fashionable on safar

Why You Should Visit a State Park This Year (Plus a Few of Our Favorites)

While America’s national parks deservedly draw attention, the country’s most iconic protected areas can also be flooded with visitors. State parks, on the other hand, are often overlooked. But these natural assets protect some of the country’s most spectacular features, from the biodiversity-rich waters of the Florida Keys to the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, and are filled with recreational opportunities. With alluring options in all 50 states, state parks may not get the attention of t

5 Best Places to Go Sailing in Scandinavia

In Scandinavia, water is everywhere. The Scandinavian Peninsula is etched with approximately 17,625 miles of coastline, and dappled with more than a half-million lakes. Naturally, the region has a rich sailing history. Scandinavians were using sails by the seventh century, and the region’s storied Vikings famously scoured the seas of northern Europe from the end of the 8th century until the second half of the 11th century. And these days, being on the water is still a way of life in many parts o

Here’s How to Take On the Trek to Everest Base Camp!

Climbing Mt. Everest is a serious alpine challenge that’s only for the most experienced high-altitude climbers. It takes a commitment of time and money that most people don’t have. But travelers to Nepal can still get a taste of the experience by making a trek to Everest Base Camp, the starting point for most who seek to reach the summit. The trek to Base Camp offers an up-close encounter with the planet’s highest peak while traversing the Solu Khumbu region and showcasing Sagarmatha National Pa

The Best Trails and Ales Near Philpott Lake

How to Experience the Best Trails and Ales Near Philpott Lake Southwest Virginia's Philpott Lake is a hidden gem for outdoor lovers. The 3,000-acre lake spreads into Franklin, Henry, and Patrick counties, backlit by the mountains of the Blue Ridge and surrounded by nearly 20,000 acres of mixed hardwood forest. A landscape left largely wild and undeveloped, the area around the lake is peppered with recreation areas, nature preserves, and the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway, providing a smorgasbord of
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