7 Stunningly Beautiful Places to Visit This Summer
There are so many amazing places to go in the world that you can't possibly get to all of them in your lifetime. But I think everyone has that bucket list of places that they have always wanted to go to or things they've always wanted to do. Here at EcoWatch, we are all about eco-vacations. And with the National Park Service turning 100 next year, it's a great time to get out and explore America's beautiful natural places. So, I've put together this list of 10 places to consider for your summer vacation that are sure to be fun for you and your family while connecting you with the beauty of our natural world.
1. Watch baby sea turtles get released on North Padre Island
There's a hatchery within Texas's Padre Island National Seashore on the Gulf of Mexico that protects the turtle eggs until they hatch. The releases occur from mid-July to late August and are open to the public near the Malaquite Beach Visitor Center. You can camp within the park for only $8 a night.
2. Go where the bison roam
These creatures are so majestic. And there's an estimated 3,000 of them in America's first national park—Yellowstone. There's so much to do and see in this massive park of 2.2 million acres besides taking in these beautiful creatures with geysers, hot springs, and plenty of wildlife to see on the more than 900 miles of hiking trails within the park.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
3. Hike the Lost Coast Trail
For those up for it, the three-day 24-mile hike along California's rugged northern coast is well worth it. The "Lost Coast" is an 80-mile stretch of the California coast that developers of Highway 1 left untouched in the 1930s because development in the area proved too difficult. You can take in the beautiful California surf on one side and scenic cliffs on the other as you tour abandoned lighthouses and walk past sea lions basking on the beach. Make sure to print a tide table before going as a few parts of the trek become impassable at high tide.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
4. Explore Smokey Mountains National Park
The park is known for its wildlife viewing opportunities, especially of American black bears, so much so, that the park currently has a warning for increased bear activity. It's always important to treat bear encounters with extreme caution. The park is also known for deer, elk, otters and at least 30 species of salamander (who knew there were so many species of salamanders!). Plus, the views aren't bad, either.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
5. Snorkel in Hawaii
There are so many great snorkeling spots on each of the islands. "The Big Island and Maui far exceed Oahu and Kauai in terms of the amount of snorkeling locations and the quality and quantity of healthy reefs, fish and other sea life," says Tropical Snorkeling. "If big fields of corals are your thing, the Big Island is probably best for you. But if you really love snorkeling with green sea turtles, then Maui has the edge."
Photo credit: Shutterstock
6. Raft the Green River
"Winding through a remarkable wilderness of twisted mountains, dramatic cliffs and towering plateaus carved by an ancient inland sea, the Green River through Desolation Canyon offers one of America’s favorite rafting trips," says Western River Expeditions. The outfitter runs trips for five days over 84 miles starting and ending in Moab, Utah. "Comfortable summer water temperatures and more than 60 fun-filled rapids make this Green River rafting trip the ideal getaway for your next adventure," says Western River Expeditions. Plus, if you have time, you can check out nearby Canyonlands and Arches national parks.
7. Kayak around Washington's San Juan Islands
Tour Washington's beautiful San Juan Islands by kayak through touring companies like Sea Quest Expeditions. The company offers half-day trips, sunset kayaking and tours that last up to five days. On the islands, you can explore beaches, waterfalls and hiking trails and you might even catch glimpses of orca whales.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Where are you heading this summer or what was your favorite eco-vacation? Share below in the comments and we'll round them up for a great post this summer.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
By Karen L. Smith-Janssen
Colette Pichon Battle gave a December 2019 TEDWomen Talk on the stark realities of climate change displacement, and people took notice. The video racked up a million views in about two weeks. The attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) advocates for climate justice in communities of color. Confronted with evidence showing how her own South Louisiana coastal home of Bayou Liberty will be lost to flooding in coming years, the 2019 Obama Fellow dedicates herself to helping others still reeling from the impacts of Katrina face the heavy toll that climate change has taken—and will take—on their lives and homelands. Her work focuses on strengthening multiracial coalitions, advocating for federal, state, and local disaster mitigation measures, and redirecting resources toward Black communities across the Gulf South.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Between 2000 and 2013, Earth lost an area of undisturbed ecosystems roughly the size of Mexico.
- Planting Projects, Backyard Habitats Can Re-Create Livable Natural ... ›
- Humans Are Destroying Wildlife at an Unprecedented Rate, New ... ›
- UN Biodiversity Chief: Humans Risk Living in an 'Empty World' With ... ›
- Scientists Warn Worse Pandemics Are on the Way if We Don't ... ›
- Coronavirus Pandemic Linked to Destruction of Wildlife and World's ... ›
By Stuart Braun
"These are not just wildfires, they are climate fires," Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, said as he stood amid the charred remains of the town of Malden west of Seattle earlier this month. "This is not an act of God," he added. "This has happened because we have changed the climate of the state of Washington in dramatic ways."
'These Aren't Wildfires'<p>Sam Ricketts, who led climate policy and strategy for Governor Jay Inslee's 2020 presidential campaign, tweeted on September 11 that "These aren't wildfires. These are #climatefires, driven by fossil fuel pollution."</p><p>"The rate and the strength and the devastation wrought by these disasters are fueled by climate change," Ricketts told DW of fires that have burnt well over 5 million acres across California, Oregon, Washington State, and into neighboring Idaho. </p><p>In a two-day period in early September, Ricketts notes that more of Washington State burned than in almost any entire fire season until now, apart from 2015. </p><p>California, meanwhile, was a tinderbox after its hottest summer on record, with temperatures in Death Valley reaching nearly 130 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. It has been reported as the hottest temperature ever measured on Earth.</p>
<div id="29ad9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8346fe7350e1371d400097cd48bf45a2"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1306969603180879872" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Drought-parched wetlands in South America have been burning for weeks. https://t.co/pjAKdFcKPg #Pantanal https://t.co/ImN2C5vwcp</div> — NASA Earth (@NASA Earth)<a href="https://twitter.com/NASAEarth/statuses/1306969603180879872">1600440810.0</a></blockquote></div><p>As evidenced by Australia's apocalyptic Black Summer of 2019-2020, fires are burning bigger and for longer, with new records set year-on-year. Right now, Brazil's vast and highly biodiverse Pantanal wetlands are suffering from catastrophic fires.</p>
#climatefires Started in Australia<p>Governor Inslee this month invoked the phrase climate fires for arguably the first time in the U.S., according to Ricketts.</p><p>But the term was also used as fires burnt out of control in Australia in late 2019. In the face of a 2000km (more than 1,200 miles) fire front, and government officials and media who <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/trump-climate-change-denial-emissions-environment-germany-fake-heartland-seibt/a-52688933" target="_blank">played down the link to climate change</a>, Greens Party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and a friend decided that reference to bushfires was inadequate. </p><p>"We both just said, we've got to start calling them climate fires, that's what they are," the Australian Senator told DW.</p><p>Hanson-Young says scientists have been warning for decades that these would be the effects of global heating. "We've been told these kinds of extreme weather events and destruction is what climate change would look like, and it's right here on our doorstep," she said from her home state of South Australia — where by early September fire warnings had already been issued.</p><p>"Calling them climate fires was making it absolutely crystal clear. It is essential that there's no ambiguity," she said </p><p>Having deliberately invoked the term, Hanson-Young soon started to push it on social media via a #climatefires hashtag. </p>
How to Talk About the Urgency of Global Heating<p>The need to use more explicit language when talking about extreme weather events linked to climate change is part of a broader push to express the urgency of global heating. In 2019, activist Greta Thunberg tweeted that the term "climate change" did not reflect the seriousness of the situation. </p><p>"Can we all now please stop saying 'climate change' and instead call it what it is: climate breakdown, climate crisis, climate emergency, ecological breakdown, ecological crisis and ecological emergency?" she wrote. </p><p>"Climate change has for a long time been talked about as something that is a danger in the future," said Hansen-Young. "But the consequences are already here. When people hear the word crisis, they understand that something has to happen, that action has to be taken."</p><p><span></span>Some terms are now used in public policy, with state and national governments, and indeed the EU Parliament, declaring an official climate emergency in the last year. </p>
Words That Reflect the Science<p>But while the West Coast governors all fervently link the fires to an unfolding climate crisis, U.S. President Donald Trump continues to avoid any reference to climate. In a briefing about the fires, he responded to overtures by Wade Crowfoot, California's Natural Resources Secretary, to work with the states on the climate crisis by stating: "It'll start getting cooler. You just watch." Crowfoot replied by saying that scientists disagreed. Trump rejoined with "I don't think science knows, actually." </p><p>It was reminiscent of the anti-science approach to the coronavirus pandemic within the Trump administration, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/donald-trump-admits-playing-down-coronavirus-risks/a-54874350" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">at least publicly</a>. Fossil fuel companies are also benefiting from his disavowal of climate science, with the Trump administration having <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-trumps-paris-climate-accord-exit-isnt-really-a-problem/a-51124958" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pulled out of the Paris Agreement</a> and reopened fossil fuel infrastructure like the Keystone XL pipeline. </p><p>But the science community has responded, with Scientific American magazine endorsing Trump's Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden, the first presidential endorsement in its 175-year history. </p><p>Hanson-Young says the use of explicit language like climate fires has also been important in Australia due to the climate denialism of politicians and the press, especially in publications owned by Rupert Murdoch. As fires burnt out much of Australia's southeast coast, they were commonly blamed on arson — a tactic also recently used in the U.S.</p>
Climate Rhetoric Could Help Decide Election<p>The language of climate has begun to influence the U.S. presidential election campaign, with Democratic nominee Joe Biden labelling President Trump a "climate arsonist."</p><p>Biden is touting a robust climate plan that includes a 2050 zero emissions target and a return to the Paris Agreement. Though lacking the ambition of The New Green Deal, it has been front and center of his policy platform in recent days, at a time when five hurricanes are battering the U.S. Gulf Coast while smoke blanketing the West Coast spreads all the way to the East. </p><p>People are experiencing the climate crisis in a visceral way and almost universally relate to the language of an emergency, says Ricketts. "They know something is wrong."</p>
- The Vicious Climate-Wildfire Cycle - EcoWatch ›
- How Climate Change Ignites Wildfires From California to South Africa ›
- 31 Dead, 250,000 Evacuated in California Fires as Governor ... ›
World's Richest One Percent Are Producing More Than Double the Carbon Emissions as the Bottom 50 Percent
A new report from Oxfam found that the wealthiest one percent of the world produced a carbon footprint that was more than double that of the bottom 50 percent of the world, The Guardian reported. The study examined 25 years of carbon dioxide emissions and wealth inequality from 1990 to 2015.
If you are taking medication for an underactive thyroid, check your prescription.