We live in a beautiful world, filled with amazing things to see and do. If you love the outdoors and don’t have to have a 5-star hotel or all the quirks of being near an urban area, then you’re already ahead of the game. With more and more people taking the time to admire the beauty around them and escape to places that haven’t been bulldozed over, soaked in concrete, and adorned with a Starbucks on every corner, there’s never been a better time to get out there and see all of the amazing things that nature has to offer us.
Now don’t get me wrong – outdoor travel can be tough. You’re often removed from civilization, meaning your everyday conveniences, such as cell phone reception, clean running water, electricity, and especially quick and ready meals, are gone. That can make things more difficult, and mean that you’ll have to plan your trip much more carefully to remain comfortable. But for the outdoor enthusiast, these aren’t obstacles or detractors – they’re aspects that make the outdoors that much more appealing.
If you’re new to traveling, or at least outdoor traveling, it might seem a bit overwhelming. There’s plenty of places you could go, but where do you start? To help you get started, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best destinations in the world for travel enthusiasts, and just what it is that makes them so appealing.
Starting with the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains span along through the states of Tennessee and North Carolina, covering over 520,000 acres of mountains, forest, and waterways.
Backpackers, hunters, fishermen, and other outdoor enthusiasts have been coming to the Great Smoky Mountains for close to 100 years now, and it’s not hard to see what keeps drawing over 11 million of them each year. The tourism industry in towns such as Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, in Tennessee, and Cherokee, North Carolina, have set up their entire economies to cater to outdoor enthusiasts who travel to the Great Smoky Mountains each year.
Fishing, in particular, is a big draw in the Smoky Mountains. With a wonderful assortment of species, including smallmouth and rock bass, brown and rainbow trout, and brook, there’s plenty of options to hook your favorite fish. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains over 2,900 cumulative miles of waterways, some more challenging than others. If you’re a beginner at fishing, this is the perfect place to practice your techniques, learn what gear works best, and get off to a great start with your fishing journey.
One of the most naturally beautiful locals in all of Japan, Hokkaido is known for its varied, gorgeous terrain, and the host of different outdoor activities that it supports.
Backpacking, hiking, and cycling are all staples of Hokkaido. Many of the local residents take up these activities normally, everyone from children to the elderly, so you’ll never be lacking for company. If you prefer a more level surface, the Rebun Island and Shiretoko have plenty of natural and improved trails running through the region, while Mt. Daistsu offers terrain that’s a little more austere, for those seeking a challenge.
On the subject of mountains, Hokkaido also has plenty of options for some great winter activities, and most of them center around Mt. Asahidake. Hokkaido stakes its fame on having the finest powder snow to be found in Japan and offers plenty of great options for skiing. If you’re an outdoors lover, especially if you’re a young adult, this is an amazing place to visit.
If you love snorkeling or swimming, there’s no place on Earth that will enchant you like the Mesoamerican Reef. While the reef spans over 900k, the most appealing region for many outdoor travelers is in Belize, home to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
With snorkeling tours and equipment available for rent year-round, visitors from all over the world flock to Belize each year to experience for themselves the beauty that is the Mesoamerican Reef. One of the main draws in this area of the reef is what is known as the Blue Hole – a chasm that spans over 300 yards wide, and sinks to levels of up to 125 yards deep.
As part of a guided tour, or during your own exploration, of this amazing area, you’ll encounter dozens of different species of fish, tortoises, and sharks. I’d recommend you hire a guide for your first visit so that they can show you which areas are safe and which aren’t. That way you’ll be in a much better position to break out on your own and explore the area at your own pace.
Once you’re done snorkeling if you do need a break from the outdoors, head on over to Belize City, where you can indulge in some the most unique and exotic foods, festivals, and culture to be found anywhere in the world.