When you love spending time in the outdoors, whether that’s going hiking, kayaking or other outdoor adventures, it can really suck when you’re stuck indoors.
Whether it’s because of financial, health or current world events, losing your sense of freedom can be hard and sometimes painful.
So if you feel the same way, there’s no need to sob into your pillow every night, as I’ve put together a list of ways you can travel the outdoors from the comfort of your couch.
Psst: many of these require a reliable internet connection. Since you’re reading this blog post, imma assume you have a working internet connection 😉
1. Explore the US National Parks with Google Arts and Culture
This is at the top of my list for a reason.
Google Arts and Culture and partnered with the US National Parks service to create a truly immersive experience where you can see 5 US national parks in all their amazing glory.
Choose from 5 National Parks to explore. Source: US National Parks and Google Arts and Culture
I don’t want to give too much away (no spoilers here!) but they’ve created an incredible experience where you get to explore selected US National Parks.
As someone who’s visited a couple of these parks already, you get to see more on here than if you were to visit in person!
Psst: dreaming of an adventure where you get to see incredible US National Parks? Check out my ultimate 7-day Southwest Road trip for your future adventure!
So if you want to see (or have already seen but want to re-live the amazingness) you can choose from:
- Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
- Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
- Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
- Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
You can explore the US National Parks with Google Arts and Culture here.
2. Go for a “dry” dive with the National Marine Sanctuaries
This is for all my friends who had to cancel water adventures!
Or if you’re like me, you’ve never been diving before and you probably won’t 😉
For my fellow non-divers, the National Marine Sanctuaries do work across a network of underwater parks that cover more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters.
This includes conservation, education, and research!
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Source: National Marine Sanctuaries.
For your dry dive, you can choose between 8 different US Marine Sanctuaries, including the Florida Keys – which I loved because I spent one Christmas visiting the Florida Keys – though it was a very dry holiday because alas I’m not a diver 😉
You can go for a “dry” dive with the National Marine Sanctuaries here.
3. Stroll through Central Park on a sunny day in New York City
I don’t think there’s a soul on this earth who has been to New York City and hasn’t been to Central Park.
So for all my friends who have dreams of visiting the Big Apple or who want to re-live a former trip, you actually can.
This virtual tour of Central Park also includes information and history about the park (so you can pretend you’re being productive and learning something… right?!)
You can go for your virtual stroll through Central Park here.
4. Virtually tour Yosemite National Park with Virtual Yosemite
Virtual Yosemite is the work of Virtual Reality photographer Scott Highton.
You can “visit” Yosemite and even hear sounds and explore cool hikes and beautiful places.
This also a resource to plan future trips!
Psst: I’m not going to lie, I’ve been wanting to visit Yosemite for years, but my plans have never come to fruition. Does it count if I go there virtually? Asking for a friend! 😉
You can go for your virtual visit to Yosemite National Park here.
5. Go on a Street Art Tour with Google
If you’re not into about mountains or hiking, but you miss being outside, Street Art with Google is for you!
This covers street art all around the world, with a focus on the stories behind the art.
They have a range of online exhibits, but I really enjoyed their audio tours.
It’s sort of like going on a street art tour only you won’t get tired feet and you get to snuggle up on your couch!
You can go on your Street Art Tour with Google here.
6. Experience historic and culturally significant sites around the world with Open Heritage
If you’re a history and culture nerd, this is for you!
Open Heritage includes tombs, palaces and places of worship, many of which are at risk of being lost.
This is also a great way to explore without feeling like your footsteps are contributing to the wear and tear of historic sites.
My favorite is the Tomb of Tu Duc in Hue, Vietnam which I was lucky to visit a few years ago (a picture I took from my visit is above!)
You can travel the world with Open Heritage here.
7. Discover Uluru Story Spheres in Australia
Uluru is a place that I was fortunate enough to visit a few years back, and I came back home with a greater appreciation for how beautiful our world could truly be.
It sounds cheesy to say something like that, but many people say that after visiting they are blown away with how incredible Australia’s Outback can be.
Not only is Uluru incredibly beautiful, but it is also a place of cultural significance to the Anangu people.
Even if you can’t visit us down-under, you can go on your own virtual tour, complete with sounds and traditional owners sharing stories about the cultural significance of Uluru and surrounds.
You can discover the Uluru Story Spheres here.
8. Explore up to 31 US National Parks on Google Earth
Yep, you read that correctly, you can choose from 31 US National Parks to explore on google earth.
Psst: I had issues accessing Google Earth since I’m a Safari user, but it works like magic if you use the Google Chrome browser.
Pictured: Acadia National Park in Maine during fall
Some of my favorites?
- Arches National Park, Utah (I, unfortunately, missed this on my Southwest Roadtrip!)
- Acadia national park, Maine (for the memories!)
- Zion National Park (because unfortunately virtual reality might top being there in person during peak season)
You can choose to visit your next US National Park here.
9. Set up a tent in your backyard, courtyard or balcony
This one is last on the list for a reason. When you’re craving the outdoors and can’t get out the best way to get outside is to…
Actually, get outside 😉
So set up a tent, pretend you’re camping or go stargazing once all your neighbors are asleep and have switched off their lights!