Best Places to Go Horseback Riding

From the coast of Hawaii to the mountains of Chile, explore our list of best places to go horseback riding.

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Cabrillo National Monument,
San Diego

Cabrillo National Monument,
San Diego

Gray whales make the longest migration of any mammal on the planet -- and the western overlooks of Cabrillo National Monument are one of their pit stops. The peak time to see these massive 44-foot-long, 33-ton creatures is mid-January; they’re also visible from mid- to late December through March. 960 1280

Randy McEoin, flickr  

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California

See the migration of the gray whales, as well as spot other marine life -- in fact, more than 27 types of whales and dolphins inhabit these waters at various times of year. The best times to go are February to early April for California grey whales; May to September for blue whales (the largest known animals to have ever existed), minke, humpback and, occasionally, right whales and orcas. 960 1280

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Monterey Bay, California

Monterey Bay, California

Enjoy year-round whale-watching in Monterey Bay. Running alongside California’s central coast, the bay sees humpback and blue whales from April to December, and gray whales from December to April. The coast also attracts killer whales, who hunt gray whales during their migration north. 960 1280

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Kodiak Island, Alaska

Kodiak Island, Alaska

In addition to these cute sea otters, Alaska’s Kodiak Island sees gray whales, in April. In June, minke, sei, fin and humpback whales also visit these waters -- with fins and humpbacks a common sight from June to November. Another great time to visit is April: That’s when the annual Whale Fest Kodiak, a 10-day-long festival, celebrates the return of Eastern Pacific gray whales to Alaskan waters. 960 1280

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San Juan Islands, Washington

San Juan Islands, Washington

Orcas love the San Juan Islands, off Washington State. Three pods, known as the “Southern Residents,” usually make their appearance from mid-April to early October. Gray, minke and humpback whales also visit these waters, as do seals, porpoises, sea lions and otters. 960 1280

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Vancouver Island,
British Columbia

Vancouver Island,
British Columbia

See killer whales, as well as humpback and Pacific grey whales, on a whale-watching tour of Vancouver Island. An estimated 85 orcas live in the waters around southern Vancouver and the southern Gulf Islands. Meanwhile, some 20,000 Pacific grey whales make their annual migration route along Vancouver Island’s west coast. Whale-watching season runs from March to November. 960 1280

Tourism Victoria/Frank Leung  

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach

December through March is a prime time to see humpback whales at Virginia Beach. Fin whales -- the second largest animals alive today (behind the blue whale) -- also migrate through the area during the winter. In warmer months, from June to early September, see bottlenose dolphins, which frequently travel through the Chesapeake Bay area. 960 1280

Xavier de Jaureguiberry, flickr   

Long Island, New York

Long Island, New York

July through Labor Day are prime times to go whale-watching off Long Island, NY. Fin, humpback, minke, sperm, North Atlantic right, blue and sei whales are drawn to these waters to feast on schools of herring, sand eels and marine crustaceans. Whale-watching trips often leave from the historic town of Montauk, on the tip of Long Island’s south shore. 960 1280

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Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May, New Jersey

Not to be outdone, New Jersey also sees whale action. Beginning in March, humpback and finback whales, mostly 4- and 5-year-old juveniles, circulate in the Cape May Peninsula, at the southern tip of New Jersey, and feast on the waters’ abundant baitfish. Whale sightings continue through December. 960 1280

Alan Kotok, flickr  

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

See one of the world’s most important whale habitats. The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary spans 1,400 square miles of diverse marine ecosystems: Between 4,000 and 10,000 North Pacific humpback whales flock here each winter to bear and nurse their calves. 960 1280

Ryan Ozawa, flickr   

Coastal Waters off Florida

Coastal Waters off Florida

Sure, California and New England corner the market on whale-watching, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck in the Sunshine State. Your best bet is to take a dolphin cruise; you may just spot a North Atlantic right whale if you go between November and April. 960 1280

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission   

Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine

Enjoy a summer whale-watching expedition in Bar Harbor, ME. Beginning in mid-April, hungry finback, minke and right whales travel to the area’s cool waters -- just 20 miles off the Maine coast -- to feast on sand eels, plankton, copepods and fish. Come October, the whales head south for warmer waters. 960 1280

Maine Office of Tourism   

Provincetown, Massachusetts

Provincetown, Massachusetts

Come spring, head to Provincetown, MA, where humpback, fin, minke and sei whales, as well as the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, frequent the waters off this coastal town through October. Another great spot for whale-watching is Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, just 5 miles north of Provincetown. 960 1280

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The weather in Thailand is good 365 days a year, so that means there are skydiving opportunities every single day. 960 1280

  

Fly through the canopies of the 1,500-year-old Chiang Mai rainforest on a fast-moving zip-line. 960 1280

  

Set off on a kayaking adventure in southern Thailand. 960 1280

  

Peacefully roam the underwater beauty of the Similan Islands and Surin Islands in Phang Nga. 960 1280

  

Give the elephants a break and hit the Thai wilderness on 2 wheels on a mountain-biking excursion. 960 1280

  

Rush the rapids on a white-water rafting trip in the Phang Na province, and you're guaranteed an exhilarating ride. 960 1280

  

Many travel guides offer tours that allow you to abseil, or rappel, down Thailand's beautiful and powerful waterfalls. 960 1280

  

Taking an elephant ride through local Thai villages and surrounding forests is an experience no visitor should miss. 960 1280

  

Enjoy the wilds of Thailand by hitting the unmarked trails on a multiday trek to see mountain ridges and rainforests. 960 1280

  

Get to the heart of Thailand by exploring ancient caves and tremendous caverns like those in the Pang Mapha District. 960 1280

  

Yaki Point

Yaki Point

Within the Grand Canyon take in the view from Yaki Point. From an elevation of 7,000 feet, you’ll see the rocky terrain dotted with pinyon pines and junipers -- trees with nuts that sustain wildlife such as deer, squirrels, ringtail and birds. 960 1280

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South Kaibab Trail

South Kaibab Trail

The South Kaibab Trail leads to the Colorado River. Along with the Bright Angel Trail, the path provides a direct route to the bottom of the canyon. But with minimal shade, be sure to bring plenty of water and sun protection. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Mather Point

Mather Point

It took 6 million years for water to carve out the Grand Canyon. Get an expansive view of this handiwork at Mather Point -- where vibrant, ancient rock layers await, stretching back 1.7 billion years. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Tusayan Museum

Tusayan Museum

For nearly a millennia, Native American peoples have regarded the Grand Canyon as a sacred place. Visit the Tusayan Museum for a look into Pueblo Indian life at the canyon 800 years ago. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Yavapai Observation Station

Yavapai Observation Station

Without a power plant in sight, the Grand Canyon is home to some of the cleanest air in America. Check out an air quality monitoring stand, located outside the Yavapai Observation Station (pictured here). 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Shiva Temple

Shiva Temple

See that broad, flat-topped plateau off in the distance? That’s Shiva Temple, a mesa about 1 mile long, with an area of about 300 acres. It’s located near the canyon’s North Rim. 960 1280

Pippawilson, flickr  

Kolb Studio

Kolb Studio

At the edge of Grand Canyon you’ll find Kolb Studio -- in the early 1900s, it was the home and photographic studio of outdoorsmen Emery and Ellsworth Kolb. Today, an art gallery operates inside the building, showcasing artwork from the canyon. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Bright Angel Lodge

Bright Angel Lodge

Bright Angel Lodge was built in 1935 to accommodate the increasing numbers of visitors coming to the canyon via train. The lodge’s rustic architecture of logs and stone was conceived by American architect Mary Colter. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Mule Corral

Mule Corral

These little guys -- call them “long-eared taxis” -- will take you on a cliff-hugging trip through the Grand Canyon. But relax, each mule goes through 1 year of training before it’s ever allowed to carry any passengers. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Trailview Overlook

Trailview Overlook

From Trailview Overlook you can look down at Bright Angel Trail -- the main route used for centuries to enter and leave the Grand Canyon. 960 1280

Rosa Say, flickr  

Trail of Time

Trail of Time

Discover the Grand Canyon’s geologic splendor. Take the Trail of Time, a nearly 3-mile-long interpretive walking trail, to peel back the pages of time -- as told through the landscape’s many rock layers. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Hopi House

Hopi House

Architect Mary Colter designed Hopi House in 1905. Today, this Pueblo-style building is the Grand Canyon’s largest gift store; it features a large selection of authentic Native American art and craftwork. The building is located in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. 960 1280

Al_HikesAZ, flickr  

Grand Canyon Depot

Grand Canyon Depot

Also within Grand Canyon Village: the Grand Canyon Depot -- one of 3 remaining railroad depots in the US built with logs. The depot opened in 1910, courtesy of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway -- one of the largest railroads in the US at the time. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Roaring Springs

Roaring Springs

Nearly 5 miles down the Grand Canyon’s North Kaibab Trail you’ll find Roaring Springs. It’s one of several underground water supplies within the Grand Canyon. Listen closely … and hear the roar. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Night Skies

Night Skies

Get out your telescope: The Grand Canyon offers prime nighttime skies for observing stars. Without a telephone pole or electric wire in sight, it’s just the starry skies above … and an awe-inspiring feeling within. 960 1280

Justin Kern, flickr  

Grand Canyon Skywalk

Grand Canyon Skywalk

And for the ultimate view, you’ve got to experience Grand Canyon Skywalk: this glass bridge walkway offers a jaw-dropping 4,000-foot-high view of the Grand Canyon’s floor. 960 1280

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