Daily Escape

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (Arizona/Utah)

Spanning the border between northern Arizona and southern Utah, this park is famous for its deep red and yellow hues, as well as its tall sandstone buttes. The historic home of the Navajo people, Monument Valley is an iconic backdrop for some of Hollywood’s most famous Western films.

Want to explore more of America's natural wonders?

21: Blue Lagoon, Iceland

21: Blue Lagoon, Iceland

The saltwater in Iceland's Blue Lagoon, the world's largest geothermal pool, gets completely renewed every 40 hours and always hovers around 100 degrees. Go to rejuvenate your skin and soul, and throw in some extra time for a spa treatment or massage. 960 1280

Ed Norton/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images  

20: Cinque Terre, Italy

20: Cinque Terre, Italy

A national park and protected UNESCO territory, Cinque Terre has steep natural slopes that were transformed into fertile terraces for the cultivation of wine. The dry stone walls guide you through a varied network of paths with beautiful views of the Mediterranean. Take a hike along the cliffside trail, which passes through 5 coastal villages. 960 1280

LSP/Moment/Getty Images  

19: Four Seasons Tented Camp, Thailand

19: Four Seasons Tented Camp, Thailand

Visit the Golden Triangle! It’s not only where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet, but it’s also where the Four Seasons Tented Camp has 15 elevated, freestanding accommodations with spectacular views of the Ruak River, the Laotian mountains and the lush jungle. 960 1280

Four Seasons Hotel Limited  

18: Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

18: Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

Head to Vieques Island for a quiet vacation to get away from the crowds, tall buildings, traffic and commercialized oceanfront property. The beaches here are pristine, the green flora is lush, and it's located only 6 miles from San Juan. Whisk someone special off for a romantic getaway, and don’t miss out on an illuminating experience on Bioluminescent Bay. 960 1280

  

17: The Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong

17: The Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong

The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong offers an elite experience that makes all guests feel like royalty. In addition to providing top-of-the-line amenities, this historic, 5-star luxury hotel has spectacular vistas of Victoria Harbor. 960 1280

The Peninsula Hotels  

16: Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

16: Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

A must for outdoor enthusiasts in the summer and winter, the Bernese Oberland region in Switzerland captures nature at its finest: snowcapped mountain peaks, fresh air and lush, rolling hills. The quaint town of Interlaken lies between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and is only a short train ride to the beautiful ski town of Grindelwald. 960 1280

Switzerland Tourism  

15: Secret Beach, Kauai

15: Secret Beach, Kauai

Nestled at the base of a sheer cliff just north of Kilauea, Secret Beach truly is one of the Kauai's best-kept secrets. Sunbathers will have to hike down a rocky, near-vertical trail to find the magnificent stretch of sand and sea. Their efforts will immediately be rewarded as cares and worries melt away in this hidden Hawaiian paradise. 960 1280

Andre Distel Photography/Moment Open/Getty Images  

14: Sequoia National Park, California

14: Sequoia National Park, California

Sequoia National Park in California is home to some of the oldest trees on the planet. Giant sequoias as old as 3,000 years cover the park's 400,000 acres. Activities within the park vary according to season, but its majestic beauty is a constant. 960 1280

Neale Clark/Robert Harding World Imagery/Getty Images  

13: Milford Sound, New Zealand

13: Milford Sound, New Zealand

Experience New Zealand's Fiordland region via kayak, on foot and by air. Visitors are awestruck by the scenery of Milford Sound, including the tumbling waterfalls, ancient rain forests, sparkling lakes and granite peaks that capture the heart and the imagination. 960 1280

Chris Sisarich  

12: Wakaya Club & Spa, Fiji

12: Wakaya Club & Spa, Fiji

The Wakaya Club is located on Wakaya Island in Fiji. The private, 2,200-acre retreat is dotted with natural wonders, including serene lagoons, majestic cliffs and beautiful beaches, and it is encircled by a coral reef. The resort includes 10 freestanding, waterfront cottage suites, where guests experience unparalleled pampering. From gourmet cuisine to luxurious spa treatments, everything you could possibly desire is provided in one of the world's most idyllic settings. 960 1280

The Wakaya Club & Spa  

11: Ski Dubai, United Arab Emirates

11: Ski Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, and it’s quickly becoming a place where anything is possible. Case in point: the creation of a man-made indoor ski slope. Ski Dubai has 5 runs that vary in difficulty, a freestyle zone and a family-friendly snow park. Don't worry about packing your skis or parkas; both are available for rent at the one-of-a-kind desert ski mountain. 960 1280

Yvette Cardozo/Photolibrary/Getty Images  

10: Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

10: Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Two of the world's most active volcanoes — Kilauea and Mauna Loa — stand in Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park. There are many ways to experience the power of these natural wonders, including scenic drives, hikes and ranger-led tours. 960 1280

Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson  

9: Marrakech, Morocco

9: Marrakech, Morocco

In Morocco's historical Marrakech is the famous Djemaa el-Fna marketplace. There, storytellers, shopkeepers and snake charmers vie for your attention while you enjoy traditional foods such as escargot and couscous. You truly will feel as though you've entered another world that’s tantalizing to the senses. 960 1280

Visions Of Our Land/Stone/Getty Images  

8: Monument Valley, Utah

8: Monument Valley, Utah

Monument Valley in Utah has been the setting for more Western movies than any other site in the US. Its iconic sandstone formations and the Four Corners Monument are unforgettable and absolutely breathtaking in person. 960 1280

Michele Falzone/AWL Images/Getty Images  

7: Venice, Italy

7: Venice, Italy

The city of Venice conjures images of stunning architecture, artistic masterpieces and incomparable wine and cuisine. Get lost in St. Mark's Basilica and St. Mark's Square; experience the sights and sounds of Venice Carnival; and walk across the Rialto Bridge. 960 1280

  

6: Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

6: Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

At the Singita Ebony Lodge, located on the Sand River, travelers experience the perfect combination of luxury accommodation and safari adventure. The resort’s 12 suites all include a private plunge pool. Their external walls of the suites have been removed and replaced by canvas and glass to create safari tent-style suites with great views. Don’t miss out on exploring the African wildlife accompanied by an experienced guide and tracker during your stay in the heart of the Singita Sabi Sand. 960 1280

Singita  

5: Jellyfish Lake, Palau

5: Jellyfish Lake, Palau

Palau is truly one of the world's most beautiful tropical paradises. Located 500 miles from the Philippines, the island is famous for Jellyfish Lake, where a special species of jellyfish has been trapped. Over time, the creatures have lost their ability to sting, making for a unique and unforgettable swimming and diving adventure. 960 1280

Michele Westmorland/The Image Bank/Getty Images  

4: Santorini, Greece

4: Santorini, Greece

The Greek island of Santorini is located in the Cyclades of the Aegean Sea and has one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. The villages are built on cliffs and overlook a submerged volcano. Those who visit Santorini flock to Oia, a town that offers stunning views of the sunset. 960 1280

Artie Photography/Moment/Getty Images  

3: Grand Canyon, Arizona

3: Grand Canyon, Arizona

Carved by the mighty Colorado River, the Grand Canyon is an unbelievable chasm that cuts 5,000 feet into the earth's crust. The canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and more than a mile deep. Its vista is mesmerizing and awe-inspiring. 960 1280

  

2: Zambezi River Rafting, Zambia

2: Zambezi River Rafting, Zambia

From a mighty river in America to another in Zambia. Only the truly brave of heart risk white-water rafting on the Zambezi River. It is classified as a high-volume, pool-drop river and floods between February and the end of June. At times, the volume is 4 times that of the Colorado River, so make sure you're prepared before running the Zambezi. 960 1280

Pascal Boegli/Moment Open/Getty Images   

1: Angkor Wat, Cambodia

1: Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat is one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. Another UNESCO-protected location, it contains the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, including the Temple of Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple. Marvel at this jaw-dropping and eye-opening historical landmark. 960 1280

Matteo Colombo/Moment/Getty Images  

Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey

In Cappadocia, also known as the “Land of Beautiful Horses,” a horseback ride is a must. Riders can saddle up on Arabian or Barb horses, both native to the area, and meander along trails that wind through ancient Turkish villages past underground cities and Byzantine-era churches, to valleys surrounded by orchards and the region’s famous fairy chimney rock formations.  960 1280

Thinkstock  

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Known as one of Africa’s greatest wildlife reserves, Masai Mara is home to the largest quantity of big cats in the world. A part of the Serengeti National Park, Masai Mara, located in southwest Kenya, provides horseback riders with the ultimate safari experience as they get close-up views of the wildlife, including lions, leopards, cheetahs and zebras that roam the park.   960 1280

Getty Images  

Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

Novice and experienced horseback riders alike can experience the majestic beauty of the chateau-inspired Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Guided private and group trail rides explore some of the property’s 80 miles of estate trails, meadows and brooks, which are often graced by wildlife of the Appalachian Mountains. 960 1280

The Biltmore Company  

Loire Valley, France

Loire Valley, France

A World Heritage Site located in central France, the Loire Valley is known for its historic towns, chateau-inspired architecture and vineyards. Trail rides wind through the French countryside and forests, providing riders with stunning landscape views of rolling hills and castles that make for a riding experience that’s straight out of a fairytale. 960 1280

Hiroshi Higuchi/Photolibrary/Getty Images  

Haleakala National Park, Hawaii

Haleakala National Park, Hawaii

Known as the “House of Sun,” Haleakala National Park is the highest peak on the island of Maui. Horseback riders can experience the Hawaiian culture as they travel across a tropical, volcanic landscape that’s surrounded by lush forests, waterfalls and streams that stretch out to the coast. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

While horseback rides through Torres del Paine may be for the more experienced rider, the surrounding views of the Andes Mountains and Patagonia are ones you won’t want to miss. Trails winding along the rugged mountain peaks, colorful meadows, streams and glaciers provide riders with a breathtaking view of scenery you won’t get anywhere else.   960 1280

Getty Images  

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Located in southwestern Utah, Bryce Canyon is known for its unique and colorful rock formations called “hoodoos.” Horseback rides descend 2,000 feet into the canyon where riders can experience breathtaking panoramic views with up to 200 miles of visibility, rock formations, forests and wildlife. 960 1280

JMWScout/iStock/Getty Images  

Banff National Park, Canada

Banff National Park, Canada

Located in the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is Canada’s first national park. Mountainside or riverside trail rides provide novice and experienced riders alike with breathtaking mountain views and scenery as they wind through lush forest, past rivers, and the park’s historic sulfur hot springs. There’s even a good chance to spot some of the park’s wildlife, including black bears and elk.   960 1280

Getty Images  

Donana National Park, Spain

Donana National Park, Spain

Donana National Park, located on the Atlantic coast of Spain in Andalusia, is a World Heritage Site, one of Europe’s largest parks and the site that prompted the creation of the World Wildlife Fund in 1961. Riders can saddle up on majestic Andalusian horses and explore the Mediterranean region’s vast marshes, forests and sand dunes that are home to hundreds of species of wildlife, including the endangered Spanish lynx and Adalbert’s eagle. The sound of ocean waves crashing on the nearby shore, coupled with the scenery, make for an unforgettable horseback riding experience.  960 1280

Getty Images  

12 Photos
Pacific Northwest Trail

Pacific Northwest Trail

The Pacific Northwest Trail spans 1,200 miles -- including 3 national parks and 7 national forests. To tackle this route, which runs through Montana, Idaho and Washington, you'll have to keep a pace of 20 miles per day. That'll get you to the trail's end in about 60 days.

Best times to hike:Year-round at lower elevations, summer and fall at higher elevations.
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Andy Porter, flickr   

Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail

The famed Appalachian Trail spans more than 2,180 miles. A thru-hike usually takes between 5 and 7 months, cutting through 14 states between Georgia and Maine. Along the way, enjoy views of pink rhododendrons along the trail’s Tennessee-North Carolina state line and in southwest Virginia, from late spring to early summer.

Best times to hike: Spring to fall.
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Thinkstock  

John Muir Trail

John Muir Trail

Naturalist John Muir loved this area of California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. Today, the trail named in his honor runs 211 miles, from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney (the highest point on America’s mainland). Most hikers start their trek at Yosemite’s Happy Isles or Tuolumne Meadows.

Best times to hike: Generally July to September.
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Steve Dunleavy, flickr  

Hayduke Trail

Hayduke Trail

Uber-hiker Andrew Skurka calls Hayduke Trail “one of the finest ways to discover the Colorado Plateau … and get away from it all.” No wonder. The 800-mile trail running through Utah and Arizona covers the area’s big national parks: Zion, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches.

Best times to hike: Spring and fall.
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Thinkstock  

Pacific Crest Trail

Pacific Crest Trail

The massive Pacific Crest Trail covers more than 2,600 miles, from California, Oregon and Washington to British Columbia. The trail is among the “Big 3”: If you hike the Pacific Trail, as well as the Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail, you’ll get the American Long Distance Hiking Association’s Triple Crown Award.

Best times to hike: Late April to late September.
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Marshmallow, flickr  

Sierra High Route

Sierra High Route

The Sierra High Route is one of pro hiker Andrew Skurka’s favorite trails. The 195-mile trail in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains offers amazing views of meadowlands, lake basins and mountain peaks. Keep a pace of roughly 20 miles per day, and you’ll complete the trail in a little over a week. Also, keep in mind logistical considerations.

Best time to hike: Depends on skill level.
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Getty Images  

Arizona Trail

Arizona Trail

The 800-mile Arizona Trail runs north and south through the state, and showcases some of the region's most unspoiled terrain: ridges, mountains and wilderness areas that have remained untouched since Arizona became a territory in 1863. That remoteness also means hikers must stay current on Arizona Trail conditions.

Best times to hike: Year-round at lower elevations, summer and fall at higher elevations.
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Rick Hall, flickr  

Long Trail

Long Trail

Known simply as the Long Trail, this route runs 273 miles through Vermont -- the whole length of the state. The trail also happens to be America’s first long-distance hiking trail. Construction began in 1912 and continued for nearly 20 years. Today, hikers can enjoy short day hikes and extended treks (including to Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest mountain).

Best times to hike: Late spring through late fall.
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dvs, flickr  

Continental Divide Trail

Continental Divide Trail

At 3,100 miles, the Continental Divide Trail is not for the faint of heart: Only about 25 people a year attempt to hike the entire trail, which runs between Mexico and Canada. Some areas can only be traveled by bushwacking, aka make-your-own-trails, and roadwalking.

Best times to hike: April to October.
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Getty Images  

Superior Hiking Trail

Superior Hiking Trail

Everyone loves Superior: Hiker Andrew Skurka ranks the trail among his 10 favorite US hikes, Readers Digest ranks it among its top 5. The 275-mile footpath showcases scenic views -- boreal forests, rushing waterfalls and the 30-mile-long Sawtooth Mountains are among the attractions -- as well as 81 campsites for a little R&R.

Best times to hike: Late spring to early fall.
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Thinkstock  

Florida Trail

Florida Trail

Alligators are among the wild critters that hikers can encounter along the Florida Trail. The 1,400-mile trail starts at Big Cypress National Preserve (about 45 miles west of Miami) and ends in the Pensacola, FL, area. And if you see a gator along the way? Give it space, circling around its tail end so it doesn’t feel threatened.

Best times to hike: Year-round.
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B A Bowen Photography, flickr  

Colorado Trail

Colorado Trail

Hikers, horse riders and bicyclists, the Colorado Trail is calling your name. The 486-mile trail runs from the Denver area to Durango, CO, with some of Colorado’s most beautiful scenery in between: wildlife (marmots, deer, sheep and more), as well as wildflowers, forests, lakes and streams ideal for fishing. A thru-hike generally takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete -- a feat accomplished by roughly 150 people per year.

Best times to hike: Primarily July and August.
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Kimon Berlin, flickr  

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