How Travel Channel Fans #OptOutside
Skip Black Friday madness and go outside.
Last year thousands of Americans opted out of Black Friday, choosing to spend time in the great outdoors and take advantage of our great country and national parks. If standing in line at 3 a.m. in the freezing cold waiting for doorbuster deals doesn't sound like your kind of holiday either, welcome to the #OptOutside movement.
Our Travel Channel fans have opted outside more than 4,300 times with #LiveTravelChannel on Instagram since last year. Here are just a few of our favorite shots.
Nu‘uanu Pali, Hawaii
La Jolla, California
Oneonta Gorge, Oregon
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
Zion National Park, Utah
Fort Macon State Park, North Carolina
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California
North Cascades National Park, Washington
Mount Whitney Summit, California
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail (Arkansas)Historic battles, hot springs, the Ozarks and more! See the full list of Arkansas national parks here. 960 1280
Redwood National and State Parks (California)Iconic landscapes and unforgettable experiences. See the full list of California national parks here. 960 1280
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve (Colorado)The Rocky Mountains and so much more. See the full list of Colorado national parks here. 960 1280
Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network (Delaware)Discover the beauty of America’s first state. See the full list of Delaware national parks here. 960 1280
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (Georgia)Lush greenery, roaring rivers and plenty of peaches. See the full list of Georgia national parks here. 960 1280
Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve (Idaho)Where friendly faces and rugged wilderness meet. See the full list of Idaho national parks here. 960 1280
Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area (Kentucky)Explore vast caves, mountain peaks and more. See the full list of Kentucky national parks here. 960 1280
Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine (Maryland)Visit historic battlefields, monuments and parks. See the full list of Maryland national parks here. 960 1280
Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area (Massachusetts)Explore peaceful beaches and historic sites. See the full list of Massachusetts national parks here. 960 1280
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Michigan)Visit magnificent rock formations and sandy shores. See the full list of Michigan national parks here. 960 1280
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Missouri)Explore wide open spaces and historic paths. See the full list of Missouri national parks here. 960 1280
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (Montana)Experience our adventure in Big Sky Country. See the full list of Montana national parks here. 960 1280
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site (New Hampshire)See beautiful foliage and trails in New England. See the full list of New Hampshire national parks here. 960 1280
Gateway National Recreation Area (New Jersey)Northern shores, immigration history and much more. See the full list of New Jersey national parks here. 960 1280
Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)See Southwestern deserts, canyons and petroglyphs. See the full list of New Mexico national parks here. 960 1280
Governors Island National Monument (New York)Majestic waterfalls, historic homes and much more. See the full list of New York national parks here. 960 1280
Cape Hatteras National Seashore (North Carolina)See mountaintops, scenic parkways and sandy shores. See the full list of North Carolina national parks here. 960 1280
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site (North Dakota)Find adventure in vast, rugged landscapes. See the full list of North Dakota national parks here. 960 1280
Washita Battlefield National Historic Site (Oklahoma)Visit symbolic memorials, historic trails and more. See the full list of Oklahoma national parks here. 960 1280
Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania)Bucket list trips for the American history buff. See the full list of Pennsylvania national parks here.
Touro Synagogue National Historic Site (Rhode Island)Where history and culture meet. See the full list of Rhode Island national parks here. 960 1280
Mount Rushmore National Memorial (South Dakota)Discover Mount Rushmore, the Badlands and more. See the full list of South Dakota national parks here. 960 1280
Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Historic Park (Vermont)Appropriately dubbed the Green Mountain State. See the full list of Vermont national parks here. 960 1280
Gauley River National Recreation Area (West Virginia)Discover historic mountains, rivers and towns. See the full list of West Virginia national parks here. 960 1280
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (Wisconsin)Enjoy this state’s ample water and rolling hills. See the full list of Wisconsin national parks here. 960 1280
Best National Park in Every State 51 Photos
To the Bridge, SpockUtah’s Natural Bridges National Monument already has a height advantage, rising 6,500 feet above sea level on Cedar Mesa. The rocky catwalks not only bring you closer to the stars, they carry the distinction of being in the first national monument to be certified by the International Dark-Sky Association, an organization that aims to curb light pollution and preserve our celestial views (sort of like a non-profit dimmer switch). 960 1280
Star ManPark Rangers at Southern Utah’s Bryce Canyon take their stargazing seriously. They are tasked with protecting the area’s incredible natural darkness for the 100+ astronomy programs that operate every year within the park. How dark is it? It’s so dark that Venus and Jupiter are bright enough to cast your shadow on the canyon floor. For maximum cosmological majesty, plan your trip around the Annual Astronomy Festival in early June. 960 1280
California StarsJust beyond the reach of L.A.’s ring of smog and neon, Joshua Tree National Park is Southern California’s personal planetarium. Winter solstice offers the longest night of the year and best star gawking opportunity. Weave your way through the desert hippie caravans and gaze deeply into the turquoise buckle of Orion’s belt. 960 1280
Temple of Stars
While perhaps not an obvious choice, Zion National Park in Utah rewards the patient star seeker with some stellar views of the Milky Way. With its towering sandstone cliffs and peculiar rock formations, there’s always something to see in Zion if you look up, even on a moonlit night. Just stay to the paths.
The Western SkyCalifornia’s Yosemite National Park is a popular destination for amateur astronomers who tend to gather at Glacier Point between June and August. Ask politely and they may let you peep through their impressively large telescopes. If you’re looking for a guided star voyage, astronomy walks are offered in Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, and Wawona. DIY-ers can download an app like GoSkyWatch and plot their own trip through the night sky. 960 1280
A Star is BornUtah’s Arches National Park is one of the most arresting and photographed landscapes in the world, but at nightfall it becomes a darkened theater for the big cosmic revue overhead. Campers extinguish fires and recline their lawn chairs to take in the great celestial spray of the Milky Way as it bends from horizon to horizon, upstaged only by the occasional streaking meteor. 960 1280
Sea of Darkness
If you really want to get away from the city lights, head for the improbably named Dry Tortugas National Park, which is actually a string of seven small islands in the Gulf of Mexico. Go native and camp on the beach for some all-night sky watching. The only non-celestial light you’ll see is the intermittent flashing from the lighthouse on Loggerhead Key.
Party With the StarsArizona’s Grand Canyon offers one of the best views of the night sky in the U.S. The Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association throws star parties on the canyon’s South Rim, while the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix hosts competing events on the North Rim. Whichever bash you choose, make sure you dress warmly and look down from time to time. That first step is a doozy. 960 1280
Best National Parks to Stargaze 8 Photos
Pacific Northwest TrailThe Pacific Northwest Trail spans 1,200 miles -- including three national parks and seven 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 960 1280
Appalachian TrailThe famed Appalachian Trail spans more than 2,180 miles. A thru-hike usually takes between five and seven 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 960 1280
John Muir TrailNaturalist 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 960 1280
Hayduke TrailUber-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 960 1280
Pacific Crest TrailThe 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 960 1280
Sierra High RouteThe 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 960 1280
Arizona TrailThe 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 960 1280
Long TrailKnown 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 960 1280
Continental Divide TrailAt 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 960 1280
Superior Hiking TrailEveryone loves Superior: Hiker Andrew Skurka ranks the trail among his 10 favorite U.S. hikes, Readers Digest ranks it among its top five. 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. 960 1280
Florida TrailAlligators 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, Florida, 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 960 1280
Colorado TrailHikers, horse riders and bicyclists, the Colorado Trail is calling your name. The 486-mile trail runs from the Denver area to Durango, Colorado, 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 four to six weeks to complete -- a feat accomplished by roughly 150 people per year.
Best times to hike: Primarily July and August. 960 1280
Best Long-Distance Hiking Trails 12 Photos