10 Places to Explore in 2013
A new year means new adventures. So empty your bucket lists and fill them with these 10 travel destinations for 2013.
1.) Farm Sanctuary--Orland, California
This place does more than just offer you pastoral bliss and an amazing view of Black Butte Lake. Farm Sanctuary is a definite must for familial bonding whether it be with humans, animals, or both. The sanctuary is a place for rescued farm animals such as pigs, cattle, sheep, and chickens that you can meet face-to-face on a guided tour. Revamp your knowledge or learn about what you can do to help stop cruelty to animals at this destination that will surely become a family favorite.
2.) White Sands National Monument--New Mexico
If you're tired of life here on earth, come to White Sands National Monument. You'll feel like you've stepped into a whole other world. Enjoy the surreal landscape and learn about the native plants and animals that live here and have come to adapt to both the weather and color of their surroundings. You may even gain inspiration to film your next science fiction movie from these parts!
4.) Yasuni National Park--Ecuador
The surrounding building structures, rainforest, and nighttime activities make Yasuni National Park a definite go-to. Listen to the stories many locals have about spotting jaguars in the rainforest; dance a traditional dance during a culture presentation; and become immersed in an exotic and unforgettable atmosphere reminiscent of National Geographic documentaries you watched as a kid.
5.) North Kaibab Plateau--Arizona
Explore the lesser traveled areas surrounding the Grand Canyon that offer spectacular hiking trails, sights, and connections between isolated landscapes. The North Kaibab Plateau does just that. Located in the heart of north-central Arizona, the plateau links the Grand Canyon, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and Navajo Nation lands to give you a panoramic view of Arizona's most celebrated natural formations.
6.) The Subway, Zion National Park--Utah
Get ready to be blown away. This destination only allows 50 hikers per day, so make sure that you plan this getaway in advance and definitely with reservations! A tubular-shaped canyon with areas that have not ever seen the sun, be ready to go on an adventure that requires some wading, swimming, and appreciation of the indescribable colors, texture, and sights this underground subway has to offer. It'll beat New York City's system any day.
7.) Fires Creek Basin--North Carolina
Places such as these are pretty rare these days. Although the region boasts of a beautiful river and laurels, perhaps its most renowned quality is its solitude, something that may not last much longer for locations like Fires Creek Basin that lie especially in the east. So don't miss your chance to be truly one with nature and make your trek out to North Carolina soon to feel the loneliness of man and the beauty of rediscovering the smallness of the self in comparison to the rest of this big world.
8.) Haro Strait--U.S./Canadian Border
Feel like you've done enough on land but not sea (or islands, for that matter?) Discover Haro Strait, located in between the borders of the U.S. and Canada. Come experience marine life combined with water activities that will leave you breathless at the beauty of the stillness of the ocean before and after it is ruptured by whale and dolphin sightings.
9.) Munduk Moding Plantation--Indonesia
If you can't survive in the mornings at work or school without your cup of joe, the Munduk Moding Coffee Plantation will make you reel. Not only do you receive a spectacular view of Bali's greenery and oceanic scenery, but you'll also get to meet the locals, see the city lights below, and be immersed in a java jungle that takes you back to nature and coffee beans.
10.) Polish Primeval Forest--Poland
Do you long to be surrounded by beautiful forestry with sunlight rays coming in through the tree tops? Well, want no more. You can take a step back into a time before skyscrapers and cars were built and awe at this primeval forest's sheer emerald setting with various hikes, activities, and photo ops.
--image by istock//gelyngfjell, SumikoPhoto
Christine Nguyen is an editorial intern for Sierra Magazine. She plans on visiting Farm Sanctuary in mid-January of 2013 to be in the company of family and rescued farm animals.