We only have so much time on this earth, and within our life span. Only so much time that isn’t spent on basic life necessities.
Let’s use some of that time to see and experience God’s magnificent Creation!
I’ve never regretted going to magnificent places. You probably haven’t either. But we need to make room for these places in our lives. If we wait until we “have time” it won’t happen!
Define what’s magnificent to you, and start a list (call it a Bucket List if you want to) of places you want to see. Separate this list into three sections: faraway destinations, closer destinations and local destinations.
Magnificent Places You have to Travel To
We’ll never have time to get to all the places we dream about! But what are some that may take a road trip or a plane ticket?
Even if your trip isn’t for the sole purpose of getting in nature or wilderness, you can at least include natural places in almost any itinerary.
While our kids were growing up, we planned a 1-2 week road trip somewhere in the US every couple of years.
We love the mountains, so our top favorites included the Black Hills, the Tetons, Yellowstone, Colorado and most of Wyoming.
We’ve been talking about Banff and Glacier for awhile, so this summer we’re heading that direction. Our kids are adults now, and two of them are married—and they all want to come along!
It takes some doing to hash out schedules. It takes money—more if you’re going to fly and rent a car. But the experience and memories are so worth it. Especially when you’re with family members or friends who appreciate the outdoors as much as you do.
- National parks in the US and Canada, like those mentioned above.
- The Botanical Gardens and ocean shore near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (my sister lives there, so we have a free place to stay!)
- One of my dream destinations is Norway. I want to see the fjords—preferably by kayak—and hike a few of their stunning trails in the mountains.
What faraway places are on your list?
Magnificent Places a Short Trek Away
Don’t overlook magnificent places within your own state just because it doesn’t seem exotic. Find out what natural wonders others come from a distance away to enjoy. Go to your state’s website for state parks to see photos and read what they’re known for
It’s usually easier to get away over a weekend than for a whole week, so plan some short jaunts to beautiful places within a half day’s drive.
Maybe there’s a great hike that’s just a couple hours away. Make it a day trip.
- The Boundary Waters and Lake Superior’s North Shore draw people from many parts of the US…and they’re just a half-day’s drive for us. We go there many times every year.
- Itasca State Park and the headwaters of the Mississippi River is about 4 hours away. I finally made it there about 3 years ago, and want to go back for at least a weekend.
What are beautiful places you want to see that are just a short trek away?
Magnificent Places in Your Own Backyard
Just 15 minutes away from our home is one of my favorite regional parks. I just went on an hour hike there today
There are probably dozens of local places near you that are beautiful, natural and inviting if you take the time to find them.
I started a new blog last year that highlights local outdoor rec opportunities in our Twin Cities area. Because of that I’ve gotten to more local parks and trails in the past year-and-a-half then in the first 38 years I’ve lived here!
I bet if you spent a few hours searching online you’d find a bunch of great places near you, too.
- For the first time in 40 years, I visited Interstate Park in Wisconsin—just across the border. I absolutely loved it! Now that I know how great it is, I hope to go back every year and bring friends and family. It’s just an hour’s drive away.
- Next door to the Minnesota Zoo, 45 minutes away, is Lebanon Hills Regional Park. It has over 20 miles of wooded hiking trails, plus several lakes linked by portages for an urban canoe trip. Go figure! I only knew about it when I started researching local regional parks.
- Just 10 minutes away is a little city park I discovered when my dad moved into a memory care facility just a mile down the road. He and I went for walks there regularly for most of that first year. What wonderful memories I have of that beautiful little park, just a few acres, hidden away in an urban neighborhood.
Where are some local parks or trails near you that can satisfy your longing for the woods or a lake? For a hike, paddle or overnight camping trip? They’re bound to be all around you
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Sharon is the founder and publisher of Active Outdoor Women. She loves getting outside in beautiful places to hike, paddle, camp, snowshoe, ski, ride—and encouraging others to come along! Besides maintaining AOW and her other website, Twin Cities Outdoors, Sharon writes and designs websites, newsletters, blogs, emails, books and other marketing tools for clients.