Some people travel to discover dense cities filled with unique cultures, others travel to escape from it all and reconnect with nature. Some want a little of both. If you’re in need of a little escape mixed with a little excitement, try traveling to these cities where you’ll have a ton of opportunities to have fun without forgetting to commune with nature.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is inundated in natural wonders. For starters, it’s located at the base of Pikes Peak, one of the tallest mountains in the Rockies. It’s surrounded by national forests, and nearby you’ll find a 120-story-deep canyon called the Royal Gorge. You can go rock climbing, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and whitewater rafting all within the surrounding area. And you don’t have to shy away during winter; there are a ton of ski resorts nearby ready to take you on a wild ride.
Anaheim is surrounded by thousands of acres of state parks with 42 miles of sunny beaches nearby. With Southern California’s practically flawless weather, virtually any day is a great for surfing, hiking, jetskiing, whale and dolphin watching, or kayaking. For something less extreme, you can always head to the green at one of the roughly 300 golf courses on California’s coast.
Anchorage is filled with panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, and it’s surrounded by an abundance of ski resorts for those who want to get up close. Chugach State Park is the third largest state park in the U.S. and encompasses more than half a million acres with 200+ miles of year-round trails, 50 glaciers, and plenty of wildlife to observe. You can bike, hike, camp, or just sit back and enjoy the view.
The city of Mesa is only a few miles from the excitement of Phoenix, but it borders thousands of acres of national parks and the Sonoran Desert wilderness. The dessert boasts one of most diverse ecosystems of plants and animals of any desert in the world, making it a great place for hikers, cyclists, horseback riders, and kayakers wanting to explore. Mesa also has a unique series of urban fishing lakes, which are stocked for the local population of recreational fishers. There are also over 200 golf courses nearby, so you’re going to want to brush up on your putting.
Minneapolis is known for it’s winter sports, but it’s no snoozefest once summertime hits. The Mississippi River cuts through the middle of the city covered by miles of parks and green space. Minneapolis’s “Chain of Lakes” park connects five of the city’s most beautiful lakes in a series of breathtaking trails. Come for the beaches, live music, hiking, and biking, and stay for the snowboarding and ice skating once winter finds its way into the city again.
Each city offers it’s own unique experience from the restaurants and museums to the trails and waterfronts. The more you can explore, the more you’ll get out of your travels. Just make sure you grab a few photos a lot the way. (Pics, or it didn’t happen.)