If you’d like to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city where things are relatively quiet, these are some of the top destinations to choose from. They all offer an alternative to city life as well as some excellent scenery.
1. San Juan Islands, Washington, USA
The San Juan Islands in Washington State are made up of four islands, named Orcas, Shaw, Lopez, and San Juan. They’re ideal places for whale-watching and hiking, especially in Lime Kiln Point State Park, which is located on San Juan’s west side.
You can also take a kayak trip while there if you’d like to get a close up view of playful porpoise.
Over on Lopez you can enjoy cycling and then head over to Orcas, where you can visit Turtleback Mountain Preserve. You can reach the islands by a short 40-minute plane trip from Seattle as well as the Washington State Ferry.
The San Juan Islands Scenic Byway is a marine highway which lies between Anacortes and San Juan and offers some spectacular views.
2. The Muskokas, Ontario, Canada
In the Canadian province of Ontario, cottage country is a well-known area within about 100 miles of the country’s biggest city of Toronto. The region is filled with hundreds of lakes, cottages, and resorts and is a popular weekend getaway for people close to Toronto.
It takes about two hours to drive there and once you arrive, you’ll be welcomed ay 2,500-square-miles of wilderness paradise and over 8,500 miles of total shoreline.
Needless to say, it’s a fantastic region for camping, hiking, fishing, boating, watersports, and cycling. The region is also home to numerous historic villages and towns as well as spectacular waterfalls and granite peaks.
If you head east you’ll reach Algonquin Provincial Park and if you head west there is Georgian Bay Islands National Park, which features 30,000 small islands. There’s also an actual town and lake named Muskoka.
3. Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden
This fascinating region is home to about 25,000 islands, with about 1,000 of them being inhabited. The archipelago stretches over 60 miles and is begging to be explored by canoe, kayak, ferry, or sailboat. Visitors are allowed to explore the islands at their own free will.
This means you can enjoy picnics on the sandy white beaches, hike on the forests, swim in hidden coves, and camp wherever you like.
There’s plenty of daylight in the summers as the sun doesn’t go down until about 10 pm. Fjaderholmarna is the closest island to Stockholm, which is about a 25-minute trip by ferry. The archipelago features several restaurants, parks, nature reserves, and museums.
Accommodations include wooden cottages, inns, youth hostels, and chartered yachts.
4. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, USA
About a quarter of Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is covered in glaciers and that’s quite a lot when you consider the park is just over three million acres in size. The area is a World Heritage site, a marine wilderness and a UNESCO Biosphere Preserve.
The wildlife here is fascinating as you’ll have the opportunity to come face to face with humpback whales, brown and black bears, moose, harbor porpoises, and mountain goats.
The peaks of the mountains can reach 15,000 feet high and in the summertime you’ll witness coastal forests and deep fjords. Many people only see the park from their cruise ships, but you can also take kayak trips along the 700-mile coastline.
Camping in the wilderness is popular and you’ll also find a lodge if you’d rather sleep indoors.
There are also cabins and lodges in the nearby town of Gustavus. The park is about 60 miles from Juneau and you can only reach it by seaplane, boat, and cruise ship. The Alaska Marine Highway System can also get you there a few times a week from Gustavus during the summers.
5. Roatan, Honduras
Roatan is one of Honduras’ bay islands and sits approximately 30 miles to the north of the mainland. It’s one of the world’s best places for diving and viewing coral reef. There’s also plenty of fascinating marine life. The Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences offers educational and recreational dolphin programs.
These allow you to snorkel with bottlenose dolphins. There’s also a six-day-long camp for children called the Dolphin Scuba Camp. Thatched-roof cabanas can be rented at Mango Creek Lodge, which sits in Port Royal harbor.