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10 Natural Wonders to Explore Summer 2017

by Elizabeth S.


Summer is a wonderful time to relax and take a much needed break from your ongoing to-do list. While you could chooses to just curl up on the couch, sometimes it's a better idea to go out and explore! After all, exhaustion is not always improved by sleep. Choose to reawaken and renew your spirit. I challenge you to plan one outdoor adventure this summer.

Many studies show the benefits of being out in nature. Feeling the sunshine, breathing in fresh air, seeking natural beauty, and exploring unknown places is the ultimate medicine. This summer, pack up the kids and the bare necessities for an outdoor adventure.

Here are some vacation ideas for you to look into exploring this summer. Any of these vacations would be fun to experience by yourself or with your loved ones.

Great Salt Lake: Utah

The Great Salt Lake is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. The lake is currently about 75 miles long and 35 miles wide. This area is a wonderful place to watch the sun set, hike, bike, swim, sunbathe, sail, and more.

Crate of Diamonds: Arkansas


Who would mind digging atop a 37.5-acre plowed field, if there is precious gem at the end? At Crater of Diamonds, no matter what you find, you get to keep it. People have found white, brown, and yellow diamonds, along with gems like amethyst, garnet, and jasper.

Admission is reasonably priced, especially considering all the available activities. Along with digging for gems, you can walk the trails, see wildlife, bank fish, and more.

Jockey's Ridge State Park: North Carolina

Jockey's Ridge State Park has the tallest sand dune system in the Eastern United States. Lace up your comfortable shoes and hike to the top of the dune to see a breathtaking view. If you want a less challenging hike, you can leisurely walk along the boardwalk or the nature trail.

 If you're climbing to the top, don't forget to bring a kite - the wind is perfect for kite flying.

Mammoth Cave National Park: Kentucky


Photo Provided by National Park Service

With 400 miles to explore, Mammoth Cave National Park will be a vacation spot to remember! It is the longest cave system known in the world, with many nooks and crannies yet to be discovered, To add to the intrigue, it also has a lot of interesting history dating back to the 1800s that can add even more context to your travel.

"Mammoth cave is like two parks in one," Vickie Carson, public information officer at Mammoth Cave National Park said. "There is the cave to explore. It's like a whole different world down there -an alien place you can almost say is full of the unknown. And then there is the surface, a dense forest, river ways, and trails for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding."

Natural Bridge: Virginia

A long time ago, a cavern collapsed and Natural Bridge was formed. Since then, it has become a tourist destination and designated a National Historic Landmark, a Virginia Historic Landmark, and listed as a National Register of Historic Place.

Take a guided tour of the caverns and discover a beautiful natural display 34 stories deep within the Earth.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park: Texas


This state park has been open for more than 80 years. Early Spanish explorers named the canyon "Palo Duro," which means "hard wood."

"You can camp, hike, and it's also a great place for mountain biking," Amarillo Director of Communications Eric Miller said. "If you've never been there, you need to allow for a couple hours because you don't want to just go to the overview, look, and then leave."

Miller let me in on an Instagram tip for getting the best photo: "The best time is early in the morning and late in the evening when the sun is at that beautiful angle. The colors of the canyon wall look vibrant."

Monument Valley: Utah

If you are ready to get away from it all, Monument Valley is the ideal spot. With big sky and gigantic rocks, nothing will prepare you for its beauty until you see it for yourself. The sights will take your breath away.

Enjoy hiking, rafting, horseback riding, and camping at Monument Valley.

Niagara Falls: New York


Niagara Falls is a must-see in your lifetime. There are plenty of active ways to experience the area. Feel the water on your face, take a guided tour, or explore all on your own. Niagara Falls hopes to inspire travelers to reconnect with nature through experiences like hiking the gorge and enjoying the water assets.

"There are so many ways to truly experience this destination," Destination Niagara USA director of communications Andrea Czopp said. "The two most popular attractions within the Niagara Falls State Park are the Maid of the Mist, which is the iconic boat ride, and the Cave of the Winds, which is a set of wooden walkways that take you just a few feet away from the base of the falls."

Black Hills National Forest: South Dakota

Open prairies, waterfalls, a wine trail, and caves - what's not to love about Black Hills National Forest? It is 1.2 million acres in its entirety. Many people visit the Black Hills for physical and spiritual renewal.

There are 11 reservoirs, 30 campgrounds, 32 picnic areas, two scenic byways, 1,300 miles of streams, and 353 trails, according to the United States Department of Agriculture website

Crater Lake National Park: Oregon

Over 7,000 years ago an eruption caused a 12,000 foot volcano to collapse, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, naturally filled by rain and snow each year. Scientists have recognized Crate Lake to be the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world.

But there is more to see than water - the lake only takes up to 10% of the park. Around the lake, you can see old-growth forests with beautiful towering trees and plenty of wildlife.

Plan your 2017 Summer Adventure

Whether you choose to visit one of these places this summer, or perhaps just enjoy your own backyard, take a moment to rest and rejuvenate in nature.

Follow along with us on social media for more tips on living a healthy financial and mental life!


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