Raise your hand if a big part of travel for you is moving beyond your comfort zones to have new experiences that transform you and change your perspective. Spending time in nature for your next travel adventure can give you just that. Plus, spending time in the great outdoors—be it forest bathing, earthing, or just taking a hike—can do a lot for your emotional, mental, and physical health.
Here’s a roundup of a few places to experience Mother Nature in her finest hour. Some are far-flung (think: Thailand), while others are closer to home—depending on where you lay your head. Keep reading for four life-changing nature trips you’ll want to book *now*.
Wildlife safari at Comstock Premier Lodge
Nestled within the Sandhills of Nebraska, away from the hustle and bustle of Omaha or Lincoln, is Sargent—AKA where the buffalo roam. There you’ll find cozy Comstock Premier Lodge, which offers tours of local wildlife that sounds like something straight out of The Oregon Trail, but, you know, in Nebraska. During your stay, opt for the combination ranch and lodge property tour that takes you through the more than 3,000 acres of wide-open spaces. Expect sightings of bison, elk, and other wildlife.
Marveling at elephants at Elephant Nature Park
The ethical and moral dilemmas over elephant sanctuaries around the world have long plagued travelers who wanted to responsibly have an experience packed with, well, pachyderms. Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, however, is one such example of those doing it right and humanely. Combine watching the elephants bathe from a distance to volunteering at the natural park for a few hours, a day or overnight.
Scenic horseback riding at Covells California Clydesdales Ranch
Love horseback riding and want to experience a different type of ride? In Cambria, a scenic horseback ride journeys across a sprawling ranch bordering the Pacific Ocean with jaw-dropping sunsets you won’t soon forget—whether you snap any pics or not. A tour takes riders around almost 2,000 acres including a Monterey pine tree forest.
Moose safari with Northwoods Outfitters
Head to Maine for a different type of wildlife safari. The city of Greenville is where Northwoods Outfitters holds down the fort and leads immersive tours in hopes of sighting moose. The tours can be taken by either water, by canoe or kayak, or on land. The company averages around 1,000 moose sightings annually, but keep your eyes (and phones) out for other animals, such as otters, beavers, ducks, bobcats, and more. You know what they say: Pics of it didn’t’ happen.