Natural wonders closer to home


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“Experience natural wonders” doesn’t have to mean trekking the globe. Some of nature’s not-so-best-kept secrets can be found within and not far from the United States. So if climbing Mount Everest or diving near the Great Barrier Reef isn’t an option, check out some of these accessible alternatives.

Marvelous Mountains
Standing at 29,029 ft, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain on Earth. And while many have successfully reached the summit, its difficult climb is not for everyone.

If you aren’t quite ready for Everest, but still want a challenge, the United States has several peaks that fit the bill. Here is a list of six of them from the travel site Matador Network.

Fantastic Falls

Though neither the tallest nor widest waterfall, Victoria Falls is the so-called largest waterfall in the world. With a width of 5,604 ft and height of 354 ft, Victoria has been delighting visitors for more than 100 years.

Traveling to Africa isn’t easy, so why not check out some falls closer to home? Niagara Falls is a breathtaking spectacle of nature and can be seen in the U.S. and in Canada. (Tip: HW recommends the Canadian side). Click here for information on visiting Niagara Falls.

Riveting Reefs

Spanning an area of approximately 133,000 square miles, the Great Barrier Reef has been a favorite destination for divers.

Looking for some beginner diving options that are a bit more accessible? Scubadiving.com readers offer the British Virgin Islands, Hawaii and the Florida Keys as a few suggestions.

Sensational Saltwater

At 1,388 ft below sea level, the Dead Sea, located between Israel and Jordan, is the lowest point on Earth and attracts visitors from around the globe who swear by the healing powers of its water and nearby mud.

Not feeling a trip to the Middle East? Check out Utah’s Great Salt Lake, the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River. Click here to learn more about the lake plus get information on camping and other outdoor activities.

Captivating Caves

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam is known for its total of 300 caves and grottos and holds several world cave records including the longest underground river and largest caverns and passageways.

If you want to head underground, you need look no further than the United States. The country is full of a variety of caves to explore. Learn more about them here.

Colossal Canyon

No list of natural wonders would be complete without mentioning one that is right in the United States: the Grand Canyon. Overwhelming visitors with its sheer size — 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep — the Grand Canyon is truly a breathtaking experience. For more information about the Grand Canyon and to plan your next trip, visit the website of the National Park Service.

Editor’s Note: This article assumes the reader resides in North America. If you live elsewhere, please feel free to share some of your travel ideas below.