Need to Get Outside? These 5 National Parks Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take From the Comfort of Home (Video)
Experience some of the country's best national parks — from Florida to Alaska — right from your couch.
You can still get your fill of the great outdoors, even if you have to stay inside.
With the ongoing coronavirus outbreak heavily affecting the U.S. as well as nations abroad, people everywhere are attempting to help slow the spread of the virus by self-isolating and practicing social distancing, as the CDC recommends.
Because of this, schools, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and other places for people to congregate are temporarily closing their doors. In response, many schools have moved to online instruction, and even tourist attractions, like these 12 famous museums, are offering virtual tours so people can get a little break from cleaning and Netflix. Even New York's Metropolitan Opera is offering free virtual experiences to keep people entertained.
But what about those of us who love to explore the outdoors?
Luckily, Google Arts & Culture has teamed up with five national parks in the U.S. so people can enjoy the beauty of the natural world while sitting safely on their couch. These parks feature different climates and environments from across the country, including famous desert vistas and snowy terrains.
Below is a list of the national parks that are currently offering virtual tours through Google Arts & Culture. Hopefully, there will be even more in the future.
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
This virtual tour lets you explore glaciers, fjords, and icebergs located in the Alaskan wilderness. Descend into an icy crevasse, kayak through majestic icebergs, and even see how a glacier melts and the effects that climate change has on this frozen terrain. Kenai Fjords has over 40 glaciers in the Harding Icefield, according to the National Park Service website, and the tour begins with a peek into Exit Glacier, one of the only accessible glaciers by road within the national park.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
One of the most popular national parks in Hawaii is now totally accessible online. This virtual tour lets you explore the Nahuku Lava Tube, which is a cave formed by flowing lava, which can drain lava from a volcano during an eruption. On the tour, you can also enjoy the stunning view from the volcanic coastal cliffs, “fly” over an active volcano, and see the effects of an eruption from 1959.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Located in the Chihuahuan Desert of southern New Mexico, this popular park has over 100 caves. On this virtual tour, you can take a walk through the fascinating caverns, view incredible rock formations, and even see thousands of bats who live in the cave system. You can even “experience” life as a bat thanks to this park’s impressive simulation.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
The beautiful, red and orange hoodoos of this famous desert landscape are now on full display, even if you’re in your living room. This virtual tour centered on Sunset Point lets you enjoy the star-filled night sky from this Dark Sky certified national park, get up close and personal with the park’s unique rock formations, and even take a horseback ride through the canyon from the comfort of your own home.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
This remote and severely underrated park is located 70 miles west of Key West, according to the National Park Service website. Thanks to this virtual tour, you no longer have to book a seaplane or boat to get there. Visit the Civil War-era Fort Jefferson, swim through the third largest coral reef in the world, and even take an exploratory dive into a shipwreck from 1907.
See all five of these parks on Google Arts & Culture.