Spring has sprung so now is the time to get back outdoors, breathe in the fresh air and reconnect with nature.

Spending time in nature has endless benefits such as improving mental health, reducing feelings of stress and anger, and boosting physical health. For travellers who love to explore and indulge in all that mother nature has to offer, please see below a round-up of the best outdoor breaks for this spring. 

The best outdoor breaks  – For the adventurer

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Seattle

Just an hour outside of Seattle, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is an incredible landscape where visitors are fully immersed in nature. Located on the west side of the Cascades between the Canadian border and Mt. Rainier National Park, the historical landmark boasts breathtaking greenery, magical mountain meadows and views that reflect a painting. The year-round recreational opportunities are endless but spring is a particularly good time to visit, offering opportunities for hiking, fishing, river rafting and bird watching. There are also a number of campgrounds for adventurous travellers looking to camp beneath the stars. Visitseattle.org

Gunnison National Forest, Colorado

Spanning 1,672,136 acres across five countries including Mesa, Gunnison, Hinsdale and Saguache Counties in Western Colorado, Gunnison National Forest is overflowing with greenery and breathtaking landscapes. With over three thousand miles of trails to be trekked and explored, the paths lead to a world of beautiful solitude. Many were carved by indigenous people, early explorers and miners, connecting travellers to those who came before them. Offering unforgettable experiences including hiking, fishing, skiing, mountain biking, camping and even cattle ranching, the natural attraction is a must visit for the active traveller. www.colorado.com

Everglades National Park 75th anniversary, Florida’s Paradise Coast

In 2022, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Everglades National Park celebrates its 75th anniversary. Located in Southwest Florida, the Paradise Coast sits on the Gulf of Mexico and comprises three distinct areas, including Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades. The best way to experience the wilderness is by the very many guided tours on offer via kayak, airboat, paddle, on board a WaveRunner or swamp walking on foot. Visitors will have the opportunity to spot over 200 different species of birds, manatees, dolphins, alligators (the only place in the world where both cohabit) as well as the rare ghost orchid and Florida Panther.Paradisecoast.com 

The best outdoor breaks  – For the hiker

Laurel Highlands, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Whilst Pittsburgh is known for being an urban city filled with arts and culture, many are unaware of its surrounding natural beauty. Just a 45-minute car journey outside of the city, travellers can discover the Laurel Highlands, a magnificent mountainous region which is home to eight state parks and two forests. Nature lovers can walk through towering trees, trek through water-carved valleys or roam along the mountains. Hikers are spoiled for choice with numerous routes to choose from, all with peaceful spots and diverse wildlife. Spruce Flats Bog in Forbes State Forest alone has 60,000 acres of land, over 300 miles of multi-use trails, and is home to unique plants lost in the ice age. www.visitpittsburgh.com

Hachinohe, Japan

Tucked into the north-eastern Aomori Prefecture, well off the typical tourist trail, Hachinohe is a thriving region where city meets coast. The region is known for its coastal walking, but it also boasts plenty of ancient woodland perfect for forest bathing. Walk past the secluded fishing port of Fukkubo to find Yodo-no-Matsubara, the Yodo Pine Grove. Here, rows of 100-year-old pine trees sway in the ocean breeze. Glimpse rugged and whitened coastline through the trees, a picture-perfect walking experience. www.visithachinohe.com/en 

West Hollywood, California 

West Hollywood offers access to a number of incredible local trails perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Nearby hikes offer stunning views whilst allowing walkers to workout at the same time. Whilst connecting with nature might not be the first thing travellers associate with when visiting West Hollywood, LA is bursting with scenic trails and spectacular views. First up we have Runyon Canyon hosting several draws—its natural beauty, stunning views of mid-city and downtown and its proximity to Hollywood. Continue on to Griffith Observatory, one of the most iconic venues in LA, an Art Deco masterpiece that was completed in 1935. Each month, the Observatory offers a Sunset Walk & Talk led by a park ranger and a museum guide. The hour-long hike starts and ends on the Observatory’s West Terrace and covers about half a mile. www.visitwesthollywood.com

The Islands of Tahiti

The rugged volcanic terrain found across The Islands of Tahiti offers numerous hiking possibilities for all abilities through jungle pathways, vanilla plantations and fields of wild orchids. All hikes provide rich rewards of stunning mountain top panoramas, and those looking for a particularly challenging hike can try to scale Mt Otemmanu on Bora Bora. For those looking to mix culture into their workout, head to the Marquesas Islands, such as Nuku Hiva, and explore the Tiki statues and original settlement archaeology sites as you wind your way round the islands. www.tahititourisme.uk/en-gb

Desert hikes in Greater Palm Springs, California 

Surrounded by the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains and miles of natural beauty in every direction, Greater Palm Springs is an ideal destination for those who love to discover new territories on two feet. Two hours east of LA, the desert Oasis offers more than 100 trails to choose from in varying fitness levels. Scenic hikes include the six-mile round trip Araby Trail, perfect for lovers of celebrity spotting and architecture, Big Morongo Canyon preserve is ideal for those seeking a more intense experience amongst diverse plant life and more than 240 species of birds. Finally, the Murray Canyon Trail at Indian Canyons rewarding hikers with a view of the Seven Sisters Waterfall at the end. Joshua Tree National Park needs no introduction and offers a sweeping array of natural rock formations and nature across 1,250 miles of arid landscape. www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com 

South Fork American River Trail, Sacramento California 

The Sacramento area is home to wetlands, rivers, parks and hills, making it a great hiking destination for those looking to reconnect with nature. Try the South Fork American River Trail which comprises 25 miles of trails, spanning from Sacramento to Coloma, with paths for all levels of hiking. No matter which trail hikers decide to take, the scenery is spectacular. South Fork offers rushing river views, tumbling hills, forests and chaparral canyons so bringing a camera is an absolute must. These hiking trails account for almost a fifth of California’s native plant life. www.visitsacramento.com 

Yosemite Mariposa County, California 

There is no better way to get up close and experience Yosemite Mariposa County and the Sierra wilderness than by setting out on foot and discovering what some of Yosemite’s hikes have to offer. While the most popular hikes in Yosemite are well known such as the Half Dome Cable Hike where hikers can combine two iconic hikes by taking the Mist Trail to see Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls before hitting Yosemite’s most iconic rock face, there are many lesser-known Yosemite hikes that boast some of the best views, vistas, fascinating history and granite icons that can only be experienced by lacing up those hiking boots and taking on the stunning Yosemite Valley and wild Yosemite wilderness. Try getting out and about in Mariposa County – the area includes not only Yosemite, but many other places worthy of exploration like the Sierra National Forest, the Merced River Recreation Management Area, Coulterville, Mariposa, Fish Camp and Wawona to name a few. www.yosemite.com

The best outdoor breaks  – For the forest bather 

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California 

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are home to California’s biggest trees, and massive caves. Within the borders of Sequoia/Kings Canyon are Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States at 14,494 feet, and the Kings River Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in North America. Still, the parks, as well as adjacent Giant Sequoia National Monument and national forest lands are most revered for their super-size sequoias which can turn any person into an avid forest bather. Over 1,000 miles of walking trails cater for everyone from short strolls to full day and overnight hikes. Wuksachi Lodge in the heart of Sequoia is in a prime location near the General Sherman Tree making it an ideal base to explore the highlights of the park. There’s also an on-site pizza deck and restaurant, offering plenty of dining options. www.visitcalifornia.com

Alpe Adria Trail, Slovenia 

More than 60% of Slovenia is covered in forest, making it the third most densely forested country in the EU, so it’s no surprise that Slovenia is fondly known as the green heart of Europe. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, there is no better way to experience the great outdoors than taking part in the Alpe Adria Trail. Linking Slovenia to Austria and Italy, the trail is approximately 750 kilometres long, has 43 stages and is suitable for hikers of all abilities. Stages one to 21 run through Austria before getting to the 22nd stage which takes trekkers across Slovenia, where the Italian and Slovenian borders intertwine. Destined to win every traveller’s heart, paths guide tourists through Triglav National Park in the Julian Alps, Lake Jasna, Trenta Valley and the emerald-green Soča River. The Slovenian part of the trail offers many opportunities for authentic restaurant stops and stays at mountain huts and traditional inns. www.slovenia.info/en

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