Vicarious Exploration: Virtual Tours to Fuel Your Wanderlust

by Tanner Colley

There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars. Jack Kerouac

We’ve been stuck indoors a lot lately. Here’s a way to explore the world from your own home.

Thankfully, technology today is amazing. While parks across the country are closed during this time, U.S. National Parks offer five beautiful and inspiring virtual tours for you to explore without leaving your backyard thanks to a partnership with Google.

The collaboration, “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” will take you on a grand tour across the Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park in Hawai’i, Carlsbad Caverns National Parks in New Mexico, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, and Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida.

“The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” Homepage

Check out the facts below to get you excited for your next virtual adventure.

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Photo by Phillip Sauerbeck on Unsplash
  • Nearly 40 glaciers make up 51% of the park’s landmass
  • Spans close to 700,000 acres
  • Elevation spans from zero feet to 6,612 from the Atlantic Ocean to Mt. Truuli

Hawai’i Volcanoes, Hawai’i

Photo by Marc Szeglat on Unsplash
  • Home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes: Kilauea and Mauna Loa
  • Kilauea most recently erupted in 2018 (while the lava flows have subsided, the virtual tour lets you see the lava, no protective gear required
  • Refuge for 60 threatened and endangered species not found anywhere else in the world

Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Photo by Cason Asher on Unsplash
  • Over 119 caves lie beneath a landscape of towering ancient sea ledges, craggy canyons, massive cacti, and desert wildlife
  • Preserves a section of the Capitan Reef, one of the most exposed Permian-age fossil reefs in the world
  • The Chihuahuan Desert is the most biologically diverse desert in the Western Hemisphere

Bryce Canyon, Utah

Photo by Mark Boss on Unsplash
  • Features the largest concentration of hoodoos (irregular columns of rock) on the planet. These hoodoos can be up to 200 feet high
  • Home to a series of sprawling natural amphitheaters or bowls carved into high plateaus. The most famous is Bryce Amphitheater twelve miles long, 3 miles wide, and 800 feet deep
  • One of the most sought after sights for stargazing due to high air quality and remoteness from light pollution

Dry Tortugas, Florida

Photo by Bryan Goff on Unsplash
  • Dry Tortugas is one of the most remote National Parks in the United States located 70 miles west of Key West and is only accessible by boat or seaplane
  • Fort Jefferson, one of the nation’s largest 19th-century forts in the United States, is situated in the middle of the park
  • The park’s coral reefs are some of the most vibrant in the Florida Keys

Bonus Tours and Livestreams

Virtual Tours are available for attractions other than United States National Parks. Explore art in museums across the world, and animals habitats in some of the country’s famous zoos.


Zoos and Aquariums