How Earth Day is celebrated globally

By Eric Wright

Vertebrate populations have decreased in size by 60% since 1970, 18 million acres of forests are cleared each year, and the Arctic ice melting at an alarming rate. The protection of our planet is now more important than ever, and appreciation of the natural world seems to be something that we as humans are finding hard to grasp, as we continually mistreat the most precious thing we have. It's time that we start to defend the oasis we live in, which provides our food, water, and air, and we need to learn to share our world with the all the other living creatures that inhabit it.

Earth Day was founded on April 22, 1970, as a way to increase consciousness about environmental concerns by founder Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. In 1969, after a brutal oil spill wreaked havoc in Santa Barbara, California, Senator Nelson pushed for a "national teach-in on the environment," which eventually led to events all across the U.S. and 20 million Americans taking to the streets to display support for a sustainable environment.

Since then, the global situation has continued to deteriorate, as yet more wildlife habitats are lost forever, and pollution reaches terrifying levels. It's time for us to abandon our destructive ways and take responsibility to create a planet that can be a haven for both us and the thousands of wonderful living species that we share it with. It may seem a great challenge for us today as climate change lays waste to our small blue and green planet, but Earth Day is the perfect way for us to stand together in unison for the most important thing we have—Earth, our home.

Explore with us, as we find out how Earth Day is celebrated around the globe.

1. New York, U.S.

Earth Day's main aim is to educate people about our global environmental problems, and the rally in New York offers the chance to connect with companies using green initiatives, as well as learn more about environmental campaigns and green travel. The event is one of the biggest outdoor Earth Day celebrations and takes place in Union Square—comprised of festive events, live music, and ecological food trucks, all while raising awareness of the fragile state of our environment.

The 5-kilometer, eco-friendly walking tour is a great way to discover ecology schools and state-of-the-art waste and recycling centers, while the New York Botanical Garden showcases live music performances, parades, and tours that highlight the urgency to protect the world's plant species.

2. London, U.K.

Between Tuesday, April 16, and Monday, April 29, the Neoclassical Somerset House opens its doors with a two-week program that allows the public to enjoy interactive events and large-scale installations created by some of the best artists around the world. During the program, visitors will be able to discover ways to combat climate change, promote sustainable living, and attend family workshops.

Some of this year's highlights include exhibits such as a Dystopian vision of a future without humans; a flag and audio commission on the roof exploring the voice of the natural elements; and a large scale LED installation that brings together the voices of international activists, philosophers, and poets.

3. Sydney, Australia

For Earth Day 2019, Sydney is holding an incredible 24,901-mile challenge where event organizers will find out how many times participants can run the entire length of the equator. The challenge needs 415 participants to run at least 2 miles each day in April to make the distance around the equator at least once—calling all runners, joggers, and walkers!

Sydney will also have experts in clean energy talk about how companies and technology impact the condition of the planet. These experts in clean energy and environmental entrepreneurship will share their insights into how industries have an impact on the environment on April 23 at The Podium Building on Market Street.

4. Tokyo, Japan

Yoyogi Park in Tokyo sees over 100,000 Earth-conscious people gather each year to learn how to live more sustainably from various NPOs and speakers. Earth-conscious artists and musicians perform in the park over the weekend and visitors can find plenty of organic products and local business' explaining their respective green initiatives. One of the highlights of the celebration is the Tokyo Vegetarian Festival, which offers delicious, ecologically-sourced food.

5. Vancouver, Canada

Canada's "Party for the Planet" takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the City Hall Plaza in Surrey, where three stages offer live music and performances. For the kids, there's the Earth Day Pilgrimage to Burns Bog on Sunday, April 28, where more performers sing, dance, and drum as they walk through the gorgeous Delta Nature Reserve. This year, the free outdoor event features keynote speakers, poetry recitals, and music from the Susan Summers and the Sacred Web Singers, as well as Aline LaFlamme and the Daughters of the Drum.


Curious how you can give back this Earth Day? Hop on over to our recent post to find out where to volunteer this year!

Eco-conscious trips to take this spring

By Eleanor Stanesby

With Earth Day approaching, it's time to think about the ways we can all help support this incredibly important mission. Protecting the beautiful planet we have been gifted while getting to go on vacation sounds like the perfect pairing and will keep your carbon footprint low this spring.

Blooming flowers, migrating birds, and milder climates allow you to enjoy this picture-perfect season. While tourism produces 5% of the world's carbon emissions, committing to ecotourism can help sustain and protect all of those natural wonders across the globe.

Go green along with the season, and read on to find your perfect eco-conscious accommodation for a spring escape!

Destinations

Iceland

Iceland holds some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world. It's location in the mid-Atlantic ridge means the country produces an abundance of geothermal energy that powers almost the entire country. Their use of renewable energy makes Iceland one of the greenest countries in the world.

Interested in seeing how the geothermal energy is procured? Head to the world-famous geyser sites throughout Iceland. These natural hot springs are impressive both in beauty and in practicality.

Catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights with a stay at this gorgeous glass cabin!

Costa Rica

Costa Rica produces 93% of it's electricity from renewable sources—prioritizing keeping the country's carbon footprint as low as possible. In fact, in 2017, Costa Rica broke its own world record and ran on renewable energy for 300 days! What's more? Their goal is to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021, as well as eliminate single-use plastics entirely.

Heading to Costa Rica in spring is the perfect opportunity to see nature come to life. With a little more rainfall this time of year, the country's ample landscapes come out to play, creating magnificent views for miles. Over 25% of Costa Rica is home to wildlife refuges and national parks, so there is no shortage of stunning backdrops and exotic animals.

Surround yourself with tropical paradise at this luxury tree house, complete with an eco-Jacuzzi!

New Zealand

New Zealand has a plethora of places that will coincide with your commitment to the environment. From the marine reserves and natural caves to the protected national parks and breathtaking mountains, the country's sensational landscapes are sure to take your breath away. Through geothermal energy production, even New Zealand's cities are green, with electric modes of transport and sustainable accommodations.

The mix of rainfall and sunshine in spring allows a diverse ecosystem of both plants and animals to thrive in New Zealand—a true nature lover's paradise! Hike through the evergreen forests to see the vivid flora or catch a glimpse of the native birds soaring through the skies, as well as soak up some rays along the beautiful coast.

Go green in New Zealand with a stay at this eco-friendly tiny house.

A few favorite eco-friendly accommodations

We love how so many of our hosts make sustainability a priority at their glamping sites—from the products they clean with and the amenities and toiletries they provide guests with to the accommodation structures themselves...and more! Here are a few of our favorite eco-friendly rentals from across the globe.

United States

This eco-friendly elevated cabin in North Carolina makes for the ultimate environmentally-friendly vacation. Utilizing recycled paper products, solar lighting, a composting toilet, and so much more, this cabin does the utmost to protect it's beautiful surroundings.

Australia

Located on Phillip Island in Victoria, this glamping tent offers off-grid solar power, and all of the utilities throughout the accommodation are energy efficient. Here, you can guarantee minimal environmental impact on your getaway, while still having all the necessary comforts of home!

Europe

High in the trees, surrounded by vibrant greenery, near Villersexel, France, this tree house stay comes with biodegradable plastics and is committed to using organic waste for compost. Past the trees, you'll also have a beautiful lake view to wake up to!


Feeling inspired? Check out more of our eco-friendly accommodations in the U.S. and abroad!

GH Tips: How to garden sustainably

By Fred Jéquier

Photo from BBC's Monty Don.

What is sustainability?

Sustainability is never a simple thing to summarize in a brief description, but in 1987, the United Nations defined it as when "design, construction, operations and maintenance practices [...] meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Photo from United Nations.

Sustainability has become an increasingly important issue in recent years, not just in the larger sense that the UN is working tirelessly to achieve for the betterment of people living in poverty, but also in our day-to-day lives. Whether it's recycling, riding a bike to work, or even reducing the amount of meat we eat, we're all trying to do our bit for the environment. But what about our gardening practices?

On the face of it, working on our gardens seems like a pretty environmentally-friendly activity, but whether we have the classic back garden, an urban community garden, or even a new-age roof garden, there are things that all green-thumbed people can do to ensure that their gardens are environmentally-friendly and continue to be sustainable—producing flowers, vegetables, and shrubbery for years to come—as well as working in harmony with the local environment.

Photo from The Spruce.

Here are some practical ways to make your garden more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.

1. Plant trees

Photo of a a man working with One Tree Planted.

Planting trees is one way to not only improve your garden aesthetically, but it also makes it more healthy. Trees actually store the carbon from the atmosphere that your soil needs to become more fertile and fruitful. Of course, not everyone's garden can necessarily afford to give up space for trees, so why not volunteer with a local organization planting trees in communal areas, such as parks and community gardens?

2. Use natural fertilizers

The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides can have far-reaching consequences, according to a study by PETA.

To ensure our gardens and the habitats in them stay healthy, it is a good idea to try to avoid using synthetic fertilizers, and as much as possible, avoid using pesticides. Do you really want all those chemicals going from your vegetable patch to your plate? There are many other sustainable ways to help your garden thrive and grow—the most obvious of which is using compost. Filled with all the natural nutrients your garden needs, it's an eco-friendly way to keep your plant beds growing strong, and the beauty of it is you can make it yourself.

3. Composting

Photo from Earth Easy.

As we mentioned earlier, recycling is an important part of sustainability, and this includes our food and garden waste. By making your own compost, you're ensuring that all that leftover food and lawn clippings aren't simply ending up in a landfill somewhere. When making your own compost, you want to keep a balance between the brown and green plant matter, and you might be surprised as to what you can put in your mix.

To keep that good bacteria busy and active, the green matter is helped by grass clippings and kitchen waste. You can use your fruit peels, vegetables that are past their prime, and even coffee grounds. The brown plant matter is helped by shredded newspaper, wood chips, and dry leaves, so you can keep hold of yesterday's sports pages, and don't just bag up those leaves on the driveway when you've finished sweeping them up. Think of it as food for the garden!

4. Weed out the weeds

Every area has weeds that are native to it, and it's important to find out what may be growing in your area and during which season. Sometimes the worst garden weeds look like they're nothing more than wildflowers minding their own business, so it's important to know the difference. It's pretty tempting when you see evidence of weeds in your garden to get the herbicide out, but before you do that, there are natural ways to get rid of them. Tricks such as using salt, vinegar, boiling water, or simply removing them from the root can often be enough to a put a stop to them.

5. Diversity is key

When planning out your garden, try to get as many different species of plants as possible. Creating biodiversity is a good way to ensure that your prize flowers bloom for as long as possible, and keep coming back year after year. A wide range of plants also encourages local wildlife to visit your garden. Small birds and insects are an important part of a garden's life cycle, especially when it comes to pollination. Encouraging these habitats to spring up helps to keep your garden in ecological harmony with your surrounding environment.

6. Get the kids involved

As the old adage says, kids are the future. By getting your kids to help you in the garden and learning eco-friendly and sustainable gardening practices, it'll become second nature to them. No matter if it's at home, school, or in the local community, by teaching kids the right way to garden early on, you can make sure that they will continue to follow these practices as they grow older and start their own gardens.


Want to take sustainability to the next level? Expand your eco-friendly way of life to the day-to-day with some our favorite wellness tips!

5 must-haves for a day at the lake with your dog

By Jackie Dreyer

Editor's note: This is a guest post written by Mat Coulton, owner of Wiley Pup.

If you have a canine glamper on your hands, enjoying the outdoors can be twice as fun—especially if you have boating and swimming on the agenda. Getting ready for your adventuresome vacation, however, does require a little extra planning for your canine companion when you're planning to spend a day at the lake.

Here are 5 must-haves for enjoying the water with your furry friend.

1. The essentials: A dog's eye view

Any outdoor adventure is better when you pack the right gear. When it comes to enjoying the water with your dog, there are some unique needs that are easy to overlook. Be sure you think through the trip from your dog's perspective and cover these basics.

Collapsible water bowl

It's an easy thing to forget, but your dog can't drink from your canteen. Even if the lake is freshwater, it's also not a good idea to let your furry companion drink from it. In fact, some types of algae are downright toxic! Make sure to pack a collapsible water bowl so your dog can enjoy plenty of cool fresh water and ward off potential dehydration.

Waterproof bag

Keep treats and other snacks dry while canoeing or kayaking with your pooch in a waterproof bag. A day full of swimming and boating burns a lot of calories—probably more than your dog is accustomed to. Just like you, they are probably going to be ready for a small mid-afternoon snack to keep going on high octane. Remember to keep feedings small when your dog is active to avoid the potentially life-threatening condition known as bloat.

Extra towels

Easy to forget, but absolutely essential: extra towels. Your pooch won't mind if they get the towel with a big tear in the corner from that time it got partially eaten by the dryer....just so long as they don't have to share! (And really, who wants to layout on a beach towel that smells like wet dog?)

First aid items for dogs

You probably have people first aid covered; however, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has put together this list to make sure you have any possible dog emergencies covered, as well. A few essential first aid items for dogs that probably aren't in your regular kit include:

  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Milk of Magnesia
  • Muzzle
  • Extra leash
  • Vet information and prescription list
  • Pet digital thermometer (They go higher than those used for people.)
  • Animal Poison Control phone number (888-426-4435)

2. Canine life jacket: Safety gear for Fido

Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are natural swimmers. Admittedly, some dogs can't swim at all! While there are always exceptions to the rule, breeds that are notoriously bad swimmers include bully breeds (bull dogs, pit bulls, terriers, and more), basset hounds, dachshunds, and pugs and other Brachycephalic breeds.

Even if you have a strong swimmer on your hands, it is advisable to fit them with a dog life vest if they will be joining you on the boat. The reason for this is that it can sometimes be difficult to get a dog back in the boat if they jump out. They may make a beeline to the shore, not realizing it is too far for them to be able to swim. Better safe than sorry!

3. Saddlebag harness: Let your pooch carry the load

Many lakes offer hiking trails to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors from dry land. If you plan to take advantage of them, consider investing in a saddlebag-style hiking harness for your dog.

They come in many styles designed to provide your dog with balanced comfort for both short and long hikes. Roomy pockets on either side of these adventure harnesses allow you to pack items, such as ponchos, treats, kibble, portable water bowls, leash, sunscreen, and anything else that may come in handy on the trail.

Be sure that you keep an eye towards matching your dog's fitness level with the amount that you pack him up with. In addition, try to balance the load left to right for comfort and safety. Finally, take the harness off on breaks to make sure your dog has a chance to cool off, especially in warm, humid weather.

4. The right stuff: The best waterproof toys

Sure, a tennis ball might be your dog's go-to in the backyard, but it won't do for shoreside games of fetch. First, they get waterlogged and nasty. More importantly, they will eventually sink if they get punctured.

Floating skipping stones

These floating stones by Kurgo have the built-in advantage of flat sides, just like river rocks, so that you can skip them along the surface of the water with each toss. It makes a fun game even more fun by getting your dog's two-legged companion involved in the challenge.

Floating disc

If you have a Frisbee fanatic by your side (Border Collie parents especially), you may be disappointed to find out that most flying disks will turn over and sink in the water. The Zogoflex by West Paw solves that problem.

Dog float lounger

Finally, if you plan on whiling away a summer day floating on the lake, make sure you don't have to leave your dog waiting back on the shore. This innovative dog flotation device is made with durable fabric that is built to withstand dog claws. Plus, it folds up easily to take up very little room in the trunk.

5. Campfire bliss: visibility after hours

One last thing to consider that many pet lovers leave off their glamping list? Nighttime visibility. You'll have a flashlight to make it from the campfire to the cabin, but your four-legged friend will be using all four of his or her hands for walking.

Luckily, LED technology has made illuminated dog harnesses a relatively inexpensive piece of must-have outdoor gear for your pooch. Lasting 12 hours or more on a single charge (via USB cable), you'll get peace of mind when you're able to keep track of your dog when it's time for s'mores and ghost stories.

Note that this harness is water-resistant, not waterproof. While it isn't safe to go swimming with your dog after dark anyway, just be aware that this harness is not the right choice for an afternoon swim on the lake.


Mat Coulton was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, and grew up with dogs from young on. He decided to combine his business education, entrepreneurial experience, and love for dogs to create Wiley Pup. For more on Mat and Wiley Pup, visit their website and Facebook pages!

Best waterproof outdoor gear

By Arran Wallace

The good news? We're halfway through April, and spring has well and truly sprung. The bad news? Those pesky April showers, getting everything soggy and wet. Don't let the rain, well, rain on your parade! Take a look at this fantastic waterproof gear to make sure your spring glamping adventure as dry and as comfortable as possible, keeping you going until you catch the first sight of those May flowers.

Phone cases

On the left is Ounne's iPhone case, and on the right is Vansky's universal case.

We'll start with the most important thing to keep dry on holiday…your phone! From simple things like Instagramming that delicious pão de queijo in the streets of Rio to making an emergency phone call to your friends because you got lost in Yosemite National Park, there are hundreds of situations where you'll want to make sure your phone is in working order. These waterproof cases will keep them that way!

iPhone owners can look good while protecting their devices, thanks to Ounne's sleek and translucent shockproof case made from TPU-based materials that allows phones to be submerged under 6 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, everyone can enjoy Vansky's universal floating phone case, which can survive depths of 100 feet for up to 30 minutes—all while keeping its touchscreen functionality, the ability to plug in headphones, and a wrist strap for extra security. Now go and get that kayaking selfie!

Passport holders

The WITZ Waterproof Passport Locker in black.

Perhaps the only thing more important than your phone, especially if your travels take you abroad, is your passport. This, as well as various other travel documents, like boarding passes and insurance documents, can turn into a nightmare if damaged or lost. Where possible, these should be left somewhere secure and dry to be collected later, but if you have to take them with you, keep them safe with this waterproof passport locker from Witz. Not only is it completely waterproof and crush resistant, but it also floats!

Camera cases

This waterproof bag for SLR and DSLR cameras is one of the highest-rated on Amazon.

While most of us are happy to take snaps of our travels on our smartphones, others prefer the customizable settings and features of traditional SLRs (or DSLRs), as well as the wide variety of effects they can produce. These cameras need love, too, and are often much more susceptible to damage than your average phone, due to the different removable parts.

Cases like the one above from waterproof bagLuniquz protect both the camera and the lens from water with durable and scratch-resistant TPU and PVC materials. While it will protect water from entering if dropped into a lake, for example, it is not recommended for underwater photography. It offers similar protection against snow, dust, and sand, however, so you really can take your camera everywhere!

Bags and backpacks

This Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag was named #1 by gearhungry.com

Where are you going to put your brand spanking new waterproof gadgets while you hike through the rainy Hoh Rainforest? In a waterproof bag, of course! The yellow bag you see above is the Waterproof Dry Bag by Earth Pak and uses a roll-top design that is popular with hardcore kayakers, due to its small size and ability to float. It's by far the best option for any activities taking place on a body of water, like sailing or whitewater rafting.

It's not the biggest, however, and its single strap is a turn-off for people who will be carrying their bags long distances, so another, more ergonomic option might be the Overboard Pro-Sports Waterproof Backpack. Featuring the same roll-top design as the Earth Pak, it boasts two straps so it can be worn with ease, has a 20-liter capacity for all your stuff, and features various inner and outer pockets sealed with watertight zips.

Bluetooth speakers

Waterproof with a 40-hour battery life, this waterproof bluetooth speaker is perfect for any trip.

The sun is setting, and you've arrived back at your safari tent after a day of hiking, cracked open a well-deserved beer, lit up the barbecue, and sat down for a few minutes. As the conversation (and beer!) begins to flow, you begin to realize something is missing... music! If you're anything like us, you can't play the guitar, and music playing from a tinny phone speaker just doesn't cut the mustard. With a waterproof bluetooth speaker, like the one above from FUGOO, you can listen to your tunes anywhere in the world—without worrying about water damage from heavy rain, waves, or waterfalls.

Jackets

On the left, the Marmot PreCip for women, and on the right, the Outdoor Research Foray for men.

We've been looking at ways to waterproof your valuables, but now we're going to look at protecting the most precious thing of all...you! There's nothing worse than the feeling of being soaked and sodden—wet clothes clinging to your skin, slowing you down, and making you cold and miserable. A good waterproof jacket provides your vital organs with defense against both the pounding rain and howling wind, as well as is absolutely essential for most travels. Of all the waterproof garments available, they are rivaled in importance only by a good pair of boots.

The Marmot PreCip for women boasts one of the best quality-to-price ratios on the market, offering a breathable and water-resistant shell for around $100. It also packs away neatly, so when the sun starts shining again, you can easily stow it away in your bag.

The Outdoor Research Foray for men comes in with a heftier price tag of around $200, but rest assured, you will be buying a top-of-the-line garment. Adjustable hood and sleeve cuffs seal off all entry points , but moisture and heat can be vented, thanks to its armpit vents on the sides, which offer superior water resistance while remaining extremely breathable.

Boots

These Timberland White Ledge waterproof boots are both practical and stylish.

As the connection between your body and the earth, your feet are going to bear the brunt of the elements, including rain, streams, and mud, to name just a few. Just a few hours of exposure to cold and wet conditions can lead to cases of blisters, frostbite, and even trench foot, causing major discomfort. A good pair of waterproof boots will prevent all of this, enabling you to enjoy your journey to the max and go wherever the wind takes you.

These boots by Timberland don't just protect your feet from water, they look good, too! They boast the classic Timberland style, while utilizing a waterproof seal and rubber soles for traction in slippery conditions. For more extreme and muddy conditions, you might want to consider a pair of wellington boots. What you lose in portability, you more than make up for in practicality, as evidenced by their popularity among those in agriculture—a famously wet and muddy profession. Check out Hunter Boots for some stylish options.

Tips and tricks

To end with, let's look at a couple of home remedies for waterproofing your belongings, which are perfect if you're not in a position to shell out for new gear, but also don't want to stop exploring. It must be noted that these tips are no substitute for quality waterproof gear; they're just a temporary fix.

The first is a simple trick for waterproofing your bag by using a large trash bag. Simply cover your bag and secure it so only the straps are visible, and the bag can still be worn normally...voila! If the opening of the trash bag doesn't fit around the bag, simply use it to line the inside, and once it is packed, tie it shut. In this case, the bag isn't waterproof, but everything inside of it will stay dry.

Unlike the trash bag trick, which can be used whenever, this next trick for waterproofing your shoes will require some foresight, as well as a wax candle and a hairdryer. Take a wax candle and rub it all over your shoes, ensuring a white waxy layer is visible on the specific areas you want to be waterproofed.

Once this step is completed, take a hairdryer, put it on high, and blow dry your shoes! Candle wax melts at about 115°F, so after roughly 30 seconds, you will begin to see the wax disappearing. This is because it's melting and seeping into the top layer of your shoe. Did I mention candle wax is waterproof? Like some kind of boring power up from Super Mario, your shoes are now temporarily waterproof!


Looking for some places to put your new gear to the test? Find out the best national parks in the world here and check out some amazing rentals on Glamping Hub!

Top U.S. national park road trip ideas

By Eric Wright

Over two hundred years ago, a courageous group of 48 pioneers set out on an epic journey, battling through a severe winter, rugged mountains, and vast wilderness to cut a new trail westward from Massachusetts to Ohio. These bold American heroes started the expansion of the modern day United States, opening up new routes through the Northwest Territory. They were the bravest of the brave, and now it's your turn to follow in their footsteps and carve your own route through the unknown.

Release the adventurer inside you with one of our remarkable road trip ideas through a U.S. national park!

1. The Grand Circle Tour

With its awe-inspiring canyons and seemingly endless skies, the Grand Circle Tour in Utah offers 1,500 miles of incredibly scenic highways, six national parks, and huge lakes in the desert—meaning it's no wonder that this stunning region is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the states.

Start your tour by visiting Zion National Park, hiking Canyon Overlook Trail and watching the sunset light the entire canyon. On the second day, explore the spectacular Zion Canyon by taking the handy shuttle bus. Bryce Canyon National Park is then just an hour's drive away and boasts more majestic overlooks from Sunrise Point and Bryce Point.

The famous All-American Road, Scenic Byway 12, will then lead you through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument into Capitol Reef National Park and its unique rock formations. Be sure to add Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point, and Canyonlands National Park to the itinerary, too.

To end the vacation on a high, soak up the awesomeness of the Grand Canyon's mile-high cliffs from the South Rim, while wondering how on earth four Empire State Buildings stacked on top of each other could fit within its monumental walls!

2. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park

As the world's first National Park, Yellowstone contains more than 290 waterfalls, over 500 active geysers, and 67 species of mammals amid its sprawling 2.2 million acres. The vibrant and bizarre scenery at this one-of-a-kind spot means a road trip here is sure to evoke the senses.

Grand Teton National Park makes a great starting point for the road trip and the vistas of Phelps Lake from Death Canyon Trailhead are simply astounding. Jenny Lake, Hidden Falls, and Inspiration Point should also all make the list before getting back on the road to Yellowstone for terrain that seems like it could be from another planet.

Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, and Mammoth Hot Springs are all a must-see while on a scenic drive through Lamar Valley, where you'll see the bison at their watering hole for the ideal end to the road trip.

3. Yosemite National Park

The iconic valley of Yosemite is a photographer's dream, as well a paradise for rock climbers. With its towering waterfalls, giant Sequoia trees, and thousands of plant species, the area is a true natural wonder steeped in dramatic scenery.

Driving through the Wawona Tunnel to Tunnel View, the unrivaled beauty of the valley makes its instant and unforgettable impression on all its visitors. The majestic granite rock formation of the famous Half Dome and the panoramic views of the distant horizon at Glacier Point are the perfect way to start the vacation while the Four Mile Trail, which makes its way up to a 3,200-foot peak, is the ideal way to take in the diverse ecosystems and wildlife habitats in the park.

The Yosemite Valley Loop lets you burn some rubber while taking in the landscape and make some well-earned pit stops for more breathtaking sights, like climber's obsession and adversary El Capitan, Vernal Falls, and the tallest waterfall in North America, Yosemite Falls. As the Scottish-American influential naturalist John Muir once so aptly put it, this area really is "one of nature's rarest and most precious mountain temples."

4. The Great Smoky Mountains

Generally regarded as one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, with rock formations dating back over 200 million years, the rolling valleys and dense forests of the Smoky Mountains are home to more native trees than the whole of Europe combined.

Encompassing 244,000 acres in Tennessee, 276,000 acres in North Carolina, and a 70-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail, this region is an outdoor adventurer's playground that is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Cades Cove offers a scenic 11-mile loop road, where travelers can embrace the rich wildlife, historic buildings, and access to trails to delve deeper into the enchanting terrain.

The popular Newfound Gap Road also winds its way from Cherokee to the center of the park, crossing the 5,000-foot mountain pass of Newfound Gap and ending in Gatlinburg. The 66-mile round trip offers visitors a 3,000-foot ascent up through the backbone of the Smokies, with extraordinary mountain and forest views. Balsam Mountain Heintooga Ridge Road, accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway, gives drivers even more sweeping vistas, while Cataloochee Valley gets you up close to majestic elk grazing, all from the comfort of your car.

5. Joshua Tree National Park

Covering 1,235 square miles, Joshua Tree National Park is an ecological crossover, in which the Mojave Desert and the low Colorado Desert meet, resulting in two distinctly different ecosystems. The rugged mountains and broad valleys covered in twisted Joshua trees create an unfamiliar and extraterrestrial landscape.

Having previously lay hidden deep underwater for 250 million years, the area now offers a paranormal expanse that is perfect for an unforgettable road trip with friends and family. Starting off in the town of Joshua Tree and heading south on Park Boulevard will lead to mythical Hidden Valley, with its iconic massive boulders, and a short trip back on the road will leave you at Keys View. The 5,185-foot lookout point has panoramic views of the Coachella Valley below, as well as San Jacinto Peak and San Gorgonio Mountain.

Jumping back in the car for a short cruise through the desert gives you the chance for some photo ops at famed Skull Rock and Arch Rock, while driving south on Pinto Basin Road places you in the intriguing Cholla Cactus Garden, with its unusual strands of cacti sprawling across the barrens for as far as the eye can see.


Looking to head further afield? Check out these national parks around the globe!

Travel Guide: The Netherlands

By Eleanor Stanesby

Located in northwestern Europe, the Netherlands is best known for its interconnected canals, fields of tulips, and iconic windmills. This flat and low-elevation country borders Germany, Belgium, and the North Sea, and everything you'll stumble upon is bound to be picturesque...the famous cities, the quaint towns, and even the beaches! Approximately 15 million tourists visit the Netherlands each year, yearning to be immersed in its modern culture and relaxed way of life.

We've created this travel guide to give you some top tips on how to have the best trip possible in this famed European country!

Good to know before you go

Getting there and getting around

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the main international airport in the Netherlands and the third largest in Europe. If you're planning on traveling to the Netherlands from outside of Europe, this airport puts you just 6 kilometers away from the busy capital of Amsterdam. Conveniently accessed by train, Dutch Railways has a service that goes directly to Amsterdam Central Station, allowing you to access all that the city has to offer in just 15 minutes.

City Travel

Photo from SmarterTravel.

The public transportation here is second to none—ranked fourth in the world!—and is the best way to travel with ease, both inside the cities and across the country. Alternatively, you can rent a bike and experience the Netherlands' cycling culture.

Biking around the city is truly the best mode of travel, not only for viewing the city, but also to skirt around quickly. You are sure to see thousands of them on your trip, but be sure to keep an eye out when crossing the roads, as it's likely a bike will becoming your way instead of a car! A bike can be rented for anywhere from 10€ to 40€ per day, depending on how long you're renting for and from which shop.

Cross-country travel

Photo from EuRail.

Traveling across the country is made easy, thanks to Nederlandse Spoorwegen, the national railway, which connects almost every town in the nation and boasts over 400 stations. To cover long distances, the high-speed trains are recommended, as they allow you to get to a different city or town very quickly. The prices are dependent upon how far you're traveling—the further you go, the more expensive! Be sure to snag a window seat to enjoy the serene views of the Dutch countryside.

The most effective way to travel on trains is to buy a 7.50€ OV-chipkaart that you can use for all trains in the Netherlands. The card acts as the ticket and can be topped up at the machines that are conveniently located at every station. As you start your journey, swipe in at the barriers and swipe out when you arrive at your destination; this calculates your route and deducts the correct amount from your card.

Useful phrases

Culture


Food and drink

One of the best experiences of visiting a new country is tasting all the different foods and drinks it has to offer. The Netherlands has a very traditional way of cooking and serving food, and every dish you try is
guaranteed to be hearty and wholesome, with ingredients grown by skillful farmers or freshly caught on the coast. Stamppot is the traditional dish usually eaten on a cold winter's day: a mix of mashed potatoes, kale, carrots, sauerkraut, and rookworst sausage.

Religion

The Netherlands is one of the most secular countries in the world, with just over half of the population not identifying as being of any religion. The most predominant religion, however, is Roman Catholicism, dating back to the 16th century.

Events

The tulip festival Amsterdam. Photo from TulipsinHolland.

The Tulip festival in Amsterdam sees the streets being filled with vibrant colors every which way you glance. The tulip is the symbol of the Netherlands dating back to the 17th century and the Ottoman empire, withstanding economic impact for the country, both historically and in present day.

Amsterdam celebrates this through the thousands of tulips throughout the city, diverse in both color and variation. The motto of the annual Tulip Festival is "A tulip for every citizen," and there are 85 locations around the city that boast over 500,000 flowers total. The unique sea of colors create natural beauty in the middle of a built-up city and is not a sight to be missed.

Places to visit

Most people visiting the Netherlands head straight for Amsterdam. While it's definitely a city you'll want to check off your bucket list, make sure to hit up other cities to experience even more of the Dutch culture, architecture, and artistic jewels.

The Hague

Head to The Hague, the third largest city in the Netherlands, for a number of sites rich in history and politics. If your heading there in summer, even better, as you'll get to relax on the serene beaches lining the coast of the North Sea.

Rotterdam

Rotterdam is far from a traditional Dutch city. After being destroyed in WWII, it was rebuilt with a totally unique architecture. You can check out the unconventional cubed houses and the city's art scene, both on the street and in the museums. This is sure to be different from anything else you will visit on your travels in the Netherlands!

Outside the city

If big cities aren't your forte, make sure to check out the incredible natural sites scattered throughout the Netherlands, ensuring a more tranquil sightseeing experience.

Hoge Veluwe National Park

Photo from Planetware.

Become acquainted with nature in the largest continuous nature reserve the country has to offer. The landscape is so diverse that you can choose to either hike or cycle, all while looking out for the abundant wildlife the park holds.

The Windmills of Kinderdijk

Photo from Holland.com.

Located in the wetlands of Dordrecht—the oldest city in Holland—these windmills were built in 1740 to help control flooding. Now declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the long-standing windmills are one of the most photographed places in the whole country.

The Garden of Europe

Nicked name "The Garden of Europe," Keukenhof is the world's largest flower garden. The garden holds more than 7 million flowers all diverse in color, lining streams and waterfalls. A peaceful meander of this vibrant landscape sounds heavenly for a little bit of relaxation.

Safety while abroad

Luckily, the Netherlands is one of the safest countries in Europe. You can never be too careful, though, and adequately preparing before visiting a new country makes travel plans a lot smoother.

Visas

The worry of traveling to different countries can be the long-winded visa processes and documentation. The Netherlands, however, is a Schengen country, which means traveling there is made straightforward for most.

Due to the Netherlands forming part of this agreement, the country is completely visa-free. This means American, Australian, and Canadian citizens can visit without obtaining a visa, as long as their stay does not exceed 90 days. EU citizens also have the freedom of travel without the hassle of any visa processes.

What you'll need:

  • Valid Passport
  • Documentation with purpose of stay and proof of sufficient financial means

Any citizens traveling from one of the other 25 Schengen countries are granted free movement, with no internal borders in the whole of this area!

These are our top tips, but don't forget to consult your home country's government websites for updates on travel and more information:

Health and Safety

  • The European emergency number is 112 and will connect anyone to the police, fire department, or to an ambulance.
  • There is safe and drinkable tap water throughout the country.
  • No vaccines are required in order to travel to the Netherlands.

Where to stay

Vacation in this modern cabin just outside the city of Amsterdam.

Be truly immersed in nature with a stay at this pod rental in Veluwezoom National Park.

Keep exploring on Glamping Hub to find some unique accommodations for your stay in the Netherlands! Don't forget to check out our other travel guides for more top tips for other destinations, too.

Glamping Hub x The Breasties: A Galentine's Day weekend getaway

By Amy Ahlblad

What happens when an alternative travel company empowering guests to reconnect in nature, a unique host with a passion for recycling and repurposing, and a nonprofit organization supporting young women with breast and gynecological cancers come together? One unforgettable Galentine’s Day weekend—where a group of 24 strong, brave women came together at one of Glamping Hub’s most unique accommodations and left as breast friends.

The Breasties is a NPO made up of a group of women who move mountains. With their own unique take on support groups, they host free wellness retreats and meet-ups across the U.S. that connect survivors and previvors of breast and gynecological cancers, as well as caregivers. This was their first retreat of 2019, and we were so happy to share this special weekend with FlopHouze.

Below the infinite blue Texas sky sit six “shipping containers on psychedelics,” i.e., FlopHouze. Here, you can find host Matt White, who is just as unique as his accommodations. All the shipping containers have been outfitted with recycled vintages goods, and each with its own special treasures from around the world. Similar to the Breasties—sitting around the campfire, opening up to one another about their journey—no two are alike, but they all have something in common: they tell their stories of the past and inspire hope for the future.

White went above and beyond to help make this event the unique success that it was. He introduced us to chef and women's healthcare champion, Monica Pope, and lead the women to the world-renowned music institute, Festival Hill, for Saturday's activity. Pope, who you may know from Top Chef, provided healthy, locally sourced, farm-to-table meals, as she believes in healing the mind, body, and spirit by using food as medicine. She also recently co-founded the organization I'll Have What She's Having in support of women's healthcare in the hospitality industry.

While we did our best to plan each and every detail, we all know that there will always be surprises. For Saturday's activity, The Breasties made there way to Festival Hill—a sprawling 210-acre campus, containing major performance facilities, historic houses, extensive gardens, parks and nature preserves.

Among its collection of rare artifacts, this site also holds a statue of St. Joseph, and a guide, Bruce, from Festival Hill tells the story of the statue's wish-granting powers and his own personal account of its lure. In short, the man was having trouble selling his house, when one of the founders of Festival Hill recommended he pay St. Joseph a visit.

Intrigued by the story of the statue, Matt and The Breasties trekked deep into the woods to see for themselves. As told by Matt and Breastie Bri Wesley-Majsiak in follow up conversations, when they found the statue, an unfamiliar sound began to arise. After a few moments, everyone realized it was coming from the birds. The forest had come harmoniously alive, as all of the birds in all of the trees suddenly decided to serenade The Breasties—an inexplicable and eerie coincidence, but a memorable experience shared together nonetheless.

Upon starting this partnership with The Breasties, I could never have predicted how moved I would be by this organization of women. I have not been personally affected by cancer, and I cannot fathom what these brave women and their families go through on a daily basis. It all started last September when was introduced to Bri Wesley-Majsiak by a colleague of mine from Glamping Hub. We started discussing ways we could potentially work together for a wellness treat, and I felt so inspired by the Breasties. I was in awe of their strength, yet I also had feelings of guilt. Were there things in my life I was taking for granted?

Fellow Breastie, Dr. Lisa Pena, covered it as authentically and as real as it could possibly be said in her post, "Forever Changed":

"Just imagine for a second that you are in your mid 20s or early 30s. You are living your best life. You have plans and dreams and goals and although you have not found "the one" you know the universe or God will send the right person at the right time and you will have babies and a house and each other and a career… you know… no rush. Then you get the call. You have cancer and it's bad. It will require your beautiful young self to go through rounds and rounds of chemotherapy that will remove every piece of hair from your body, it will ruin your nails, it will devastate your libido and the medications that come with the chemotherapy may cause weight gain and swelling. You will now be single, have no hair, look sick to the world, feel sick most days, maybe be at a weight you aren't comfortable with and then you will lose your breasts to an extreme surgery. Your self confidence will be at an all time low and before all that you will consider freezing some eggs if you can afford it. What now? How in the world do you even begin to navigate this ridiculous dating world with all these perceived disadvantages?"

If there was anything I did understand, it was that these women are unstoppable. “They are terrified but dance and sing to Cardi B anyway. They are filled with anxiety but laugh and joke and drink too much in hot tubs anyway. They are uncertain and scared but love with all they have anyway. They are sad and grieving but lift everyone up around them anyway," Pena went on to write. The Breasties are united beyond their diagnoses. They are a group of women who take nothing for granted, open their hearts, and love endlessly. Glamping Hub is honored and humbled to have been a part of this experience.

All photos and video were taken by Erin Panosian.


For more on the Breasties, check out their website, Facebook, and Instagram!

Glamping Hub x Ethan Abitz road trip

By Amy Ahlblad

Host Spotlight: Mindy

By Jackie Dreyer

Editor's note: Each month, we'd like to introduce you to one of our wonderful Glamping Hub hosts and what inspired them to create a glamping site. This month, we have Mindy, who manages this romantic A-frame cabin in Zion National Park, Utah.

1. What is the story behind you starting your glamping site?

The A-frame on my glamping site has been a labor of love and was built as such. It is a getaway to relax, hike, and enjoy. The stargazing is stellar, and I wanted to share this place because of the location, the views, the ambiance, and the unforgettable experience. I want to let fellow adventurers bring the outdoors in and the indoors out.

2. What did you do before becoming a glamping host? What drew you to glamping?

Before becoming a glamping host, I was, and still am, a full-time biology student. Studying biology has drawn me to nature and helped me gain a true appreciation for the incredible environment around me. I've decided it's only natural that I share that beauty with those who value it as much as I do.

3. In your opinion, how does your accommodation fit the definition of glamping?

Glamping is a way to let guests connect with nature, without sacrificing comfort. My A-frame cabin provides the option to be outside, inside, or both. To maintain comfort in our space, there is a very big, very comfortable bed that gives the luxurious feel that is expected from a glamping experience.

4. What is the most special thing about your property?

The most incredible aspect of my property would have to be the incredible views. Standing at the base of the Canaan Mountain Range is breathtaking, overwhelming, and completely gorgeous—all at the same time.

5. What do you love the most about running a glamping site? What are some of the challenges you face?

The joy that I feel from sharing such a unique experience is unparalleled. I can't tell you how many times my glamping site has given full-grown adults the urge to giggle with excitement. The convertible wall lets visitors stargaze in the evening and wake up to stunning views in the morning. That said, there are challenges. The biggest challenge I've faced is encouraging guests to respect the environment by staying on walking paths and letting the vegetation thrive.

6. Tell us about your most memorable guest experience to date.

My most memorable guest experience was with a woman named Lauren. She was visiting from California. I met her upon arrival, and she was so sweet. As we introduced ourselves and began to converse, she spoke to me about some of the struggles she had been going through. She had recently been forced to put down her long-time fur-baby due to health complications. Lauren stayed for a few days, and at the end of her stay, she expressed that the getaway to southern Utah was exactly what she needed to take a break from it all and reflect, re-energize and reset.

7. Which three words are most commonly used in guest feedback about your accommodation?

The three most common words I hear in feedback are view, stars, and magical.

8. Tell us about the experience you provide for guests visiting your glamping site.

The A-frame offers an experience so unique and so closely connected to the outdoors. The goal is to contribute an unforgettable way for travelers to disconnect from daily life and reconnect with one another.

I always recommend that my guests bring food for grilling and light the tiki torches as the sun sets to fully enjoy the experience of eating and witnessing the awe of an entire canyon as their front yard.

Instead of driving out to nearby hiking routes, I encourage guests to search for their our own hiking paths out in the canyon right in front of the cabin. It is the best way to be able to hike without any people or distractions around.

9. If you could have anybody stay at your accommodation, who would it be and why?

If I could host anybody at my cabin, it would be George Daniel. He's weird and talented and makes incredible tunes. Who knows? Maybe it would inspire him to make more music.

10. Are there any upcoming additions/changes to your glamping site you would like to share with us?

I have big plans for my glamping site! Southern Utah is a truly magical place, and I am designing a site that will allow me to share my personal slice of magic with others. I want to add another A-frame cabin that offers the same experience as the first, but with enough space between the two that guests still get seclusion and privacy. I also plan to add a common area that will offer a community experience, if desired. The common area will include a hot tub, a fire pit, an outdoor kitchen, and other goodies.


To book an unforgettable stay with your special someone at Mindy's A-frame cabin in Utah, click here!

Photo and video credit go to Ethan Abitz.