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As spring starts to turn toward summer and it starts to get muggy outside, I start to think about being in the cool shade. I like to keep it simple and have some shade trees around me at all times. If I spend too long in direct sunlight, who knows what beast I’ll become.
Exploring a forest is a great way to enjoy a day outside, yet keep it cool and peaceful along the way. Here are few of my top choices:
Redwood National Park, California
There are so many people who want to see the giant redwoods. So much so, they will do just about anything responsible to check it off their list. Driving down the coast from Oregon, you quickly discover how unbelievable and how much more amazing the forest is vs. what other’s have told you. Find a picnic table and setup your spread. Then take turns looking straight up.
Olympic National Forest, Washington
Put it on your list if it’s not there already. Olympic National Forest is one of the finest parks you will ever visit. You might even enjoy it more than Yosemite! It provides access to several beautiful beaches, hundreds of unique trails and scenic drives. There are many beautiful, unique flowers, and fauna throughout the park; as well as rivers, creeks, and ocean shoreline! You’ll never want to go home!
Jiuzhaigou Valley, Sichuan, China
One of the true natural wonderlands of the planet, the Jiuzhaigou Valley area is full of spectacular scenery that will take at least a full day to enjoy. You’ll see blue lakes, waterfalls, verdant forests, snow-covered mountains and more. There are large crowds and the park’s public bus service gets very busy. If you’re willing to walk, you’ll see a lot more in a quicker time period.
Brocéliande Forest, Bretagne, France
The forest of Brocéliande is the mythic name for Paimpont forest. It’s a beautiful forest where there are a lot of folkloric legends, some relating to Merlin and Morgan of the King Arthur legends. The trees are said to turn to gold and become the home of faeries. Your imagination and camera will both have a great time exploring this forest.
Daintree Rainforest, Australia
Daintree Rainforest is the oldest surviving rainforest in the world. Located on the northeast coast of Queensland, it also the largest tropical rainforest in Australia. The area is known for its impressive biodiversity with respect to plants, marsupials, insects, birds and more. You could enter these forests and see just about any wild creature.
Halle Forest, Belgium
If your idea of a peaceful walk through the forest has blankets of flowers on every side, then go visit Hallerbos during the springtime when the wild bluebells are in full bloom. The walking and hiking trails are very wide and you can also take a bike through the purple forest. Feels like you’re inside of a fairy tale.
Beech Forest, Germany
Germany is very unique in that it has the only natural lowland beech forests in the world. In 2011, the entire area containing the five forests was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The canopy is always lush and thick, even in the wintertime. Nearby, check out Berlin’s Museum Island and the city of Hamburg.
Sagano Bamboo Forest, Japan
The next time you find yourself in Japan, be sure to visit the Sagano Bamboo Forest in Kyoto. It’s a very well-maintained forest but in a small area, so you won’t have to reserve days of your trip to experience it. Go early to avoid the crowds and get the best photographs.