Fairytale Destinations: 22 Magical Places To Visit In Nature

Last Updated on February 19, 2021

The world is full of magical places that feel like you have stepped right into the pages of a fairytale. In our last post, we shared Fairytale Destinations: 27 Magical Places To Visit In Real Life. Now, lets take a look at 22 magical places in nature to visit in real life.

Mother Nature sure knows how to put on a show. Witnessing the power and beauty of Mother Nature is always so mind-blowing and awe-inspiring. It is a great constant reminder of how small we are in the big picture.

“To walk into nature is to witness a thousand miracles” – Mary Davis

Stunning landscapes, the powerful rushing waters from a waterfall, beauty from erosion, or simply a flower in bloom, all bear witness to the Earth’s masterful creativity. Getting out and exploring in nature is so good for the soul, and these places will definitely make your heart flutter, or even skip a beat.

Here are 22 Magical Places in Nature that you’ll want to add to your bucket list to experience them yourself:

Wells Gray Provincial Park- BC, Canada

What makes it so magical:

Wells Gray Provincial Park in beautiful British Columbia is a waterfall paradise. With over forty-one named waterfalls it is one of the most magical places in nature, where you’ll continually feel like you have stepped into a storybook. British Columbia’s fourth largest park, with 5000km² of untouched Canadian wilderness, is located in the Thompson Nicola Region of Interior BC. A great bonus is that a lot of the iconic waterfalls are located along Clearwater Valley Road, and are a small stroll or easy hike from the car. This park is easily overlooked when considering a trip to the Rockies, but is one of the best underrated gems you will find in British Columbia. Wells Gray Provincial Park is a special place with a lot to discover for people of all ages and activity levels; make it there before it becomes the fought-after destination that it should be!

Best things to do:

Spahat Falls cascade down 80 meters through a keyhole in the rock. Helmcken Falls  is the most iconic waterfall of the entire park, cascading 141m into the canyon below. Dawson Falls will remind you of a miniature version of Niagara Falls.  At Moul Falls, you can actually walk behind the falls, where you will witness the incredible beauty and power of nature.

Wells Gray Provincial Park is also an incredible hiking destination. During the summer months, the most popular trail is hiking Trophy Mountain. One of the most easily accessible  sub-alpine meadows in B.C, even if you miss the wildflower blooms, like we did, you’re still treated to jaw-dropping views.

You also will not want to miss Clearwater Lake, the perfect picturesque place to relax when you need a break from the adventure in Wells Gray Provincial Park.

Antelope Canyon – Arizona, USA

What makes it so magical:

Antelope Canyon is the most visited and most photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest. You’ll be mesmerized by the oranges and reds intertwining throughout the canyon, as they ride along the curves and waves. The geological formations, formed as a result of flash flooding and rain, are absolutely remarkable, making it one of the most magical places in nature.

Best things to do:

Located in Page, Arizona, within Navajo Tribal Park, the canyon has two separate exploration points: the Upper Antelope Canyon and the Lower Antelope Canyon. The peak time to experience Lower Antelope Canyon is during the early hours of the day, or late afternoon, when the lighting will show off all the warm oranges and fiery reds. The Upper Antelope Canyon is popular for the light beams that reflect off of the canyon walls.

You are only able to see Antelope Canyon by guided tour. For a more enjoyable, and less busy experience, go between November and March.

While you’re in the area, take the fifteen minute drive to also experience Horseshoe Bend.

Waterton Lakes National Park – Alberta, Canada

What makes it so magical:

Located in the southwest corner of Alberta, Waterton Lakes National Park is the smallest national park in the Rockies. Though it may be small, it is mighty in its natural beauty. Alberta’s prairies and rocky mountains meet, providing some of the most magical places in nature for picture-perfect scenery. It is arguably the best-kept secret of the Canadian Rockies. It is still relatively unknown as most people flock to Jasper and Banff.

Waterton is also the only place you can find: a UNESCO World Heritage site, an international peace park, a dark sky preserve and a biosphere reserve.

Best things to do: 

Waterton Lakes National Park is known for its clear lakes, stunning landscape and mountain views, incredible wildlife viewing, stargazing and picturesque hiking.

The park has over 200 km of hiking trails, with some ranked in the top ten in Canada.  A shorter hike is Bear’s Hump. The steep climb is worth the gorgeous view that show off Upper Waterton Lake with the cozy Waterton townsite below. The Bertha Falls hike is one of the most popular hikes in the park and is easily accessed from the Waterton townsite, just past the bridge at Cameron Falls.

The best places to stargaze are at the Bison Paddock Overlook, Cameron Bay and Red Rock Parkway. To see the park from the water, take a boat tour, where you will also learn anything you’d like to know about Waterton Lakes National Park.

Summer is peak season to visit, but wildlife viewing is the best during the Fall months.

If you’re looking to extend your adventure, Waterton Lakes National Park also borders Glacier National Park in Montana, United States.

Photo: Antoine and Marielle, Offbeat Escapades

Glaciers, Iceland

What makes it so magical:

The Icelandic Glaciers are some of the most magical places in nature. Witnessing these stunning ice formations almost feels like you’re looking at something that only exists on another planet. In fact, the country has been called the Land of Fire and Ice due to various active volcanoes, iconic black gravel, and majestic glaciers that take up 11 percent of the total land area of the country during the winter.

These glaciers are formed due to the heavy snow and extreme cold that is present in the island during the colder seasons, especially being within the Arctic Circle. They vary in size and shape each year, but always look beautiful nonetheless with their crystal blue colors and intricately fine details. They are a natural wonder to behold and an activity that can be done in Iceland on a budget.

Best things to do:

The best glacier to visit is Vatnajökull Glacier. It is the largest glacier in Iceland and in all of Europe. This glacier alone covers 8% of the total land area of Iceland and is quite a majestic sight to see.

Another great glacier for its enchanting vibes is the Snæfellsjökull glacier. This glacier has been made popular by the famous novel of Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth. It was in Snæfellsjökull where the main characters of the novel found a passage that leads to the middle of the Earth. Snæfellsjökull is even believed to be one of the seven main energy centers in the world and Icelanders have recounted stories of how it emulates mysterious, magical energy that is quite indescribable.

Regardless of which one you pick, any of the Icelandic Glaciers are all fairytale destinations to visit because of how otherworldly it feels.

Antoine and Marielle of Offbeat Escapades are digital nomads and van lifers, based in the French Alps, but who have been traveling the world since 2018. Their blog features the best offbeat destinations, extensive budget guides, and essential van life tips that will convince you to pursue a life of mindful travel.

Photo: Paula, Paula Pins The Planet

Diamond Beach, Iceland

What makes it so magical:

During a road trip in Iceland, one of the must visit places is the Diamond Beach with breath-taking scenery of  a black sand beach with ice chunks that resemble diamonds. The black sand is made from lava, more precisely basalt. This kind of beach is formed when lava is rapidly cooled by the water, and then shattered by the tides and the strong winds of Iceland. The glacier lagoon flows through a short waterway into the Atlantic Ocean, leaving chunks of icebergs on a black sand beach, making it really look like giant diamonds. It is a dynamic, ever-changing scene shaped daily/hourly by the forces of nature. The ice contrast well with the black color of the sand with the waves sometimes crashing on the bigger pieces. The ice-chunks can be the size of a coin to the size of an adult, and even bigger sometimes. Their shapes are just amazing, they look like they were sculpted by the hands of men. One of the most magical places in nature, it is really like walking in wonderland .

Best things to do:

Go for a walk on the shore of the beach, to observe and photograph the ice cut like diamonds, broken by wind and waves. Just enjoy your time at the beach, the view, the seals, and the many forms of the ice chunks. While in the area, visit the Jokulsarlon Glacier with blue water and dotted with icebergs from the surrounding glacier, it is a fantastic spectacle. If you are lucky, you can see the seals swimming freely among the icebergs in this area. Another stunning site to visit at a very close distance driving is Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon. It is smaller than the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, but also very beautiful and less crowded. You can hike around the lake or pay for a kayak tour or inflatable boat tour among the glacier and icebergs.

Paula is a world traveler, adventure seeker, and athlete who is always in search of adventure and real-life experiences. She is passionate about cultural immersion, responsible traveling, and exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Photo: Claudia Tavani, Strictly Sardinia

The Beaches of Sardinia, Italy

What makes it so magical:

One of the most baffling things you will hear about Sardinia is that its beaches are as paradisiac as those of the Caribbean. If you do visit the Caribbean, though, you will end up concluding that some beaches there are almost as pretty as Sardinian beaches, which – with their transparent waters, fine sand or rocky shores, are easily the most beautiful in the world.

The key word when thinking of Sardinian beaches is “variety” – there really is something for all kinds of tastes: small coves with tiny white pebbles that look like snow, as well as long sandy beaches perfect for a walk, isolated beaches you will have to hike to or take a boat to, and easily accessible ones perfect for a family with children.

Best things to do:

One of the most beautiful beaches on the island is definitely La Pelosa, in Stintino. Facing Isola Piana and, a bit further, the gorgeous Asinara Island, and surmounted at this western end by an Spanish watchtower that dates back to the 16th century, this beach is famous for the tranquil, shallow and clear waters and the fine sand. It’s highly protected, which means that should you want to visit during the peak season you will have to book a day and stick to that, follow a set of rules which include laying a stray mat instead of a classic beach towel to avoid carrying away any sand. It may sound like a bit of a hassle, but the minute you get there and catch a glimpse of this fairytale place, you will understand it’s well worth the effort!

Contributed by Claudia Tavani of Strictly Sardinia.

Photo: Jennifer Parkes, Backyard Travel Family

Milford Sound, New Zealand

What makes it so magical:

Milford Sound is one of the most magical places in nature and destinations in New Zealand. Milford Sound has only had road access since the 50s and it’s 1.2km tunnel and winding roads makes for an adventurous entry to the region.

Milford Sound gets over 200 days of rain per year, but don’t be put off. Fiordlands downpours bring out the 100s of waterfalls that only flow during the rain. In fact, its misty moody atmosphere just adds to the mystery, so don’t ever postpone due to the weather. Just standing under the dramatic mountains as they cry waterfalls in the mist is a magical experience in itself.

Best Things to do:

One of the best things to do in Milford Sound is get out on the water and head out to the Tasman Sea. Many companies run cruises lasting around 90 minutes that even drive under the waterfalls for your own “waterfall shower”. If you are lucky you may even see dolphins, penguins and seals playing in the water or lazing on the shores.

If you are up for more adventurous pursuits, you could try kayaking in the sound or taking an overnight cruise. There are also a number of hikes on the way to Milford Sound that are perfect for discovering the area. The best half day hikes are Key Summit, part of the famous Routeburn multi-day hike or Lake Marian, a rough bush trek to a lone alpine lake.

If you have time, you must stay overnight at Milford Sound Lodge. It is the only accommodation in Milford Sound itself and staying in their relaxing units will also give you access to Milford at night, after all the tourists have left.

Contributed by Jennifer Parkes from Backyard Travel Family: Active Family Travel Specialists in New Zealand.

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Photo: Ale, Sea Salt & Fog

Zion National Park – Utah, USA

What Makes it so Magical?

Zion National Park has some of the most striking, beautiful scenery in the entire United States, and full of magical places in nature.  The park is made up of towering, crimson red rock canyons, dotted with various shades of greens. The views at Zion are breathtaking. Ascending the canyons will reward you with sweeping vistas of scenery straight out of the old wild west. The raw beauty of nature is in full display at Zion, no matter what time of year you visit.

Best Things to do 

To see the park in full splendor, you’ll want to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails – Zion has a wide range for all abilities. A good starting point is the Canyon Overlook trail, an easy, one-mile round-trip hike that lets you see the main Zion Canyon from above.

Want to ramp up the difficulty? Check out two bucket-list worthy, epic hikes in the park: Angels Landing and The Narrows. Angels Landing is a strenuous, adrenaline-pumping 5-mile hike that ends with an exposed, cliffside hike to stunning views of Zion.

The Narrows is no less epic. This hike is up to 9-miles long and has you hiking through a 20 to 30 feet wide river, while you’re surrounded by canyon walls up a thousand feet tall.

If you’d like to avoid crowds, some of the most underrated trails in the park include the Pa’rus trail and the Timber Creek Overlook trail. The former is an easy, meandering walk along flowering meadows, perfect to wind down the day. The latter is located in the Kolob Canyons area of the park, and will give you stunning views of the crimson red canyons. Plan to spend at least two days in Zion National Park to get the best experience, you won’t be disappointed.

Ale spends her time dreaming of the ocean, the mountains, and exploring the U.S. National Parks. Always the planner, she loves creating easy itineraries that anyone can follow – all based on her own travel adventures over at her blog, Sea Salt & Fog. 

Bryce National Park- Utah, USA

Photo: Erika-Bisbocci, Erika’s Travels

What makes it so magical:

Bryce National Park lies in southern Utah, amidst a vast expanse of red rock desert. A masterpiece of delicacy and elegance, it is a top road trip destination and one of the most iconic symbols of the American Southwest.  This makes Bryce on of the most magical places in nature to visit.

Bryce’s ethereal desert-scape is nothing short of breathtaking. From above, its fairytale scenery boasts thousands of hoodoos that sprawl outward like a stone forest. 

Below its rim, the park conceals a wonderland of natural bridges, meandering hiking trails, and towering stalagmite-like pinnacles . 

Best things to do:

Bryce is a small national park that is packed full of places to see. The bulk of its attractions lie along a 20-mile scenic drive that traces the edge of Utah’s Paunsaugunt Plateau. 

The Bryce Amphitheater lies at the heart of the park. A large bowl-shaped canyon, it is home to some of the most notable landmarks in the area—including Thor’s Hammer and the Silent City. 

The Amphitheater viewpoints include Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Bryce Point, and Inspiration Point. A rim trail connects the viewpoints and showcases sweeping aerial vistas of the canyon and its jagged hoodoos.

Below the rim, hiking trails provide up-close views of the park’s surreal formations. Top hikes in Bryce include Fairyland Loop and the Queen’s Garden Trail. 

While the Amphitheater attractions are must-sees, the viewpoints along the park’s scenic drive are likewise compelling. They offer intimate glimpses into Bryce’s more off-the-beaten-path corners. 

Noteworthy places of interest along the scenic drive include Swamp Canyon, Natural Bridge, and Rainbow Point. 

Submitted by Erika-Bisbocci from Erika’s Travels.

Photo: Martina & Jürgen, PlacesofJuma

Val d’Orcia, Italy

What makes it so magical:

One of the most beautiful regions, and certainly one of the most magical places in nature, is the Val d’Orcia in Italy. For many, this area is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country and is, therefore, a highlight of any Tuscany tour. Here you will find the pure, magical romantic: endless rolling fields, dreamlike viewpoints, picturesque cypress avenues, beautiful panoramic roads, charming villages in Renaissance style – on a trip to the Val d’Orcia you will experience the real Tuscany, which is otherwise only known from travel magazines.

Interesting is, that since 2004, this landscape with its many medieval towns has been on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to its special nature and culture.

Best things to do:

Worth visiting is especially the pretty town of Pienza, considered to be the cradle of the Renaissance. During a walk through the city, you will discover countless pretty squares and historical buildings. Fantastic are also the many good restaurants inviting to take a sightseeing break.

If you love to drink wine, the Val d’Orcia is just the place for you. Famous wine villages in a magical hilly landscape invite you to taste Italians best wines. Montalcino and Montepulciano, both well known for their excellent wines and their beautiful old towns, are worth a detour.

Our tip: The most magical moments in Val d’Orcia can be experienced either in the morning, when the sun rises and the mist hangs in the fields. Or in the evening at sunset, when the sky turns pink.

Contributed by Martina & Jürgen from PlacesofJuma.

 

Photo: Rachel, Average Lives

Isle Of Skye, Scotland

What makes it so magical:

The Isle of Skye in Scotland is one of the most magical places in nature, and that you can visit in the world. For this reason, a visit to the island is high on many people’s bucket lists. 

The island is remote, rural, and has so many magical, natural attractions. On the way to the island, if you drive via the bridge, you will be able to see the magnificent 13th century Eilean Donan Castle on the way. There are so many beautiful waterfalls such as Rha Waterfall or Lealt Falls. However, the three most magical places on the island include the Old Man of Storr, The Fairy Glen, and the Fairy Pools.

Best things to do:

Firstly, a hike up the Old Man to see the incredible, unique rock formations is a magical experience. To make it more special, go at sunrise or sunset, and you can wild camp here if you are after a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Secondly, The Fairy Glen has magic in its name, and you will not be disappointed. This area is full of green, rolling hills to explore, and the legend goes that it is full of fairies. Finally, a visit to the Fairy Pools is like stepping into a magical wonderland. The place is full of mini-waterfalls that are spectacular at any time of the year due to the backdrop of the stunning Black Cuillin Mountains. If you are lucky and visit on a summer’s day, you can go wild swimming in the waterfalls, which is a surreal experience. You are in an incredible natural wonder. There is nothing more magical and liberating.  Undoubtedly, the Isle of Skye is one of the most magical and breathtaking places in the world.

Contributed by Rachel from Average Lives, a travel blog promoting affordable travel, road trips and outdoor adventure. 

Photo: Annabel Kirk, Smudged Postcard

Puzzlewood, United Kingdom

Puzzlewood is one of the best things to do in the Forest of Dean with kids. Puzzlewood is located on a farm, just a mile from the town of Coleford in Gloucestershire, about 10 miles from Ross-on-Wye.

What makes it so magical:

The woodland is a truly one of the most magical places in nature which will delight visitors young and old. Narrow pathways wind their way past moss-covered rocks and gnarled trees, over little wooden bridges and past hidden grottoes.

Given how atmospheric Puzzlewood is, it is no wonder that a whole host of movies and TV shows have been filmed there, including Doctor Who and Merlin. As you walk along the twisting pathways, it’s not hard to imagine stumbling upon a unicorn or some other magical creature hiding in the woodland.

The rock formations found in Puzzlewood came about millions of years ago as the result of a network of limestone caves which eroded over time to create the landscape visible today. The pathways were first laid some 200 years ago by a landowner for the entertainment of his family and friends.

Best things to do:

Puzzlewood is simply a joy to wander through- you’ll probably need an hour at least to properly explore the many winding paths. Afterwards, there is a play area and small café next to the entrance to the woods, plus a picnicking spot. The pathways are not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs unfortunately. Even though the path is approximately two kilometers long, even little children will easily manage the distance as they’ll be distracted by the many twists and turns and highlights along the way.

Annabel Kirk runs the family travel site Smudged Postcard – full of ideas for family holidays across the UK, Europe and beyond.

Photo: Lee and James, The Travel Scribes

Hallelujah Mountains – Zhangjiajie, China

What makes it so magical:

Mystical, almost ethereal sandstone pillars jutting into the misty skies, and finger-like structures reaching out from the bowels of a slightly supernatural valley. It can only be one of the most magical places in nature, and on the planet: the fairytale destination of the ‘Avatar’ mountains in Zhangjiajie, China.

You might have spotted the structures in James Cameron’s blockbuster 2009 film, Avatar – Cameron spied them from his helicopter while scouting unknown locations for the movie, and just had to visit the mountains, which served as the inspiration for the film’s otherworldly surroundings. Located in the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, near the Chinese town of Zhangjiajie, the Hallelujah Mountains (known as the ‘Avatar mountains’ due to the film’s success) are one of the most incredible places you could ever visit.

Best things to do:

While you could technically hike up to the mountains, most people prefer to zoom up in a Bailong Elevator, a full glass elevator etched into the side of a cliff that travels up at breakneck speed, bringing you to the viewing stations and the impressive mountains before you. And, while you will see hundreds of almost ‘floating’ sandstone pillars before you, these mountains are only part of the charm. That’s since the Scenic Area not only boasts this celebrated landmark, but many more.

The first ever Chinese natural attraction to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Wulingyuan Scenic Area is full of world-class features. Like Tianmen mountain, where you have to ascend 999 steps on the ‘Stairway to Heaven’, leading to a naturally-formed hole in the side of the cliff. Or the bus ride to even get there, which has 99 hairpin bends just to reach the bottom of the mountain. Or even the Grand Canyon, the world’s highest and longest glass bridge which stretches over 1,400 feet between two cliffs.

Regardless of which part of Zhangjiajie you visit, you’ll find yourself gasping in delight, as you see one of the most magical places in the world leap from the cinema screen, straight into real life.

Contributed by Lee and James from The Travel Scribes.

Photo: Sarah Vanheel, CosmopoliClan

Tulip Fields, The Netherlands

What makes it so magical:

The ultimate spring experience awaits in The Netherlands where colorful fields of flowers stretch into the distance as far as the eye can see. This eye-catching décor consists of different bulb species such as bright daffodils, fragrant hyacinths, and of course the iconic tulips. The result is one of the most magical places in nature,  with an explosion of color that rejuvenates the senses and sparks the imagination. The flowery fun starts mid-March and continues to the end of spring but the tulips are at their best in the second half of April. The vivid tulip fields can be found in several provinces, but South Holland is the tulip hotspot par excellence thanks to the presence of a world-renowned flower garden in the town of Lisse.

Best things to do:

Most visitors flock to Keukenhof Gardens with its patchwork of flowerbeds. But there are many more fun ways to enjoy the tulip fields in The Netherlands, such as renting your bike at the Keukenhof Gardens parking lot and exploring the wider area on a self-guided tour. And if that’s not close enough for you, then head to one of the tulip-picking gardens where you can actually enter the flower fields. Other unique experiences include the Amsterdam Flower Festival and the many flower parades that liven up the local towns. Spring never looked so good.

When most families put their travel dreams on hold when starting a family, the CosmopoliClan switched to a higher gear when kids came into play. Sarah and her family love discovering new places, trying new activities and collecting travel memories while enjoying the finer things in life.

Photo: Elisa, France Bucket List

Lavender Fields- Provence, France

What makes it so magical:

The lavender fields in Provence are one of the most magical places in nature to visit in France. Provence is a historical region in Southern France, nestled between the French Riviera and the Alps, and it is very easy to reach from major cities like Marseille, Avignon, or Nice.

From mid-June to mid-July/beginning August, the lavender fields are covered by a layer of ‘blue gold’ that seems to have no end. It is not only a visual show; the lavender scent is very pleasant too.

In some places, the lavender fields are located next to wheat fields or sunflower fields, making for spectacular photo-compositions. Sometimes there are little stone houses typical of the region too.

There are many lavender field locations, and depending on the altitude and the weather conditions in the area during the previous months, the lavender will bloom sooner or later. If you want to be sure when the lavender season is in a specific area, ask the locals.

Best things to do:

The best way to explore the lavender fields is by car or with a guided tour. Visit the Romanesque Abbey of Sénanque and different museums and workshops to learn more about lavender in Provence, the lavender types, and its uses. You can also shop for lavender-based products like soaps, perfumes, or other beauty products. This area of Provence is dotted with charming hilltop villages, and some of these towns like Gordes or Roussillon are listed as the ‘most beautiful villages in France.’

Contributed by Elisa from France Bucket List.

Photo: Pamela, The Directionally Challenged Traveler

Antartica

What makes it so magical:

There is no place on earth that is similar to the breathtaking beauty of Antarctica, one of the most magical places in nature. Protected for almost a hundred years, the impact of humans on the continent is minimal. Breathtaking landscapes surrounded by snow-covered mountains alongside pristine waters that break only for whales and penguins is a must-see view around the world. 

Planning a trip to Antarctica is a bit time-consuming. Expedition cruises carry less than 300 passengers, meaning booking in advance is crucial. These ships have implemented social distancing and deep cleaning in the wake of covid-19. Many companies also allow you to book two years in advance.

Best things to do:

After crossing the tumultuous Drake Passage, Antarctica – and all the penguins you can imagine – welcome you with open arms. From the small Adelie penguins to the peaceful humpback whales, Antarctica is the ideal secluded destination to check off your bucket list! Due to the strict environmental protections, only 100 people are allowed on land at any given time. The staff makes a note of where you can explore, then you are free to go hiking, geology tours, or go kayaking!

Since tourists are only allowed to visit Antarctica during the summer months, October through February, the sun never fully goes away. The sunsets glisten off of massive icebergs and miles of sea ice – making it one of the best sunsets in the world.

Pamela has been traveling the world for over a decade. The Directionally Challenged Traveler is committed to not editing photos and showing the world in all its natural beauty.

Photo: Michelle Stelly, The Wandering Queen

Mt. Rainier National Park – Washington, USA

What makes it so magical:

One of the most magical places in the USA is the stunning and jaw-dropping national park: Mount Rainier. This park features waterfalls, mountains galore, old grove trees, lakes, fire lookouts, and of course, the absolutely stunning mountain: Mount Rainier. It is one of the best places to explore in the State of Washington.

Best things to do:

One of the best things to do in the park is to hike. The trails here are magnificent. One of the most popular trails in the park is the Skyline Trail. It features 360-degree views of mountains and a waterfall called Myrtle Falls. It really is a fun hike for the whole family.

Even if you are not an avid hiker, it is highly recommended to stop by the Paradise Visitor Center near the Skyline trailhead as the views are glorious. If the day is a little too foggy or moody to see Mount Rainier, head on over to the Comet Falls Trail. Comet Falls is one of the most gorgeous waterfalls in Washington. It features a few waterfalls and lush green trees. Grove of the Patriarchs Nature Trail is an easy hike for the whole family that features beautiful, enormous trees, a bridge, and a flowing bright green river. If you have extra time, make sure to check out silver falls nearby. If you are feeling a challenge, drive on over to Fremont Lookout on the North East side of Mount Rainier. The fire lookout is a fantastic spot for photos and looks great during sunset.

Contributed by Michelle Stelly of  The Wandering Queen.

Photo: Jessica, Unearth The Voyage.

Glacier National Park – Montana, USA

What makes it so magical:

One of the most magical places in nature to visit in nature is Glacier National Park in northern Montana. Glacier National Park is a gorgeous area that has incredible mountain views, wildlife spotting, gorgeous alpine lakes to kayak or swim in, and historical lodges to cozy up in around a fire.

Best things to do:

One of the most magical parts of Glacier National Park is driving the Going-to-the-Sun-Road. This road was carved on the side of the mountains in 1932 as a way for people to experience the incredible mountain views and nature this place has to offer. The Going to the Sun Road takes you over the continental divide at 6,600 feet. At the continental divide, there is a visitors center and trailheads for incredibly famous trails and arguably some of the best hikes in Glacier National Park. The trails from the visitor center that are not to be missed are the Highline Trail and the trail to Hidden Lake. Besides hiking some of the magical trails in Glacier, another fun thing to do is rent kayaks and kayak around on one of the gorgeous alpine lakes inside the park. Make sure that you wake up early to rent a kayak because the waters can get a bit choppy later on in the day once the wind picks up. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, taking a trip to Bowman Lake, a gorgeous lake in the northern part of the park, is a great thing to do if you’re looking to escape the crowds and see some more beautiful scenery. Overall, Glacier National Park is a magical place, and will definitely not disappoint!

Contributed by Jessica from Unearth The Voyage.

Photo: Jenny, Limitless Hiker

Havasupai – Arizona, USA

What makes it so magical:

Havasupai is a paradise nestled in the desert of Arizona. Bright turquoise falls flowing against red and orange rocks. There are miles of waterfalls to explore, especially in the spring, summer and fall months, when it’s warm, which makes it perfect to hike around and hang out in the water swimming under the falls. This makes it one of the most magical places in nature.

Best things to do:

Once you’re there, the campground sits next to the Havasu Creek. The first waterfall you encounter is Havasu Falls. Past camp, you climb down a ladder, which is an adventure in itself to the bigger waterfall known as Mooney Falls. Once you’re down there, you can keep hiking further down the canyon to Beaver Falls, which is 6 miles round trip from the campground. If you’re also up for the extra miles, making it a total of 16 miles round trip, you can keep hiking to the Confluence which is where Havasu Creek meets the brown waters of the Colorado River.

Hiking to Havasupai is not for the faint of heart. Backpacking is required and it’s 10 miles one way. Make sure to train accordingly beforehand. Permits are also required for this place, they open up on February 1st.

Jenny is a hiking coach and the creator of Limitless Hiker, which has helped hundreds of other people overcome what’s holding them back, go on to hike the trails they’ve been dreaming of, and step into being a true Limitless Hiker.

Photo: Peter Rintels, Flickr

Black Forest, Germany

What makes it so magical:

The Black Forest is a large forest mountain range in southwest Germany near the borders of France and Switzerland. The region is well known for its picturesque villages, stunning nature, and the fairy tales of the Grimm Brothers.

One reason it’s one of the most magical places in nature is the incredible natural elements like the Geroldsau waterfall, a sight located just off of the Black Forest High Road where a beautiful forest stream plunges six meters onto mossy rocks before continuing through the woods. Another fantastic water feature is the massive Lake Titisee, a glacial lake that was carved into the mountains of the southern region of the Black Forest.

Best things to do:

You can also climb the peaks in the area using a number of funiculars or your own two feet in a sturdy pair of hiking boots. One of the most popular is the Merkur Funicular Railway near Baden Baden, a gorgeous Black Forest spa town. In the town of Baden Baden, you can also visit the ruins of Roman spas and the modern ones built above them. They’re filled with mineral hot springs that flow through the area.

Another picturesque stop in the Black Forest is Frieberg, a vibrant college town that’s crisscrossed with babbling brooks. It has a magnificently reconstructed medieval center with a Gothic Church. Freiburg also hosts its own funicular to nearby Schlossberg Hill, a popular Black Forest hiking destination.

The Black Forest is also dotted with eerily enchanting ruins of castles, like Hohenbaden Castle. There you’ll find the stone walls of the former fortress standing atop a forested hill. These mammoth ruins are fascinating to explore and imagine their grand past defending trade routes and the cities below them.

Contributed by Derek and Mike of Robe Trotting. 

Photo: YoTuT, Flickr

Sierra Nevada National Park, Spain

What makes it so magical:

Sierra Nevada National Park in southern Spain is truly one of the most magical places in nature. With most of Spain’s 3000-meter peaks, it is a haven for hiking and outdoor activities. The national park is home to the highest peak in the Iberian peninsula, Mulhacen (3479 meters above sea level), but also the southernmost ski resort in Europe which has slopes down the third highest peak in the country and the second-highest in the park, Pico de Veleta (3398 masl).

Best things to do:

You can easily reach Mulhacen as a day trip by taking the park shuttle bus from Capileira to Mirador de Trevelez. For true magic, take a multi-day trek crossing several peaks. There are endless hikes in Sierra Nevada Spain for any level. Experience sunrise and sunset from the calm of the mountains where you can share magical moments observing mountain goats doing their thing in the twilight. The contrasts from dramatic raw high altitude rocky mountains to soft green landscapes, drizzling rivers promising a way to survive in the wild is comforting. But, Sierra Nevada National Park is so much more than just high peaks and hiking. There are so many activities you can do there like mountain biking, climbing, and trail running. Go for a swim in vivid rivers and waterfalls in the lower Sierra Nevada or walk across one of the longest hanging bridges in Spain in Los Cahorros. Sierra Nevada is also surrounded by some of Spain’s most beautiful white villages like Capileira, Trevelez, and Bayarcal. It is also home to of the most stunning cities and towns, like Granada and Guadix.

Contributed by Linn Haglund of Andalusia Hiking.

Photo: Megan, Red Around The World

Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Ohio, USA

What makes it so magical:

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a short drive from Cleveland, Ohio, and not one you would imagine feels magical, but it does.  The way the light shines through the trees gives the woods an amazing glow that feels, well, like a fairytale.  The Blue Hen Falls Trail is a good starter trail for this fairytale-like experience, but to really be whisked away into another world, the Ledge Trail is a must-do.
This is a 2-3 mile trail, depending on what parts of it you do.  The main highlight is pretty close to the beginning, but to get there you have to go through a wooded trail, and it will feel like an evil witch is just waiting around every corner for you.  As far as I know, there aren’t any evil witches in the park, but who knows.
Soon you’ll head down into the moss-covered Ledges where you’ll be able to get lost in that fairytale experience.  This is a great easy trail for families, photographers, and anyone looking for a great hike in Ohio.  This is a true fairytale experience, one of the best magical places in nature, and I even said that multiple times on the hike.  It feels like you’ll stumble upon Hansel and Gretel everywhere you go.
A nice little side trail on the Ledges Trail is up to Happy Days, an old lodge turned wedding venue.  There isn’t really a bad time to visit, but fall is a great time because you can see the leaves changing, too.  Mid-day is the best time to hike this trail so you get the light glowing through the trees.
Megan is a part-time national park worker, part-time blogger, and full-time reader.  She lives between Utah, Florida, and Wisconsin and can probably be found reading or embroidering, exploring the US one national park at a time.