Nat­u­ral won­ders

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GRAND CANYON, ARI­ZONA

One of the great­est nat­u­ral won­ders on earth, the Grand Canyon is just hours from the daz­zling lights of Ve­gas but a world away from the fre­netic pace of 'Sin City'. Vast, an­cient and dra­matic, there’s a quiet calm here: stand on the canyon rim gaz­ing out over this im­mense nat­u­ral rift and all you’ll hear is the time­less whis­per­ing of the wind, as the Colorado River rum­bles over bil­lion-year-old rocks a mile be­low you. To­tal bliss.

NI­A­GARA FALLS, NEW YORK

Noth­ing can pre­pare you for the force of na­ture that is the mighty Ni­a­gara Falls in New York state. More than 600,000 gal­lons of wa­ter rush over the falls every sec­ond, plung­ing at speeds of up to 68mph into the gorge be­low. Jump aboard the his­toric Maid of the Mist boat tour and feel the spray on your face, or, for a spec­tac­u­lar view from above, take to the skies in a he­li­copter.

YOSEMITE NA­TIONAL PARK, CAL­I­FOR­NIA

Like when en­ter­ing the gates of Dis­ney­land, there are some places in the world where you just can’t help but smile: Yosemite Na­tional Park is one of them. This pris­tine slice of par­adise boasts grandiose gran­ite peaks, lush val­leys and rain­bow-splashed wa­ter­falls, in­clud­ing Amer­ica’s high­est, Yosemite Falls. Black bears and mule deer graze its mead­ows, while gi­ant se­quoias soar sky­wards in an­cient forests. A nat­u­ral gem.

THE EVER­GLADES, FLORIDA

One of the most pre­cious re­gions of our planet, the Ever­glades Na­tional Park is a UNESCO World Her­itage site and the largest sub­trop­i­cal wilder­ness in the United States. Cov­er­ing 1.5 mil­lion acres of Florida wet­land, it’s home to unique wildlife in­clud­ing man­a­tees, al­li­ga­tors and the elu­sive Florida pan­ther. Ex­plore its pri­mor­dial forests and swamps with a guide at dawn – its raw beauty will stay with you for­ever.

GLACIER NA­TIONAL PARK, MON­TANA

For those with a love of out­door ad­ven­ture, there’s no bet­ter place to in­dulge than amidst the stun­ning land­scapes of Glacier Na­tional Park. With its turquoise mir­ror lakes, crys­tal-clear rivers and streams, 7,000-year-old glaciers, and soar­ing, snow-capped moun­tains, it’s a pic­turesque play­ground for trekkers, hik­ers and campers, who share this mil­lion-acre wilder­ness with griz­zly bears, moose, wolver­ines and lynx. Pull on your boots and breathe deep.

HANAUMA BAY STATE PARK, O’AHU, HAWAI‘I

Divers and snorkellers will find a mul­ti­tude of wa­tery won­ders be­neath the waves in Hanauma – Hawai‘i’s first marine preser­va­tion zone. Once a vol­canic crater, the Bay and its co­ral reef now shel­ter abun­dant trop­i­cal fish, with nearby op­por­tu­ni­ties to whale-watch or swim with wild spin­ner dol­phins and green tur­tles. Back on land, Hanauma’s award-win­ning beach is the per­fect spot to dry off and soak up some of that end­less Hawai­ian sun.

PIC­TURED Main im­age: Ari­zona's spec­tac­u­lar Grand Canyon; Inset: mak­ing a splash at Ni­a­gara Falls

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