Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands. Photo © Donnie Shackleford/123rf.

Hiking and Biking the North Bay

Marin County, in the North Bay, is San Francisco’s backyard. Beginning with the Marin Headlands at the terminus of the Golden Gate Bridge, there is a nearly unbroken expanse of wildlands from San Francisco Bay to Tomales Bay. Here you’ll find rugged cliffs plunging into the Pacific, towering redwoods, the area’s tallest mountain, and verdant pastures.

Monumento al Indio. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Sights in Isabela, Puerto Rico

The area known today as Isabela was once ruled by Cacique Mabodamaca, one of the island’s most powerful Taíno chiefs. The town of Isabela features a charming little plaza anchored by a church, as are all town plazas, impressive cultural sights, ruins, and one of the most hair-raising mountain drives.

Crystal-clear stream on Cerro Chirripó. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Hiking Chirripó National Park

Chirripó National Park protects hundreds of thousands of acres of of high-elevation terrain surrounding Cerro Chirripó, Costa Rica’s highest peak. No guides are required for hiking the Termómetro trail, but they are compulsory for the Herradura trail.

Blue Ctenosaur in Santa Rosa National Park. Photo © Jorasm (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

What to See in Costa Rica’s Santa Rosa National Park

Founded in 1972, Santa Rosa National Park was Costa Rica’s first national park. The park–divided into two sections; the more important and accessible Santa Rosa Sector to the south and the Murciélago Sector further north–is a mosaic of 10 distinct habitats, including mangrove swamp, savanna, and oak forest, and is filled with hiking trails to explore and wildlife to watch. There are also great opportunities for scuba diving and surfing.

Visitors gazing into the main the crater of Poás Volcano.

Poás Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

There are few volcanoes where you can drive all the way to the rim. At Costa Rica’s Parque Nacional Volcán Poás you can—well, at least to within 300 meters (1,000 feet), where a short stroll puts you at the very edge of one of the world’s largest active craters. Learn about this restless giant’s history, along with trip planning tips to make the most of your visit.

Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park. Photo © Steven Prorak/123rf.

Hiking, Camping, and Backpacking in Big Bend National Park

Big Bend offers more than 200 miles of hiking trails ranging from short, easy nature walks and day hikes to primitive mountain trails for experienced hikers and overnight backpackers. There’s truly something for everyone here—families can take their time on moderate trails with printed interpretive brochures as a guide, while hard-core backpackers have the option of taking backcountry trails into the desolate wilderness for challenging treks at their own pace.

Covehead Lighthouse on Prince Edward Island. Photo © Vadim Petrov/123rf.

Exploring Prince Edward Island National Park

The sandy beaches, dunes, sandstone cliffs, marshes, and forestlands of Prince Edward Island National Park represent the island as it once was, unspoiled by 20th-century development. Opportunities to explore the park are many, with interpretive centers, plenty of hiking, beautiful sandy beaches and campgrounds of all kinds.