Craggy rocks rise up along a smooth sandy beach as waves wash up on shore.

The Best California Beaches

From wide, golden beaches with abundant sunshine to boardwalks crowded with kids, cotton candy, and roller coasters, California has any kind of beach you could possibly want. Author Stuart Thornton shares a helpful overview of some of the state’s best options for sun, sand, and surf.

Red dirt with clustered grasses in the foreground while a flat-topped arch spans across the landscape in the background.

The Variety and Splendor of Arches National Park

A concentration of rock arches of marvelous variety has formed within the maze of sandstone fins at Arches National Park, one of the most popular national parks in the United States. Bill McRae and Judy Jewell offer advice on how to plan your time and where to go to experience the best Arches has to offer.

Yosemite Falls tumbles to the valley floor. Photo © Ann Marie Brown.

Discover Yosemite National Park

Plunging waterfalls, stark granite, alpine lakes, pristine meadows, giant sequoia trees, and raging rivers—you’ll find them all in Yosemite National Park. At 1,169 square miles and 750,000 acres, the park is nearly the size of Rhode Island and one of the most popular national parks in the United States, visited by more than 3.5 million people each year.

Along the road to Lanquin. Photo © Al Argueta.

Outdoor Recreation in Lanquín, Guatemala

Lanquín and its caves are quickly becoming requisite stops for travelers making their way through Guatemala. Recreational opportunities abound, and you may find yourself spending more time here than you had originally planned. Whether it’s exploring caves, white-water rafting, river tubing, or swimming that suits your fancy, you’ll find plenty to see and do in these parts.

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.

Volcán Concepción. Photo © Dreamstime.com.

Nicaragua’s Best Volcano Hikes

No trip to Nicaragua is complete without visiting at least one volcano. Dormant and active peaks are scattered up and down the Pacific half of the country. With a couple exceptions, most of these hikes are long and challenging, requiring an experienced guide. Here are the best volcano hikes from north to south.

View of Yosemite Valley from Inspiration Point. Photo © Ann Marie Brown.

Picking the Best Sights for One Day in Yosemite

It’s not ideal to spend only one day in Yosemite, but if that’s the way your vacation is scheduled, you’ll need to make the most of your time. Ann Marie Brown shares advice to make sure you experience the park’s best sights.