So: does anyone else miss traveling right about now?
I always have the travel bug, so being at home for the next few months is going to be a big adjustment for me. Even though you’re unable to hop on a plane and go somewhere new during this social distancing period, that doesn’t mean you can’t immerse yourself and explore new destinations digitally!
If you’re craving a bit of travel in your life, here are a few virtual tour websites that let you visit places around the world during quarantine — from the comfort of your own couch!
Best Virtual Tour Websites
Explore Puerto Rico with Lin-Manuel Miranda
Puerto Rico was one of my favorite places I traveled to in 2019. Old San Juan was a colorful dream, and it was an absolute treat to experience their lively culture!
The award-winning Hamilton creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, teamed up with Discover Puerto Rico for an eight-part web series where he takes you on a journey through the land of his ancestors. Through this web series, you can get an inside look at Puerto Rico’s vibrant artistic, culinary, and cultural scenes.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park (aka the very first National Park in the U.S.) is a destination that’s been on my bucket list for many years now. One day I’ll make it, but in the meantime, I plan on exploring the Mud Volcano, Mammoth Hot Springs, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and many more sights on their website. They have quite a few virtual tours you can choose from!
This might sound cliché, but Paris is one of my favorite cities on the planet. It is truly one of the most magical places on earth!
Admittedly, we skipped going up the Eiffel Tower when we visited, but we enjoyed the tower views from the Trocadéro. If you want to explore the Tour Eiffel from the comfort of your own home, you can see floor-by-floor views and explore places in the tower that only employees have access to on their official website.
Museum of Modern Art
Surprisingly, even though I’ve visited NYC dozens of times, and also lived In the city for six months, I still haven’t made it to the MoMA. This contemporary art museum is home to some of the world’s most famous pieces, including Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” and Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.”
Google has teamed up with the MoMA to provide an interactive experience of the museum. You can view over 100 pieces of art, and learn the rich history behind each piece as well.
I had a flight scheduled to London last week, but sadly, I knew a few weeks before the trip that it wasn’t going to happen. I hope I can get back to London next year though; I want to see it in all its glory again in the spring!
While Buckingham Palace is closed to the public at the moment, you can still tour the home of The Queen via the Royal Collection Trust. Here, you can enjoy 360-degree panorama views of the palace, plus you can tour the rooms of the Windsor Castle.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Growing up in the D.C. Metro area, I never realized how amazing it was to have the Smithsonian museums in my backyard. I was pretty spoiled: I got to visit at least 2-3 Smithsonian Museums each year during school field trips! When I went off to Philly for my freshman year in college, I didn’t even realize that you had to pay admission fees for most museums. Whoops!
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is one of my favorite museums in the District, and they’re offering an incredible room-by-room virtual tour on their website. Here, you can view current and past exhibits, permanent collections, and a few other Smithsonian tours as well.
San Diego Zoo
Another place I want to travel back to: San Diego!
The San Diego Zoo is the most visited zoo in the country, and for a good reason: it is known for its open-air, cageless natural habitats. After I visited the zoo for the first time, I decided to donate monthly to the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy, because I was blown away by their conservation efforts. The San Diego Zoo has set up live cams of the pandas, penguins, polar bears, tigers, and more so that you can watch your favorite animals around the clock. (Side note: the penguin exhibit will make your day!)
Watch The Amazing Race
Tom got me hooked on The Amazing Race about a week before the social distancing period started. As a travel lover, I think it’s a great way to “see” the world from your own home, and it inspires me to visit new countries! Some of the places they’ve visited haven’t been on my radar in the past, but I have a zillion new destinations I want to visit post-quarantine because of the show.
The Amazing Race is currently streaming on Hulu. If you don’t know where to start, we love Season 5 and Season 28 (the “Social Media Influencer”-themed season!)
What are your favorite virtual tour websites? Let me know in a comment below!
Photos by Tom McGovern