Out Of This World - Full-Time Travel

Out Of This World

Out Of This World

Astrotourism Takes Flight

When even the most remote destinations don’t feel distant enough to unplug, savvy travelers are looking up and opting for astrotourism. Fortunately, you don’t need a spaceship for these above-and-beyond travel experiences — there are plenty of dark sky reserves, national parks and moonlit oceanside retreats that will transport you to another planet come nighttime. No telescope? No problem. Seasoned astronomers and casual observers alike come to these low light pollution atmospheres that offer astounding celestial sightings, even with the naked eye.


Valentine, Nebraska

Head to the Valentine, Nebraska area in late July to experience the Nebraska Star Party, an annual celebration of star gazing held in the remote Merritt Reservoir Snake Campground. Make it an interactive experience by participating in the astro photo contest and their various observation challenges, or make it an introspective retreat and find a quiet place to trace the constellations on your own.


Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Dine by the light of the night sky with a Full Moon Dinner at the Thompson Playa del Carmen, where guests can feast on a curated three-course menu of fresh Mexican seafood just steps from the breaking waves of the ocean. Come for the amazing views of the starlit sky and delicious dinner, stay for the live music and signature cocktails.


Bali, Indonesia

A sign of perfection and infinity, the moon plays a significant role in Balinese culture, with the lunar phases determining the yearly calendar. Welcome the full moon with a heavenly seven-course La La Lune dinner at The Mulia Bali, where you’ll indulge your culinary senses under the stars as you listen to the Indian Ocean lap along the shore.


Yaeyama Islands, Japan

Take off to Japan to experience the vastness of the cosmos in Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, the country’s first accredited Dark Sky Place. Located on the Yaeyama Islands in the southernmost territory of Japan, the park offers lush, tropical scenery by day and unobstructed views of the star-saturated sky by night.  



Venture to Namibia for one of the darkest places on earth: The NamibRand Nature Reserve. Set in the red sand dunes of the Namib Desert, this Gold-Tier Dark Sky Reserve feels more Martian than anything else. For an out-of-this-world experience, we suggest the &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge: epic floor-to ceiling views, luxurious suites, astronomer-guided tours and even dune dining. The Lodge is set to reopen in October 2019.


Stewart Island, New Zealand

You’ve heard of the aurora borealis, but have you heard of the aurora australis? Venture to Stewart Island, New Zealand to watch the aurora australis (or Southern Lights) cast fantastic colors across the sky from March to September. Rakiura National Parkencompasses 85% of the island, making it the perfect place to wait out this dazzling phenomenon without interference from city lights.


Kerry, Ireland

Marvel at the constellations in a virtually light-free environment at the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve, the only Gold-Tier Dark Sky Reserve in the Northern hemisphere. Sheltered by the Kerry Mountains and Hills on one side and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the other, the reserve is said to be so dark on moonless nights that you can view the sky as the first humans did.

"This sculpture is called "Transmission" by artist Daniel Popper. Its a reminder that we are all rooted in love, unity and the divine. She stands a towering 28 feet tall and is located on Mojave Moon Ranch in Joshua Tree. The land is private property, so you can see it from the viewing platform off of Sunfair Road. And take it from me, it's best viewed at sunset."

Reel: @johnofah

There's more to Greece than the white and blue buildings and the surrounding Mediterranean Sea. If you're planning a visit, check out these places below!

📍Kokkinopilos. Preveza
📍Verliga Dragon lake, Thessaly
📍Ithaca island, lonian Sea
📍Aoos springs lake, Epirus
📍Lake Prespes, Macedonia
📍Balda di Stringa waterfalls, Epirus
📍Meteora, Thessaly
📍Pelion, Thessaly
📍Lake Zorika, Epirus
📍Mt Lakmos
📍Crete island, Aegean Sea
📍Gistova Dragon lake, Macedonia

Reel: @farawayfarers

Swim or kayak through the limestone cliffs of the Twin Lagoon, a must-visit destination for those traveling to Coron, Palawan, Philippines. It is called "twin" lagoon because it consists of two lagoons separated by a limestone cliff, with one lagoon on top of the other. The water in the inner lagoon is warm and clear, with a stunning turquoise color that makes it popular for swimming and snorkeling.

Reel: @travelifejournal

Take a dip in a series of seven saltwater lagoons located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The Lagoons of Baltinache are known for their beautiful turquoise waters and unique geological formations. The high concentration of minerals in the water gives it a unique buoyancy that makes swimming in the lagoons a unique experience.

Reel: @everchanginghorizon

Watching the sun rise above the clouds at Haleakalā National Park is one of the most memorable experiences you could have. Haleakalā is a Hawaiian name that means “House of the Sun” and is an awesome place to watch the clear night sky and stars fade away as the sun lights up the sky and the earth.

Reel: @girlchill_sunset

Just 1 hour from Shanghai by train, Cherry Blossom Valley is a popular tourist destination, particularly in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The valley is named after the thousands of cherry blossom trees that cover the area and create a stunning display of pink and white flowers. The trees were originally planted in the 1980s by a group of Japanese experts who were invited to China to help with reforestation efforts. The best time to visit is typically in late March or early April. Get there early to beat the crowds!

Reel: @cyncynti

New Zealand is unbelievable. See it for yourself:

1. Fiordland National Park
2. A classic backcountry hut trip
3. Blue Pools walk
4. Hooker Lake
5. Milford Sound
6. Lake Pukaki

Reel: @kylekotajarvi

Surrounded by lush greenery, towering karst mountains, and the river flowing through, the Detian Waterfall is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the close relationship between China and Vietnam. It is the largest waterfall in Asia and the fourth largest cross-border waterfall in the world.

Reel: @sophoebelous

Escape to a serene and peaceful oasis away from the bustling city of Marrakech at Le Jardin Secret—a beautiful and historic garden where visitors can escape the noise and chaos and enjoy the beauty of nature. The garden was originally built in the 16th century and is home to many different species of plants, including exotic flowers, citrus trees, and palm trees.

Reel: @hypermiggzz

For a magical moment and bucket list travel experience, visit the end point of the annual monarch butterfly migration. Starting in August, the monarchs travel 2,800 miles south from Canada, making a temporary home amid the towering trees of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, where the two most popular sanctuaries to view them are el Rosario in the state of Michoacan and Piedra Herrada in Estado de México. Standing in silence while thousands of delicate wings beat in unison is something you'll never forget.

Reel: @juliiathompson

There's just something beautiful about snow covered landscapes like this popular attraction in southwestern Utah. Known for its unique geology, @brycecanyonnps_gov consists of a series of natural amphitheaters, called "hoodoos," formed by erosion of the rock layers.

Photo: @nathanleeallen

As we experience a couple more weeks of winter, we can't help but dream of tropical destinations like Hawaii. The warm water, sunny skies, and consistent waves make it an ideal destination for surfers. Hawaii has a vibrant surf culture and community and is also a beautiful place to explore outside of the water, with lush green mountains, stunning beaches, and unique cultural experiences.

Reel: @christopherballadarez

1. @sequoiakingsnps, California
2. @canyonlandsnps, Utah
3. @olympic_nps, Washington
4. @whitesandsnps, New Mexico
5. Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
6. Knik Glacier, Alaska

Reel: @nathanleeallen