June 23, 2020
These virtual experiences let you explore the world from the comfort and safety of home.
You can satisfy your enduring desire to explore despite COVID-19 restrictions by taking a virtual vacation. From the well-known to the obscure, you can craft a custom itinerary that's just a point-and-click away.
Sand and Safari
Go on an online safari through several game reserves in South Africa, including Sabi Sands, Balule Nature Reserve and Kruger National Park. The locales' 24-hour live-streamed footage of wildlife hotspots on Africam and Explore.org provide superb savannah views. You may even catch a glimpse of Africa's “Big Five"— lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants, and buffalo. Perhaps even better, WildEarth.TV delivers both a sunrise and a sunset safari that looks for your African safari favorites by vehicle, foot guide, drone, rover, remote cams, and even hot air balloon.
Those who prefer the sand to a safari can spend up to eight hours enjoying an ambient soundscape and view of a campfire on the beach, or virtually dipping their toes in the waters of a tropical ocean in Thailand.
Fun for All Ages
Looking for the ultimate in kid-friendly destinations? Take a 360-degree tour through 80-plus experiences in and around the Orlando, Fla., home of Mickey Mouse and friends. Some highlights: a viewing of Disney World's Main Street in front of Cinderella's Castle, a virtual reality thrill ride on Orlando's tallest rollercoaster, walking “among" the penguins in SeaWorld's Antarctica exhibit and even ziplining over alligators.
Looking for some inspiration? You can take a breathtaking video tour of the 700-foot coastal Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's most popular tour destinations. (Be sure to set your clock for the Emerald Isle's sunset for some truly exquisite scenery.) Or make a digital dash to some of the Wonders of the World, including Machu Picchu, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, and the Roman Coliseum.
Get cultured from your couch from museums around the world accessible virtually on Google Arts & Culture, including the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Tokyo's Museum of Nature and Science, and the Acropolis Museum in Athens.
Adventurers, alert! You can virtually hike Kilimanjaro National Park, swim with great white sharks, travel 90,000 feet into the stratosphere, or gasp from the front seat point of view of Japan's White Cyclone Wooden Roller Coaster.
Eager to hit the open road — and save on gas? Take a scenic cyber drive along the historic Route 66, enjoy the vibrant vista of California's Pacific Coast Highway, or be tantalized by a time-lapse video of Colorado's 480-mile Trail Ridge Road.
For something eclectic, pack your virtual itinerary with a motorcycle ride around a giant hand sculpture in Chile's Atacama desert; a creepy tour of Isla De Las Muñecas — the Island of the Dolls — in Mexico; a cyber-swim in and around Iceland's oldest identified shipwreck; and a feline-filled trek around Cat Island in Japan.
For Food, Design Aficionados
Grab your favorite wine and immerse yourself in a full-bodied online event at one of Napa Valley's world famous wineries. Take a “stroll" through the 13th century Tuscan castle winery, Castello di Amorosa; watch a Wednesday wine-tasting event at Beringer Vineyards; or mark your calendar for daily opportunities to learn more about cooking with wine, pairing with food and planning a jazz brunch.
Home tours, anyone? “Walk" into 11 real houses inspired by cartoons. Be fascinated by the futuristic architecture of the Capitol Hill Residence near Moscow and India's "Antilia," which spans 400,000 square feet across 27 stories and cost $1 billion to build, among other “insane" structures; and hop on a Hollywood van tour through Rodeo and Mulholland drives in Beverly Hills.