The natural world holds more appeal than ever when everyone is staying indoors during the pandemic. With virtual tours, photo galleries and video livestreams, you can safely explore the great outdoors and enjoy wilderness adventures no matter where you live or your level of mobility. Use this list of websites to witness natural beauty and explore from the top of Mount Everest to the bottom of the sea, all without disturbing wildlife or sensitive habitats. Enjoy the mountains, investigate the lives of primates and marvel at the northern lights, all from your own comfortable home. Our list of resources takes you around the world to observe wild animals or browse botanical gardens — no passport required.
Explore faraway places
See remarkable 360-degree panoramic photos and videos of dream destinations, from a French Polynesian atoll owned by Marlon Brando to the rugged coast of Northern Island to the dazzling Milky Way above the Sahara desert. Click your mouse or swipe the screen of your smartphone or tablet to see breathtaking vistas from various angles.
Stroll the world’s top botanical gardens
- Enjoy videos featuring the Royal Botanical Gardens, Canada’s largest botanical gardens at 2,400 acres.
- Take guided virtual tours of Kew Gardens in England, the acclaimed UNESCO World Heritage site, including the Winter Garden, behind the scenes at the tropical nursery, and London’s Palm House.
Observe like a naturalist
Get rare views of wild animals thanks to live cameras:
- See wild bald eagles caring for their young at five different nest cams in British Columbia.
- Watch tiny, jewel-bright hummingbirds zoom around feeders in California.
- Visit a variety of live cams at explore.org to see which one has the most action, from mighty gorillas in the Congo to the peaceful Charlotte the pig in New York.
- Take your pick of dozens of cameras at the San Diego Zoo to see apes, polar bears, butterflies, and more.
- Every day at 1 pm EST, the Toronto Zoo zookeepers host live videos showing how they feed and care for different creatures, from a pregnant giraffe to curious penguins.
Visit world-famous destinations
Savour these view of unforgettable locations:
- Imagine you’re on Mount Everest with the world’s tallest webcam.
- Take a birds-eye view of the pyramids of Giza or the Great Wall of China, with footage shot by a drone.
- The YouTube channel for VirtualFieldTrips.org offers video tours of natural sites including the Amazon rain forest, coral reefs and the African savannah.
See the Northern Lights
Dazzling and unforgettable, the phenomenon of aurora borealis is explained in this nature documentary, plus there are other great examples in short videos from participants around the world, from the Northwest Territories to Norway.
Get ocean views
Relax while watching water scenes and the creatures that reside there:
- These live cams show the ocean, beach and islands of Italy, Florida, Spain, Greece, Malta and more.
- The Underwater Beauty cam at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium shows angelfish, butterfly fish and more.
- Watch beautiful tropical fish in videos from the Aquarium of the Pacific.
- At Monterey Bay Aquarium, live cams give a peek at jellyfish, sharks, sea otters and more.
See Old Faithful in real time
The iconic geyser at Yellowstone National Park erupts approximately every 90 minutes, and you can watch it happen with a livestream video.
- Iceland is on a lot of must-do lists for its rugged natural beauty. At this website, choose from a variety of virtual tours including glaciers, geothermal sites and waterfalls.
- Explore the island of Bermuda on this virtual tour that follows a disused railway line from one end to the other, taking in rocky ocean coastline, breathtaking views and lush tropical plants.
Visit a Canadian National Park
Travel the world
National Geographic, of course, has a fantastic selection of natural world videos. Its Short Film Showcase section features excellent short films from renowned filmmakers. Topics include a time lapse of a salamander growing from a single cell to adult, the wildlife of the Scottish Highlands, wild horses in Montana and skimming across a lake in an ice boat.
Go on a wildlife safari
What’s going on at the watering holes? Through these live cams aimed at natural pools and rivers in the African wild, you can see wildlife, big and small, congregate to drink and bathe.