24 Destinations You Can Visit (Virtually) Right Now

  • 24 Destinations You Can Visit (Virtually) Right Now

    Your favorite vacation spots are just a mouse-click away.

    Taking a round-the-world trip is now easier, not to mention cheaper, than ever thanks to virtual experiences available on your computer and smartphone screens. Resources like Google Arts & Culture have interactive experiences of museums and famous landmarks like the Taj Mahal, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and the Sydney Opera House. Google Earth even has virtual versions of America’s National Parks. But that’s not all—settle in behind your screen for these unparalleled views of world landmarks without the crowds.

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  • California Wine Country

    What’s a trip to California without some wine? Thankfully the vineyards throughout the state are getting creative with their virtual experiences, no designated driver required. Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate in Santa Rosa is offering free virtual tastings with winemaster Randy Ullom on Sundays at 4 p.m. PST on its Facebook page. They cover how to pair wines with recipes using what you have at home and are offering discounts on bottles of their wine.

    Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards in Saratoga, Frog’s Leap in Rutherford, and Page Mill Winery in Livermore are all offering free tastings on their social media platforms and/or Zoom. Some even support local charities.

    But it’s not all about the wine. The iconic Winchester Mystery House in San Jose is offering a 40-minute video tour with photos of some of the artifacts not usually on display.

    Amalia Vargas Rubio/Shutterstock

  • Hvar, Croatia

    The stunning Adriatic Island is typically known for its celeb-friendly nightlife, sun-soaked beaches, orange terracotta roofs, and sailboats in the harbor. Things are quieter in the harbor, but you can embrace the daily moment of zen using the 24/7 live feed found on YouTube, which overlooks the Hvar port and adjacent Pakleni islands. You can scroll to see the waterfront and Franciscan monastery.

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  • Golden Isles, Georgia

    Coastal Georgia is made up of laid-back island towns beloved by families. But for now, there are webcams set up around the island for live views of the ocean at the Beach Club and the marsh at Epworth by the Sea, both on St. Simon’s Island. You can also see the views from the Holiday Inn Resort on Jekyll Island and from Little St. Simon’s Island, a private island-turned-resort.

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  • Helen, Georgia

    The charming Bavarian-inspired town of Helen is an easy getaway from Atlanta. It holds one of the longest-running Oktoberfest celebrations in America and has German restaurants open year-round. Until you get the chance to see for yourself, the downtown webcams show off the Alpine buildings that are home to the downtown shops and restaurants.

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  • Key West, Florida

    The southernmost point in the United States is a wonderful getaway with colorful houses, wacky characters, and the all-important key lime pie. Make yourself a margarita and tune in to some footage of Key West—the Florida Keys have over 50 live web cameras established throughout the island chain.

    You can watch live footage from the Hemingway House (where his polydactyl cats are still roaming around), a quiet Duval Street, and the Southernmost Point without all the crowds, as well as in Islamorada, Key Largo, and Marathon.

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  • Orlando, Florida

    Experience Orlando’s best from the comfort of your couch. The Orlando Virtual Tour takes viewers into 85 experiences throughout the city, from theme parks and hotels to dining and shopping hot spots.

    The Theme Park Capital of the World also has interactive versions of the best rides. Walt Disney World is offering a sneak peek of new rides like Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, enjoy character meet-and-greets and much more exclusively from the Disney Parks YouTube channel. Universal Orlando Resort has 360-degree videos of their roller coasters and Diagon Alley.

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  • Panama City Beach, Florida

    The Northwest Florida resort town is known for its beaches but you can still get the virtual historical tour of Gulf County. It highlights landmarks like the Cape San Blas Lighthouse, Wakulla Springs, and the Apalachicola River with background information on each. Panama City Beach also offers webcam footage from the iconic pier, Shell Island, and Captain Anderson’s Marina.

    Looking for an authentic beach experience? Panama City has a YouTube page featuring sounds and sights of the ocean that you can play on a loop. Add in the tunes from the PCB Pandora radio station with songs by Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, and Zack Brown Band.

    The Northwest Florida resort town is known for its beaches but you can still get the virtual historical tour of Gulf County. It highlights landmarks like the Cape San Blas Lighthouse, Wakulla Springs, and the Apalachicola River with background information on each. Panama City Beach also offers webcam footage from the iconic pier, Shell Island, and Captain Anderson’s Marina.

    Looking for an authentic beach experience? Panama City has a YouTube page featuring sounds and sights of the ocean that you can play on a loop. Add in the tunes from the PCB Pandora radio station with songs by Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, and Zack Brown Band.

    Rob Hainer/Shutterstock

  • Loire Valley, France

    France’s Loire Valley is known for its romantic castles, lush gardens, and over 1,000 years of history. They now have a dedicated page via Google Arts & Culture that allows visitors to virtually explore the iconic chateaux of the region without packing a bag.

    No tickets are required to tour the grounds and hallways of the Chateau of Chambord, among over 40 others. You can get up close with the portraits without the crowds and click on each one to learn about the artists and their subjects. In addition to the virtual tours, you can see images of the artifacts within these castles and learn about them, watch videos, and flip through the online exhibits.

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  • Bavarian Alps, Germany

    Live out your Sound of Music fantasies with the live panorama from Schloss Elmau, an award-winning resort, destination spa and cultural hideaway in the Bavarian Alps. The webcam provides views of the Wetterstein Mountains, which are seen from guest room windows. You can even use the timelapse function to see the sun rising and setting over the peaks.

    The German National Tourist Board has also created “A Journey Through the Night,” a virtual reality glimpse of some of its most notable landmarks in Bavaria and beyond. Highlights include Neuschwanstein Castle, Brandenburg Gate, and Tegelberg Mountain.

    Andreas Vogel/Shutterstock

  • Chicago, Illinois

    The Windy City can be appreciated from home thanks to virtual tours of the city’s art and architecture scene. Start with a video tour of Millennium Park, known for the “Bean” statue (also known by its actual name of Cloud Gate ).

    Notable architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s incredible architecture is available through video tours, including the Unity Temple, the Robie House, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio in Oak Park.

    Chicago Detours is also offering virtual architecture tours for free every Saturday at 1 p.m. CST. The 40-minute tours are led by their professional expert guides and showcase Chicago’s neighborhoods. Donations are encouraged (typically $5-15).

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  • Lake Como, Italy

    The shores of Italy’s most stunning lake are on full display on the social media and website of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, a luxury resort. The “virtual” sunrise and “Lake of the Day” image are featured on their Instagram account (@ ghtlakecomo) starting at 6:55 a.m. (Italy time). They’re also featuring their staff with valets taking cooking lessons and the spa manager showcasing their products.

    A live feed is also available on their website under “Emotions in Real Time.” You can scroll back in time to see what the day’s views looked like.

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  • Japan

    Experience the best that Japan has to offer through the incredible interactive experiences found in most regions. The Japan National Tourism Organization made a 360 degree VR movie experience featuring famous sites throughout the country.

    Watch a live webcam from Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing, now without the crowds. Kyoto’s Neko Cat Cafe has live footage from its felines lazily reclining. Virtually visit the Dogo Onsen in central Matsuyama, which inspired the main setting of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away .

    The Setouchi region has fascinating landmarks, especially if you have a VR headset. Take a virtual reality tour of Makido Cave, a 450-meter long limestone cavern with an underground lake, in Okayama. In Hiroshima, you can take a virtual stroll at the four-hundred-year-old Shukkeien Garden with its Koko-kyo Bridge, Seifukan Tea House, and Seifu-ike Pond, with its year-round cherry blossom blooms. If that’s not enough, there are also 360-degree virtual reality videos of the cherry blossoms in full bloom at Ueno Park in Tokyo, Miharu Falls in Fukushima, and Hirosaki Park.

    Tanya Jones/Shutterstock

  • Lexington, Kentucky

    The city of Lexington is at the heart of horse country, within a short drive of thoroughbred farms but it’s also known for its colleges and the bourbon distilleries. Armchair travelers can pour themselves a glass of Kentucky bourbon to sip while watching the live streams throughout the area.

    VisitLex has a 360-degree interactive video experience that visits one of the horse farms where the animals lazily munch grass before getting ready for a ride. The video ends with a bird’s eye view of the jockeys at the starting line, on the course, and at the Winner’s Circle. Visit Horse Country also has virtual tours of notable horse farms.

    You can also watch Canoe Kentucky’s live streams on Wednesday and Saturday at noon central time as locals paddle their way down Elkhorn Creek and catch fish along the way. It’s available on their Facebook page and can be replayed at a later time.

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  • New Orleans, Louisiana

    The party never ends in the Big Easy, even now. Xplorit and NewOrleans.com teamed up to create an online 360-degree virtual tour, complete with a jazz playlist and video interviews with locals. Travelers can also virtually experience quintessential landmarks like Cafe du Monde for beignets, a ride along the St. Charles on the historic streetcar, and a front-row seat at Preservation Hall.

    But a trip to New Orleans, even a virtual one, wouldn’t be complete without music. The city is offering live-streaming concerts daily on social media. Just don’t forget to tip the band!

    Arthur Maringoni/Shutterstock

  • Coastal Mississippi

    The Mississippi Gulf Coast is known for its beaches, charming towns, and casinos. Until you can see for yourself, Google Street View provides the opportunity to explore the region’s landmarks with 360-degree maps. They include Gulf Islands National Seashore in Ocean Springs, the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, and inside the Biloxi Lighthouse in Biloxi.

    Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

  • Las Vegas, Nevada

    Sin City welcomes visitors to check out the coolest attractions from behind their computers. The Neon Museum isn’t your average “museum,” but is instead a large outdoor yard with vintage neon signs from closed casinos. You can see the colorful lights from their smartphone app using the code “NEON.” It features audio narration and photos.

    No tickets are required for the online performances on Cirque Connect, Cirque du Soleil’s virtual experience with a 60-minute special, 180-degree virtual reality experiences, makeup tutorials, and playlists.

    They’re also making all those video conferences more fun with downloadable video backgrounds for Zoom featuring landmarks like the Bellagio fountains, the lights of Fremont Street, and from the Linq High Roller Ferris wheel.

    John Braid | Dreamstime.com

  • Reno and Lake Tahoe, Nevada

    To the north, travelers can get a dose of adventure with virtual experiences from Reno and surrounds. Start your journey at Virginia City, an 1800s mining town that has been restored to exactly as it appeared in its heyday. They have a live webcam and a video series on the town’s history.

    Admire the calming waters of Lake Tahoe thanks to the live cameras at North Lake Tahoe. On the south side of the lake, Stateline, Nevada’s webcam showcases both snow-capped mountains and turquoise waters. No lift passes are required to see the webcam from the summit of Diamond Peak in Incline Village.

    You can also see live footage of the skyline of Carson City, Nevada’s capital, or watch the Truckee River Whitewater Park in downtown Reno as the melted snow cascades through the city.

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  • Upstate New York

    The Finger Lakes region of the Empire State is showcasing its 9,000 square miles of scenery and eleven namesake lakes. Admire Canandaigua Lake from the camera feed of Bristol Harbour, a lakeside resort.

    The ski slopes won’t be open, obviously, but you can admire the snowy peaks from the comfort of your warm home. There are 24/7 live streams of both the Bristol Mountain and Greek Peak ski resorts.

    A few hours away are the Catskills Mountains, but from the comfort of your computer, they’re only a click away. You’ll almost feel the spray when watching the live stream of Stratton Falls, one of the region’s most picturesque settings. The camera is set up on a private trail next to the 50-foot falls at The Roxbury at Stratton Falls, a resort featuring quirky cottages overlooking the forest.

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  • Asheville, North Carolina

    Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the funky town’s most incredible locations are accessible from your home. Explore Asheville has created Google Street View tours of over 20 locations.

    Biltmore Estate, America’s largest private home that was built by the Vanderbilt family, is among them with scenes from the overlook of the majestic home, the rose garden, the south terrace, the Italian garden, the bass pond, and the lagoon trail.

    Elsewhere, you can go on a virtual hike of some of Asheville’s most incredible trails. Climb to the top of Mount Mitchell, North Carolina’s highest peak, feel the thrill of the natural waterslide at Sliding Rock, and see the changing leaves at Max Patch.

    You can go “e-Trailblazing” on the Blue Ridge Parkway, often called America’s Favorite Scenic Drive. Explore Asheville has created a virtual guide to the North Carolina section of the 469-mile road. It includes videos of the waterfalls and vistas found along the way as well as the wildlife that can be spotted.

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  • Greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    The City of Brotherly Love is welcoming virtual visitors with online versions of all of its major attractions including the zoo, museums, and landmarks. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is one of the most unique attractions in the city with mosaic-covered pathways. The living art gallery is offering virtual tours of its winding outdoor space, along with activity sheets and an interactive map of nearby murals and public art.

    Outside of the city in Bucks County, there’s even more to explore. Google Street View offers 360-degree maps of landmarks like Fonthill Castle, Peace Valley Lavender Farm, and the Pearl S. Buck House National Historic Landmark.

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  • Zurich, Switzerland

    The Swiss capital inspires wanderlust with its webcam views of the city. Admire views from the Old Town’s historic buildings on the Limmat River and see Lake Zurich and the snow-capped Alps beyond. The city is also showcasing its public art on the Kunst im Oeffentlich Raum Facebook page. Daily videos feature over 1,000 pieces of art. You can translate the text from German or just admire the works.

    Samuel Borges Photography/Shutterstock

  • Austin, Texas

    The Live Music Capital of the World never rests, even during the quarantine. South by Southwest may have been canceled, but there are dozens of live-streamed concerts and events. Notable artists like Robert Earl Keen and Willie Nelson are putting on events that accept donations for the local music community. Austin City Limits is also broadcasting some of its most memorable performances.

    YouVisit is also doing 360-degree tours of downtown Austin with views of the Congress Avenue Bridge bats, the state capitol, the line at Salt Lick BBQ, the Barton Springs Pool, and Lady Bird Lake.

    Ricardo Garza/Shutterstock

  • Thailand

    The Land of Smiles isn’t so far away thanks to the daily live feed on Amazing Thailand’s YouTube page. Soothing music plays as a grid features different parts of the country, showing off the variety of experiences travelers can have there. You can see one of the stunning temples in the capital city, the serene moat in Chiang Mai, and the shores of the beaches in Koh Samui and Pattaya. The footage is best enjoyed while dining on your favorite Thai dish.

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  • Washington D.C.

    The nation’s capital also has its share of virtual experiences for travelers. View 360-degree videos of the memorials, neighborhood spots like the Friendship Archway in Chinatown, and museums like the Smithsonian Castle.

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