Chesterman Beach, just below the Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, B.C. — Photo courtesy of Amanda Castleman
Tofino, British Columbia
The Pacific batters Vancouver Island from November through January. Savor the ocean’s fury from the safety and luxury of the Wickaninnish Inn.
Bonus: the storm-watching package includes two oilskin hats for guests eager to walk the beach.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Icebergs washed ashore at the national seashore in Wellfleet during 2015’s snow-packed spring. Nearby Nantucket even reported “Slurpee waves,” half-frozen rollers undulating onto the beach.
A category F5 tornado — Photo courtesy of Justin Hobson
Tornado Alley, USA
America’s south-central corridor – from Texas to northern Iowa – cranks out supercell thunderstorms, one of the most common producers of dangerous funnels. Gear up and go viewing with the pros: Storm Chasing Adventure Tours.
Tornado season peaks in late spring, with a smaller second season in early autumn.
A misty morning at Oregon's Cape Kiwanda — Photo courtesy of Amanda Castleman
The People’s Coast, Oregon
This plucky state preserved its entire 363 miles of shoreline, from California to Washington, and made it public land.
Take in the big picture at Cape Perpetua, a fir-cloaked 800-foot headland and the area’s highest viewpoint accessible by car. Or feel the Pacific’s spray at Cape Kiwanda Natural Area, a broad cove where fishermen still beach flat-bottomed dories overnight.
The Lightning Field, New Mexico
Sculptor Walter De Maria made this long-term Land Art installation: a field of 400 stainless steel poles that can spark phenomenal electric displays. The artist encourages people to linger, especially at sunrise and sunset. To make this easier, he offers overnight visits from May through October.
The Willow Stream Spa overlooks the Canadian Rockies — Photo courtesy of Fairmont Banff Springs
Canada's "Castle in the Rockies" – the Scottish Baronial-style Fairmont Banff Springs – unfolds splendid views of clouds boiling over the river and mountains. Watch the spectacle unfold from its Willow Stream Spa, where daylight pours through the cupola onto mosaics, columns and mineral-rich pools.
Sometimes the fog creeps in on little cat feet; other times the ocean roars and lashes the coves and headlands of Point Lobos, often called the “crown jewel of the state park system.”
A rainy beach bonfire at Washington's Kalaloch Lodge — Photo courtesy of Amanda Castleman
Olympic Peninsula, Washington
Shingled cottages huddle on a bluff overlooking the beach at Kalaloch, the national park’s lodge. Tranquil or tempestuous, the views astound… as does the lush temperate rainforest nearby.
Intense rain, powerful winds and lightening strikes descend on the Southwest during monsoon season (early July to early autumn). Get a ringside seat at this town – a high-desert urban-planning experiment 75 miles north of Phoenix – especially through the massive windows of its Sky Suite.