Stress has driven many of us to seek solace in nature. And you can continue strengthening your ties to the physical world by staying at a hotel with interactive programming led by a marine biologist, naturalist, astronomer or forager.
These seasoned professionals present vacationers with a range of immersive outdoor activities. From an Arizona desert hotel with a stargazing program helmed by an astronomer to a seaside Maine resort featuring workshops with a marine biologist, these 10 hotels offer a deep communion with nature.
Stargaze at Boulders Resort & Spa - Scottsdale, Arizona
Explore desert skies with an astronomer — Photo courtesy of Experience Scottsdale
When night falls at Boulders Resort & Spa, dark sky-friendly practices present a celestial explosion of twinkling stars.
A professional astronomer helps guests navigate a desert planetarium of brilliant stars, constellations and lunar surfaces visible through a high-powered telescope. Connect with earthly beauty as well, as night-blooming cactuses explode in a kaleidoscope of color while coyotes, jackrabbits, javelinas and deer roam freely.
- Boulders Resort & Spa Scottsdale, Curio Collection by Hilton
Mingle with a marine biologist at Spruce Point Inn - Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Boating on Maine's coast with a marine biologist — Photo courtesy of Spruce Point Inn
Maine is defined by a tapestry of seascapes dotted with lighthouses and sailboats. Within those seascapes is Spruce Point Inn, a traditional oceanfront resort. Immersive workshops with a staff marine and micro-marine biologist provide visitors with a deeper understanding of Maine’s seafaring traditions, rocky coastline and majestic ocean.
Fish for mackerel or paddle a sea kayak. Board sturdy sea vessel Bright Line and motor to Burnt Island with a marine biologist in tow. Learn about tide pools while spotting seals, puffins and ospreys. Disembark and investigate Burnt Island’s historic lighthouse and nautical environment before you indulge in a picnic lunch.
- Spruce Point Inn
Forest Bathing at The Lodge at Woodloch - Hawley, Pennsylvania
Forest bathing — Photo courtesy of The Lodge at Woodloch
At The Lodge at Woodloch, a spa resort cradled in meadows with the Pocono Mountains as a backdrop, a certified forest bathing guide steers guests to serenity during a woodland hike. Listen to wind rustle tall pines, smell sweet blossoms and watch colorful butterflies flutter while walking mindfully.
Forest bathing is rooted in a Japanese concept of nourishing physical and emotional wellness by slowing down and appreciating Mother Earth through profound sensory observation. Without cell phones or screens, it’s a restorative pause from tech-heavy life.
- The Lodge At Woodloch
Fishing adventure in Alaska’s wilderness at Salmon Falls Resort - Ketchikan, Alaska
Salmon fishing in Alaska — Photo courtesy of Salmon Falls Resort
Situated at the entrance to Alaska’s iconic Inside Passage, Ketchikan is a must-visit destination for anglers, thanks to its epic annual king and silver salmon runs.
Salmon Falls Resort is surrounded by misty splendor. With a custom fleet of boats, a team of experienced fishing guides assist guests in finding prime locations, baiting hooks and reeling in a copious catch while communing with Alaska’s breathtaking physical assets.
Explore New England’s coast with a naturalist at Weekapaug Inn - Weekapaug, Rhode Island
Saltwater pond at Weekapaug Inn — Photo courtesy of Weekapaug Inn
Rhode Island may be America’s smallest state, but miles of shoreline and windswept islands offer plenty of coastal eye candy. Elegant Weekapaug Inn sits on salty Quonochontaug Pond, steps from a sandy stretch of beach.
Rhode Island native Teddy Beahm is Weekapaug’s full-time naturalist. He encourages guests to engage with the marine environment via a daily schedule of guided beach walks, boat trips and clamming excursions. If it’s raining, there’s a borrowing closet filled with loaner boots and assorted foul-weather gear to keep you dry.
- Weekapaug Inn
A rainforest sanctuary at St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort - Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
A rainforest paradise in Puerto Rico — Photo courtesy of St. Regis Bahia Beach
El Yunque National Forest is a soaked Shangri-la of trees, fronds and exotic flowers. Fringed by rainforest is sophisticated St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort. Set on nearly 500 lush acres of a former coconut plantation with two miles of secluded beach, sustainability is at its heart.
A team consisting of two conservation experts, a marine biologist and an environmental scientist, are on hand to help guests interpret this verdant terrain brushed with glistening waterfalls and delicate wild orchids. They’ll share insider knowledge while conveying local conservation initiatives.
- The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico
Forage at Blackberry Farm - Walland, Tennessee
Forage in fields at Blackberry Farm — Photo courtesy of Blackberry Farm
Exclusive Blackberry Farm is nestled alongside rolling pastures overflowing with mushrooms and a windfall of namesake wild blackberries in season.
At Blackberry Farm’s Farmstead Field School, guests young and old may join Master Gardener John Coykendall on an interactive tour of extensive heirloom vegetable, flower and herb gardens. Learn how Appalachian ancestors have foraged in the Great Smoky Mountains for centuries. Soak in farm wisdom, toil in the soil and learn about cultivated and wild edibles that flourish here.
Get up close with marine life on a stand-up paddleboard at Omni Amelia Island Resort - Amelia Island, Florida
Spot sea animals from a stand-up paddleboard — Photo courtesy of Omni Amelia Island Resort
Amelia Island is a barrier island off Florida’s northeastern shore edged with quartz beaches framed by towering sand dunes. Preserved parkland, sea creatures and rare birds add allure.
Omni Amelia Island Resort is a sprawling property with its own nature center staffed by a team of outdoor specialists and a Florida Master Naturalist. A robust array of guided tours includes investigating maritime forests and marsh boardwalks on a Segway, getting acquainted with sea life while perched on a stand-up paddleboard and old-school crabbing with a dip net.
- Omni Amelia Island Resort
Say aloha to an eco-adventure at Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort - Oahu, Hawaii
An eco-adventure on Oahu — Photo courtesy of Kualoa Ranch
Overlooking Waikiki Beach’s golden sand, a stay at Outrigger Reef is an immersion in Hawaiian culture. Learn to string a flower lei and strum a ukulele between refreshing dips in blue Pacific waves.
Guests may join "Malama Hawaii Experience," a two-hour eco-adventure at Kualoa Ranch Private Nature Reserve, a protected swath of mountains and sea on Oahu’s windward side. "Malama" means "to take care" and time spent at Kualoa Ranch demonstrates the importance of maintaining Hawaii’s spectacular natural resources for future generations.
- Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
Bird-watching at Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Watch birds soar on Kiawah Island — Photo courtesy of Kiawah Island Golf Resort
South Carolina’s Barrier Islands are renowned for unspoiled beauty and abundant wildlife. Kiawah Island is a wonderland of maritime forests, brackish ponds, salt marshes, beaches and dunes.
With hundreds of avian species on island, guests at Kiawah Island Golf Resort may meander with an experienced birder when they participate in "Back Island Birding." Spot winged beauties and learn to appreciate how each ecosystem makes an individual contribution to symbiotically support a vast and vibrant array of flora and fauna.
- The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort