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NatureViews, United States of America

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is as committed to education and conservation as it is to inspiration. Whether you’re looking to learn something or just want to soak up 52 acres of natural beauty, the BBG has more than 18,000 kinds of plants from all over the world. The garden is open year-round and has plants for every season, plus indoor tropical gardens and bonsai trees. https://www.nycgo.com/museums-galleries/brooklyn-botanic-garden
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Hollywood Sign
Looking for a picture-perfect view of the Sign? For many visitors to Los Angeles, there is no more coveted photo than a shot of the world famous Sign. Though it is visible from all over the city from its lofty perch on Mt. Lee, it can actually be surprisingly difficult to get a well-angled shot. Stunning views of the Hollywood Sign unfold at your own pace on hiking trails that meander through the rolling chaparral of the Santa Monica Mountains. Trails originally blazed by paws, hooves, and yucca-thatched moccasins now connect us to cultural as well as natural wonders. The western frontier of Griffith Park offers hikers amazingly close encounters with the Sign, which is off-limits to human hands, just below the ridgeline at the 1,708-foot summit of Mt. Lee. On the longest hike, you can ascend above and behind the Sign’s 45-foot-tall aluminum letters, where you look out over a windswept vista encompassing the DOOWYLLOH sign, the dreamy towers of downtown Los Angeles, and, on a clear day, the ageless blue Pacific. https://hollywoodsign.org/seeing-the-sign/
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Japanese Garden Suiho-En
Authentic 6.5-acre Japanese Garden created by Dr. Koichi Kawana to provide beauty, relaxation, inspiration and a better understanding of Japanese culture using reclaimed water. https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/activities/japanese-garden
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Arlington Garden
Pasadena's only dedicated free public garden, Arlington Garden was built in 2005 on the former site of the historic Durand Mansion. The garden includes thousands of California-native plants such as poppies, sunflowers, cactus and succulents, orchards of orange and olive trees, and many more species. Arlington Garden also features a variety of benches and tables, birdbaths and statuary. A classical, seven-circuit Labyrinth was built at the garden in October 2010. In November 2008, 21 crepe myrtle trees were donated and permanently installed at Arlington as part of Yoko Ono's Wish Tree series. This garden is not only friendly to people and pets, but also exists as a refuge for Pasadena’s native fauna. Birds, bees and butterflies are particularly abundant and can be seen throughout the year. http://www.arlingtongardenpasadena.com/
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Descanso Gardens
Located in La Cañada Flintridge, the 160-acre Descanso Gardens was originally developed in 1936 by newspaper magnate Elias Manchester Boddy, whose numerous interests included horticulture and politics. Descanso Gardens offers numerous areas for exploring, including a bird sanctuary, five-acre rosarium, Japanese tea garden, water-wise garden, Oak Woodland, California garden, and the world’s largest collection of camellia flowers. https://www.descansogardens.org/
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Franklin Park Conservatory
The Conservatory’s extensive gardens and art collections pulse with life and bring the truly exotic wonders of nature right to you. Explore over 400 species of plants from around the world in the Conservatory’s biomes, take in the beauty of James Turrell’s Light Raiment II, or simply marvel at the intricate glasswork of Dale Chihuly. Experience the planet’s natural diversity in the Conservatory’s biomes. From the arid deserts of the American Southwest to the hot and humid Amazon Rainforest, the biomes allow you to explore these ecosystems right in the heart of central Ohio. Or simply stroll abundant outdoor gardens full of seasonal color and interest, set within the 88-acres of Franklin Park! https://www.fpconservatory.org/explore/gardens-collections/
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Highbanks Metro Park
Highbanks is named for its massive 100-foot-high shale bluff towering over the Olentangy State Scenic River. Tributary streams cutting across the bluff have created a number of deep ravines in the eastern part of the 1,200-acre park. Ohio and Olentangy shales, often containing outstanding large concretions, are exposed on the bluff face and sides of the ravines. http://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/highbanks/
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Lombard Street
Lombard Street in San Francisco is often called the most crooked street in the world. Actually, it's the second crookedest, but San Francisco has the number one street as well! The pretty, postcard view of Lombard Street has become famous worldwide and many visitors enjoy seeing the cars carefully winding down the turns among the beautiful flower beds. https://www.inside-guide-to-san-francisco-tourism.com/lombard-street-san-francisco.html
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Aquatic Park Cove
Aquatic Park Cove has a narrow sandy beach and a grass park at the end of the Hyde Street Cable Car line on the San Francisco Waterfront. The cove is located at the north end of Hyde Street and Van Ness Avenue near Fisherman’s Wharf. Boats are allowed to anchor in the protected harbor in the cove. It is protected by a long curved municipal pier that should not be missed if you have time to walk out on it. The view from the pier includes the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the San Francisco skyline. Nearby Hyde Street Pier has historic ships to see as well. The Marine Museum sits at the center of Aquatic Park Cove near the beach. Behind that is Ghirardelli Square. Aquatic Park Cove is part of San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, a district within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The large park at Fort Mason is a short walk away up the trail to the west. https://www.californiabeaches.com/beach/aquatic-park-cove/
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Baker Beach
Baker Beach is a large popular beach not far from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. On sunny weekends both parking lots could be full and all the spaces along the entrance roads too. This popular spot is one of the many beaches in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Just north of the main parking lot is the Battery Chamberlin, a large historic military gun installation that was built in 1904. It is worth checking out especially if you have kids. Be aware as you explore the north end of Baker Beach because North Baker Beach is a clothing-optional area. All of Baker Beach is an unsafe swimming area because of cold water and frequent rip currents in the surf. https://www.californiabeaches.com/beach/baker-beach-san-francisco/
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Japanese Tea Garden
Come and relax in the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco. It is a popular tourist attraction, but it's still a peaceful and lovely place to wander. http://www.japaneseteagardensf.com/
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China Beach
China Beach is a great little local beach in San Francisco. The China Beach Cove is protected by rock walls on both sides creating a protected area that once was a camp for Chinese fishermen, hence the name. China Beach faces north toward the Marin Headlands and has a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge too. It’s not a large beach so when the tide is up and the summer sun is out, it can be hard to find a spot that is dry and isn’t already taken. At low tide there are tide pools to discover. Like all the beaches in this area, China Beach is part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Swimming isn’t safe at China Beach for many reasons including the lack of lifeguards. The area just south of the cove is called Lands End and has many hiking trails to explore. https://www.californiabeaches.com/beach/china-beach/
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Crissy Field East Beach
Just inside the Golden Gate, Crissy Field has a wide, sandy beach with a pretty view of the bridge and Alcatraz. It's a short, 10 minute walk from Fisherman's Wharf. Of the San Francisco beaches, this one's the most popular with windsurfers. https://www.presidio.gov/places/east-beach
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Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park is the third most visited park in the United States. While the park is free to visit during the day, popular attractions charge admission, such as deYoung Museum, California Academy of Sciences and Conservatory of Flowers. The park is filled with gardens, museums, art, flowers, trees, lakes, birds and wildlife. There are also plenty of opportunities to participate in sports, clubs and other activities. Browse the site for information on parking, maps, weddings, hotels, permits, making reservations, transportation, contact numbers, and the history of Golden Gate Park. https://goldengatepark.com/
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Twin Peaks
Want a spectacular 360 degree view of San Francisco? Head for the top of Twin Peaks, San Francisco. These two hills rise almost 1000 feet above the City and sit just about in its geographical center. https://www.inside-guide-to-san-francisco-tourism.com/twin-peaks-san-francisco.html
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Fort Funston Beach
Another San Francisco beach located near an old fort. Fort Funston a rugged beach with crashing surf at the bottom of 200 foot cliffs, just south of Ocean Beach. Very popular with dogs, as well. When the winds are blowing, you'll see hang gliders soaring from the cliff tops. https://www.californiabeaches.com/beach/fort-funston-beach/
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Mile Rock Beach
At the western tip of San Francisco, jutting out into ocean, is Lands End: a nature park of steep cliffs with beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. It has a small, rocky beach, called Mile Rock Beach, accessible from the Coastal Trail. Wonderful beach to walk to. https://www.californiabeaches.com/beach/lands-end-beach/
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Muir Woods
Walk among old growth coast redwoods, cooling their roots in the freshwater of Redwood Creek and lifting their crowns to reach the sun and fog. Federally protected as a National Monument since 1908, this primeval forest is both refuge and laboratory, revealing our relationship with the living landscape. Muir Woods National Monument is world renowned for its old-growth coastal redwoods, attracting over one million visitors each year. With the park’s popularity come pressures on a fragile ecosystem representing more than 380 different plants and animals. The incredible diversity of flora and fauna at Muir Woods can be daunting sometimes, elusive at other times. The redwoods themselves dominate the scene, but the Steller's jay often steals the show. Ladybugs clustering by the thousands on ancient horsetail ferns boggle the imagination, while the slimy banana slug is able to disgust and fascinate all at once. Plants adapt to low light levels on the forest floor, while whole plant and animal communities bustle in the canopy above our heads. https://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm
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Crandon Park Beach
Crandon Beach is one of Miami's greatest park treasures. A beautiful, sprawling campus of beaches and amenities, Crandon Park is more than a beach. At Crandon Park Beach on Key Biscayne, there's a Family Amusement Center, a Nature Center and even a place to rent cabanas. The beach remains the main attraction at the luscious and family-friendly Crandon Park. Gear up for a friendly game of beach volleyball or unpack your picnic and bring some supplies for the on-site grills. There's almost always a birthday party or event taking place somewhere at this site. At the south end of Crandon Park Beach, there are cabanas for rent. Cabanas have showers and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Cabana renters are assigned a parking space and exclusive picnic tables on the beach. It's fun to explore the various ecosystems at Crandon Park, including dunes, mangroves, coastal hammock and sea grass beds. The Crandon Park Nature Center is home to exotic plants, rare fish and wildlife, and Bear Cut Preserve, a natural Environment Study Area. Take a tour with a naturalist and explore all that this nature hotbed has to offer. https://www.miamiandbeaches.com/thing-to-do/beaches/crandon-park-beach/3765
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Virginia Key Beach
Virginia Key Beach - North is located at 3701 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne. A big wooden sign marks this historic beach, which is located just past the Rickenbacker Causeway across from Miami Seaquarium. Virginia Key Beach - North was the location of the famed,but now closed Jimbo's, a former movie-set-turned-hangout for some of Miami's eccentric local characters. Windsurfing and ultra light seaplane rental are available here. Enjoy great views of Brickell Avenue and downtown Miami skyline. http://www.miamiandbeaches.com/beach/historic-virginia-key-beach/102569
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Diamond Head
Hikers rejoice! Diamond Head State Monument offers breathtaking views overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu. In fact the view is so good, it was used by the US military as a post for preventing attacks against Honolulu. The trail takes you to the edge of a 300,000 year old crater. While the hike isn’t that long in terms of distance, it can be somewhat challenging due to its ascent. Parts of the trail are over uneven rock, and the 99 steps near the end of the hike are steep. Also, the only water fountains are at the beginning of the trail, so you’ll want to bring a water bottle or bottled water to stay hydrated. https://hawaiistateparks.org/parks/oahu/diamond-head-state-monument/
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Hanauma Bay
Every year, more than a million people get to swim with the fishes in a marine ecosystem located on the southeast coast of Oahu, 10 miles east of Waikiki. Hanauma (or curved bay) Bay is a former volcanic crater that became a protected marine life conservation area in 1967. Since then, it’s become an underwater park for snorkel enthusiasts, swimmers and anyone desiring to see more than 400 species of Hawaiian fishes including Hawaii’s state fish the humuhumunukunukuapua‘a, turtles and other marine life. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is open year-round, except for Tuesdays, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Plan to arrive as early as you can or wait until the crowd trickles out in the mid-afternoon. During summer, the state park opens at 6 am and closes at 7 pm. It closes at 6 pm in winter. https://www.hawaii.com/oahu/attractions/hanauma-bay/
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Waimea Falls
Waimea Falls, also known as Waihi Falls, is one of the more accessible falls on Oahu. It is located within Waimea Valley, which is a unique Hawaiian botanical garden within a significant cultural and archaeological site. There is a small fee to enter the park. This is a worthwhile contribution, as the place is dedicated to the preservation of the incredible botanical and cultural features of the area. https://www.hawaii-guide.com/oahu/hiking_trails/waimea-falls
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Natural Bridges State Beach
This park and beach is an excellent vantage point for viewing shore birds, migrating whales, as well as seals and otters playing offshore. Further along the beach, public access tidepools offer a glimpse of life beneath the sea. Low tides reveal sea stars, shore crabs, sea anemones, and other colorful ocean life. The park also includes a large area of coastal scrub and grasslands, with bright native wildflowers in the spring. Moore Creek flows through the park, forming freshwater wetlands and a salt marsh before it reaches the sea. https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=541
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Pleasure Point
The small surf community of Pleasure Point is located in an unincorporated area of Santa Cruz County, nestled between Moran Lagoon and 41st Avenue, adjacent to the Monterey Bay. Nearly a dozen famous surf breaks make this an ideal destination for skilled surfers. It’s a classic beachside town and the genesis of surf culture in Santa Cruz – home to wetsuit pioneer Jack O’Neill – where locals mix effortlessly with visitors eager to capture that authentic surf vibe. http://www.santacruz.org/pleasure-point-authentic-surf-vibe
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Santa Cruz Arboretum & Botanic Garden
At this 135-acre outdoor, living museum, you can also explore the Hummingbird Trail to seek out the rare, elusive white hummingbird, and sniff pleasing scents of lavender, jasmine, and oregano in the fun Aroma Garden. The UC Santa Cruz Arboretum & Botanic Garden’s rich and diverse collection contains representatives of more than 300 plant families of Mediterranean climates. The garden maintains collections of rare and threatened plants of unusual scientific interest. Particular specialties are world conifers, primitive angiosperms, and bulb-forming plant families. Large assemblages of plants from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and California natives are displayed on the grounds. Many of the species in these collections are not otherwise available for study in American botanical gardens and arboreta. https://arboretum.ucsc.edu/
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Discovery Green
Discovery Green is a beautiful, vibrant 12-acre park in the heart of downtown Houston that opened to the public in April 2008. The park was envisioned by several committed Houston philanthropists, who saw the space as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create an urban park that would redefine the landscape of downtown. In less than four years, the site that became Discovery Green was transformed from an undeveloped, concrete eyesore into a beautiful and vibrant destination adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center. https://www.discoverygreen.com/
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Hermann Park
Hermann Park has a bountiful assortment of entertainment: a golf course, an outdoor theater, a jogging track, a beautiful rose garden, picnic spaces, a butterfly exhibit, and even a museum.Hermann Park, presented to the City of Houston by George Hermann in 1914, is Houston's most historically significant public green space. Over the years, the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Japanese Garden, Rose Garden and Hermann Park Golf Course, one of the first desegregated public golf courses in the United States, all have added to the Park's importance as a recreational destination.Hermann Park, located minutes from downtown Houston, is a cultural and recreational hub surrounded by the Texas Medical Center, Rice University, the Museum District, and various residential neighborhoods. The entrance to the park is at the intersection of Main St. and Montrose Blvd. Upon arriving at Hermann Park the visitor is greeted by a statue of one of Houston's founders, General Sam Houston. He points in, towards the park, leading the park visitor in the direction of it's many amenities. https://www.visithoustontexas.com/listings/hermann-park/20202/
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McKinney Falls State Park
McKinney Falls is a 641-acre park features over 80 campsites, including developed (RV) and hike-in sites. Screened shelters, group shelters and a group dining hall are also available. Outdoor recreation opportunities include hiking, mountain biking, bicycling, swimming, birding and wildlife observation. Onion Creek, which flows 1.7 miles through the park, offers both swimming and fishing opportunities. https://www.austintexas.org/listings/mckinney-falls-state-park/2895/
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Zilker Botanical Garden
Tucked away on 26 acres of Austin’s Zilker Metropolitan Park, Zilker Botanical Garden is a lush sanctuary of koi ponds, live oaks, and prickly cactuses of all shapes and sizes. Composed of multiple themed gardens, this natural retreat offers something new around every corner. Witness the colourful blooms of the Mabel Davis Rose Garden and explore the Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden, complete with a stone gate gifted by Austin’s Sister City (Oita, Japan), a teahouse, and numerous Japanese maples. https://www.austintexas.org/listings/zilker-botanical-garden/1754/
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Atlanta Botanical Garden
Renowned plant collections, beautiful displays, and spectacular exhibitions make the Atlanta Botanical Garden the loveliest place in town to visit or host an event in every season. An urban oasis in Midtown, the Garden includes 30 acres of outdoor gardens, an award-winning Children's Garden, a one-of-a-kind Canopy Walk through Storza Woods, and the innovative Edible Garden featuring an Outdoor Demonstration Kitchen. The Fuqua Conservatory is an organic biosphere and home to important collections of tropical palms and conifers; the Fuqua Orchid Center is home to the foremost collection of species orchids in the United States. Conservation gardens and amphibian displays highlight the Garden's work with carnivorous plant bogs across the Southeast as well as endangered species of frogs from around the world. The Garden offers lovely indoor and outdoor rental options for elegant meetings and celebrations. https://www.atlanta.net/partner/atlanta-botanical-garden-inc-/867/
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Loring Park
Surrounding the Convention Center on the southern edge of downtown Minneapolis, the Loring Park District is a walkable residential neighborhood of historic institutions and cultural attractions. https://www.minneapolis.org/map-transportation/neighborhoods/loring-park/
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Duqesne Incline
Enjoy a spectacular panorama of Pittsburgh and its three rivers. Ride to the incline's Observation Deck in the 140-year-old Incline car to see what USA Today Weekend Magazine calls one of the "10 most beautiful views in America". https://www.visitpittsburgh.com/directory/duquesne-incline/