6 Fascinating Ways to Virtually Experience Nature Around the World

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6 Fascinating Ways to Virtually Experience Nature Around the World

By Angela Yates Published 13 hours ago

Even when you can't get outside, you can still explore the world and enjoy the wellness benefits of being in nature virtually.

image of whale swimming in Antarctica

It is a well-established fact that one of the best ways to evoke wellness is to experience nature in all its beauty. The world is full of locations where the natural world delights and inspires. But how can you benefit from the healing beauty of the Earth's wonders if you cannot travel?

One way is to take a virtual step into the natural world. There are many options available to help you do this. Why not explore the world’s great oceans, mountains, and national parks from your armchair with one of these apps or sites?

1. EarthCam

Screenshot of EarthCam website showing location of cameras

Many webcam apps across the years have gone dark, but EarthCam has been operating since 1996. EarthCam uses a vast worldwide network of streaming cameras to provide a virtual window to the world. The image above shows its global geographical spread.

All the major tourist hotspots are covered, from New York's Times Square and New Orleans's Bourbon Street to Abbey Road in London and the Temple Bar in Dublin. You can even hang out in the Elvis Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas and perhaps witness a wedding or two!

Head to the webcams featuring natural wonders to see EarthCam at its best. There is a vast range of live beaches, lakes, and national parks from which to choose.

Check out these feeds to start:

  • Watch some young eagle chicks in their nest in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. (EarthCam)
  • Visit the mesmerizing aquarium cams in Baltimore, Maryland, to watch jellyfish, tropical fish, and sharks. (EarthCam)
  • Enjoy a trip to the elephant bathing pool at Mason Elephant Park, Bali, Indonesia. (EarthCam)
  • Relax at the lakeside at Queenstown, New Zealand’s South Island. (EarthCam)

If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to travel, you’ll know the excitement of stumbling upon a new sight or experience. The joy of exploring unfamiliar locations is replicated virtually in EarthCam, as it constantly adds cameras to its roster, so you’ll never be short of inspiration.

EarthCam apps are available for both iOS and Android, and you can also watch a programmed line-up of unique webcam content on EarthCam TV, available on both Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.

Download: EarthCam for iOS | Android (Free, premium version available)

2. Worldcams

Screenshot of Worldcams website showing some of the animal cameras

Worldcams has a similar aim and approach to EarthCam, and although it's smaller in scale, it has plenty of incredible natural sights to provide inspiration and relaxation.

The Worldcams website has a useful search function, allowing you to browse for your favorite views among categories such as animals, birds, aquariums, and mountains. Many of the links take you to YouTube channels or webcams operated by independent sources.

Try these to start your journey:

  • Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park (Worldcam)
  • Copacabana Beach, Rio De Janeiro (Worldcam)
  • Zell am See, Austrian Alps. (Worldcam)

3. Explore

Screenshot of Explore website showing the ZenCam feature

Explore, which describes itself as the world’s largest live nature network, provides an extensive online resource with an ever-growing catalog of films and nature photography from around the globe.

The Explore website is easy to access and explore. Live cams, organized by category, capture animals and birds in sanctuaries and shelters across the world.

If you feel anxious, try visiting Explore's Zen Cams to immerse yourself in the hummingbird nests or the beautiful tropical fish. A spa-like atmosphere is created with breathing prompts and a calming soundscape to accompany your experience in this area.

If you enjoy the Zen Cams, there are many other useful websites for calming an anxious mind to check out.

4. AirPano

Screenshot of AirPano website showing some of the 360 degree camera locations

This ambitious project offers 360-degree films and photographs from all over the world, and AirPano’s scale of vision is immediately evident on its website.

Here are some amazing sights for you to start with:

  • The northern lights in Iceland (AirPano)
  • A trip through Antarctica to see the penguins (AirPano)
  • A flight over Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (AirPano)

AirPano is perfect for a short, immersive trip to the spectacular sights of our planet, and it may even provide a spark of inspiration for your own future travels.

There is an app available for iOS, but since its premium version is expensive and reviews are mixed, you are probably better off making use of the free website streams.

Download: AirPano for iOS (Free, premium version available)

5. Portal

Screenshot of Portal website showing some of the features of the app

Portal is an app that promises immersive escapes to over fifty of the world’s most peaceful locations. You can enjoy the spectacular views and their accompanying soundscapes, which are delivered in spatial audio and best enjoyed through headphones.

The Portal app helps to make your escape even more relaxing by providing breathing exercises as well as focus and sleep timers. You can work or meditate amid the woodlands of Slovenia, in the Amazon rainforest, or while floating over the waves of Hawaii.

Portal promises to transform the way you work, rest, and sleep. Try the free version to see whether this app is for you.

Download: Portal for iOS (Free, subscription available)

6. Google Earth

google earth mount fuji

No virtual world tour would be complete without the mighty Google Earth. If there is something in nature you’ve dreamed of seeing, you can use the vast resources here to fly over and virtually zoom into almost every spectacular sight on the planet.

You could try a virtual tour through worldwide botanical gardens and arboretums (Google Earth).

Why not lose yourself in the majesty of one of the world’s great mountain ranges:

Alternatively, use a Google Earth Tour Guide to give you even more ideas.

You don't even need to download an app—here's how to use Google Earth in your browser.

Travel the World and Experience the Healing Benefits of Nature

While there is no substitute for traveling in real life to experience as many of Earth’s wonders as possible, these apps and websites provide an excellent companion to ensure that wherever you are in the world, you are never far from nature’s healing sounds and sights. Use them to help you feel calm and relaxed, or let nature’s soundtrack enable you to concentrate or fall asleep more easily.

There are also many calming nature-based YouTube channels you can explore to help you relax and unwind.

About The Author

Angela Yates (5 Articles Published)

Angela Yates writes about wellness and technology at MakeUseOf. She is an experienced copywriter with a focus on education, nature and photography.

More From Angela Yates

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