Have you ever felt the magnetic pull of wanderlust, drawn by the desire to forge meaningful connections with the natural world? In a time where people value experiences over possessions, the year 2024 unfolds as the year of exploration.
So, here’s the scoop – we’ve lined up 12 natural events to travel for in 2024. Get ready for a journey that’s more about making memories than ticking off a checklist. And hey, whether you’re hitting the road in your trusty RV camper or going the classic route, there’s a whole world of adventure waiting for you!
Here are 12 Natural Events You Need to See in 2024
1. The Great North American Eclipse (Mexico, the United States, Canada)
This is your shot at witnessing something extraordinary, and with the next total solar eclipse in the US not expected until 2044, you don’t want to miss out!
Embark on an unforgettable adventure to witness the Great North American Eclipse on April 8, 2024. It is a rare celestial event spanning the US, Mexico, and Canada, offering a mesmerizing total solar eclipse experience.
The Great North American Eclipse in 2024 commences in Mexico at 11:07 a.m. PDT, crossing the continent through the United States and concluding in Canada at 5:06 p.m. NDT, with the path of totality visible in specific locations along the way.
Ensure a seamless experience by planning ahead for accommodations along the eclipse’s path, from Mexico to Canada, and secure your RV spot early for added flexibility. Make sure your trip goes smoothly by planning where to stay along the eclipse’s route, from Mexico to Canada. Grab that RV spot early so you can change plans if needed during your eclipse adventure (check below to see KOAs along the path of totality).
Don’t forget to pack eclipse glasses and essential equipment while preparing for colder temperatures. For example, thermal shirts, gloves, hats, jackets, and more.
KOAs Along or Near The Path of Totality:
Austin East KOA Holiday
Canton KOA Holiday
Dallas / Arlington KOA Holiday
Kerrville KOA Journey
Leander / MW Austin KOA Holiday
Mount Pleasant KOA Journey
San Antonio / Alamo KOA Holiday
Texarkana KOA Journey
Batesville KOA Journey
Bluffton / For Wayne South KOA Journey
Brown County / Nashville KOA Holiday
Crawfordsville KOA Journey
Indianapolis KOA Holiday
Richmond KOA Holiday
Scottsburg / Raintree KOA Holiday
Andover / Pymatuning Lake KOA Holiday
Butler / Mohican KOA Journey
Dayton KOA Holiday
Lake Milton / Berlin Lake KOA Holiday
Lebanon / Cincinnati NE KOA Holiday
Mt. Gilead KOA Holiday
Sandusky / Bayshore KOA Holiday
Shelby / Mansfield KOA Resort
Streetsboro / Cleveland SE KOA Holiday
Sunbury / Columbus North KOA Holiday
Thompson / Grand River Valley KOA Holiday
Toledo East / Stony Ridge KOA Journey
Wapakoneta KOA Holiday
Canandaigua / Rochester KOA Holiday
Chautauqua Lake KOA Holiday
Houghton / Letchworth KOA Holiday
Lake Placid / Whiteface Mtn. KOA Holiday
Medina / Wildwood Lake KOA Holiday
Natural Bridge / Watertown KOA Journey
Niagara Falls / Grand Island KOA Holiday
Niagara Falls North / Lewiston KOA Journey
Waterloo / Finger Lakes KOA
Westfield / Lake Erie KOA Journey
2. Aurora Borealis Dancing Lights (Alaska, Northern Canada, Norway, Iceland, Greenland)
If you want to witness a dazzling light display in 2024, Northern Canada is where you can find some of the prime views of mesmerizing lights in the night sky.
The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is a natural phenomenon that can be witnessed in Northern regions such as Canada, Norway, Iceland, and Greenland. If you are planning to witness this spectacular display of lights in 2024, Northern Canada, Norway, Iceland, and Greenland offer ideal opportunities to marvel at the breathtaking dancing lights in the night sky.
The sweet spot to catch the Aurora in Canada is around midnight. The lights go all out between 10 pm and 3 am when the sky is pitch dark. While you can spot them any time of the year, the months around March and September are the real showstoppers.
3. Monarch Butterfly Migration (Canada, U.S. to Mexico)
Each year, the resilient monarch butterflies undertake an incredible journey, traveling thousands of miles from North America to central Mexico and back.
In 2024, get ready to see the Great Butterfly Migration, a natural event that transforms these Mexican regions into a stunning kaleidoscope of colors. The best time to see this breathtaking migration is between November and February. The forests turn orange with millions of butterflies on the ground and in the trees, showing the remarkable endurance and instinct of these butterflies.
If you want a guided tour, check out the “Migration of the Monarch Butterflies” by the Houston Zoo from February 17 to February 22, 2024. You can hike or ride a horse to two reserves in Michoacán. Ben Jones and Ginger Moon will guide you, and you’ll see the colorful butterflies, take pics, and check out cool places like the Teotihuacán pyramids and Mexico City’s historical center.
Don’t forget to bring your binoculars and a camera to capture the fluttering clouds of monarch butterflies as they gracefully navigate their way through the air. Explore nearby nature reserves, parks, or butterfly sanctuaries that often offer information about the migration and provide a closer look at these remarkable insects.
KOAs Along the Way:
Ventura Ranch KOA Holiday
4. Flammable Ice Bubbles (Lake Abraham, Alberta, Canada)
Get set for a jaw-dropping view at Lake Abraham, Alberta, Canada) in Canada! Lake Abraham in Alberta, Canada, is known for its surreal Flammable Ice Bubbles.
During winters, frozen methane bubbles get trapped beneath the ice, creating an otherworldly sight. The flaming bubbles create a visually stunning and surreal display against the frozen backdrop.
If you want to see this fantastic natural show, plan your visit in winter, usually between November and March. The lake usually freezes up around mid to late December, and the ice bubbles are at their best appearance from early January to mid-February. The exact date can vary, though, depending on how the weather and ice behave.
The contrast of fire against the icy landscape is a unique visual spectacle that leaves a lasting impression. Beyond the flammable bubbles, the frozen lakes themselves often boast pristine and serene landscapes.
5. Virginia Falls, Nahanni National Park Reserve (Canada)
Nahanni National Park Reserve, up in Northwest Territories, Canada, is a huge wild place with canyons, mountains, and the South Nahanni River. The park hosts a massive waterfall called Virginia Falls, dropping 315 feet – one of the tallest in Canada.
To catch Virginia Falls at its best, plan your visit between June and August. The weather’s good, the river’s lively, and the entire terrain extra green and pretty. If you’re up for an epic road trip, drive an RV 18 hours from Edmonton to Fort Simpson along Mackenzie Highway. Stop for the night in High Level or take the Alaska and Liard Highways to reach this place.
There are also day trips from Fort Simpson, Fort Liard, or Muncho Lake in northern BC. A quick 90-minute to two-hour flight leads toward the unforgettable view of Virginia Falls and the entire national park.
6. Banff National Park (Canada)
Banff National Park is a stunning park that looks just like Switzerland but is located in the heart of Canada. Banff is packed with hiking trails, stunning lakes, and breathtaking mountains.
Whether you’re all about summer with hiking and canoeing, or you love winter and want to ski and snowshoe, Banff’s got it all.
If you love summer, go from June to September for great hiking. Winter fans should aim for late November to early May for the best skiing. And if you want to see the Northern Lights, the best time is from late September to early April.
7. Cabot Trail Fall Foliage, Nova Scotia (Canada)
Cabot Trail Fall Foliage Tour in Nova Scotia—it’s when the leaves on Cape Breton Island turn all kinds of colors, making the 298 km Cabot Trail look amazing.
For the Cabot Trail Fall Foliage Tour in Nova Scotia, aim for late mornings and early afternoons in July and August—when things are just right. That’s when the sun makes the leaves pop with color, and the weather is comfy. Perfect for enjoying the views of the Atlantic Ocean and beaches.
You can roll up there in an RV without a hitch. Just drive to Cape Breton Island and witness all the great spots The Cabot Trail has to offer. If you’re thinking about staying overnight, find a nice spot to park your RV or drive up to a cozy inn nearby. You can also go there by train to avoid parking issues.
North Sydney / Cabot Trail KOA
8. Columbia Icefields Adventure (Canada)
The Columbia Icefields up in the Canadian Rockies are a real jaw-dropper! This place has over 100 glaciers, making it the biggest collection south of the Arctic Circle. You can’t miss those glacier-covered peaks and the frozen blue tongues between the rocks.
If you want to enjoy this sight without dealing with massive crowds, shoot for early morning or late afternoon in June, July, and August. And don’t sleep late, as catching the sunrise on the Icefields Parkway is a killer view.
Other than watching the sunset, you can go on guided walks on the Athabasca Glacier, helicopter tours, or hit the Columbia Icefield Skywalk. Book ahead for guided walks to avoid last-minute panic.
However, you don’t need to worry about reservations if you are going with the Icefield Discovery Center tours. The Ice Explorer Vehicles are running every 15-30 minutes in the summer. No reservation is needed for Icefield Discovery Center tours unless you’re bringing a whole crew. Still, it’s not a bad idea to lock in your spot.
Hilton / Jasper KOA Holiday
9. Helicopter Ride, Columbia Icefields, Alberta (Canada)
Set out for an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Canadian Rockies with the spectacular Icefield helicopter tours. This tour is available year-round, and it is based just 25 minutes from the renowned Columbia Icefields, nestled between Banff and Jasper. Get ready for the experience of a lifetime as you soar through the sky, taking in breathtaking views of glaciers, icefalls, waterfalls, alpine lakes, and towering peaks reaching 11,200 feet.
Located near the iconic Columbia Icefields, the helicopter excursions offer a unique perspective of the surrounding landscapes, allowing you to witness the beauty of Abraham Lake, Cline Pass, and beyond.
The tour company offers three sightseeing flights, each offering a different duration and set of incredible sights:
1. Six Glaciers Tour (20 Minutes – $220pp)
Lift off into the heart of the Canadian Rockies, soaring at 100mph, 9,000 ft above Cline Pass. Marvel at the natural beauty, alpine lakes, and waterfalls, including the breathtaking Abraham Lake.
2. Epic Summit & Icefield Tour (30 Minutes – $414pp)
Experience 30 minutes of awe as you climb up to 10,000 feet over the Wilson Icefield. Witness crevasses, glaciers, and waterfalls, with views extending to the Continental Divide and the towering peaks of Mt Columbia, the Llyal Icefield, Freshfield Icefield, and Mt Forbes.
3. Complete Columbia Icefields Tour (55 Minutes – $760pp)
Embark on a comprehensive 55-minute icefield helicopter excursion, exploring the Columbia Icefields, Llyal Icefield, and Wilson Icefield. Witness ancient ice and breathtaking scenery, creating lasting memories of this awe-inspiring journey.
For those seeking a more immersive experience, add a one-hour scenic stopover for a hike or snowshoe adventure (depending on the season), and indulge in a picturesque picnic amidst the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies.
Book your breathtaking adventure today and discover the Columbia Icefields and the Canadian Rockies in a way you’ve never imagined. With small group sizes and convenient transport options, this helicopter tour promises an unparalleled journey into the heart of this stunning natural landscape.
Hilton / Jasper KOA Holiday
10. Mount Rainier Wild Flowers, Washington (USA)
Mount Rainier is renowned for its stunning wildflowers, which bloom during the summer months in the subalpine and alpine meadows of the mountain. These wildflowers create vibrant carpets of color against the backdrop of Mount Rainier’s majestic peaks and glaciers. Some of the notable wildflowers that bloom in the Mount Rainier National Park include:
- Avalanche Lily (Erythronium montanum): Recognized by its white petals and yellow center, often found in areas recovering from avalanches.
- Magenta Paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora): A striking, magenta-colored flower commonly found in alpine meadows.
- Beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax): Known for its tall spikes of white flowers, adding a unique touch to the landscape.
- Western Pasqueflower (Anemone occidentalis): A delicate, white flower often seen in the early spring, sometimes before the snow has fully melted.
- Sitka Valerian (Valeriana sitchensis): This pink-flowered plant is found in moist meadows and along stream banks.
- Subalpine Lupine (Lupinus latifolius): Displays of tall spikes of blue and purple flowers contribute to the vibrant color palette.
- Cascade Aster (Aster ledophyllus): A daisy-like flower with white petals and a yellow center, commonly found in subalpine meadows.
- Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja spp.): This vibrant flower comes in various colors, including red, orange, and pink, and is often seen dotting the landscape.
The wildflower season typically peaks in July and August, attracting visitors who come to witness the breathtaking floral display. The Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park is particularly famous for its wildflower meadows, offering spectacular views of the mountain and the surrounding landscapes adorned with a myriad of colorful blooms.
Keep in mind that the specific species and bloom times can vary, so it’s always a good idea to check with the park or local resources for current conditions and recommendations on the best times to see the wildflowers.
Ellensburg KOA Journey
11. Northwest Passage Expedition (Canada)
Become a part of the modern-day exploration echoing the spirit of Roald Amundsen’s historic journey with the Northwest Passage Expedition. It is scheduled from Aug. 17, 2024, to Sep. 15, 2024 (a 30-day expedition).
Charting a course inspired by the legendary explorer, the trip ventures to sail the entire length of the Northwest Passage. Beginning from Greenland and navigating the intricate waterways that wind through the fabled islands of Arctic Canada until you reach the Beaufort Sea.
Building on the legacy of classic Northwest Passage voyages, this expedition offers more than a scenic journey. Delve into history as you visit the hallowed grounds explored by heroic adventurers, encountering the resilient local Inuit communities that call this Arctic region home.
Marvel at the breathtaking landscapes that unfold around every corner and keep a keen eye out for the enigmatic wildlife that thrives in this unique corner of the world. The unpredictability of pack ice adds an element of genuine exploration, creating an adventure where surprises await at every turn.
Throughout the journey, you will visit remote Inuit hamlets and settlements, providing a rare opportunity to witness traditional hunting methods, including whaling. While these practices may be confronting to some, the dedicated expedition team will address concerns promptly and take action to mitigate any issues.
Highlights of the Expedition:
- Stand in awe of Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Hike on Devon Island, the world’s largest uninhabited island, revealing stunning geology, fjords, and glacial valleys.
- Explore Beechey Island, home to memorials and graves of explorers from John Franklin’s expedition.
- Keep vigilant for iconic Arctic wildlife, including ringed seals, musk oxen, polar bears, and the possibility of encountering beluga whales.
12. Bear Viewing at Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia (Canada)
Immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, a vast expanse of pristine wilderness comparable in size to Ireland. Enveloping a quarter of the world’s coastal temperate rainforest, this remote sanctuary offers a serene escape, where silence reigns, and lush green landscapes stretch as far as the eye can see.
Stretching approximately 400 kilometers along the central and northern coast of British Columbia, from Knight Inlet to the Alaska Panhandle, the Great Bear Rainforest covers an expansive 6.4 million hectares (15.8 million acres). Notably, it is the sole corner of the planet where the elusive white Kermode bear, also known as the “Spirit bear,” roams freely.
Beyond the allure of the Spirit bear, the Great Bear Rainforest presents an abundance of wildlife, from soaring eagles and majestic grizzly bears to playful sea otters, dolphins, and awe-inspiring whales. Whether you fancy kayaking along the coast, casting a line for fishing, or hiking through ancient old-growth forests, this extraordinary rainforest promises an off-the-beaten-path adventure. Accessible mainly by boat or floatplane due to its limited roadways, the Great Bear Rainforest ensures an intimate and immersive experience in the heart of nature.
Accessing the Great Bear Rainforest involves a journey through the wilderness, with Bella Coola in central BC serving as a primary gateway. Travel by road, such as Highway 20 from Williams Lake, or opt for scheduled flights from Vancouver.
Other entry points include Bella Bella, Klemtu, and Prince Rupert. Sail along the BC coast, embark on ferry journeys through BC Ferries’ routes, or indulge in small-ship cruises like Maple Leaf Adventures or Outer Shores Expeditions. For a more secluded experience, consider flying or sailing to remote lodges like Farewell Harbour Lodge, Nimmo Bay Resort, or Knight Inlet Lodge.
You can book a trip to this area in June, August, and October that is organized by Frontiers North. Guided by a Wildlife Biologist, this expedition offers enchanting photography opportunities amidst the pristine wilderness. Operating from early spring to late fall, the tour provides a diverse seasonal experience.
In early spring, witness the bears emerging from the mountains, grazing on succulents and grasses at the river estuary. As summer unfolds, you can float quietly along estuary sloughs, observing not only the bears but also the rich birdlife and diverse wildlife inhabiting the area.
Transitioning to mid-August to late fall, a spectacle unfolds as thousands of salmon return to the river estuaries. From enclosed viewing stands along the riverbank, you can marvel at the bears gorging themselves in preparation for their imminent hibernation. This creates a truly unforgettable and immersive encounter with these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
Leslie is a travel writer, copywriter, and web designer who gets butterflies from telling stories through words and visuals.
Her voice comes from a place filled with passion, dreams, and lots of sugar. “Cake over steak” is her go-to motto.
With over 10 years of experience in crafting words, and years of embarking on travels that have taken this Montana girl to some incredible places, Leslie loves the adventures of both body and mind her writing takes her on.
To see what Leslie’s up to in the writing and design world, visit her website here.