Love animals? Got the travel bug? There’s a wide array of travel destinations – and more vacation packages – that let you indulge your twin passions. Whether you plan to visit local zoos, aquariums, and horse farms – or faraway elephant nature parks, whale-watching sites, and wildlife sanctuaries – you’ll enjoy endless opportunities to see your favorite animals up close…feed, cuddle, or swim with them…perhaps even save or rehabilitate a few. Which of these vacations for animal lovers excite you most?
1 Have a whale of a time
Seeing and hearing these majestic creatures – and at close range! – is so appealing that whale-watching has become one of the most popular vacation activities and a billion-dollar industry to boot. Prime whale-watching sites? Try Alaska, where California’s 20,000 gray whales travel in the summer. Or California to see humpback whales and blue whales (if you’re lucky, you’ll see the 40-feet “blow” of water vapor that happens when the blue whale surfaces). Want to combine a foreign trip with whale-watching? Sightings abound in Iceland, Norway, Scotland, New Zealand, or South Africa.
2 Horse around
Love horseback riding? Then book your next vacation in beautiful Mauritius Island. About 2,400 kilometers off the southeastern coast of Africa, the island specializes in equestrian-based holidays, where you can see the country’s amazing ocean views and breathtaking waterfalls on horseback, Want to stay local? Head for Virginia’s Chincoteague and Assateague islands – and see the famous Chincoteague Wild Ponies in action. Or check out some wild horse sanctuaries to see wild mustangs run free in their natural habitat!
3 Enjoy a jumbo delight
See the gentle giants of Africa up close. An elephant safari is a great vacation idea for solo travelers, honeymooners, and photography enthusiasts. Find impressive herds in elephant parks in Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania. In the Okavango Delta in Botswana, you can choose to have a walking safari, a boat cruise, or an elephant back safari. Or, if you’re really a pachyderm buff, you can sign on as volunteer in one of Thailand’s elephant parks and feed, care for, swim with, or otherwise bond with rescued elephants.
4 Cry wolf with joy
See these stately predators – and a critical part of the wildlife ecosystem – in a whole new light! Book a wolf safari in Wyoming. In this great winter adventure, you travel to the wolves’ habitat in Yellowstone Park in snow coaches. With binoculars in your hand and an expert guide by your side, you’ll soon spot a pack of these legendary beasts emerge. With a backdrop of pristine white snow, steaming geysers, and ice-covered trees, and with these elegant predators for company, your spirits will soar!
5 Have more fun than a barrel of monkeys
It’s back to Africa with two ways to vacation with fellow primates. Love chimpanzees? If you’re up to trekking the jungles of Uganda, you can enjoy their playful nature in their natural environment. See them hang from their tails, swing from tree to tree, eat nuts and bananas, and play a prank or two. Always wanted to see gorillas? African primate expeditions bring you to their forest habitat where you can see them munching, chanting, walking, stripping leaves from branches. A riveting sight and an unforgettable encounter.
6 Go slow
A fan of these slow-moving creatures? Want to watch a new generation of sea turtles hatch and make their way to the sea? Well, Mexico is one of the best places to be for a sea turtle getaway! After you’ve had your fill of sun, beach, and margaritas, why not head over to one of several “turtle camps.” You can witness these gentle creatures come every year to lay and hatch their eggs in the sand…help protect the baby turtles from poachers and predators…and finally release the grown-up hatchlings back to the sea.
7 Be a lucky dog
Every dog lover’s UK itinerary should include the golden retriever festival in Invernesshire, Scotland – the breed’s ancestral home. Dinner, dancing, and dog show. Fun and frolicking with hundreds of dogs in attendance. Prefer something mellower? For those who just can’t leave Fido and Fluffy behind, there are parks, campsites, lakes, and even vineyards to take your little fur balls on day trips. And believe it or not, even luxury hotels and spas that aren’t just pet-friendly but also offer special canine and feline programs.
8 Get ready for some avian fun
Bird-watching fanatic? Then plan to take the South Georgia & Falklands or Antarctica penguin tours. Enjoy the sight of these fascinating little creatures as they move in groups, hunt for food, bathe, and play with each other. It may take a big chunk out of your budget, but it’s worth some really great photos. Other bird-watching getaway options? Yosemite National Park, California, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Canada, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Kruger National Park, South Africa, and many others. A bird-watching tour company may offer the best results.
9 Go whole hog
Always wanted to visit a farm? Take time off and visit any farm animal sanctuary– a place that shelters abused or neglected cows, pigs, chicken, ducks, goats, rabbits, sheep, and other animals. You can volunteer and dirty your hands a bit, learn issues that impact farming and animals, or simply be a guest – with the cost of your stay going toward the care of these abandoned creatures. It’s a great way to spend a relaxing weekend and do something good at the same time.
10 Sail to an animal kingdom
These days, cruises mean more than cocktails on the pool deck or endless buffets. They also let you get close to some of the world’s most magnificent animals. Cruise companies offer tours to South Africa (live out your adventure-filled safari dream), Alaska (go face to face with whales, sea lions, moose, and eagles), Galapagos (see penguins, giant tortoises, and a fantastic array of undersea life), the Arctic Circle (experience polar bears, reindeers, walrus, humpback whales, seals, and dolphins), and Borneo (meet orangutans, gibbons, and macaques…Bornean bearded pigs…and maybe even Sumatran rhinoceros and other exotic specimens).
And for those days when you are stuck at home, simply turn on your favorite wildlife show. Curl up on your couch with a Green Smoke® e-cig. Enjoy its rich flavors and incredible vapor volume – and feel like you’re very much on a vacation too. For more information and exciting money-saving deals, check out our e-cig shopping page.