10 Trips That Are So Much Better at Night
Some people are early birds, while others proudly proclaim to be night owls. For those that fall into the latter category, have you ever considered planning a vacation around your propensity to be up till the wee hours? Well, you should! Countless destinations and activities shine at night. A bioluminescent beach, for example, only glows when the sun goes down. You can even do an epic hike through Yosemite National Park in the P.M. If you’re down for a getaway that requires staying up late (and possibly snoozing a little longer in the morning), we’ve got some ideas tailor-made for your sleep cycle and sense of adventure. From adrenaline-pumping adventures to spooky ghost tours, scroll on for ten trips that are so much better at night.
1. ADMIRE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS (FAIRBANKS, ALASKA)
Gazing at the glory of the Northern Lights ranks at the top of pretty much every traveler’s bucket list. It’s also an activity that’s exclusively possible at night. As you’ll need complete darkness to see the colorful celestial bodies dancing through the midnight sky. The aurora borealis is visible across much of Scandinavia from September to March. If you’d prefer a domestic destination, we’d recommend heading to Fairbanks, Alaska.
2. NIGHTTIME SCUBA DIVING (KEY LARGO, FLORIDA)
Witnessing the amazing world that exists under the waves is nothing short of wondrous. Because many fascinating marine creatures are nocturnal, diving down beneath the surface into the warm waters of Upper Keys National Sanctuary at night provides the chance to geek out over sharks, eels, squids and octopuses.
3. STARGAZE IN DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK (CALIFORNIA)
Death Valley National Park is famed for its arid scenery and scorching temperatures. When the sun goes down, the temperature becomes more pleasant, and the cosmos really comes alive. Without the burden of light pollution, the opportunities for stargazing are endless—though, we’re partial to Ubehebe Crater and Harmony Borax Works.
4. GET SPOOKED IN SAVANNAH (SAVANNAH, GEORGIA)
The United States has a number of notoriously haunted cities—none more so than Savannah. If you really want to feel the full frightening effect, book a ghost tour at night. Take a walk on the spooky side amongst the spirits as you visit cemeteries and other eerie sites. We promise it’ll send a tingle down your spine.
5. YOSEMITE FULL MOON GUIDED NIGHT TOUR (CALIFORNIA)
Consistently voted among the top national parks in the United States, Yosemite lures all manner of adrenaline-seeking and nature-chasing hikers, climbers and campers. For a totally unique way to experience one of the most beautiful places in the Golden State, let the moon—and a trained guide—show you the way.
6. SEE THE GLOW OVER THE HALEMA'UMA'U CRATER (BIG ISLAND, HAWAII)
Staying out until almost midnight on holiday isn’t necessarily something that’s going to excite every traveler. After all, many people go on vacation to rest and catch up on sleep. But, we assure you that it's well worth missing a few zzzs to glimpse the glow from Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.
7. STARLIGHT SAFARI (ORLANDO, FLORIDA)
There’s nothing quite like seeing majestic animals IRL. Under the cover of darkness, nocturnal critters come out to play. Can’t make it all the way to South Africa or Tanzania? Starlight Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge does an awesome job of recreating the real-deal game reserve experience without the need for a passport or long-haul flight.
8. ALCATRAZ NIGHT TOUR (SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA)
The most infamous prison in the country (maybe even the world), the topic of countless books and action-packed films like The Rock, Alcatraz is one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco. If you’ve never been or already visited during the day, we highly recommend going in the evening. PM programming includes a guided boat ride around the island and a tour of the prison.
9. CHECK OUT HOLBOX BEACH (ISLA HOLBOX, MEXICO)
You might be wondering what exactly makes a place bioluminescent. In the case of Holbox Beach on Isla Holbox, a small island off the northern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, it’s full of glow-in-the-dark phytoplankton that swim around and emit a glorious blue light into the darkness. Needless to say, this natural phenomenon only happens in the evening.
10. NIGHT SKIING (COLORADO)
Colorado boasts some of the best skiing and snowboarding anywhere. Many of its most popular winter destinations, from Keystone Resort to Steamboat Ski Resort, also offer an extremely (literally and figuratively) cool way to get your downhill action fix—racing down the slopes after dark. Oh, those alpine nights!