7 absolutely stunning nature photos that will make you want to take a road trip ASAP.

Road trips.

For some, there's nothing better. For others, they're a waking nightmare that never ends (except for the occasional stop at Denny's).


If you find yourself in the latter camp, these seven photos may very well change your mind.

All of the photos were taken on federal public land, courtesy of the U.S. Department of the Interior's excellent Instagram account (which far too few people know about). They're places you can go to right now, by car, if you live in the mainland U.S.

And they're all out of this world.

7. Man-made beauty and natural beauty combined in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California

Nothing compares to the golden hour at #GoldenGate National Recreation Area in #California. Photographer Eric DaBreo was in search of the the perfect #sunset when he took this pic of the Golden Gate Bridge from @goldengatenationalparks' Marshall Beach. Photo from www.sharetheexperience.org.
A photo posted by U.S. Department of the Interior (@usinterior) on

6. The mind-bending scale of North America's tallest mountain in Denali National Park, Alaska

A #caribou wanders across the #tundra in the shadow of #Denali in #Alaska's Denali #NationalPark. Photo by Daniel A. Leifheit (@danleifheit), National Park Service. #nature #wildlife #animals
A photo posted by U.S. Department of the Interior (@usinterior) on

5. The starkness of a desert lightning storm in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

An amazing display of #nature's power as a #lightning bolt tears through the sky over Grand Staircase-Escalante #NationalMonument's Devils Garden in #Utah. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument spans nearly 1.9 million acres of America's #publiclands. From its spectacular #GrandStaircase of cliffs and terraces to the wonders of the #Escalante River Canyons, the Monument is truly a treasure. Adam Haggerty captured this amazing shot in the middle of a rain storm using a 10-second exposure. Photo from www.sharetheexperience.org.
A photo posted by U.S. Department of the Interior (@usinterior) on

4. The night sky as ancestors saw it in Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

While the still blue waters of #CraterLake astonish visitors during the day, it's the dark sky with millions of #stars that leaves visitors awestruck during nights. Seen in this picture is the Sagittarius arm of #MilkyWay stretching over #WizardIsland at Crater Lake #NationalPark in #Oregon. The green light on the horizon -- that's a phenomenon called airglow. Photo by Sankar Salvady (www.sharetheexperience.org).
A photo posted by U.S. Department of the Interior (@usinterior) on

3. A perfect spring day in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Happy first day of #spring! Now is the perfect time to start planning a visit to America's gorgeous public lands. Pictured here is a meadow of wildflowers at #MountRainier #NationalPark in #Washington at #sunset. Photo by Danny Seidman (www.sharetheexperience.org).
A photo posted by U.S. Department of the Interior (@usinterior) on

2. A group of startled, adorable baby owls in Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Utah

This was our same expression when we reached 500,000 followers on @Instagram this weekend! This pic of the baby burrowing #owls at #BearRiver Migratory Bird Refuge in northern #Utah is one of our most popular -- with more than 5,000 of you commenting on the photo by Katie McVey, @USFWS. Our account wouldn't be what it without all of you! That's why this week we'll be featuring some of your favorite #publiclands. Be sure to tell us in the comments your favorite #nationalpark, #wildliferefuge or other public lands.
A photo posted by U.S. Department of the Interior (@usinterior) on

1. The purple mountain majesties of Glacier National Park, Montana

Another spectacular photo submitted to the America's Great #Outdoors photo project. This one of Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park by @brandonmkopp just had to be shared. See the full list of photos at flickr.com/groups/summerago. #glacier #nationalpark #montana #publiclands #avalanchelake #lakes #photography #HDR #mountains #instagood #instacool
A photo posted by U.S. Department of the Interior (@usinterior) on



If you can't get yourself as far as Montana or California, never fear! America's national parks are in every state, cheap to visit, and — I'm using very technical language here — the jam.

According to some, they were America's best idea (though I think even Ken Burns would agree that Wrestlemania is a close second).

So, uh ... road trip, anyone?

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Photo courtesy of John Scully

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"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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