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

Stellar.

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?

Heroes
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular