From Where to See Wildlife
Top 10 Places in the United States
- Yellowstone National Park is the premiere destination within the United States to see wildlife. The top attractions include that you are guaranteed to see include Bison and Elk. But if you stay longer, and look harder, you are very likely to see Bighorn Sheep, Bald Eagles, and Pronghorn Antelopes. And, if you are lucky, you might even spot Black Bears, Moose, or even a Grizzly Bear.
- Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is one of my very favorite places. Alligators are a guaranteed sighting, and so are Hawks. But there is a huge array of birds you are likely to see, including Great Blue Herons, White Ibis, Green Herons, and Sandhill Cranes.
- Moss Landing in California between San Francisco and Monterrey, is the very best place to see Sea Otters. You are also guaranteed to see Sea Lions, and are likely to see Harbor Seals. Plus, there are a wide variety of marine birds.
- The best place to see Elk is Wyoming's National Elk Refuge. The National Elk Refuge works to provide, preserve, restore, and manage winter habitat for the nationally significant Jackson Elk Herd. The migration of the Jackson Hole Elk is the longest herd migration of elk in the lower 48 states. It is the world's largest wintering concentration of elk.
- More than 3,000 animals, including Elk, Moose and Bighorn Sheep, dwell in Rocky Mountain National Park outside Denver, Colorado . One of the best viewing sites is the nine-mile stretch of Trail Ridge Road between the Kawuneeche Visitor Center and the Colorado River Trailhead, where animals graze on relatively level terrain. In Horseshoe Park, off Highway 34, elk, coyotes and bighorn sheep graze in meadows around glacier-formed kettle ponds known as Sheep Lakes
- Go to Hyannis, Massachusetts to whale watch. 25 miles east of Boston is the 842-square-mile marine sanctuary called Stellwagen Bank, the very best place in Massachusetts to see a number of species of Whales. The underwater plateau is a veritable buffet of the fish that whales love to eat. Take a cruise offered by one of the many boat companies to look for Atlantic white-sided dolphins, fin whales, humpback whales, minke whales, northern right whales, pilot whales, as well as harbor porpoises and Harbor Seals.
Top 10 Specialty Places in the United States
A list of great places where you are guaranteed to see a specific but-rare animal...
- Glacier National Park in Montana is the single best place in the United States to see Mountain Goats. Mountain goats so close you won't need a spotting scope or a 600-millimeter lens? Head to Logan Pass at Glacier National Park. The goats will be waiting, guaranteed. Just head up the trail to Hidden Lake, and you'll find the goats waiting. You don't have to hike all the way to the lake, just 10 or 15 minutes up the trail, if that, and you'll find them contentedly munching on wildflower buffet. The Mountain Goats are so close and nonchalant they could be models strutting a runway.
- Head to Kona, Hawaii for the best place to see Manta Rays, at the world famous Manta Ray Night Dive, for snorkelers and Scuba divers alike. It is a truly fabulous experience. Each year thousands of divers and snorkelers from all over the world come to Kona to swim with the manta rays. The Kona Coast is one of the best places in the world to see and observe manta rays up close. The best way to interact with these majestic creatures is to swim (Scuba or Snorkel) with them! Their huge 12-foot wingspans and agile movements are truly memorizing. With no teeth, they are quite harmless. Manta Rays feast on tiny plankton as they swoop down through the water, while you snorkel or scuba just inches away.
- In Colorado, Moose are most often found in North Park, near Walden, which bills itself as the "Moose Viewing Capital of Colorado." A couple hours north of Denver, the likelihood of seeing a Moose is higher here than just about anyplace else in the US (although not as good as the prime Canadian spots). See State Forest State Park.
- Want to see Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks? If you are an advanced scuba diver, then head to Molokai, Hawaii for the premier spot in the US to see Hammerheads. And, even better, it is a great place to see the hammerheads schooling. Fish Rain and Fish Bowl are the names of the two dive spots that give you the best chance to see schooling Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks.
- Great White Sharks are closer than you think! One day adventures depart from San Francisco or other nearby marinas in the Bay area. The Gulf of the Farrallones Marine Sanctuary is home to some of the world's largest Great White Sharks -- and they are very easily accessible. These islands (Southeast Farallon and Maintop Island) off the coast of San Francisco are the winter water playground of adult great white sharks, which measure 15 to 20 feet long. (4.5 meters to 6.1 meters). The sharks come to the Farrallons to dine on the local population of northern Elephant Seals. You'll find yourself rooting for the seals as they compete in a race for their lives against some of the planet's most incredible marine predators. Watching this natural great white feeding event is an experience you'll never forget. The best time period is between September and November. It is a frightful experience: cages are lowered ten to fifteen feet into the water, and dead fish are placed into the water to attract them. It is not necessary to know scuba, as you will be supplied with air from a hose from the surface. If you can snorkel, you can dive with sharks. As long as you're in reasonably good health, love sharks and the ocean and meet minimum age requirements, you can cage dive with big sharks.