If you ever snorkeled in the Florida Keys, mountain biked in southern Arizona, or kayaked around the San Juan islands, you might have forgotten to look up. If you did, you would have been rewarded. So many great outdoor destinations happen to be in places where rare, spectacular birds, call home. You don't need to be a hardcore birder to appreciate taking a break from your bike, run, or paddle to spot a falcon, Bald Eagle, or flamingo. We talked to birding expert and field guide author Kenn Kaufman about the best spots in the U.S. for birding that also happen to be worth visiting on their own.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
There are more than 300 miles of hiking trails in the park, where you could catch glimpses of moose, elk, and blankets of wildflowers. You can choose to camp in the area, or stay at the Stanley Hotel (known for its role as the setting for The Shining).
The Birding: Many nesting birds of the mountain west, like white-tailed ptarmigans and red crossbills, make their homes in these altitudes. Designated as a globally important bird area, birding is decent all year here, but summer is the best time to go.
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