Hiking boots? I don’t know about you, but I’ve always dreaded that section of the shoe store. It takes up space that could be occupied by some much cuter footwear options! But rest assured, while this style can be clunky and unattractive, it does exist for a reason. Here are six places in the U.S. with such awesome hiking options that you might want to re-consider the hiking boot life, or at least pick up some sassy and colorful new sneakers.
Pack your selfie stick, be prepared with your smartphone’s best filter to hide the fog in your Instagram snaps, and hop on the ferry from San Francisco to Angel Island. Depending on which hiking trail you choose, the breathtaking views at the three mile peak of Mt. Livermore will make you happy you decided to invest in those hiking shoes. If you’re looking for a less strenuous, but still active day, walk around the island’s beaches, take a bike ride, or head up to the Immigration Center—Ellis Island’s West Coast equivalent. You’ll still catch the great city views.
Sneakers in South Beach? Yup, you heard us right. You might have overlooked the expansive green space on GoogleMaps, also known as Everglades National Park. At only about an hour from downtown Miami, it lacks the 18-lane highways and congested roads of South Beach, but it’s full of hiking trails, camp sites, wildlife, and water sports. Not to mention one of the nation’s largest ecosystems. While you won’t get the mountainous terrain as some of the other spots on this list, you will definitely get your steps in and need those sneakers. At the Shark Valley Visitor Center, you’ll find both walking trails with a 65 foot observation tower to see South Florida’s natural side.
While lots of other destinations on this list can be experienced year-round, those of us in the Northeast are enjoying the fact that the snow has thawed out so that we can finally escape our insulated homes and experience the great outdoors! At least that’s what we’ll say until the August heatwaves drive us to lock ourselves back inside with the AC on full blast. But before then, check out some of Mount Monadnock’s 35 miles of hiking trails. Just north of the New Hampshire border, the mountain is only a few hours from New York or Boston. While the website recommends Patagonia gear, my silver fashion sneakers did the trick just fine when I braved the hike! The dirt and mud they accumulated—well that’s another story. The climb is steep at times, but there are several different trail options depending on how experienced you are. Most are about 3-4 hours round trip, and the stunning New England views are definitely worth it!
13 miles south of Austin, and just over an hour’s drive from San Antonio, McKinney Falls State Park offers some diverse options to enjoy Mother Nature’s beauty. There are 9 miles of trails, and the 2.8 mile Onion Creek trail is said to be suitable for not only bikes, but also strollers! In addition to the swimming, camping, fishing, and picnic options, the website provides some lessons and tips on how to geocache in the park—a fun activity to do with the little ones or your adult friends to channel that inner explorer.
For a geology and ecology lesson that’s more engaging and hands on than your high school textbooks, head to Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve. At just about a half hour from downtown Chicago, it’s an easy journey for the urban explorer. You’ll see the effects from the Wisconsin Glacier of more than a million years ago—the park has some of the most unique rock formations and waterfalls in the country. The full trail is over 9 miles, but if you’re like me and still want to be able to walk after the hike, the mile long segments will be just as rewarding!
While you can always do the iconic Hollywood Sign hike, L.A. has plenty of other hiking options! Ideal for the amateur hiker, the main trail at Solstice Canyon in Malibu is relatively flat. If you’re feeling more adventurous, check out the Rising Sun Trail which offers some great views of the Pacific. You’ll see diverse wildlife, the Solstice Waterfall, and even some architectural ruins from stone hunting cabins that have been scorched by the region’s wildfires. Both trails are less than two miles round trip, so you’ll have plenty of time afterwards for some Malibu brunch or cocktails. Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Malibu Cafe is one of my faves. What better way to reward yourself post-hike than with a mimosa?