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As we celebrate Earth Day, we should all be more cognizant of Mother Earth and how we treat her. There’s no better way to do that than reconnecting with nature. That becomes pretty easy while seeing the first rays of the sun from atop a mountain, or watching shooting stars dance between the silhouettes of Saguaro cacti. Here are five affordable eco-adventures to bring out your inner earth child and reconnect you with the beauty of the outdoors.

Red Rock Open Space

Red Rock Open Space. Photo: Thomas – Flickr

Scramble on red rocks

— Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a 789-acre park in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It’s full of winding trails, jutting red rocks and even some streams. It’s free to park, free to enter, and doesn’t draw near the crowds as its picturesque neighbor, Garden of the Gods. It’s also fairly unique, as it’s not quite in the mountains and not quite on the vast prairie that stretches out before them. With so many different geological features, you can scramble on the rock, hike on a trail or just sit by a lake and take it all in.

Cadillac Mountain

A view from the top of Cadillac Mountain. Photo: Ally Marotti.

See a sunrise

— If you hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor, Maine, at sunrise, you can catch a glimpse of the first rays of sun to hit the United States. That technically only happens in the fall and winter, when the sun rises due east, but you could get pretty close any other time. Even if you go in broad daylight, the view is spectacular. It’s the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard. If you’re feeling lazy, drive to the top. Acadia has a $25 fee per car, butthere are 16 days this year when national park fees are waived.

Mount Marcy

A view of a lake on the hike to Mount Marcy’s summit. Photo: Ally Marotti

Climb a mountain

— Mountains are plentiful in this country; we’re just lucky that way. Both sides of the nation are trimmed in them, with the Rocky Mountains slicing through the center. Eco-adventures don’t get any better than climbing a mountain. You’re using nothing but your own energy and taking in all that nature has to offer.National Parks are home to good hikes, but some of the best aren’t kept in boundaries. Try Mt. Marcy, the highest point in New York State with an elevation of 5,343 feet. For the most spectacular sights, go in the fall when the leaves are changing.

Arch Rock

Kayak near Arch Rock on Mackinac Island in Michigan. Photo: Eric W – Flickr

Kayak off Mackinac

— Arch Rock on the southeast coast of Mackinac Island in Michigan is pure bliss. So pure, in fact, that it makes an appearance in at least one of those Pure Michigan commercials. It’s just begging kayakers to visit. The key though, is bringing your own kayak. There’s only one rental place on the island, which is only accessible by ferry, and they charge $80 a person. So put on your life jacket and plop yourself down in Lake Huron’s waters.

Sonoran Desert National Monument

Stargaze at Sonoran Desert National Monument outside of Phoenix. Photo: Bureau of Land Management – Flickr

Camp under the stars

— Sonoran Desert National Monument just outside of Phoenix is beautiful by day, playing host to a horde of cacti and other desert flora and fauna, but at night, it’ll take your breath away. It’s just far enough from Phoenix that the city glow doesn’t affect your view of the Milky Way arching across the cloudless sky. There’s no designated camping spots in the area, so campers are asked to keep their tents at least 200 feet from a water source and use biodegradable soap.

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