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15 Panoramic Webcams That Let You Virtually Travel the World

With COVID-19 forcing most of the world to remain as safe as possible indoors and relatively alone, travel has become impossible. Thankfully, there are webcams being set up around the globe which allow us to scratch our travel itch while self-isolating.

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Virtual travel

In the age of the novel coronavirus, many of us are stuck safely inside our homes morning, noon and night. When we are allowed to venture outside for groceries or a walk in the park, we practice social distancing as best we can, we sneeze into our elbows, and we wash our hands nonstop. The lock-downs, rampant fear, and hundreds of thousands of confirmed cases around the world have grounded planes and canceled cruises, making it impossible to see the world firsthand. Enter webcams. Here are 14 live webcams to virtually visit rare animals, exotic cities, sandy beaches, and to see nature in all her glory while we stay inside in our pajamas, waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also enjoy these 17 virtual museums and concerts from the comfort of your own home.

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Saint Lucia

Tune in twice weekly to 7 Minutes in Saint Lucia, the new social media series virtually taking locked-down citizens of the world to the West Indies. To travel to Saint Lucia, head to the Caribbean island’s official Instagram page on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m. EDT, click the top of the feed with a play button and the colorful ring around, and join to do live yoga with a view of the world-famous Pitons, participate in beach meditation, dance along as a DJ spins reggae and dancehall tracks, take a fresh air hike at Tet Paul Nature Trail, and learn to make some new cocktails with rum. Find out why this Caribbean island is your next dream vacation.

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Lake Como, Italy

Is Lake Como on your bucket list? While you’ll have to wait a bit longer to check it off, you can enjoy a daily sunrise virtually thanks to the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. The historic, five-star resort is posting a #YourWindowFromTheGrand shot on its Instagram handle @ghtlakecomo from its live webcam each morning; the daily posts are saved on in the Highlights labeled “Your Window.” Watching the sunrise over the stunning Gringe Mountains across Lake Como is a balm for your sheltering-in-place soul. These are 52 more hotel rooms with dreamy views to add to your bucket list.

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Katmai National Park, Alaska

Looking to spend a few hours not thinking about the Coronavirus today? Click through to the marvelous live Katmai National Park webcam positioned at the edge of Brook Falls. You’ll see salmon leaping up the waterfall as if they’re playing on a child’s trampoline while brown bears look for their next fresh al fresco seafood meal. Katmai National Park is four hours behind EDT, so plan your bear and salmon watching accordingly. These stunning photos of national parks in full bloom will also help take your mind off the madness.

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Sydney, Australia

While you’re awake with dread in the age of coronavirus, make a virtual visit to the land down under thanks to a live webcam pointed at Sydney Harbor. You’ll see the Sydney Harbor Bridge, which is lovely day or night, the city skyline, and the famed Sydney Opera House. While you have the Sydney webcam up on one device, fire up full-length performances from the Opera House digital archives being aired weekly from Wednesday to Sunday at 6 p.m. local time (Sydney is 15 hours ahead of EDT) during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are the most popular travel destinations in Australia, led by Sydney of course.

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Key West, Florida

Scroll down to the Pools and Beaches section of the website for Hilton’s Curio Collection resort The Reach Key West to bask in the warm glow of the island’s only natural sand beach. You’ll see blue-green water lapping against the shore all day long and maybe, if lucky, a paddleboard or kayak float past. You’ll imagine that it was you on the water, and someday soon it can be. Until then, pretend to be self-isolating in the Key West sunshine with a rum cocktail in one hand, a Hemingway novel in the other, on the beach of a luxury resort. That might just be enough to get through another day stuck at home. Find out the best Florida beaches locals want to keep secret.

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San Diego, California

Even if you’re lucky enough to live near a coast, many state beaches are closed or restricting visitors to encourage social distancing. What’s a beach lover to do? You can get your sea and sand fix from the iconic Hotel Del Coronado’s live streaming beach cam. You can almost taste the salt air as you watch the waves crash and the sunshine from the Del’s live beach cam. Opened in 1888, the Hotel Del Coronado is one of the oldest hotels in California—find out the most historic hotel in your state.

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National Aquarium, Baltimore

While there’s quite nothing like holding your kiddo’s hand while actually walking around the National Aquarium in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, but thanks to COVID-19 that’s not possible right now. So do the next best thing, tune into any one of three live National Aquarium webcams—Blacktip Reef, Jellies Invasion, and Pacific Coral Reef—to watch sharks, rays, blue blubber jellyfish, clownfish and the stunning Banggai cardinalfish which are only found in an Indonesian archipelago. Since no one can travel there, or to Baltimore for tourist fun, gather the kids around the computer and spend a day at the National Aquarium. Speaking of aquariums, find out why aquarium never have great white sharks.

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Northern Lights from Churchill, Manitoba Canada

This northern town on Hudson Bay in Manitoba Canada is famous for its polar bears and runs a live webcam which provides the best and easiest opportunity to watch the Northern Lights illuminate the sky from the comfort of your own self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. You won’t see much of interest during the day on this webcam but at night (Central Time), if you’re lucky, you could be treated to greens, blues, and purples in the sky, live from one of Earth’s best places to see the Northern Lights according to Forbes. Here are 12 more of the best places to see the Northern Lights in person, once we’re free to travel again.

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Lake Tahoe, Nevada

If it’s crisp mountain air that you’re dreaming of, The Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe, voted the #1 resort hotel in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure in 2018, offers respite with its Lake Tahoe live streaming lake cam. You can take in the impossibly blue waters of Lake Tahoe with the backdrop of the Sierra Range behind it. Take a deep breath and visualize yourself here the next time a case of cabin fever hits. After all, nature is one of the 12 wonderful things that will never be canceled.

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Nonsuch Island, Bermuda

This Bermuda webcam may be niche but for bird watchers and nature lovers champing at the bit to get back outside to live their passion, the live Cahow nesting webcams are a true gift during this difficult time. Located just off the coast of Bermuda, Nonesuch Island is home to a Lazarus species, the Cahow (or Bermuda Petrel). After being thought to be extinct for more than 300 years, 17 pairs were re-discovered in the 1950s. Remarkable recovery efforts and a successful management plan have resulted that the Cahow is back to more than 135 pairs that live only here in Bermuda, and you can stream these “CahowCams” that have been broadcasting for eight seasons live from the underground nesting burrows thanks to custom-built infrared cameras allowing us to see the new chicks! Don’t miss these virtual day trips you can now take online.

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Situated on the other side of the globe, a full 11 hours ahead of EDT in America, Thailand’s webcams are perfect for any hopeful U.S.-based traveler suffering insomnia during this Coronavirus pandemic. Choose from any number of archived, four-panel webcam videos to immerse yourself in the exotic culture, food, golden temples and faraway beaches of this magical destination. Check out the peaceful floating market scene paired with a panoramic view of the harbor, people feeding pigeons, and a sun-kissed lagoon to enjoy while in your pajamas at home. Thailand is famously a cheap vacation destination that is even cheaper while virtually visiting via webcam!

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Rowe Sanctuary, Nebraska

Did you know that the crane migration along the Platte River in Nebraska is the second-largest animal migration on Earth, behind only the wildebeests in the Serengeti? It’s true and it is one of the 16 life-changing travel experiences you can have only in America. Approximately 500,000 Sandhill cranes—that’s nearly 80-percent of the world’s crane population—converge on an 80-mile stretch of Nebraskan land each year…and you can watch the crane migration live (or recorded if you miss it!) The crane cam is set up on the Rowe Sanctuary and viewers are able to see and hear the cranes on their river roost 24-hours a day through the live recording, in addition to other wildlife, such as white-tailed deer and bobcats. Peak times to view the cranes is during their feeding, around sunrise and sunset (Central Time).

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Trevi Fountain, Rome and the Rialto Bridge, Venice

If you’ve ever been to the Trevi Fountain in Rome, you know that you share the experience, at any time of day, any day of the week, with roughly ALL the tourists in the whole of Italy. In short, it is teeming with people wielding selfie sticks. Now, you can tune into a live Trevi Fountain webcam to bliss out in front of this famous sight alone and see it as no one ever has: completely, totally deserted. While virtually visiting Italy, be soothed by the boats rippling the water in Venice as they go back and forth beneath the famed Rialto Bridge on this Venice webcam. A trip to Italy is one of the vacations that ends up being cheaper than a family visit to Disney.

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Malibu, California

OK, fine, you won’t be enjoying fresh fish from Malibu Seafood on California while soaking up this view. Still, a live, virtual visit to the Pacific Ocean courtesy of Malibu Beach Inn BeachCam is a welcome respite from the fear, worry and sheer boredom of being safely stashed away inside your home or apartment during the time of coronavirus. These are more of the best beaches in the world.

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New York City

The Big Apple is shut down. There’s no Broadway on stage and no chance to see a massive Pollock, Rothko, or Monet hanging at MoMA. Even though you can’t hear the crack of the bat at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, or ride on the carousel in Central Park, you can still pay a visit to NYC via this live New York City skyline webcam. While looking out over the stunning New York skyline, start thinking about planning a trip to the city that never sleeps, once it wakes up again. Start with these 15 NYC hidden gems most locals don’t even know about.

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle is an Iris Award-winning photographer, avid traveler, and English football fanatic who regularly covers travel, culture, cars, health, business, the environment, and more for Reader's Digest. Jeff has also written for Parents Magazine, Esquire, PBS, and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. He is the proud dad of teen daughters. You can follow his adventures on Instagram and Twitter @OWTK.

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