Pack Your Trunk! The 20 Best Vacations for Animal Lovers

Do you love animals? If you’re anything like me, you’ll have at least one (or more) bucket list vacation that involves seeing animals in their natural habitat. Well, you’re about to get a few more! Below, I will tell you about the 20 Best Vacations for Animal Lovers, in no particular order!

We at Fox Travel love animals. Hello! We are called Fox Travel! We also know that sometimes animal encounters are found to be less than ethical. All options below are an ethical, educational, or conservatory way to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

For many of these adventures, some tour offers include:   

Either free round-trip air, free one-way air, or an air credit of $500 on certain trips and only from certain gateways. They are also offering free bar tabs and tips on select sailings as well.  Offers are subject to change without notice and vary by supplier or cruise line.

Vacations for Animal Lovers

1. Sloths in Costa Rica

Sloths are kind of my spirit animal. They’re cute, cuddly, love to sleep a lot, and just hang out. Just one look at a sloth’s adorable face and many people fall in love. Costa Rica is the best place in the world to see a sloth in their natural habitat. But because they are so adept at camouflaging themselves high up in the trees, it might be easier to visit a sloth sanctuary that is on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Down the road is also a Jaguar sanctuary as well! If you are staying on the Pacific side, don’t worry, you can visit the Diamante Eco Adventure Park where you’ll be able to see sloths, and many other animals native to Costa Rica, like monkeys, birds, and more close up, or you can even horseback ride through the jungle! So many great animal adventures to have in Costa Rica!


2. Howler Monkeys in Belize 

You better “Belize” that you’ll find some great options to see animals in this wonderful country! Whether you’re stopping off for the day on your Caribbean cruise from Galveston or staying for a while, there are plenty of options to see animals in their natural habitat. One of the top attractions is to visit the Community Baboon Sanctuary to see Howler Monkeys swinging from tree to tree. You can also see manatees, crocodiles, parrots and other birds, jaguars, and more in Belize.

Howler Monkeys

3. Manatees in Florida

You don’t need to leave the country to see Manatees in their natural habitat. Florida is a great location to see them bobbing in the warm water. Also known as the “Cow of the Sea”, manatees are sweet and sensitive animals. There are many eco-friendly tour options in Florida to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.


4. Chilling with Penguins in Antarctica 

Take a cruise down to Antarctica and walk among thousands of Gentoo, Chin Strap, and Adelie penguins. Many cruise lines are now making this popular trek down to Antarctica but for a more “natural” experience, I would choose a cruise with Lindblad and Natural Geographic Expeditions. This will give you a truly unique perspective on the life of an Antarctic penguin.


5. Exotic Elephants of Thailand

For many people riding on elephants on the beach in Thailand is a dream vacation. However, many animal lovers are finding out that the conditions for these wonderful creatures are less than ideal. Don’t worry though, there are still plenty of ethical options to interact with elephants in Thailand! Many of these tour options are elephant sanctuaries, and while they don’t let you ride on them, you can help hand-feed them, and even take them down to the river and bathe them. How cool is that?


6. Animals of Alaska

Our backyard holds many amazing opportunities to see animals in their natural habitat. One of the best places to see a wide variety of animals is Alaska. Interact with Sled Dogs, watch many different species of bears graze in the forest, see bald eagles soar over the Alaskan wilderness, moose, caribou, and bison on land. Alaska is also a great place to go whale watching during the summer. On a cruise or a whale-watching expedition, you can see humpback whales, blue whales, orcas, sea lions, seals, and more. Not only do you get to see all these amazing animals up close, but you also get to be in one of the most beautiful untouched wildernesss in America. It’s a win/win.


7. Unique Animals of the Galapagos Islands 

Made famous by Charles Darwin’s study of plants and animals and his theory of natural selection, the Galapagos Islands are teeming with species found only on these tiny islands. Because of this, it is considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for animal viewing. Some of the more famous residents unique to these islands are the Galapagos tortoise with a lifespan of 170 years, the only living Marine Iguana left on earth, Galapagos finches which played a huge role in Darwin’s theory, the Galapagos penguin the smallest and only penguin north of the equator, and much more.

Vacations for Animal Lovers - Galapagos

8. Exotic Animals of Indonesia 

Animal lovers will love this trip. Indonesia is a group of islands that make up an area south of the Philippines and north of Australia. Some of the more well-known islands are Sumatra, Java, and New Guinea. These islands hold some of the rarest and most endangered species in the world. Animals like the Sumatran Tiger, Orangutan, Javan Rhino, and the Komodo Dragon to name a few, are extremely endangered and very rare. There are many tour companies, like National Geographic, that will take you to Indonesia and try to get you the opportunity to see these beautiful animals up close.

Vacations for Animal Lovers - Orangutans

9. Polar Bears in Canada

While Polar Bears live in many northern polar countries like Norway and Russia, one of the easiest locations to see them, for Americans, is Churchill, Canada. Up here you will be able to see the largest bear and the largest land carnivore in the world. While visiting this snowy Tundra, you will also have a chance to do a dog sledding excursion and see the Arctic fox, arctic wolves, reindeer, and more.

Vacations for Animal Lovers - Polar Bears

10. Safari in Africa 

Probably one of the most popular and well-known vacations to see animals is doing an African Safari. Here you will be able to see many different species of animals all in the same day. You can even camp out in the wilderness with the animals all around you! Not a fan of camping? Many luxury hotels will still allow you to get in on the animal action. Here you can see African elephants, giraffes, rhinos, lions, cheetahs, and more. Some of our favorite vendors for an African Safari are Abercrombie & Kent, and Micato Safaris

Vacations for Animal Lovers - Safari

11. Pups on the beach in Hawaii

When on vacation, do you miss your furry friend which could be staying on one of those WoofConnect home dog boarding services? Don’t worry, on Kauai you can “rent a dog” from the local shelter for the time of your stay. What happens if you fall in love? They will help you bring your new puppy pal back to the States with you!

Other animals to see in Hawaii are dolphins, sea turtles, whales, sharks, and more! Hawaii is a beautiful tropical destination with much more to offer than just lounging on the beach. Can’t decide which Hawaiian island to visit? We’ve got your back! 

Vacations for Animal Lovers - Hawaii

12. Close encounters of the toothy kind in the Bahamas

One of the most popular excursions for animal lovers to do here is swim with the sharks! Many people flock to this area for the chance to swim and even feed sharks while scuba diving. The Bahamas has the largest population of sharks anywhere in the Caribbean. From the Caribbean and blacktip reef sharks to tiger and nurse sharks, there are sharks here for everyone. For the more timid try nurse sharks (I mean, you are still pretty brave for swimming with sharks) to the adventurous, swim with those large tiger sharks! If swimming with sharks is not your thing, you can also swim with… Pigs? Yup! I said pigs! There is a small island that is inhabited by little piggies that just love to swim with tourists.

13. It’s Panda-monium in China 

One of the cutest, most lovable creatures in the world has to be a Panda Bear. Just watch a video of a panda and you will see this silly personality shine through. Although you can see pandas in Zoos around the world, China is the only place to see these animals in the wild. You will be trekking through a huge jungle to try to find them, so it is probably better if you visit them at a breeding center instead where they work around the clock to help bring these wonderful creatures back from the brink of extinction.

Vacations for Animal Lovers

14. Hop on over to Australia

Many people know the 2 most popular animals in Australia, the kangaroo and koala. Australia is a great place to visit if you have people in your group who aren’t super interested in spending your entire vacation looking at animals (who are these people anyway?). There are a ton of super fun activities to do in many of the great cities, but this blog is about animals. Take a hike in the bush to see many of Australia’s unique animals, many found only there, in their natural habitat.

Vacations for Animal Lovers - Koala

15. Yellowstone National Park 

Yellowstone is known for its natural beauty, but there are a ton of animals to see here like bison, moose, wolves, bighorn sheep, bears, mountain lions, and more. This is another animal gem right in our backyard. Yellowstone is a must-see for any nature and animal lover. Another location where you can either camp or stay in a hotel, Yellowstone makes for a great vacation for all. But what am I saying, check out any of our amazing national parks to see unique wildlife all over the USA.

Vacations for Animal Lovers - Yellowstons

16. Wild Horses in Maryland

Did you know there is a beach in Maryland and Virginia that is teaming with wild horses? These wild horses are now used by people since the beach makes for a popular hangout for both people and horses, but they are still wild. Some though may even let you pet them. Horse lovers are animal lovers too! If you’re one of them, you may also visit sites like All About Horses to further educate yourself about horses.

Vacations for Animal Lovers - Wild Horses

17. Horseback ride through the Irish countryside

Take it from a person who has grown up riding. Riding a horse through the Irish countryside is probably one of the best animal experiences I have had. There is something pretty magical about Ireland, but seeing the country on horseback is pretty spectacular. This is another great location to visit for a unique animal experience, but it still, has plenty to do for those who don’t want to spend their entire vacation with animals.

Vacations for Animal Lovers - Ireland

18. Gorillas in the Mist

While you are on your African safari, take a side trip to Rwanda, Uganda, or Kenya to see Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat. This is a must-do for all animal lovers while in Africa. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a gorilla in these mountains, mainly because their territory is so large, and you have to go on foot. These beautiful and intelligent creatures are endangered, so if these guys are on your bucket list, I would plan your trip soon!

Vacations for Animal Lovers - Gorilla

19. Hang out with Japanese Snow Monkeys

You’ve seen these guys hanging out in the hot springs in snowy Kyoto, Japan, which is about a five-hour drive from Tokyo. These characters love to bathe and swim in these pools, and they are so much fun to watch. Again, Japan makes for a great destination for those who want to do other activities as well.

Vacations for Animal Lovers - Japanese Snow Monkey

20. Scuba Dive

If you have never been scuba diving or even snorkeling, then you won’t understand when someone says that being 50 feet underwater is as close to being in a different world as possible. Some of my most memorable animal lover encounters happened while scuba diving. The best part about scuba diving is you can pretty much dive anywhere with water, even lakes! There is so much life teeming underneath the waves that will blow you away. From the very small fish, shrimp, and crabs, to the largest turtles, whales, whale sharks, dolphins, and sharks, you will see something new every time you dive. If you happen to go diving during whale watching season, you can hear the whales calling from miles away, it’s a pretty incredible adventure for animal lovers.

Vacations for Animal Lovers - Scuba Dive

Remember, animal lovers, no matter where you go or whatever animals you see, please remember that these are wild animals. They are adapted to life in their area; please don’t handle, feed, or interfere with any animal in the wild. While your intentions may be good, it could negatively impact them. And please, if you want to take a picture with or of an animal, ensure you are at a safe distance.

FAQs for Animal Lover Vacations

  1. What are some popular places with animals for vacationing in the United States? The United States boasts numerous destinations where animal enthusiasts can indulge in their passion. Notable places include the San Diego Zoo in California, Yellowstone National Park for wildlife viewing, and the Florida Everglades for bird watching and alligator sightings.
  2. Can you recommend vacations specifically for animal lovers in the United States? Absolutely! Animal lovers should consider visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, participating in whale-watching tours in Massachusetts, or exploring the unique wildlife in Alaska.
  3. What are some unique animal vacation experiences in the United States? For a unique experience, try dog sledding in Minnesota, swimming with dolphins in Hawaii, or taking a guided horseback tour in the Grand Canyon.
  4. Are there any all-inclusive animal encounter vacations in the United States? Yes, there are all-inclusive options, such as wildlife safaris in Yellowstone National Park, bird-watching retreats in Texas, and marine life expeditions in Florida.
  5. Can you suggest some exciting animal trips within the United States? For an exciting trip, consider a bear-watching tour in Alaska, a visit to the Wolf Conservation Center in New York, or an adventurous safari in the Smoky Mountains.
  6. What are some family-friendly vacations with animals in the United States? Families will enjoy visiting the Oregon Zoo in Portland, embarking on a guided wildlife tour in Yosemite National Park, or experiencing the interactive exhibits at the Georgia Aquarium.
  7. What are the best animal places to visit for a vacation in the United States? Top destinations include the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming, the Manatee Viewing Center in Florida, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in California.
  8. Can you suggest a vacation for animal lovers that also offers relaxation? For a relaxing yet animal-centric vacation, consider staying at a ranch in Montana where you can enjoy horseback riding, or visit a coastal retreat in Maine for bird watching and serene nature walks.
  9. Are there any educational animal vacations in the United States? Yes, educational vacations include participating in conservation programs at the Sea Turtle Conservancy in Florida, joining bird banding workshops in Ohio, or attending wildlife photography courses in national parks.
  10. What should I pack for an animal-themed vacation? Depending on your destination, pack comfortable outdoor clothing, binoculars for wildlife viewing, a camera, sunscreen, insect repellent, and appropriate footwear for hiking or walking in natural habitats.

Contact Us!

Want to see them in person? Please contact Alma, or Debbie at Fox Travel at 281-363-0808 or fill out the form below for more information on how to have the best animal encounters while on vacation!

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