Virtual Visits

8 Webcams to Watch When You’re Stuck at Home

Mount Fuji from afar

Everyone is stuck at home this year, but luckily there is a webcam out there for everyone! I personally can’t get enough of nature and animal webcams. Many zoos feature at least one live webcam, and national parks are also getting in on the trend. From a lovely mountain to outer space, from ancient castles to bustling cities – here are 8 webcams for you to enjoy from home! 

I’m obsessed with animals, so let’s begin our webcam journey on the wild side. Watch brown bears at their favorite fishing spots as they catch salmon leaping up the falls. The most expert fisher-bears can catch and eat about 30 salmon a day – that’s an insane 120 pounds of fish! This webcam has been around since 2012 and runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This particular area of the park is most active in the early summer, although there were plenty of bears to watch when I checked this week. 

Katmai National Park was established in 1918 and remains an important habitat for brown bears and migrating salmon. Native peoples have been living in the Katmai area for at least 9,000 years.

Keeping up with the outdoor theme, Yellowstone National Park has a number of webcams to checkout on their site, the most popular being one trained on Old Faithful. There is an “Old Faithful Prediction” section which lets online visitors know when the geyser is (likely) going to erupt next. Contrary to popular myth, the geyser doesn’t erupt at the same time every day, nor does it erupt every hour. 

Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 and continues to be one of the most visited national parks in America. Over 4 million people traveled to Yellowstone to take in the natural wonders in 2019 alone. The Tukudika tribe has called the area home for thousands of years, hunting the enormous elk that roam there. 

If you need a moment of zen check out the Kaua’i webcam, located in Hawaii. This one is simple, like a live postcard straight from the islands. The ocean waves crash gently on the shore and palm trees sway in the wind. Make yourself a pina colada and virtually hang out on the volcanic shoreline. As of this post, I haven’t travelled to Hawaii yet, but this island is definitely on the list! For now, just watch the rhythmic flow of the waves and relax.

The Niagara Falls webcam is worth checking out during the day and again at night when the falls light up in all colors of the rainbow. The webcam is focused on Horseshoe Falls from the Canadian side. When I visited Niagara falls I got totally soaked from the mist floating upwards – the sheer power of the falls makes a kind of gentle rain over the entire nearby area. Here’s a little fact I didn’t learn until I visited the American side: Niagara Falls National Park is the oldest national park in the United States, established as the Niagara Reservation in 1885. The Niagara Falls region gets over 14 million visitors annually, so join the crowd (virtually).

The next webcam is located in Japan, and is focused on the beautiful Mt. Fuji (富). The webcam page is in Japanese but the video feeds are very easy to access. The view of Mt. Fuji changes with the seasons. In the summer you can see a beautiful sunny day filled with blooming cherry blossoms. In the colder months snow covers the area around Mt. Fuji and creates a winter wonderland. Mt. Fuji hasn’t erupted since 1708, so the scene is more like a serene mountain than a super-volcano. It is snow-capped for about five months out of the year. Until we can travel again and go see Japan for ourselves, we can admire the beauty of Mt Fuji from home.

Artwork of Mt Fuji by Hokusai
Part of the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, no. 41 , 5th additional woodcut. Artist: Hokusai.

Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city.
– Anotole Broyard

This page features multiple webcams spanning the city of Rome. Check out your favorite Piazza, watch people stroll the ancient streets near the Colosseum, or pretend to throw a virtual coin in the Trevi fountain. Rome is one of my favorite places on earth. The history is palpable and cultural sites can be found in every nook and cranny of the city. While you watch one of these webcams, play some authentic Italian music or learn to speak simple Italian phrases on Spotify.

A tour guide and itinerary for Rome is coming soon!

For something weird, a little spooky, and completely different, check out the webcam pointed at Bran Castle, a famous Transylvanian castle in Brașov, Romania. It is popularly known as the “Dracula Castle” because the Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, set his infamous count in a castle set high on a hill in Transylvania. People immediately began conflating the two, and now every year a number of vampire-loving tourists visit the area.

Today Bran Castle is a national monument and landmark in Romania, as well as a museum displaying art and artifacts from the relatively recent reign of Queen Marie.

Finally, something out of this world (I apologize, but I had to go full cheesy). NASA has a webcam installed inside of the International Space Station and broadcasts live video of the crew when they are on-duty. There is audio available when the space station is in contact with Mission Control on the ground. Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes.

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