Traveling doesn’t have to stop just because we might be stuck at home or just not ready to travel yet. In fact, thanks to so many places throughout the world offering virtual tours, now is the perfect time to transport yourself pretty much anywhere you dream of. Even better is that it can be done with a simple click.
Instead of wishing to be somewhere else, get ready to fuel your wanderlust. It’s time to immerse yourself in all the free virtual travel that you possibly can. Pretty amazing world we live in when you can visit Rome, take some National Parks virtual tours and free virtual museum tours all in the same day!
What is virtual travel?
Virtual travel, or a virtual tour is a simulated experience of a location. I explained it my kids by telling them basically, you can feel like you are traveling and getting to see a place you always wanted to visit in this world, without ever leaving home.
Have you ever taken a vacation at home? Free virtual tours are similar to that.
It’s a safe bet to say that we’re living in a world right now that feels upside-down. Many travel plans have been canceled or rescheduled, and millions of people don’t plan on leaving their own homes or local area, even as the world around them has been reopening.
For as much as my kids and I usually travel, it hasn’t been easy instantly switching our lives from never being home to hardly leaving our house. I even created a whole list of activities for my teen to do, so I can hopefully stop hearing the dreaded “I’m bored“.
When it comes to finding things to do inside that don’t revolve around Netflix, Disney Plus, board games and eating, you might feel like you are running out of solid options.
Don’t worry though, because these virtual tours for kids, teens and adults will have you dreaming of other destinations, while having the time of your life.
And guess what the best part is? You don’t have to stock up on the best travel essentials, take time to pack a carry on, spend money on airfare, waste time searching for broadway tickets or think about all the laundry you’ll have to do when you get back!
Are you ready to “travel the world” in your pajamas?
15 Virtual Tours to Take From Home
Take a trip on one of these virtual tours or go on them all.
Will you be a world traveler by the end of the day or someone who just wants to wait for the real thing? It really doesn’t matter as the choice is entirely up to you!
These are also great resources for children to explore and fuel their wanderlust. If you’re homeschooling or have kids doing online learning, add some of these to your list!
1. San Diego Zoo
Get your daily dose of a wide variety of awesome animals thanks to their incredible live cams and free virtual zoo tour. My kids love checking out the Polar Bear, Elephant and Ape Cams the best!
The San Diego Zoo recently debuted their new Platypus Cam, which is presented by the Animal Crossing New Horizons Game (perfect for anyone who is addicted to this Nintendo Switch phenomenon).
When you are done watching the animals explore, eat, swim and play, kids can take a wild adventure at the San Diego Zoo Kids Corner. There are fun activities, games, videos, interesting facts and jokes too!
2. Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida
You no longer have to worry about how to get to this beautiful and remote national park, with this google arts and culture virtual tour.
Dive right into the Windjammer Shipwreck (without ever getting wet), feel like you are actually swimming through a coral reef (which is the third largest in the world) and then explore Fort Jefferson, all in one sitting.
The Florida Keys Dry Tortugas National Park interactive experience gives you the option of a 360 virtual tour of this incredible underwater world, or you can follow along with the divers.
3. Eiffel Tower in Paris
Learn about and view this stunning landmark in different ways.
The best part about visiting the Eiffel Tower from home (besides not having to walk up all the steps to the top), is being able to instantly switch the panoramic views of Paris between daytime and nighttime. This really makes you almost feel like you are actually there.
When it’s time to get back to traveling, there are plenty of ways to visit Paris on a budget.
4. Virtual Street Art Tours
Street art, murals and graffiti have all become increasingly popular over the years. In fact, one of my favorite free things to do in Europe is to wander around and check out all the unique street art.
My family and I have even taken some long weekend getaways or a walk around our local city of Philadelphia, just for a mural scavenger hunt.
Art can be found in a wide variety of settings and this amazing virtual street art tour showcases some of the most incredible murals throughout New York City.
5. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Just because you might not be able to hop a plane right now, doesn’t mean you can’t experience Hawaii’s stunning views. This virtual tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will make you feel like you’re on an epic adventure.
Experience land shaped by the world’s most active volcano. Enter the volcano’s lava tubes and explore the gorgeous cave structure.
6. Metropolitan Opera House
Now you don’t have to get dressed up to go to the opera, and can even wear your best leggings. While the curtain is closed on Broadway, the Metropolitan Opera has free nightly opera performances you can stream.
This is a unique and also free way to introduce kids to the opera.
7. Monterey Bay Aquarium
Experience all the wonders of the ocean, no matter where you are. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has 10 live cams to choose from.
Tune in and see what’s going on with everything from the Sea Otters to the Moon Jellies. This virtual aquarium tour provides lots of fun (and even some learning) for all ages.
8. Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
Check out all the incredible virtual exhibits and fall in love with art.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has incredible virtual museum tours online, including, Black Histories, Black Futures, Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation, Fashion Through the Ages and so much more.
9. Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is home to some of history’s most celebrated pieces of art. I took my teenage son a couple of years ago to stay in Amsterdam, where we visited this incredible museum in person, and I can definitely say that seeing these masterpieces up close from home is the next best thing.
You can easily view some of the most famous and beautiful artwork in the world within seconds. There is a also a fun online key challenge, Operation Night Watch and you can also shop the museum’s online store.
10. Seaworld Orlando
Get the full travel feeling, including the Orlando Airport, without stepping on a plane. Experience Seaworld Orlando’s animals, attractions and thrills, all online, complete with unique VR roller coaster rides.
There is even a whole lot more to “sea” and explore at Aquatica and Discovery Cove too.
11. The Great Wall of China
Transport yourself to visit a wonder of the world right from your computer. Take a virtual hike of China’s most famous attraction, The Great Wall of China. This 6.5 mile tour provides some of the best views of the wall.
Take the virtual journey with your kids, while learning interesting facts along the way, that can inspire adding this destination to your bucket list.
12. The Palace of Versailles
Take your time immersing yourself in these virtual art exhibitions at The Palace of Versailles. From the Hall of Mirrors to the fountains, there are 22,000 pieces of incredible art to explore online.
Discover paintings, sculptures and engravings in a whole new way.
13. The Vatican Museum
As a person who has visited the Vatican Museum, I can say that their 360 degree virtual tour makes you feel like you are actually in the halls and rooms of this stunning museum.
Make sure you don’t miss the Sistine Chapel virtual tour.
14. Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum virtual tour not only allows you to see over 600 works of art, but it also provides the story behind each piece.
You can interact with the artwork, so you can save and share it, simply by “liking” the piece.
15. Walt Disney World
Don’t let the fact that you might not be visiting Disney any time soon stop you from experiencing the magic.
Take a virtual vacation with this immersive Disney World virtual tour of the Walt Disney World Parks, Resorts and even Disney Springs.
Make it even more realistic with a Disney scavenger hunt.
How can I travel without leaving my house?
Remember friends, even though this year has caused a lot of us to lose our balance in life, there are still some ways to travel and experience new things, we just have to get a little creative.
Luckily, the internet is pretty awesome and these free virtual tours might just be the next best way to “get out” and explore the beauty and wonder of this world.
Invite family and friends to grab their bucket lists and create a “fake” passport book, so the kids can stamp your locations for the day — and get back to traveling!
Please share any other free virtual trips or tours you’ve discovered.
Here Are 6 Awesome Weekend Getaways from NYC - Passports and Parenting
Monday 22nd of November 2021
[…] this year, which included a lot of virtual trips, who knows what the future of travel will look like. But Where else are you hoping to travel to […]
The Ultimate Back To School List | Passports and Parenting
Friday 13th of August 2021
[…] sense of balance in life and normalcy for them in what has been a crazy year. A year filled with virtual travel experiences and vacations at home, instead of our usual getaways and on-the-go lifestyle. One of our favorite […]
Traveling Internationally and 11 Secrets You Should Know | Passports and Parenting
Monday 26th of April 2021
[…] If you still feel as though you aren’t ready to travel far, but want to see the world, then I recommend starting out by exploring via some free virtual tours. […]
Spring Cleaning List 31 Day Declutter Challenge | Passports and Parenting
Monday 12th of April 2021
[…] list should pretty much encompass the whole house. After a long winter filled with staycations and virtual travel (especially here in PA) it finally feels so good to deep clean and air out the […]
Best Airfare Prices and How To Find Them | Passports and Parenting
Thursday 8th of April 2021
[…] it’s time for you to start utilizing these cheap airfare tips so you can stop virtually traveling and get out there to explore the […]