Our technologically enhanced world may be quicker and smarter, but it’s one other thing as well – it’s louder. No matter where you go you’re sure to be greeted by the sounds of radios, construction, and the never ending rings of your neighbor’s cell phone.
While complete and utter silence might be just as bad, it’s important to find time to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and listen to more natural sounds. Things like the sound of your own breath or your heart beating – things you probably haven’t heard in ages over the constant dull roar created by the rest of the universe. We’ve compiled a list of some of the quietest places in the world. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to visit one or two of them soon.
The Hoh Valley – Washington
In Washington State you’ll find the rainforests that make up Olympic National Park. This park is known for being the largest area in the United States without roads, which does a lot to keep it quiet to begin with. There’s a special initiative, though, known as the Square Inch Project.
They believe that keeping one square inch of space quiet (ie. no human sound) will cause the lack of sound to radiate over thousands of acres. They may be on to something here.
The Grand Canyon – Arizona
When we think of the Grand Canyon we think of a touristy trek through state parks. Fortunately, there are some box canyons down there that are quieter than the sound created by your last breath.
The sound of the Colorado River running through the main canyon is the only other audible sound, and we’re willing to accept that as well.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Big Island, Hawaii
The area surrounding the volcanoes on Big Island is virtually silent. That is, until the helicopters start flying overhead, but that’s a battle the Park Service in Hawaii will continue to battle. As you explore the volcanoes themselves the only sounds you’ll hear are those created by the earth itself as the lava rumbles beneath the surface.
Cape Cod – Massachusetts
Cape Cod may not seem like a quiet place to the uninitiated. After all, thousands of people visit each summer. Take an early morning walk along the beach, though, and you’ll be surprised.
The waves crashing along the shores will be the only sound you hear and there’s nothing quite as comforting as being wrapped up in the sound of the ocean.
The Gobi Desert – Mongolia
The Gobi Desert is about as far away from civilization as you’re ever going to get. Ancient cities disappeared long ago, and the only visitors are a few brave nomads and the occasional paleontologist searching for signs of history.
You might hear the occasional sound of a bird or vulture here, but it’s not very likely.
The Kalahari Desert – Africa
The Kalahari Desert is enormous, with parts of the desert oozing into at least 6 different parts of Africa. There’s absolutely nothing here to make noise. Not even a bird like you found in the Gobi Desert. You may stumble upon a giraffe, but the last time we checked giraffes didn’t really make any noise. There’s no sound out there – but there’s nothing else, either!
Anza-Borrego State Park – California
Anza Borrego is the largest park in the state of California. A mere four hour drive from civilization, you’ll be surprised to find such a large quiet place in California.
The area is mostly desert and is inhabited by the Borrego sheep, which is now listed as an endangered species. Unless you hear the sheep, you aren’t likely to hear anything else!
Loch Lomond – Scotland
Loch Lomond is one of the most gorgeous lakes in Europe. The loch and its surrounding towns are far enough from London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh to keep the average tourist away but close enough for the ambitious visitor to make the half day trip.
The mountains and forests surrounding Loch Lomond protect it from the sounds created by the rest of the outside world. Balloch, the main town on the loch, can be busy but if you travel to the towns on the norther edge, like Luss or Rowardennan, you’ll find a very peaceful atmosphere. The only sounds you’ll hear from those locations are the occasional cow and perhaps the waves crashing on the loch.
The Muir Woods – California
Another California destination, the Muir Woods rest a mere 12 miles away from San Francisco, so it seems odd that this wooded area might end up on a list of quiet places. Wouldn’t the noise pollution carry that far? The park was named after conservationist John Muir and, believe it or not, park services have instituted “quiet days” during which sound is prohibited. Relax amongst the giant redwoods in complete silence.
Victoria Falls – Zambia
You are absolutely right – the crashing of a 350 foot waterfall is not quiet. It does seem pretty quiet, though, because it is absolutely impossible to hear anything over that sound when you’re visiting the falls close up. You’ll have to see it for yourself!
Everyone deserves a little bit of peace and quiet once in a while. Take the time to visit one of these places and you’ll understand exactly what that means!