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Planners Talk Back: Favorite Nature Encounters

Select Traveler asked these group travel planners, “What was one of your group’s favorite hikes or nature encounters?” Check out their responses.


Nancy Jo Nunley, Director of First Priority Club

First National Bank and Trust, Okmulgee, Oklahoma

“One of my favorite nature experiences was a visit to Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida. I had never heard of this National Historic Landmark, but it was absolutely beautiful. The landscaped gardens were gorgeous, with lovely trails and natural beauty everywhere. The Singing Tower has a 60-bell carillon that fills the gardens with music. It is a must-see stop if you are planning a trip to Orlando.”

Shellie Schwanke, Directors of Alumni Relations

Eureka College, Eureka, Illinois

“I have yet to offer a group hike for my alumni, but hiking with my family is one of my favorite activities. We have road tripped to the Rocky Mountains as a family for years and have hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park on many of the trails during the spring, summer and fall. Each season brings a unique beauty as we bond with each other and the natural beauty around us. There is no better way to feed your soul than a beautiful hike with those you love.”

Randy Calaguas, Travel Officer

First Citizens Bank, Mason City, Iowa

“We loved hiking in Bryce and Zion national parks. They are just stunning locations. The nature and scenery are also incredible and very accessible. We had similarly wonderful experiences in Alaska, Iceland and New Zealand.”

Kate Sanders, Director for Alumni Programs and Alumni Group Travel

Oregon State University Alumni Association, Corvallis, Oregon

“There are specific geographic areas that are always popular for nature and wildlife, such as Costa Rica and Africa. Madagascar is specifically trending up.”

Tammy Browning, Emerald Club Director

Central Bank, Spirit Lake, Iowa

“I have not taken our members on any hikes thus far. One of the goals of the co-directors and myself in the past year has been to attract some more members from a younger demographic. We are seeing great success with this goal. I have been planning a few more active trips to give options for those who don’t require sedentary travel.

“I am looking forward to exploring nature with our guests on a trip for the upcoming summer that includes an orchard, a vineyard and two botanical gardens.”