Ever wanted to chase a rainbow to its end for that elusive pot of gold? In honour of 3 April’s #FindARainbowDay, we present 12 places to catch the best rainbows in the world!
1. Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii, USA
Also known as The Rainbow State, Hawaii has many rainbow viewing spots but Na Pali Coast is one of the few places where you might be able to spot a triple rainbow! These rare unicorns of rainbows are usually only seen where sunlight reflects over large bodies of water — like the Pacific Ocean! Triple rainbows are most often see in the afternoon and early evening. Even if you fail to see one, the sunsets are still spectacular to behold!
2. Waimea-Kamuela, Big Island, Hawaii, USA
Hawaii can be the Rainbow State because it has both sun and rain practically every day! The winds and mountains keep the air moist and cause rain to fall while the sun shines along the coasts. In Big Island’s Kohala district, there is a place called Waimea-Kamuela where one end of town can be raining when it’s sunny on the other! Just taking a drive on a day like that treats you to a rainbow display!
3. Coast of Wales, United Kingdom
With plenty of sun coming from the west and showers peppering the shore, the coast of Wales is ideal for rainbows. A huge bonus is the gorgeous landscape: lush green hills, the roiling seas, and dramatic clouds create a picturesque backdrop for a rainbow. The best spot is along the coast south of Aberystywyth, the main town along the west coast!
Image credit: commons.wikimedia.org
Mountains along the coast are also brilliant places to catch a rainbow! These coasts are the landing zones for rainfall, but the lay of the land separates the clouds enough for sunlight to creep in — especially along lengthy inlets also known as fjords. Norway’s coast is a 3,200 kilometres stretch of fjords; perfect for rainbow catching throughout summer!
5. Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
Image credit: commons.wikimedia.org
Another mountainous spot for catching rainbows is in Jasper National Park, Canada. Home to the Rocky Mountains, similar weather conditions make it possible for you to catch gorgeous rainbows in the skies. Besides that, in the right season, you might even see the Northern Lights!
6. Kodiak Island, Alaska, USA
Further north, Kodiak Island in Alaska is yet another scenic spot to view rainbows. The lush green hills and intermittent showers of rain create rainbows that are accompanied with a backdrop of grazing bison bulls — the Island is fairly sparsely populated that way!
7. Patagonia, Chile and Argentina
If you aren’t a fan of heading to North America or Europe, Patagonia, a region in South America, is the best place to catch a rainbow show. Similar weather forces — rain and sun — make the 1,600-kilometre stretch along southern Chile and Argentina an amazing place to view rainbows from October to February each year!
8. Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Mountains and rainy coasts aren’t the only place to catch rainbows though! Visit the Niagara Falls in North America to catch multiple rainbows. The falls create a constant mist, and the sunlight that streams through gives tourists the rare treat of multiple rainbows!
9. Victoria Falls, Zambia
Another large waterfall that you can catch rainbows at is Victoria Falls in Zambia. As one of the largest waterfalls in the world, visitors can easily catch a rainbow against the backdrop of the falls!
10. Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
If you’re on the hunt for more than just any rainbow, why not try to catch a sundog? This rainbow is formed by the reflection of light through ice crystals in the clouds rather than water droplets. While you can see them practically anywhere — just as with rainbows — Arctic and sub-Arctic conditions are the best locations to see clear sundogs. Sunlight streaming in from a low-angle makes the effect that much more spectacular, and Fairbanks, Alaska is perfect!
11. Tuscon, Arizona, USA
Image credit: wikimedia.org
Deserts sound like the last place you’d go to see a rainbow, but Deserts would not seem to be places to scout the Sonoran Desert in Tuscon, Arizona has one unique feature more deserts don’t: an annual rainy season from July to September. Seasonal winds bring thunderstorms into the region and the Santa Catalina Mountains only boosts the rainy weather. Tuscon, with its various resorts and ranches, is an optimal place to watch for rainbows during this season!
12. The Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, USA
Image credit: flickr.com | James St. John
If just trying to see a rainbow by chance isn’t enough for you and you prefer absolute certainty and a unique rainbow, check out the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park. The center of the spring is a deep blue — the natural colour of water — as it is sterile and deep. The edges of the spring are coloured vividly as the result of microbial mats in the water. The colour the mats produce depend on the temperature of the water and ratio of chlorophyll to other organic pigments.
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