Snow-capped mountains, towering thousands of feet above, shimmer against the light of the sun, their reflection projected with mirror-like accuracy onto the serene, cerulean waters of the surrounding lake. A small village sprinkled with houses in myriad colors, from cobalt blue to barn red, is visible just across the shore, resting under the shadows of the mountain range. In this desolate slice of natural paradise with the occasional car zooming by, you are at peace. 

“I think it might be Oklahoma!” your friend says with utter confidence. You roll your eyes in disgust; they are obviously wrong. You stare unblinking and wide-eyed at the computer screen, navigating through the ethereal mountain landscape through short bursts of key clicks and magnification. You hope you’ll find a sliver of a hint as to where on Earth you are through signs and road markings  — these are all classic tactics of Geoguessr, a web-based game that allows players to digitally trot the globe.

As part of the game, players are spawned at a random location on the globe, from the heart of a bustling city to a desolate country road, and must pinpoint their location on a world map, a challenging but rewarding task. 

You’re probably feeling put off — what is this, a game for geography nerds? You’ll be relieved to know that we felt this way in the beginning as well. But as avid travelers, the global pandemic has severely limited our ability to visit captivating destinations anywhere, leaving Geoguessr as the best alternative. In other words, we’ll take what we can get. 

Here are some of our personal favorite Geoguessr finds, (mostly) oases of beauty and wonder in the middle of cornfields and cows, as well as favorite destinations that we’ve explored to ease the monotony of our present, sedentary lives.