17 Breathtaking Nature Photos We Can Hardly Believe Are Real

Photo: Eric Magayne via @usinterior
Today is Earth Day, providing a nudge to protect and celebrate the planet. And, while there will be plenty of essential reads about the ways we're hurting the environment, it's not all tragic (yet). The world we all share has more than its share of stunning panoramas, views, and sunsets. Oh, so many beautiful sunsets. 

We've collected 17 awe-inspiring Instagrams that are worth a wander, whether for the adorable animals or the amazing moonrise.
1 of 34
Photo by ©Pete Wongkongkathep, via @awesome.earth
The Account: Wonderful Nature

The Handle: @awesome.earth

Followers: 772K

Why We Love It: This is a delightful collection from multiple photographers submitting their most gorgeous photos. It might be a little filter-heavy on occasion, but if it makes for a beautiful image, who minds that?
Advertisement
2 of 34
Photo by Marco De Naro, via @awesome.earth
Take a dip, or keep that glassy water?
3 of 34
Photo via @bbcearth
The Account: BBC Earth

The Handle: @bbcearth

Followers: 17.2K

Why We Love It: You can always count on the BBC. Their Instagram is full of beautiful images of landscapes, animals, and more.
4 of 34
Photo by Anna Sobotka via @bbcearth
Araucaria trees in Argentina.
5 of 34
Photo via @coryrichards
The Account: Cory Richards

The Handle: @coryrichards

Followers: 333k

Why We Love It: Cory Richards is a photographer for National Geographic, but his personal Instagram account is full of gems. While he does a fair amount of landscape portraits, it's his photos of the people who live in them that are sometimes most moving.
6 of 34
Photo via @coryrichards
On the trail in northern Myanmar.
Advertisement
7 of 34
Photo via @dantom
The Account: Dan Tom

The Handle: @dantom

Followers: 70.9K

Why We Love It: Dan Tom favors mistier, more ethereal images, and they can be captivating. His Instagram is full of the sort of moments that you see on an early morning (or late night) and wish you could capture.
8 of 34
@dantom
Nights in Norway.
9 of 34
Photo via @colerise
The Account: Cole Rise

The Handle: @colerise

Followers: 903K

Why We Love It: Cole Rise's Instagram describes him as a travel photographer and "escape artist." Wherever he's escaping to, we want to follow him, because it looks beautiful there.
10 of 34
Photo via @colrise
A 2000-year-old Roman city, Jerash, in modern Jordan.
11 of 34
Photo via @nirl
The Account: Nir Lesham

The Handle: @nirl

Followers: 140K

Why We Love It: Colors, colors! Nir Lesham manages to capture gorgeous contrasts in nearly every photo, whether the landscape is as big as a Scandinavian moonrise or as small as a cat in the snow.
Advertisement
12 of 34
Photo via @nirl
Elegance in animal and atmosphere.
13 of 34
Photo by @christianziegler via @natgeo
The Account: National Geographic

The Handle: @natgeo

Followers:
16.6M

Why We Love It: You can't beat the original for a lens on nature. National Geographic is a classic.
14 of 34
Photo: @stevewinterphoto via @natgeo
Could you get any closer?
15 of 34
Photo via @ritasfotos
The Account: Rita Birkeland

The Handle: @ritasfoto

Followers:
2,817

Why We Love It: The landscape shots can make you shiver in the middle of summer, but it's Birkeland's close-ups of tiny, colorful birds that are worth seeing every day.
16 of 34
Photo via @ritasfoto
Sunset in Scandanavia.
Advertisement
17 of 34
Photo by Roman Iacobucci, BLM (@mypubliclands), via @usinterior
The Account: U.S. Department of the Interior

The Handle: @usinterior

Followers: 531K

Why We Love It: This unexpected source for eye candy is full of shots like this one. We're honestly still having a hard time believing this sunset is real.
18 of 34
Photo via @usinterior
The Dept. of the Interior handles our national parks – and provides a window to their glorious sights.
19 of 34
Photo via @themeep
The Account: Mia Foley

The Handle: @themeep

Followers:
21.1K

Why We Love It: Mia Foley is based out of Hawaii, but her Instagram is so much more than shots of hibiscus flowers. (She also apparently does wedding photography!)
20 of 34
Photo via @themeep
Sun and shadow in Mount Tamalpais State Park.
21 of 34
Photo via @nationalwildlife
The Account: National Wildlife Federation

The Handle: @nationalwildlife

Followers:
17.5K

Why We Love It: You want some animals? We've got your animals right here. The National Wildlife Federation Instagram is doing a series of "wildlife selfies." Some are adorable, some hilarious, and they're all beautiful.
Advertisement
22 of 34
Photo via @nationalwildlife
The holly and the birdie.
23 of 34
Photo via @frauice
The Account: Katrin Eismann

The Handle: @frauice

Followers: 1,187

Why We Love It: Katrin Eismann is more in the "urban nature" vein, but her shots of a misty New York riverscape and flowers by the Flatiron building remind us that nature exists in the city, too.
24 of 34
Photo via @frauice
Blooms and buildings.
25 of 34
Photo: ©Francisco Negroni via @ourlonelyplanet
The Account: Our Lonely Planet

The Handle: @ourlonelyplanet

Followers: 252K

Why We Love It: Our Lonely Planet is another series by multiple photographers submitting images, and is it ever stunning.
26 of 34
Photo: @alexmustard1 via @ourlonelyplanet
Diving between two continents, off of Iceland.
Advertisement
27 of 34
Photo via @brenton_clarke
The Account: Brenton Clarke Little

The Handle: @brenton_clarke

Followers: 235K

Why We Love It: This account makes us just want to toss it all and go live an idyllic pastoral life somewhere in New England.
28 of 34
Photo via @brenton_clarke
Tumbling water in the Ozarks.
29 of 34
Photo via @randyolson
The Account: Randy Olson

The Handle: @randyolson

Followers: 138K

Why We Love It: Randy Olson is another National Geographic photographer, and his Instagram is full of just what you'd hope for. Between the striking photos of animals and landscapes, his portraits of the people he encounters keep the human element present.
30 of 34
Photo via @randyolson
Mount Pinatubo is still an active volcano – but so serene in this image.
31 of 34
Photo via @noaafisheries
The Account: NOAA Fisheries

The Handle: @noaafisheries

Followers: 13.2K

Why We Love It: There's so much life in our oceans and rivers, that of course there's a whole Instagram devoted to it. NOAA Fisheries is all colorful underwater photos of what's happening below the surface.
Advertisement
32 of 34
Photo via @noaafisheries
Baby dolphins. Enough said.
33 of 34
Photo: Dave Fitzpatrick via @usfws
The Account: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Handle: @usfsw

Followers: 77.4K

Why We Love It: Endearing animals, lovely landscapes – the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Instagram has it all, along with a healthy reminder of what we can do to protect our environment.
34 of 34
Photo: Brad Smith via @usfws
Let's play!
Advertisement