Muir Woods National Monument, California
Closest major city: San Francisco (11 miles)
Muir Woods is just a short drive from San Francisco, but it’s separated from the sounds of the city by the Golden Gate strait. Muir’s enormous trees actually create sonic drama by helping to contain the natural sounds. Travel in the early morning on weekdays to avoid the hordes of tourists who can spoil the forest’s quiet. Cathedral Grove is an ideal place to hear the dawn chorus and the trilling call of the canyon wren.