The cold that’s still gripping onto spring has us dreaming of jetting off to warmer climates, but a round-trip ticket from New York City to Maui, Hawaii, costs more than $1,400 (and that’s a coach ticket). A cheaper alternative is a click away: EarthCam recently added a new location in Maui’s Cove Beach Park. You get a crystal-clear view (when it’s not overcast or storming, that is) of the happenings on Kamaole Beach in Kihei. The Maui Cam joins the Kauai Cam, Waikoloa Cam, Hawaii Surf Cam, and others situated all over the Hawaiian Islands, which has us thinking: How many other sunny locales can we visit virtually, as we struggle to climb out of a cold winter?
Well, there are a lot, it turns out. Punch in any exotic location you can think of in the search bar, and you’ll be presented with a list of available cameras (although there are issues with broken links or inactive cameras). You can enjoy the sunshine of Miami Beach while avoiding the drunken crowds, or take in the panoramic view of Rick’s Cafe in Negril, Jamaica. Viewers can zoom in and out of streams and even search for other video streams in a specific area via an interactive Google Map.
EarthCam — a webcam broadcast provider founded in 1996 — allows viewers to watch live streams of locations all over the world from their computers for free. Live stream quality varies between crisp high-definition video and choppy megapixels, depending on the installed camera and your network connection. If you missed a specific time, like a sunrise or sunset, your fellow virtual vacationers can help by taking snapshots of interesting moments and uploading them to EarthCam’s Hall of Fame photo section. EarthCam also has an open application process for anyone wishing to add a personal live stream to EarthCam’s library of thousands.