I’m a big advocate of the self-guided, choose your own adventure approach to life. Every now and again I run across a website, a map service, or a dataset that makes seeking those adventures far easier. I like to think it’s not giving you an answer, just providing a tool that’ll help you find your own answer.

The National Map Viewer. Provided by the US Geological Survey, this browser-based mapping service provides some basic functionality (topography, aerial imagery, water bodies, roads, geographic names), and also serves as a clearinghouse for more detailed, region-specific datasets you can use on GIS or Google Earth.

U.S. Forest Service Interactive Visitor Map. My biggest beef with the national forests is as badly as they want you to visit, they make it incredibly difficult to acquire a decent map. The local national forests are still working in the 20th century, asking you to mail a check for a paper copy. This browser-based map provides detailed topography, ownership information, as well as locations for campgrounds, trailheads, and other features.