Thunder Dolphin, roller coaster, Tokyo, Japan
Thunder Dolphin

Thunder Dolphin

Not only does this coaster — located at Tokyo Dome City — have a wacky name, but it features some very bizarre elements, including an interesting “thread the needle” move at the top of a building and a pass through the center of a giant Ferris wheel. The coaster tours the shopping mall area and then twists and dives around the midway before heading back to the station. 960 1280

Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images  

The Bullet

The Bullet

The Bullet at Selva Magica in Guadalajara, Mexico, is a shuttle loop folded in half to take up less space. This bizarre ride starts with a backward launch and hits speeds of over 50 mph, reaching the strongest G-forces in any vertical loop. There is almost no straight track in the entire ride — in fact, even the station is twisted! This coaster has traveled the world, having been in Germany, Austria, England and Florida, and has now found permanent residency in Mexico.  960 1280

Selvea Magica  

Gravity Max (The Tilt Coaster)

Gravity Max (The Tilt Coaster)

One of the wackiest roller coasters is located at Lihpao Land in Taiwan. The Gravity Max, also known as the Tilt Coaster, is the world’s first coaster to feature a true 90-degree drop and the world’s only tilt coaster. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Hundeprutterutchebane

Hundeprutterutchebane

When it comes to purely wacky coasters, this ride at Denmark's BonBon Land makes the top of the list. In English, Hundeprutterutchebane means “the dog fart coaster.” BonBon Land is a kid-friendly amusement park filled with fun, humorous rides. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Great Wall of China Toboggan Ride

Great Wall of China Toboggan Ride

Do you want to see the Great Wall by roller coaster? Well, you most certainly can! Ride enthusiasts can travel about an hour north of Beijing to Badaling, where they can board a (relatively slow) roller coaster that takes them to the top of the Great Wall. After visitors are done sightseeing, they can take another ride back down. This is the best way to see one of the great wonders of the world! 960 1280

Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket/Getty Images   

Driving Coaster: Vanish

Driving Coaster: Vanish

Located at Cosmoworld in Yokohama, Japan, Diving Coaster does just as its name implies. This coaster creates a splash as it dives underwater through a man-made lagoon. It's both visually awesome, and quite the fun ride! 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Ultra Twister

Ultra Twister

This bizarre ride was all the rage in Japan in the 1980s through 1990s. There was a similar coaster at the Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, but it was moved to the Six Flags' Astroworld in Houston. This unique "pipeline" coaster shuttles riders back and forth. It also features a near 90-degree drop and a series of "heart line twists." This one pictured is at Nagashima Spaland about 45 minutes from Nagoya by train. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Tranan

Tranan

Tranan is a one-of-a-kind "free fly" coaster located at Skara Sommerland in Sweden. It’s billed as family friendly, but it’s also a strange, thrill ride. The seats are aligned on the outside of the vehicle, providing riders with a 360-degree, swinging experience throughout the ride. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Euro Mir

Euro Mir

Euro Mir is by far one of my favorite wacky rides, and it's also completely awesome! The coaster, located at Europa Park in Rust, Germany, is a mix of a Russian-inspired techno dance party, a weird mirrored-tower structure and all on a turning roller coaster. There isn't really any way to fully describe it other than to ride it yourself. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Dauling Dragons

Dauling Dragons

Dauling Dragon in China is a wooden roller coaster with coasters on duel tracks racing simultaneously up a 90-degree incline. At the top of the incline where the coasters meet, it appears to look like riders in the train are close enough to reach over for a “high-5.” 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Maximum RPM

Maximum RPM

Myrtle Beach’s Hard Rock Park is closed, but it had one of the wackiest coasters. Maximum RPM was the only ride in the world to feature a Ferris-wheel-lift design. Is it unique and wacky? Oh, yeah! The ride was a lot of fun, and it was an efficient way for the park to save space. The coaster is still standing at the closed park, but hopefully it will find a new home someday. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Olympia Looping

Olympia Looping

This is quite possibly one of the most majestic looking roller coasters ever. Olympia Looping is a 5-loop steel roller coaster -- the world's biggest, "portable" roller coaster. It travels the German fair circuit and is one of the stand-out attractions at Munich’s Oktoberfest. This roller coaster is not to be missed. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

The Smiler

The Smiler

Alton Towers may take the prize for some of the wackiest build-up to a roller coaster debut ever. Park marketers shaved Smiler coaster logos into sheep and sold a mouth guard that could give you an instant, forced smile. So what's all the hype for? The world's only 14-loop roller coaster! It's a crazy concept, but you will be smiling at end your ride. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Outer Space Flying Car

Outer Space Flying Car

Yes, Outer Space Flying Car is the Chinese translation of this roller coaster’s real name! Located in Fisherman's Warf outside of Shanghai, this coaster features some bizarre and wacky roller coaster elements, including a vertical lift hill inside a metal tube and drop into a 360-degree—all at an insane coaster speed. The ride is so rough and brutal that the park requires riders to wear headgear. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Insane

Insane

Just as the ride's name suggests, this coaster’s design is insane. Located at Grona Lund in Stockholm, Sweden, Insane’s track is in the middle and seats on the side that freely spin and rotate based on the weight distribution of the riders. Prepare to spin out of control if the car is unbalanced. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

The Lost Coaster

The Lost Coaster

At Indiana Beach Amusement Resort in Monticello, IN, Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain will take riders on a strange wooden roller coaster journey they won't forget. The journey starts with a vertical lift up a hill system and enclosed in mine cars. Riders travel through the mountain making sharp turns and other off-track attractions including a bear. The park is located about 90 minutes from Indianapolis. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror

This coaster at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg, South Africa, is wacky and terrifying. Tower of Terror is built like an abandoned mine shaft. Riders plummet 164 feet down at a 90-degree angle. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Takabisha

Takabisha

Talk about strange and wacky -- just look at the angle of the decent on this roller coaster at Japan's Fuji-Q Highland! At 121-degree angle, this coasted is touted as the world's steepest coaster. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Wacky Worm

Wacky Worm

You just simply cannot talk about wacky coasters without mentioning the king of all of them, the Wacky Worm. This is one of the most popular family-friendly roller coasters found around the world. At the amusement park, the Wacky Worm is a great “starter” roller coaster for young riders. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Alpine Coaster

Alpine Coaster

Do you want to ride a roller coaster in the cold and snow? In Park City, UT, you can race along with skiers as you descend the side of Wasatch Mountain at Park City Mountain Resort. You’ll feel as though you’re flying on this toboggan-style coaster with 4,000 feet of curves, bends and loops. 960 1280

Yvette Cardozo/Photolibrary/Getty Images   

Veil of Dark

Veil of Dark

Located at Tokyo Joypolis in Japan, the Veil of Dark is an interactive video game and indoor roller coaster. Part of the ride allows passengers to shoot at screens in front of them, and then suddenly, they are launched into an indoor, looping roller coaster. It's a strange but very fun ride! 960 1280

Dunzl/ Ullstein Bild/Getty Images   

Hofbrauhaus, beer garden, Munich, Germany
Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany

Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany

Hands down the world's most famous beer garden, the Hofbrauhaus began brewing in the 16th century. Today, more than 400 imbibers can sit outside at its wooden, picnic-style tables and guzzle gigantic mugs of beer served by dirndl-wearing waitresses. 960 1280

BBMC Tobias Ranzinger  

Mount Takao Beer Mount, Tokyo

Mount Takao Beer Mount, Tokyo

If you somehow manage to hike nearly 2,000 feet to the peak of Tokyo's Mount Takao, at the very least, you deserve a beer. With that in mind, one of the world's highest beer gardens opened here (at just over 1,600 feet), and it offers stunning views of Tokyo's skyscrapers and sprawl. Less athletically inclined visitors can still get their drink on at high altitudes, thanks to a cable car. 960 1280

Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau  

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, Astoria, NY

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, Astoria, NY

Bohemian Hall is proof that good beer gardens can be found in unexpected places. For more than a century, this beloved spot in Queens has helped New Yorkers get sloshed with their friends in a sea of trees and twinkly lights. Live music, table tennis and hearty Czech fare sweeten the deal. 960 1280

Clayton Cotterell/NYC & Company  

Koniglicher Hirschgarten, Munich, Germany

Koniglicher Hirschgarten, Munich, Germany

Hofbrauhaus may be Germany's most popular beer garden, but Hirschgarten is far and away its biggest. Set in the midst of a 100-acre park, it seats up to 8,000 thirsty souls. 960 1280

Koeniglicher Hirschgarten  

Café Vlissinghe, Bruges, Belgium

Café Vlissinghe, Bruges, Belgium

Escape the tourist-choked streets of Bruges in this pleasant beer garden. The city's oldest bar opened in 1515, and patrons can quaff their drinks inside a charming room with dark oak rafters and wooden tables or on the peaceful outdoor terrace, where you can also play a game of pétanque. 960 1280
Letná Beer Garden, Prague

Letná Beer Garden, Prague

Enjoy your brew with a view. Prague's most scenic beer garden is located in Letná Park, overlooking the Old City and the Vltava River. Grab a beer in a plastic cup and wander the park's trails, or relax on the terrace. 960 1280

Richard Nebesky/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images   

Brouwerij 't IJ, Amsterdam

Brouwerij 't IJ, Amsterdam

Patrons of this former bathhouse enjoy its enviable location adjacent to the city's De Gooyer windmill. Tour the brewery or head straight to the bar, where you can order a draft or bottled beer and snack on cheese and sausages. 960 1280

Brouwerij 't IJ  

Luong Son, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Luong Son, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Make like a local in Ho Chi Minh City and visit Luong Son. At this bustling open-air beer garden of sorts, join hundreds of other patrons and pull up a plastic chair, throw back a cold Saigon beer, and order from a menu of grill-it-yourself meats (grills are provided!). 960 1280
Augustiner Bräu Kloster Mülln, Salzburg, Austria

Augustiner Bräu Kloster Mülln, Salzburg, Austria

Mülln keeps as many as 1,500 thirsty revelers at a time happy with its secret beer recipe. First brewed by monks in the 17th century, the beer is still served from wooden barrels into traditional steins. 960 1280

Augustiner Bräu Kloster Mülln  

Chinesischer Turm, Munich, Germany

Chinesischer Turm, Munich, Germany

On a warm summer afternoon, it's all but impossible to resist Chinesischer Turm and its namesake, the pagoda-like Chinese Tower. This massive beer garden seats 7,000 and lies in the heart of Munich's English Garden. Plan to do your drinking on a weekend, when a brass band plays. 960 1280

Hans-Peter Merten/The Image Bank/Getty Images  

Start Planning

Highway 29
Highway 29

Highway 29

Take California State Route 29 to see some of the region’s best vineyards and wineries. Through Napa Valley, Highway 29 passes through Calistoga, St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville, Yountville and Napa. 960 1280

Tom Bridge, Flickr  

Silverado Trail

Silverado Trail

Hit the road early to capture the serene vineyards along the Silverado Trail, a scenic route along the eastern edge of Napa Valley. Most locals suggest taking this route to avoid traffic on California State Route 29, which runs parallel to the Trail. 960 1280

seligmanwaite, Flickr  

Wine Country

Wine Country

Northern California's wine country beckons visitors with hundreds of wineries spread across 3 counties. 960 1280

  

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa Winery is located near Calistoga, CA. The 121,000-square-foot medieval replica castle includes 107 rooms and 8 levels above and below ground. Among its many features, it has a moat, drawbridge, defensive towers, interior courtyard, chapel, torture chamber and a great hall. Visitors to the vineyard can sample the wines sold at the castle. 960 1280

Jim G., Flickr  

Cabernet

Cabernet

Northern California's climate is ideal for growing grapes like these ripe ones used to make a fine cabernet. 960 1280

  

Beringer Rhine House

Beringer Rhine House

Make a stop at the Beringer Rhine House -- Napa Valley’s oldest continuously operating winery. Enjoy the award-winning wines, rich history and beautifully landscaped grounds. 960 1280

Chuck O'Rear  

California Wine

California Wine

The best way to appreciate Northern California's wine country is to sample the goods along the way. 960 1280

  

Old Faithful Geyser of California

Old Faithful Geyser of California

While you’re on your road trip, we suggestion stopping by the Old Faithful Geyser of California, located in Calistoga, CA. It’s just one of many roadside attractions you’ll see along the way. 960 1280

Kunal Mukherjee, flickr  

Picturesque Vineyards

Picturesque Vineyards

Bring along a camera for photo opportunities in the acres of rolling vineyards in Napa and Sonoma. 960 1280

  

Staglin Family Vineyard

Staglin Family Vineyard

The Staglin Family Vineyard, a family-owned Napa Valley winery in Rutherford, CA, produces a variety of wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sangiovese and a Bordeaux-style blend. Take a guided tour of the winery, and then at the end of the tour, experience an intimate tasting of Cabernet Sauvignons produced on the estate. 960 1280

Kopol Bonick Studio  

Wine Production

Wine Production

These terraced vineyards in Sonoma rely on biodynamic agricultural techniques to produce local wine. 960 1280

  

Oxbow Public Market

Oxbow Public Market

Go local! Visit the Oxbow Public Market in Napa Valley to sample the local community’s best, including fresh food, wine and cheese. Take Highway 29 to the city of Napa; take the 1st Street Exit (bear right to head east); and look for signs marked ‘Oxbow Public Market’. 960 1280

Oxbow Public Market  

Merlot

Merlot

Ripe for the picking, these grapes will be used to make merlot. 960 1280

  

Sterling Vineyard

Sterling Vineyard

Several vineyards, including the Sterling Vineyard (pictured) in Calistoga, CA, are fun getaways for tourists. See picturesque views from their aerial tram. Guests can also travel the grounds by foot. And with a glass of wine in hand, stroll through art galleries and elevated walkways that allow visitors to see the winemaking process from grape to glass. 960 1280

Jim G., Flickr  

Years of Preparation

Years of Preparation

These vines in Sonoma have been used for growing grapes for nearly 90 years. 960 1280

  

Di Rosa Preserve

Di Rosa Preserve

While you’re on the road, we suggest you visit the Di Rosa Preserve, a 35-acre lake and wildlife. The area is not only rich in an array of flora, fauna and wildlife, but it’s also the canvas to display a broad range of art created by Bay Area artists. Art aficionados can walk the grounds to see art work in the Main Gallery, Gatehouse Gallery, Historic Residence, Courtyard, North Lawn and Sculpture Meadow. It’s an art lover’s paradise. 960 1280

collectmoments, Flickr  

The Grapes

The Grapes

These grapes may become a bottle of your favorite California wine, but you'll have to wait a few years to try it. 960 1280

  

Downtown Napa

Downtown Napa

If wine tasting and tours isn’t you’re thing, then make a pit stop in Downtown Napa. The area has dozens of shops, dessert cafes, bars, restaurants and spas. Hotels and B&Bs are available in the area. It’s a perfect home-base location for visitors to explore nearby vineyards and mix with the locals. 960 1280

Napa Downtown Association  

Mud Bath

Mud Bath

Unwind and relax with a mud bath at one of several spas located in Napa Valley, including Meadowood, Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs, Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa, Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, Indian Springs Resort and Roman Spa Motel. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe

An aerial view of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of Puerto Vallarta's most iconic landmarks. The original crown was damaged in a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Mexico City in 1995, but has since been replaced by new reinforced cement castings. 960 1280

istock  

Villa

Villa

The view from a luxury Puerto Vallarta villa -- complete with an infinity pool and the Pacific Ocean. 960 1280

istock  

Iguana

Iguana

A local resident. 960 1280

Jon DeJong through Flickr Creative Commons   

Danza de los Voladores de Papantla

Danza de los Voladores de Papantla

Men performing the 'Danza de los Voladores de Papantla' (the Dance of the Flyers), a pre-Hispanic ritual designed to appease the gods and prevent drought. During the ritual, men climb up a 50-foot pole, winding their ropes all the way around. When they reach the top, they jump off and spin around the pole back to the ground. 960 1280

D'Arcy Norman through Flickr Creative Commons   

Flea market

Flea market

The colorful flea market of Puerto Vallarta. 960 1280

istock   

The beach of the dead

The beach of the dead

La Playa de los Muertos (The Beach of the Dead). The section of the large Playa de los Muertos known as Blue Chairs is Puerto Vallarta's most popular gay beach. 960 1280

Arkangel through Flickr Creative Commons   

Los Arcos Amphitheater

Los Arcos Amphitheater

The 4 stone arches at Los Arcos Amphitheater, an open-air theater that features nightly performances in downtown Puerto Vallarta. Watch the sun set over Banderas Bay. Plus, sample local food from the street vendors who congregate in the area. 960 1280

istock   

Parasailing

Parasailing

Go parasailing at one of Puerto Vallarta's many beaches and get a bird's-eye view of Banderas Bay. 960 1280

istock  

Puerto Vallarta¿s oceanside boardwalk

Puerto Vallarta¿s oceanside boardwalk

Walk along the Malecon, Puerto Vallarta's oceanside boardwalk, and take a look at some of the many impressive sculptures. Pictured is Rafael Zamarripa's 'Caballero del Mar,' (the Seahorse). 960 1280

istock   

ceviche

ceviche

Sample some local ceviche with tostadas. 960 1280

istock   

Mismaloya cove

Mismaloya cove

The Mismaloya cove was the setting for the 1964 film 'Night of the Iguana,' starring Richard Burton. Puerto Vallarta became a popular tourist destination after the media extensively covered the romance between Burton and Elizabeth Taylor during filming. The pair later purchased a vacation home in Puerto Vallarta. 960 1280

istock  

Los Arcos Marine Park

Los Arcos Marine Park

Los Arcos Marine Park, located near Mismaloya in the Bay of Banderas, is one of the most popular spots for snorkeling and diving in Puerto Vallarta. 960 1280

Danny Luong through Flickr Creative Commons   

Huachinango Zarandeado

Huachinango Zarandeado

Huachinango Zarandeado, or grilled red snapper, a Puerto Vallarta specialty. 960 1280

David Gordon   

As the temperature rises in the Caribbean during the summer, airfare and hotel rates to places like St. John drop. 960 1280

  

Between May and December, Maho Bay Camps on St. John is a bargain for families. 960 1280

  

The beauty of a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, vacation: a week at a budget-friendly hotel for under $1,000. 960 1280

  

Family deals at the Myrtle Beach Sea Mist include admission to the resort's own water park. 960 1280

  

In the afternoon at Medomak Camp in Rockland, Maine, everyone heads to the lake. 960 1280

  

Swimming, sculling, sailing and, of course, kayaking are among the most popular activities at Medomak Camp. 960 1280

  

The Ace Adventure Center in Oak Hill, West Virginia boasts a prime location on the New River Gorge National River. 960 1280

  

At the Ace, you can carve some family-bonding time into the summer with wild outdoor adventures for one set price. 960 1280

  

Shake up your summer routine with an urban getaway to Boston. 960 1280

  

With no slush and snow underfoot, it's a great time for a stroll along Boston's Freedom Trail. 960 1280