Top 10 Fantasy Destinations

Tired of the same old trips? Then look no further for the best in adventures and luxurious excursions. Here are Travel Channel's picks for the best destinations we’re sure you’ve never visited.

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Meadow Brook Hall, Rochester Hills, Michigan
Meadow Brook Hall (Rochester Hills, MI)

Meadow Brook Hall (Rochester Hills, MI)

Explore the fourth-largest historic home in the United States. Spanning 110 rooms, the 88,000 square-foot mansion was built in a Tudor Revival style, between 1926 and 1929, by the widow of auto pioneer John Francis Dodge. The mansion and surrounding 1,400-acre grounds were donated to Michigan State University in 1957. 960 1280

Meadow Brook Hall  

Hearst Castle (San Simeon, CA)

Hearst Castle (San Simeon, CA)

This Mediterranean Revival-style mansion was designed for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst by Julia Morgan, the first woman architect licensed in California. Morgan’s vision, shaped over the course of a 28-year collaboration with Hearst, features 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens and so much more -- including the world’s largest private zoo. 960 1280

Alex Proimos, flickr  

Flagler Museum (Palm Beach, FL)

Flagler Museum (Palm Beach, FL)

Once hailed by a New York newspaper as "more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world," this 55-room mansion, built by oil tycoon Henry Flagler in 1901, later came close to demolition -- until one of Flagler’s granddaughters saved it in 1959. You’ll need a good 2 hours to tour the property -- must-see stops include the Louis XV-style Grand Ballroom and the atrium garden. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Hillwood Estate (Washington, DC)

Hillwood Estate (Washington, DC)

Post Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post had 3 estates, including Mar-a-Lago on Palm Beach Island. Donald Trump now owns that one, but the real star of Post’s collection is Hillwood Estate. Post loved this urban oasis in the heart of DC more than any of her other estates -- her ashes are interred in the estate’s Rose Garden. The biggest draw is the estate’s decorative arts collection, from Faberge eggs to 18th and 19th-century French art. 960 1280

Jennifer Boyer, flickr  

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Akron, OH)

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Akron, OH)

This swanky country estate ranks as the 12th largest house in the United States. The Tudor Revival-style home, which originally spanned 3,000 acres (it’s now on 70 acres), was built between 1912 and 1915 by the founder of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Above the manor’s front door is a stone inscription: “Non nobis solum,” meaning, “Not for us alone.” In keeping with that motto, the estate is open seasonally to the public. 960 1280

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens  

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores, MI)

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores, MI)

This 87-acre estate, just northeast of Detroit, was the home of Edsel Ford (Henry’s son) and his wife, Eleanor. Before her death in 1976, Eleanor stated that the property be used for the “benefit of the public.” Today, visitors can tour the 20,000-square-foot home to see the intimate family photos that take you back to 1927, when the home was built, and beyond, to the home’s heyday in the 1940s. On the grounds, be sure to check out Josephine Ford’s child-sized playhouse, built by her grandmother in 1930. 960 1280

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House  

Oheka Castle (Huntington, NY)

Oheka Castle (Huntington, NY)

Head to Long Island’s Gold Coast for a tour of this sprawling estate -- the second-largest private home in the US. The estate comprises 127 rooms and over 109,000 square feet. Oheka was built between 1914 and 1919 to serve as the country home of investment banker Otto Hermann Kahn (the name Oheka is an acronym for his name). Oheka also served as partial inspiration for Gatsby’s estate in Fitzgerald’s novel. 960 1280

Michael Fucci  

Moody Mansion (Galveston, TX)

Moody Mansion (Galveston, TX)

Step into turn-of-the-century splendor at this sprawling 28,000-square-foot, 4-story mansion. Completed in 1895, the estate was the home of American financier William Lewis Moody Jr. – once proclaimed by TIME magazine to be one of the 10 wealthiest men in America. Now a museum, the estate offers tours of 20 rooms. Among the beautiful touches is a gold leaf ceiling in the dining room. 960 1280

JR Gordon, flickr  

Virginia Robinson Estate (Beverly Hills)

Virginia Robinson Estate (Beverly Hills)

Beverly Hills is home to plenty of jaw-dropping homes, but only one is open to public tours. This 6-acre estate, once home to Harry and Virginia Robinson (of Robinson’s department store), was built in 1911. The estate’s architectural highlight is its playhouse/pool pavilion, which was added in 1924. Its memorable features include a reflecting swimming pool, as well as Tuscan columns and arches with sgraffiti, an Italian style of wall décor similar to fresco. 960 1280

Virginia Robinson Estate  

Pabst Mansion (Milwaukee)

Pabst Mansion (Milwaukee)

This Flemish Renaissance Revival-style beaut was home to German-American beer baron Frederick Pabst between 1892 and 1908. The property was later purchased by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and for the next 67 years, it served as home to 5 archbishops. Centrally located in downtown Milwaukee, the estate is open year-round to the public, offering visitors a chance to behold the estate’s signature feature: intricate woodwork. 960 1280

Pabst Mansion   

Glensheen (Duluth, MN)

Glensheen (Duluth, MN)

This 7.6-acre estate was built between 1905 and 1908 by lawyer and businessman Chester Adgate Congdon. The lakefront property features 38 rooms, and an exterior inspired by neoclassical French and English touches. Throughout the house are fine works of art by American and European masters of the day. But the mansion also has a dark side: In 1977, Congdon’s daughter and her nurse were murdered here. While tour guides at the mansion were once prohibited from speaking about the murders, today they’ll speak briefly about it ... upon request. 960 1280

Richard Ruan, flickr  

Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Dutchess County, NY)

Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Dutchess County, NY)

This gorgeous home in the tranquil hamlet of Staatsburg, NY, is regarded by architecture scholars as one of the finest examples of an estate built during America’s Gilded Age. Tour the grounds and see a massive portico, balustrades, floral swags and pilasters that all add up to one big impression: The owners sure had it good here. 960 1280

Rolf Müller, Wikimedia Commons   

Biltmore Estate (Asheville, NC)

Biltmore Estate (Asheville, NC)

In the mountains of Asheville, NC, this luxurious Châteauesque-styled mansion awaits. Built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895, Biltmore is the largest privately owned house in America – it spans an astonishing 178,926 square feet and 250 rooms. You’ll be fascinated to see how the era’s wealthy lived: Tour highlights include an indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, 2-story library and early 20th-century exercise equipment. 960 1280

Michael, flickr  

Photos

Meadow Brook Hall (Rochester Hills, MI)

Meadow Brook Hall (Rochester Hills, MI)

Explore the fourth-largest historic home in the United States. Spanning 110 rooms, the 88,000 square-foot mansion was built in a Tudor Revival style, between 1926 and 1929, by the widow of auto pioneer John Francis Dodge. The mansion and surrounding 1,400-acre grounds were donated to Michigan State University in 1957. 960 1280

Meadow Brook Hall  

Hearst Castle (San Simeon, CA)

Hearst Castle (San Simeon, CA)

This Mediterranean Revival-style mansion was designed for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst by Julia Morgan, the first woman architect licensed in California. Morgan’s vision, shaped over the course of a 28-year collaboration with Hearst, features 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens and so much more -- including the world’s largest private zoo. 960 1280

Alex Proimos, flickr  

Flagler Museum (Palm Beach, FL)

Flagler Museum (Palm Beach, FL)

Once hailed by a New York newspaper as "more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world," this 55-room mansion, built by oil tycoon Henry Flagler in 1901, later came close to demolition -- until one of Flagler’s granddaughters saved it in 1959. You’ll need a good 2 hours to tour the property -- must-see stops include the Louis XV-style Grand Ballroom and the atrium garden. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Hillwood Estate (Washington, DC)

Hillwood Estate (Washington, DC)

Post Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post had 3 estates, including Mar-a-Lago on Palm Beach Island. Donald Trump now owns that one, but the real star of Post’s collection is Hillwood Estate. Post loved this urban oasis in the heart of DC more than any of her other estates -- her ashes are interred in the estate’s Rose Garden. The biggest draw is the estate’s decorative arts collection, from Faberge eggs to 18th and 19th-century French art. 960 1280

Jennifer Boyer, flickr  

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Akron, OH)

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Akron, OH)

This swanky country estate ranks as the 12th largest house in the United States. The Tudor Revival-style home, which originally spanned 3,000 acres (it’s now on 70 acres), was built between 1912 and 1915 by the founder of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Above the manor’s front door is a stone inscription: “Non nobis solum,” meaning, “Not for us alone.” In keeping with that motto, the estate is open seasonally to the public. 960 1280

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens  

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores, MI)

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores, MI)

This 87-acre estate, just northeast of Detroit, was the home of Edsel Ford (Henry’s son) and his wife, Eleanor. Before her death in 1976, Eleanor stated that the property be used for the “benefit of the public.” Today, visitors can tour the 20,000-square-foot home to see the intimate family photos that take you back to 1927, when the home was built, and beyond, to the home’s heyday in the 1940s. On the grounds, be sure to check out Josephine Ford’s child-sized playhouse, built by her grandmother in 1930. 960 1280

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House  

Oheka Castle (Huntington, NY)

Oheka Castle (Huntington, NY)

Head to Long Island’s Gold Coast for a tour of this sprawling estate -- the second-largest private home in the US. The estate comprises 127 rooms and over 109,000 square feet. Oheka was built between 1914 and 1919 to serve as the country home of investment banker Otto Hermann Kahn (the name Oheka is an acronym for his name). Oheka also served as partial inspiration for Gatsby’s estate in Fitzgerald’s novel. 960 1280

Michael Fucci  

Moody Mansion (Galveston, TX)

Moody Mansion (Galveston, TX)

Step into turn-of-the-century splendor at this sprawling 28,000-square-foot, 4-story mansion. Completed in 1895, the estate was the home of American financier William Lewis Moody Jr. – once proclaimed by TIME magazine to be one of the 10 wealthiest men in America. Now a museum, the estate offers tours of 20 rooms. Among the beautiful touches is a gold leaf ceiling in the dining room. 960 1280

JR Gordon, flickr  

Virginia Robinson Estate (Beverly Hills)

Virginia Robinson Estate (Beverly Hills)

Beverly Hills is home to plenty of jaw-dropping homes, but only one is open to public tours. This 6-acre estate, once home to Harry and Virginia Robinson (of Robinson’s department store), was built in 1911. The estate’s architectural highlight is its playhouse/pool pavilion, which was added in 1924. Its memorable features include a reflecting swimming pool, as well as Tuscan columns and arches with sgraffiti, an Italian style of wall décor similar to fresco. 960 1280

Virginia Robinson Estate  

Pabst Mansion (Milwaukee)

Pabst Mansion (Milwaukee)

This Flemish Renaissance Revival-style beaut was home to German-American beer baron Frederick Pabst between 1892 and 1908. The property was later purchased by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and for the next 67 years, it served as home to 5 archbishops. Centrally located in downtown Milwaukee, the estate is open year-round to the public, offering visitors a chance to behold the estate’s signature feature: intricate woodwork. 960 1280

Pabst Mansion   

Glensheen (Duluth, MN)

Glensheen (Duluth, MN)

This 7.6-acre estate was built between 1905 and 1908 by lawyer and businessman Chester Adgate Congdon. The lakefront property features 38 rooms, and an exterior inspired by neoclassical French and English touches. Throughout the house are fine works of art by American and European masters of the day. But the mansion also has a dark side: In 1977, Congdon’s daughter and her nurse were murdered here. While tour guides at the mansion were once prohibited from speaking about the murders, today they’ll speak briefly about it ... upon request. 960 1280

Richard Ruan, flickr  

Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Dutchess County, NY)

Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Dutchess County, NY)

This gorgeous home in the tranquil hamlet of Staatsburg, NY, is regarded by architecture scholars as one of the finest examples of an estate built during America’s Gilded Age. Tour the grounds and see a massive portico, balustrades, floral swags and pilasters that all add up to one big impression: The owners sure had it good here. 960 1280

Rolf Müller, Wikimedia Commons   

Biltmore Estate (Asheville, NC)

Biltmore Estate (Asheville, NC)

In the mountains of Asheville, NC, this luxurious Châteauesque-styled mansion awaits. Built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895, Biltmore is the largest privately owned house in America – it spans an astonishing 178,926 square feet and 250 rooms. You’ll be fascinated to see how the era’s wealthy lived: Tour highlights include an indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, 2-story library and early 20th-century exercise equipment. 960 1280

Michael, flickr  

River Cruise on the Seine

River Cruise on the Seine

Spend some quality time with someone you love while you cruise along the magnificent Seine River. Thirty-seven bridges run along the river in Paris, like the Pont Alexandre III, the city’s most ornate, extravagant bridge. And if you’re lucky enough to visit Paris in summer, make sure you enjoy the 3 artificial beaches set up along the river. Sand, palm trees, beach chairs and chaise lounges are brought in to create “Paris Beach,” which is usually set up from late July to mid-August.  960 1280

Aaron Black / Aurora Photos   

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Explore the City of Light by taking a Paris sightseeing tour of its not-to-be-missed attractions, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Georges Pompidou Center, Notre Dame de Paris, Basilica of the Sacre Coeur and Palais Garnier. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Le Bistrot Paul Bert

Le Bistrot Paul Bert

Looking for a traditional French bistro? Get a bite to eat at Le Bistrot Paul Bert, but call ahead for dinner reservations because the restaurant’s 2 dining rooms are always crowded at night. An impressively stocked wine cellar, cheese cart, hearty dishes and laid-back, efficient staff are all reasons why you visit this bistro. For about $50, guests have the option of getting the prix fixe, which is 3 courses. Inexpensive wines are on the chalkboard, whereas expensive ones are on the wine list. 960 1280

Rob Hyndman, flickr  

Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris

Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris

Located near the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower, Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris has 5 restaurants, 12 categories of rooms and suites, a well-stocked mini bar in each room, a cellar with more than 35,000 bottles of wine and more! You can’t miss getting a luxurious spa treatment at the Dior Institut au Plaza Athenee, either. 960 1280

Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris  

Champs-Élysées Shopping

Champs-Élysées Shopping

Go shopping along the Champs-Élysées . This area has a little something for everyone. Big spenders can shop at high-end shops like Hugo Boss, Christian Louboutin, Swarovski and Peugeot Avenue Paris. And there are more reasonably priced spots for frugal shoppers like Gap. Take a break from shopping in Paris and visit the Arc de Triomphe or indulge yourself at a nearby restaurant -- you’ll instantly realize why this is a prime area for people watching. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Parisian Bakery

Parisian Bakery

Take a 2-hour Parisian bakery workshop and discover how real French bread is made! Go behind the scenes of real French bakery to learn how to make baguettes and croissants. And then, enjoy tasting your bread -- fresh out of the oven. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Le Meurice

Le Meurice

Stay at the 5-star Le Meurice Paris, where all rooms and suites feature a private entrance, private bar with refrigerator, twice daily maid service, digital interactive television system, traditional shoeshine service and more. For $128, the hotel’s wine tasting allows guests the chance to savor the best French wines, picked by the head sommelier. This hotel is just a short walk away from a few tourist attractions, including the Louvre, Place de La Concorde and Musee d’Orsay. 960 1280

Le Meurice  

Tuileries Palace and Garden

Tuileries Palace and Garden

Visitors to the Tuileries Palace and Garden instantly realize why this crowded spot is the place to be in the spring and summer. During the weekend, it’s not uncommon to see locals lying on the lawn and chatting with friends while thousands walk through the gardens and the palace’s grounds. After the death of her husband Henri II in 1559, Catherine de Medicis had the palace built, featuring a large Italian-style garden to remind her of her home in Tuscany. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Casino de Paris

Casino de Paris

Contrary to what the name might suggest, Casino de Paris is a well-known music and performance hall, and not a gambling casino. After it was built in 1730, the building served many purposes, including being used as a fireworks display venue, before it was converted into a cinema and music hall. African-American actress and singer Josephine Baker was one of many notable people to perform at Casino de Paris.  960 1280

Loic Venance / AFP / Getty Images  

Four Seasons Hotel George V

Four Seasons Hotel George V

Experience the elegant charm of the Four Seasons Hotel George V, located just steps away from the Champs-Elysees. Swim a few laps in the indoor pool, enjoy eating a classic French meal at Le Cinq restaurant or get a 4-hands massage at the spa. For families in Paris, the hotel provides babysitting services as well as a staff on-hand to provide personalized programs for younger guests both in the hotel and around Paris. See more must-see Paris attractions! 960 1280

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts  

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