21 Mind-Blowing Escapes
The Best Nature Has to Offer
For those of you who sometimes feel overwhelmed about where to go on your next vacation, this list is key. All the places on this list offer eye-opening natural wonders and once-in-a-lifetime experiences sure to blow your mind.
21. Blue Lagoon, Iceland
The saltwater in Iceland's Blue Lagoon, the world's largest geothermal pool, gets completely renewed every 40 hours and always hovers around 100 degrees. Go to rejuvenate your skin and soul, and throw in some extra time for a spa treatment or massage.
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20. Four Seasons Tented Camp, Thailand
Visit the Golden Triangle! It’s not only where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet, but it’s also where the Four Seasons Tented Camp has 15 elevated, freestanding accommodations with spectacular views of the Ruak River, the Laotian mountains and the lush jungle.
Four Seasons Hotel Limited
19. Vieques Island, Puerto Rico
Head to Vieques Island for a quiet vacation to get away from the crowds, tall buildings, traffic and commercialized oceanfront property. The beaches here are pristine, the green flora is lush, and it's located only 6 miles from San Juan. Whisk someone special off for a romantic getaway, and don’t miss out on an illuminating experience on Bioluminescent Bay.
18. The Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong
The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong offers an elite experience that makes all guests feel like royalty. In addition to providing top-of-the-line amenities, this historic, 5-star luxury hotel has spectacular vistas of Victoria Harbor.
The Peninsula Hotels
17. Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
A must for outdoor enthusiasts in the summer and winter, the Bernese Oberland region in Switzerland captures nature at its finest: snowcapped mountain peaks, fresh air and lush, rolling hills. The quaint town of Interlaken lies between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and is only a short train ride to the beautiful ski town of Grindelwald.
16. Secret Beach, Kauai
Nestled at the base of a sheer cliff just north of Kilauea, Secret Beach truly is one of the Kauai's best-kept secrets. Sunbathers will have to hike down a rocky, near-vertical trail to find the magnificent stretch of sand and sea. Their efforts will immediately be rewarded as cares and worries melt away in this hidden Hawaiian paradise.
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15. Sequoia National Park, California
Sequoia National Park in California is home to some of the oldest trees on the planet. Giant sequoias as old as 3,000 years cover the park's 400,000 acres. Activities within the park vary according to season, but its majestic beauty is a constant.
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14. Milford Sound, New Zealand
Experience New Zealand's Fiordland region via kayak, on foot and by air. Visitors are awestruck by the scenery of Milford Sound, including the tumbling waterfalls, ancient rain forests, sparkling lakes and granite peaks that capture the heart and the imagination.
13. Cinque Terre, Italy
A national park and protected UNESCO territory, Cinque Terre has steep natural slopes that were transformed into fertile terraces for the cultivation of wine. The dry stone walls guide you through a varied network of paths with beautiful views of the Mediterranean. Take a hike along the cliffside trail, which passes through 5 coastal villages.
12. Wakaya Club & Spa, Fiji
The Wakaya Club is located on Wakaya Island in Fiji. The private, 2,200-acre retreat is dotted with natural wonders, including serene lagoons, majestic cliffs and beautiful beaches, and it is encircled by a coral reef. The resort includes 10 freestanding, waterfront cottage suites, where guests experience unparalleled pampering. From gourmet cuisine to luxurious spa treatments, everything you could possibly desire is provided in one of the world's most idyllic settings.
The Wakaya Club & Spa
11. Ski Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, and it’s quickly becoming a place where anything is possible. Case in point: the creation of a man-made indoor ski slope. Ski Dubai has 5 runs that vary in difficulty, a freestyle zone and a family-friendly snow park. Don't worry about packing your skis or parkas; both are available for rent at the one-of-a-kind desert ski mountain.
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10. Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
Two of the world's most active volcanoes — Kilauea and Mauna Loa — stand in Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park. There are many ways to experience the power of these natural wonders, including scenic drives, hikes and ranger-led tours.
Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson
9. Marrakech, Morocco
In Morocco's historical Marrakech is the famous Djemaa el-Fna marketplace. There, storytellers, shopkeepers and snake charmers vie for your attention while you enjoy traditional foods such as escargot and couscous. You truly will feel as though you've entered another world that’s tantalizing to the senses.
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8. Monument Valley, Utah
Monument Valley in Utah has been the setting for more Western movies than any other site in the US. Its iconic sandstone formations and the Four Corners Monument are unforgettable and absolutely breathtaking in person.
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7. Venice, Italy
The city of Venice conjures images of stunning architecture, artistic masterpieces and incomparable wine and cuisine. Get lost in St. Mark's Basilica and St. Mark's Square; experience the sights and sounds of Venice Carnival; and walk across the Rialto Bridge.
6. Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa
At the Singita Ebony Lodge, located on the Sand River, travelers experience the perfect combination of luxury accommodation and safari adventure. The resort’s 12 suites all include a private plunge pool, and their external walls have been removed and replaced by canvas and glass to create safari tent-style suites with great views and for guests to sleep under the stars. Don’t miss out on exploring the African wildlife accompanied by an experienced guide and tracker during your stay in the heart of the Singita Sabi Sand.
5. Jellyfish Lake, Palau
Palau is truly one of the world's most beautiful tropical paradises. Located 500 miles from the Philippines, the island is famous for Jellyfish Lake, where a special species of jellyfish has been trapped. Over time, the creatures have lost their ability to sting, making for a unique and unforgettable swimming and diving adventure.
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4. Santorini, Greece
The Greek island of Santorini is located in the Cyclades of the Aegean Sea and has one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. The villages are built on cliffs and overlook a submerged volcano. Those who visit Santorini flock to Oia, a town that offers stunning views of the sunset.
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3. Grand Canyon, Arizona
Carved by the mighty Colorado River, the Grand Canyon is an unbelievable chasm that cuts 5,000 feet into the earth's crust. The canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and more than a mile deep. Its vista is mesmerizing and awe-inspiring.
2. Zambezi River Rafting, Zambia
From a mighty river in America to another in Zambia. Only the truly brave of heart risk white-water rafting on the Zambezi River. It is classified as a high-volume, pool-drop river and floods between February and the end of June. At times, the volume is 4 times that of the Colorado River, so make sure you're prepared before running the Zambezi.
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1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat is one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. Another UNESCO-protected location, it contains the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, including the Temple of Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple. Marvel at this jaw-dropping and eye-opening historical landmark.
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