21 Trips of a Lifetime

Get inspiration for your ultimate travel bucket list and start packing!
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Travel Quiz: What Bucket List Trip Should You Take?

No matter your budget, schedule, travel companion or preferred climate, there's a bucket list trip for you!

Getting There

Tanzania

Tanzania

If exploring the wilds of Africa is on your bucket list, then consider a trek to Tanzania. Located in eastern Africa on the Indian Ocean, Tanzania is home to the continent’s largest freshwater lake — Lake Victoria — and its highest mountain — Mount Kilimanjaro — plus the amazing ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara and Serengeti National Park. The Serengeti region — which encompasses the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and other controlled areas and reserves — is most famous for its yearly migration. Over a million wildebeest and about 200,000 zebras move south for the short rainy season in October and November and then back west and north in April, May and June. Take a safari through this region for the ride of your life. 960 1280

raisbeckfoto  

Iceland

Iceland

In Iceland, you can see the stunning northern lights, which are most visible from October to March, when summer’s midnight sun gives way to fully dark nights again. But Iceland’s marvels aren’t limited to its colorful night sky. A slew of natural wonders awaits the traveler year-round, from lava fields and black sandy beaches to lagoons, three spectacular national parks, geysers and glaciers. These wonders include the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal pool that is used for spa and therapeutic treatments. Intrepid souls can even find adventure on their dinner plates. Try Hákarl, if you dare. Iceland’s traditional fermented shark dish is prepared by pressing and drying the Greenland shark, which when unprepared is toxic to humans. 960 1280

pidjoe  

China

China

Continual construction from the 3rd century B.C. to the 17th century A.D. created the more than 20,000 kilometers that make up the Great Wall of China. Built for China’s military defense along its border, travelers from all over the world journey to hike along the top of the Great Wall. Back in Beijing, the history of China’s capital stretches three millennia. Get your fill of the culture at Tiananmen Square pedestrian plaza or the National Museum of China. China also offers a variety of historical sites, including palaces and tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. 960 1280

Jeff_Hu  

France

France

France’s Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral are traditional bucket list hotspots, but don’t forget to venture outside of Paris’ arrondissements. The Palace and Park of Versailles and the Decorated Cave of Pont d’Arc, which has the oldest known and best preserved figurative drawings in the world, should make the list too. Then head to the lavender fields of Provence, which bloom from June to August. From the Luberon region, follow the lavender up around Mont-Ventoux and into the areas of Sault and Valréas. While in Provence, tour Notre-Dame de Sénanque Abbey, a community of Cistercian Monks, where in the summer the lavender fields stretch up to the door. 960 1280

Michal Krakowiak  

Australia

Australia

Opt for the Oceania region to experience famous natural wonders, like The Great Barrier Reef, and extreme adventures. A journey Down Under also offers breathtaking scenery, unusual wildlife and surfing. Charming seaside towns can be visited along the Great Ocean Road. Tasmania’s Bay of Fires conservation area also offers beautiful scenery with over 50 kilometers of white sandy beaches and incredibly clear water from Binalong Bay in the South to Eddystone Point in the North. 960 1280

Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye  

New Zealand

New Zealand

If bungee jumping is on your to-do list, then take the plunge to New Zealand, the home of the original bungee jump off Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown in the southwestern part of the country’s South Island. While on the South Island, take a hike on the 71-kilometer Queen Charlotte Track along the northern coast or explore scenery in the Southern Alps that is straight out of the “Lord of the Rings” films. Head to the North Island to check out the colorful and bubbling Champagne Pool geothermal spring, rafting and even more “Lord of the Rings” locations. 960 1280

settaphan  

Spain

Spain

The famous running of the bulls has drawn spectators and thrill-seekers to Spain for years. If witnessing the centuries-old tradition is on your list, head to Pamplona in early July. While you’re in the area, be sure to see the beautiful Gothic architecture at Burgos Cathedral in the city of Burgos, or journey to the Roman Walls of Lugo, the finest example of late Roman fortifications in western Europe. 960 1280

Photographer: Laura Garca  

Jordan and Israel

Jordan and Israel

Partially built and partially carved into the rock, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan is one of the world's most famous archaeological sites. Blending ancient Eastern traditions and Hellenistic architecture, Petra is a must-see. From Petra, head north to the Dead Sea. With banks that sit more than 400 meters below sea level, the Dead Sea is famously salty, making floating easy. The water and mud are considered therapeutic, and the mud is often used for treatments at area resorts. West of the Dead Sea, cross into Israel and discover the ancient and holy city of Jerusalem, home of the Temple Mount, a sacred site for Christianity, Judaism and Islam. 960 1280

Roman Slavik  

Peru

Peru

Surrounded by diverse plants and animals, the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu high in the mountains of Peru is an archaeological treasure and a testament to the achievements of the Inca civilization. Situated between the Amazon Basin and the Peruvian Andes, the Incas’ 600-year-old city of Machu Picchu is carved into the mountainside and includes more than 200 structures. Next, come down out of the mountains for a glimpse of the geoglyphs of Nasca and the pampas of Jumana. Found within a 450-square-kilometer area, these enigmatic carvings in the ground are thought to be as much as 2,500 years old and may have been used in astronomy and other rituals. 960 1280

pawopa3336  

Utah

Utah

Visiting all of the national parks in the United States is quite a feat, but in Utah, you can easily hit five in one trip: Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion. Then travel to the southeastern corner of the state for the opportunity to stand at Four Corners, where Utah meets with Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Combine that with all of the opportunities to ski, and you’ll find Utah is chock full of adventure. Additional reporting by Shannon Adams. 960 1280

LordRunar  

Map Out a Bucket List

Map Out a Bucket List

If world travel tops your bucket list, hang a map on your wall and use pushpins to mark where you’ve been (Wayfaren has a collection of beautiful world maps, by the way). Or, make it more fun by hanging a scratch-off map. Just take a coin and scratch off the foil on top of each country once you’ve visited (like scratching off a lottery ticket). Brilliant Maps has a fantastic round-up of the best scratch-off maps for the year, nearly all of which are under $50.  960 1280

tapanuth  

Instead of New Year's Resolutions, Jot Down Travel Experiences to Have

Instead of New Year's Resolutions, Jot Down Travel Experiences to Have

Lesley Carter of Bucket List Publications has been creating travel bucket lists and posting them to her website since 2011. In the last six years, she’s gone scuba diving with sea turtles in Oahu, floated in the Dead Sea and gone on an elephant safari in Namibia. Each year, rather than writing down resolutions, she compiles a list of experiences she wants to have in the new year. Her blog began as a way to track this bucket list. Writing about trips and experiences quickly became inspiration for new ones. 960 1280

Lesley Carter / Bucket List Publications  

Turn It Into a Game

Turn It Into a Game

You could simply cross off bucket list items with a pencil or turn the whole experience into a game. That’s what Steve Kamb, creator of NerdFitness, did when he created Steve Kamb’s Epic Quest of Awesome. So far, he’s created 13 levels in the “game” each with five quests, like “visit Loch Ness in Scotland” and “climb Table Mountain in South Africa.” With each quest he completes, he receives 20 percent experience points toward the next level. 960 1280

Steve Kamb  

Use a Pinterest Board

Use a Pinterest Board

Click over to Pinterest for inspiration and images with bucket list items written on top of them, like stay in an overwater bungalow and visit Machu Picchu. Create your own pin board and start adding adventures and experiences. Click the “Tried It” button at the top of the individual pin when you’re ready to cross the item off your bucket list. Here’s a bucket list board with a few ideas to get you started. 960 1280

andrearoad  

Write Your Own Eulogy

Write Your Own Eulogy

Annette White, the blogger behind Bucket List Journey, created her bucket list by first writing her own eulogy to help her figure out how she wanted to be remembered. This soon became her life's mission statement from which she drew ideas. From this, she knew she wanted to encourage others to step out of their comfort zones and learn from the people she met along the way, something that drew her to travel to Kibowa Orphanage in Arusha, Tanzania. 960 1280

Annette White / Bucket List Journey  

Create a Bucket Jar

Create a Bucket Jar

Rather than a bucket list, create your own bucket jar. Keep the jar within easy reach to help you reach your goals. It’s easy to get started. Grab some colorful slips of paper and write down anything you might want to add to your bucket list on each one. Be sure to write down a time goal too (very important). Add each one to the jar and take out a slip of paper every so often and start working toward that written goal. Make your own or buy one online, like this cute bucket jar from Jonny’s Sister ($18). 960 1280

Victoria to You  

Let “best of” lists help you create your bucket list.

Let “best of” lists help you create your bucket list.

It’s not hard to find “best of” lists all across the web, but looking to lists like Best Hiking Trails and Best Canoe Trips might help you craft a bucket list most in line with your personal interests. GreenGlobalTravel.com has a section dedicated to experiences and destinations to add to your world travel bucket list. Or, head to Amazon.com. Like biking? You’ll find loads of books exploring the best rides in all different states, cities and national parks. Make your bucket list specific and relatively realistic. 960 1280

Maya Karkalicheva  

Get Inspiration From Mobile Apps

Get Inspiration From Mobile Apps

There are several mobile apps, including Soon and iWish, which can help you create and stay on top of your travel bucket list. Soon, for example, helps you keep track of all the things you want to do whether you want to travel to India or eat at the new restaurant across town. Soon also has a social component that lets you see what’s on your friends’ bucket lists. Meantime, iWish, has a library of 1,200 ideas to inspire you, including beautiful places and adventures. 960 1280

Prykhodov  

Get Creative With an Actual Bucket

Get Creative With an Actual Bucket

Get crafty and buy or make a bucket for your travel bucket list. Write down bucket list items on clothespins, then attach souvenirs from each bucket list adventure to the relevant clothespin once completed. Delia Randall of Delia Creates used little more than a small bucket, clothespins and a couple of sharpies to create her bucket with her kids. Clip every clothespin to the edge and drop each one into the bucket once you complete that list item. 960 1280

Delia Randall / Delia Creates  

Keep it Simple by Writing it Down in a Journal

Keep it Simple by Writing it Down in a Journal

Keep a journal with you (even just in your glovebox) so you can add items to your bucket list the moment they pop into your head. A small notepad from the drugstore will do, though there are plenty of cute options, like this #BucketList notebook on Etsy ($8). Or, go upscale at Axel & Ash with their My Bucket List journal ($39.99), which includes a world map, inspirational quotes and space to for 101 bucket list items. 960 1280

elfgradost  

Take Advantage of Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses and Points

Take Advantage of Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses and Points

"There is no doubt that rewards credit cards and their 50,000 to 100,000 point sign-up bonuses are the fastest and cheapest ways to get almost free flights and hotel stays," says Summer Hull of Mommy Points. "For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve gets you 100,000 points worth $1,500 in travel with $4,000 in purchases. Of course many of those cards do have annual fees and you won't come out on top in the long run if you don't pay off the balances each month to avoid interest," she says. Experts across the board recommend Chase Sapphire Preferred as one of the best cards for accruing points. Editor-in-Chief of The Points Guy Zach Honig says, “Not only does this card offer 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months, those points are much more flexible than the points and miles you’ll earn directly with a hotel or airline, since you can transfer them to a partner when you’re ready to book an award, or redeem them for paid flights, hotel stays and some other travel expenses directly through Chase.” Other recommendations for racking up points include Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi Thank You Points and the Starwood Preferred Guest Program. 960 1280

bernie_photo  

Accumulate Points and Miles at Participating Vendors

Accumulate Points and Miles at Participating Vendors

Shopping portals are another way to earn points and miles. Visit aggregator sites such as Evreward or Cashback Monitor, which list how many points or miles you’ll earn from shopping at your favorite stores via major airline and hotel portals. The Points Guy, The Travel Sisters and Million Mile Secrets are among the many travel sites that provide extensive tips on how to maximize this strategy.

Don't overlook eating out as a way to acheive your dream trip. For example, the Rewards Network consists of more than 11,000 participating dining establishments, and it’s free to join. Just link a credit card and search whether you want to earn points with airlines or hotels.

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Nikada  

Join Hotel and Airline Loyalty Programs

Join Hotel and Airline Loyalty Programs

"It may sound simplistic, but the loyalty programs that save you the most money are the ones you’re actually able to use. It doesn’t make sense to earn Hyatt points if you don’t ever plan to stay at a Hyatt hotel, though the same doesn’t necessarily apply to airlines," says Honig from The Points Guy. "The major U.S. carriers all allow you to redeem miles with partners, too — in some cases 30 or more international-based airlines — giving you a ton of options when it comes time to book free flights. My favorite U.S. airline program is United MileagePlus, since I find that it offers the best award availability, especially on partners like Lufthansa and Thai," he says.

For those who aren’t brand loyal, particularly with hotels, Brent and Jackie Blum of Out of Office suggest Hotels.com for its reward program. "It cuts across major and boutique hotels and lets you accrue rewards points across all of them (letting your points rack up faster)." This means a free night’s stay after spending 10 nights at any of the 275,000 eligible hotels. The Blums add that Hotels.com also price matches popular sites like Booking.com, Priceline and Hotel Tonight. The site also offers secret prices only available to reward members. Plus, it’s free to join.

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ShutterWorx  

Manage Miles and Points

Manage Miles and Points

Keeping track of various miles and points can become time-consuming and overwhelming. Instead, use sites like AwardWallet, a free service that tracks all of your reward programs in one easy-to-use place. It alerts you to any points that are about to expire. (Unfortunately, some reward points expire in as little as a year if there’s no activity.) TripIt is a handy service that organizes your entire trip itinerary; all you have to do is forward email confirmations for hotels, flights and restaurants. Even better, upgrade for a small annual fee to TripIt Pro, and it will also automatically update your points and miles. Points.com is another worthwhile service; besides doing the dirty work of tracking, it also allows you to transfer your points and miles between loyalty programs. 960 1280

svetikd  

Volunteer to be Bumped From a Flight

Volunteer to be Bumped From a Flight

You’ve probably experienced hearing a gate agent ask for volunteers to be bumped from a full flight. Arthur Hsu, a digital producer at TravelChannel.com, not only received a $1,000 credit from Delta by going this route, but he says he even got home three hours sooner. Since agents don’t always ask for volunteers, Hsu advises letting them know you're willing to be bumped, just in case. 960 1280

Anna Bryukhanova  

Be Flexible

Be Flexible

This includes your flexibility to be bumped, travel dates and which airports you’re willing and able to fly to and from. Sam Huang, the founder of TopMiles.com, notes that flexibility comes in handy during the holidays, when award seats are often blacked out on international flights, but sometimes open up. If you're not redeeming points, Huang recommends using the Google power matrix tool for finding the lowest fares with flexible dates and airports. 960 1280

jpgfactory  

Make Use of Stopover Programs

Make Use of Stopover Programs

Though not always widely advertised, quite a number of airlines offer the opportunity to spend a few days in a hub city before continuing on to your destination — without paying extra airfare. Icelandair is one of the best-known stopover programs; not only does it allow you to stay a full week in Reykjavik, but last year it also added a free buddy service, which paired travelers with Icelandair hosts upon request. This year it’s offering a twist by offering stopover buddies to help plan celebrations. Other airlines offering stopovers include Emirates (Dubai), Air France (Paris) and Turkish Airlines (Istanbul). 960 1280

powerofforever  

Monitor Deals

Monitor Deals

The Flight Deal, Booking.com and Travelzoo are among the many sites to find discounts on everything from flights and hotels to travel packages. Since it’s not realistic to spend every free moment searching for deals, Matilda Geroulis of The Travel Sisters advises, "Sign up for email alerts from websites such as AirfareWatchdog, and they will email you when there is a low fare on your chosen route." It doesn’t hurt to continue monitoring a fare after you’ve booked, since some airlines will honor a lower price. Sign up for newsletters to stay informed of daily and weekly deal roundups. You can also find amazing deals on auction sites such as Priceline and Sky Auction. If you’re worried about the unknown factor of what you’re bidding on with the former, check The Bidding Traveler first, which reveals recent winning bids, along with the actual hotel names.
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mammuth  

Use Apps

Use Apps

If you can wait until the last minute to book a hotel, the Hotel Tonight app offers deep discounts on (literally) last-minute deals at both basic and high-end hotels around the world. Skyscanner factors in both major and budget airlines, and often finds cheaper fares than other major sites. Hopper is useful for monitoring the cheapest months to fly and suggesting the best time to buy. Yapta not only tracks fares and alerts you to price drops, but it also continues tracking the fare until you leave, helping you reap a potential refund. 960 1280

anyaberkut  

Grab Mistake Fares

Grab Mistake Fares

Mistake fares are simply too-good-to-be-true fares that an airline or hotel posts in error, and which they usually catch and correct pretty quickly. However, if you diligently monitor certain sites that announce these, scoring one isn’t impossible. "Twitter accounts that tweet fare sales and mistake fares include @theflightdeal, @airfarewatchdog and @secretflying," says Geroulis of The Travel Sisters.

Just be sure to wait for a confirmation from the airline or hotel before booking the rest of your trip, since there’s no guarantee that a mistake fare will be honored.

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adamkaz  

US Virgin Islands

US Virgin Islands

A Caribbean vacation isn't out of reach without a passport if you stick to the US Virgin Islands: St. John, St. Croix and St. Thomas (pictured here). Since they're US territories, a driver's license or birth certificate will suffice. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Another option in the Caribbean is Vieques, a small island that lies about 8 miles east of Puerto Rico. Along with the Puerto Rican mainland, it is a United States commonwealth with a strong Spanish influence. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Culebra, Puerto Rico

Culebra, Puerto Rico

Culebra, another island municipality of Puerto Rico, offers some of the Caribbean's most serene beaches. 960 1280

Getty  

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Not to be overshadowed by its islands, Puerto Rico's capital, San Juan, is steeped in Spanish heritage and culture without sacrificing waterfront sunsets. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Whistler, British Columbia

Whistler, British Columbia

Have your sights set on a Canadian ski vacation? You can hit the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb, but not without restrictions. First, you'll need to travel by land, and second, you'll need either an enhanced driver's license or a US passport card. These travel documents were created in conjunction with changes to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that took effect in 2009.  960 1280

Thinkstock  

Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida

Who says you can't find an island paradise in the continental US? Just off the coast of Florida, Key West is the southernmost city in the country and is unlike anywhere else. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Guam

Guam

Guam is the westernmost US territory, and while it's known for its military base, it's also one of the leading tourist destinations in the Western Pacific. This tropical paradise features beach clubs, luxurious accommodations and world-class golf courses. 960 1280

DuReMi, flickr  

Hawaii

Hawaii

Of course, if you want to be on an exotic island far, far away, your first thought should be of Hawaii and the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai and Maui. 960 1280

Rhiannon Taylor  

American Samoa

American Samoa

You can also experience the heart of Polynesia and Samoan culture in the 5 volcanic islands that make up the territory of American Samoa. 960 1280

Walter Spina/iStock/Getty Images  

Swains Island, American Samoa

Swains Island, American Samoa

If you're feeling adventurous, travel to Swains Island in American Samoa, one of the territory's 2 atolls (coral islands) halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. 960 1280

Wikimedia Commons  

Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

Your last option for a tropical vacation without a passport is Saipan, one of the 14 lush Northern Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth. The Micronesian paradise has been called "America's best-kept secret." 960 1280

Getty  

Barton Creek Greenbelt, Austin, Texas
Think Small

Think Small

Start with small trips close to home. As alluring as far-off places can be, sometimes all you need is short trip to quench your thirst for wanderlust. Think state parks instead of national parks for this one. An added bonus is they are significantly less crowded and have cheaper entrance fees. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Day Trips

Day Trips

It's easy to lose ourselves in the dreams of multi-day backpacking trips or plane rides halfway around the world, but when it comes to working a nine-to-five, chances are this isn't going to happen often, so try a day trip instead. You'll get out in nature, hopefully explore something new and still be home in time for dinner. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Travel With Friends

Travel With Friends

Solo trips are fun and rejuvenating, but bringing friends along can ease the burden of travel. Other people can bring new ideas for trips and different outlooks on how to travel to the table. Having an extra person or two to drive and split the cost of gas is always a big help too. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Travel for Work (If You're Lucky)

Travel for Work (If You're Lucky)

Unfortunately this is not something that my job allows but many people do have jobs where they travel. Friends of mine who have been bitten by the travel bug do their best to tack on an extra day to business trips so they can use that time to explore a new location. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Take Advantage of Long Weekends

Take Advantage of Long Weekends

Veterans Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day — these holidays offer most of us an extra day off from our desk jobs. Take this time to drive to that location that you've always wanted to go to that just seems a bit too far for a standard weekend. Don't worry, the couch will still be waiting for you on Tuesday. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Combine Locations

Combine Locations

Just because you can spend weeks at some national parks and still not see everything they have to offer doesn't mean you have to. Combining locations that are close to each other is a good way to make the most out of a limited amount of time. Not only will you still be able to see the most noteworthy sights, but the variation in landscape will leave you feeling more fulfilled in a short period of time. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Do Your Research

Do Your Research

Don't be afraid to ask for recommendations from the people who spend their time in the place you're visiting. Whether it's a local resident at a gas station or a park ranger, get the inside scoop on where to go and what to see from those who know the area best. This allows you to maximize your time during a short stay. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Be Cheap

Be Cheap

Yes you heard me. Buy plane tickets well in advance. Consider hotels, motels and cabins a luxury while traveling, relying on campgrounds or finding a friends couch to crash on instead. As they say, a penny saved is a penny earned, and if it means the difference between another trip or not, then it is well worth it. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

The Dolomites
Northern Italy

Northern Italy

Northern Italy is a popular destination year-round, but winter into spring is far more manageable for visitors. Florence’s usually packed Uffizi – if booked a few days in advance – has some breathing room, as do the narrow streets of Venice. Room rates are typically reduced, and it’s much easier to get a table at restaurants on the spur of the moment. Temperatures hover in the 30s and 40s, but Italian fashion and frequent bistro stops will keep you warm. In the South Tyrol region along the Austrian, German and Swiss borders, as the ski season ends, Italians take a break before preparing for the summer season. Rent a bike and ride downhill on the Val Pusteria path from San Candido to Lientz, Austria, and then take the train back. Though some shops and restaurants may close for vacations, April and May are perfect months to rent a car and explore the alpine towns of Auronzo di Cadore, Cortina d’Ampezzo and Sexten. In Sexten, pamper yourself like a local at the Mountain Resort Patzenfeld’s spa, and take advantage of the thin off-season crowds at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology where you can view Ötzi the Iceman and learn about the Bronze-Age history of the region. 960 1280

Getty Images  

U.S. Virgin Islands

U.S. Virgin Islands

Summer is off-season for St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but the weather isn’t the only thing to heat up. The Emancipation Day Celebration and Carnival on St. John in early July celebrates the culture and history of the islands through unique carnival costumes and body-moving beats. The water is perfect and beach crowds absent for kayaking and snorkeling at Virgin Islands National Park with Arawak Expeditions. Choice tables are open at Ocean Three Six TwoDe Coal Pot and Zozo’s At the Sugar Mill, highlighting St. John’s impressive island-to-table culinary scene. Ocean-view rooms at properties such as Estate Lindholm are discounted and much easier to find, too. With fewer crowds, finding a prime beach spot or navigating the roads to truly explore the island is a breeze. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Ireland and Northern Ireland

Ireland and Northern Ireland

Spring and summer are Ireland and Northern Ireland’s busiest seasons. But the Emerald Island stays, well, emerald and the pubs just as cozy year-long. Late fall and winter see shorter days and moody skies, but temperatures hover in the high 40s and 50s. Airfare to Dublin is greatly discounted for the cooler months, and you’ll have popular attractions that have long lines in the summer seemingly all to yourself, such as Carrick-a-Rede, Giants Causeway, the Dark Hedges and Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland and the Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College’s Old Library, Kilmainham Gaol and Newgrange Monument in Ireland. Holiday activities, such as Galway’s Christmas Market starting in November, give visitors a true look at Ireland. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is synonymous with the classic summer American road trip, but also with shoulder-shoulder crowds. Spring and winter brings dramatic light to the canyon skies, white snow against the red rocks and the feeling that you have this natural wonder all to yourself. For hikers wanting to stay at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon, open bunks and the cooler temperatures in November and December make this the perfect time to check the trek off your list. Limited year-round mule rides down to Phantom Ranch or along the East Rim Trail March through November are also much easier to schedule in the spring or fall. The Grand Canyon Railway that travels between Williams and the Grand Canyon South Rim Village offers holiday packages in fall and winter. Rooms with sweeping views at the historic El Tovar, Kachina, Bright Angel and other lodges are discounted and easier to reserve, holidays excepted. 960 1280

Steve Larese   

Florida

Florida

The powdery beaches along Florida’s coastline are a favorite of families in the summer and snowbirds in the winter. But with perhaps the nicest weather of the year, fall is relaxed and the water is still warm. Hatching sea turtles can outnumber people on the beach. South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island offers fall packages that include daily buffet breakfast, deep room discounts and resort credits for use at the spa or golf course. At the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, nightly rates drop September through February. Restaurants and shops in nearby St. Augustine are far less crowded than in the summer, as are attractions such as the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. October is the perfect time to take a ghost tour of the city, and St. Augustine is known for its brilliant light display in December. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

New Mexico

New Mexico

New Mexico is a favorite summer road trip destination, but in the fall it can feel like you have the entire state to yourself. Cottonwood and aspen trees turn color, and the state’s famous chile harvest is in. Fall festivals, such as Santa Fe’s Zozobra in September, and truly show New Mexico’s unique blend of cultures and history. During the holidays, farolitos, paper bags filled with sand and candles, illuminate plazas and streets throughout the state, including Albuquerque’ Old Town, Santa Fe’s Canyon Road and the village of Mesilla near Las Cruces. New Mexico's 19 Native American Pueblos conduct winter dances, many open to the public. When snow arrives in December, New Mexico’s ski areas offer excellent southern Rocky Mountain skiing and snowboarding. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Healdsburg, California

Healdsburg, California

After the grape harvest in late summer and early fall, tourism in quaint Healdsburg in Sonoma County drops off. Sure, the vineyards are turning a little brown, but with pleasant temperatures and thin crowds, November is a great time to explore this premiere wine-producing area. Tasting rooms such as Longboard and Wilson Artisan wineries are open, as are local shops and restaurants surrounding the historic town square. Grab lunch at the Shed, take a cooking class at Relish or go on a bike and wine tour with Wine Country Bikes. Hotel rates, such as at H2Hotel, are lower in the off-season, too. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Mexico City

Mexico City

At 7,400 feet above sea level, Mexico City enjoys spring-like weather year-round. March through May is its busiest tourist season, but temperatures range from the 40s to 70s into late fall and winter, earning the city the nickname “City of Eternal Spring.” Crowds at the ruins of TeotihuacanFrida Kahlo Museum and the Museo Nacional de Antropología are much lighter, and festivals such as October’s Alebrije and Day of the Dead parades are reason enough for a visit. Concerts and activities at Chapultepec Park take place year-round, and rates at hotels such as NH Collection Mexico City Reforma can be much lower as well.   960 1280

Steve Larese  

Iceland

Iceland

Visitation to Iceland plummets in winter, but the season offers its own unique rewards, including thin crowds to Iceland’s most popular sites. On the winter solstice, daylight hours are from about 11:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m. in Reykjavik, which is decorated for the holidays. The light, though, takes on what photographers describe as a magical quality for capturing Iceland’s geysers, waterfalls and vast landscapes. Temperatures hover around freezing, but not drastically cold as some may think. Winter prices are much less than Iceland’s notoriously high summer prices. Perhaps most famously, the northern lights are active and visible this time of year, and a dip in a hot spring surrounded by a snowy landscape is a surreal experience.  960 1280

Sascha Kilmer  

Alaska

Alaska

With areas dropping to negative 40ºF and greatly reduced daylight hours, Alaska doesn’t see much tourism in the winter. But for those who don’t mind layering up, it’s the perfect time to see The Last Frontier. The Alaska Railroad’s Aurora Train runs from Anchorage to Fairbanks, and the Winter Hurricane Turn Train travels to Talkeetna, where K2 Aviation can fly you above Denali National Park for eagle-eye views of North America’s highest peak. In fact, winter is the best time to view Denali since it’s often shrouded in clouds in warm months. Denali National Park is open in winter, and snoe shoeing, cross-country skiing and aurora viewing near the visitor center are popular activities. In Anchorage, don’t miss the Anchorage Museum and the city’s many local shops, and Juneau is the gateway to the Mendenhall Glacier and ice caves (pictured). In March, the iconic Iditarod sled dog race runs 1,000 miles between Anchorage and Nome. John Hall’s Alaska 11-day Iditarod & Aurora Adventure tour explores this famous race and dog sledding culture and takes visitors into Alaska’s interior. 960 1280

Hyde John/ Perpectives/ Getty Images  

Go Here, Not There: 10 Alternatives to Dream Destinations

Is budget, time or not having a passport preventing you from tackling your bucket list? Check out alternative destinations that still have plenty of reasons to visit and might be a little more in reach.
Quebec City Instead of Paris


Quebec City Instead of Paris


The exchange rate is currently in favor of Canada, and you won’t encounter the same crowds in Quebec City as in Paris. What you will find, especially if you stay in the UNESCO-designated Old City, are cobblestone streets worthy of a French village and plenty of chances to practice your French. Even better, you won’t have to sacrifice amazing food, since Quebec City does justice to both French and French Canadian dining. Standouts include the award-winning Panache, which feels like the country French farmhouse of your dreams. Le Grafitti attracts more locals than tourists, and offers an updated approach to French (and Italian) dishes. Don't miss queuing up for crepes at Casse-Crêpe Breton and gorging on poutine at Le Chic Shack and Chez Ashton. Visit the recently opened Pierre Lassonde Pavilion at the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec. The collections include more than 2,600 pieces of Inuit art and some of the finest paintings by regional artists. For shopping, Old City offers a plethora of one-of-a-kind boutiques. Pop into Charlevoix Pure Laine on the iconic Petit Champlain for hats, scarves and mittens made from the wool of Charlevoix sheep. Venture past Old City to explore the trendy Saint-Roch district and poke along Rue St. Jean. When it’s time to crash, spend a night at the historic Château Frontenac. At the very least, grab drinks at its 1608 Wine & Cheese Bar, named for the year and spot the city was founded. Or batten down at Auberge Saint-Antoine, (which also houses Panache) a converted 19th-century warehouse that exudes French rustic charm. You’ll forget you're not in Paris. 960 1280

iStockphoto: HonestTraveller/gregobagel  

The Northern Lights in Reykjavik, Iceland Instead of Scandinavia

The Northern Lights in Reykjavik, Iceland Instead of Scandinavia

Norway, Sweden and Finland are often associated with the spectacular northern lights phenomena (aka the aurora borealis), but the airfare and long drives from the nearest airport make Northern Europe viewing more expensive and less accessible. Enter Reykjavik, just a six-hour flight from New York City, plus low fares on WOW Air and Norwegian Air make it more affordable than ever. The fact that Reykjavik is the northernmost capital in the world means you can even base yourself in the city to catch one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. While it’s never guaranteed you’ll see the light show, your chances increase between late September through early April. Grotta Lighthouse, about an hour walk, or 10-minute drive, from downtown, is one of your best bets for viewing the lights in Reykjavik proper. The Pearl is another option, home to a revolving restaurant and observation deck. Alternatively, numerous Northern Lights tours leave from the city: Elding offers a two-hour excursion, which includes a 20-minute boat ride to Videy Island. In the event you don't see any lights, the company will provide a free tour ticket good for two years. 960 1280

  

The Biltmore Estate Instead of a European Castle

The Biltmore Estate Instead of a European Castle

If a European trip isn’t in the budget, the U.S. boasts castles to rival Europe’s grand dames. The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, was modeled after the French chateaus of the Loire Valley and is considered the largest privately owned manse in the country. Architect Richard Morris Hunt, whose other projects included The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Statue of Liberty, designed this National Historic Landmark. This epitome of Gilded Age homes contains 250 rooms, 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and three kitchens, filled with centuries-old tapestries and Renoir paintings throughout. Since owner George Washington Vanderbilt III outfitted it with the era’s latest and greatest, it’s also one of the few 19th-century homes with central heating and plumbing, electricity, fire alarms, elevators and an early refrigeration system. The grandeur doesn’t stop inside; Fredrick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park, brainstormed Biltmore’s grounds, from formal gardens to a 250-acre park. Explore the house at a leisurely pace on a self-guided tour, which provides access to three floors and the basement. Or take the guided Premium Biltmore House Tour, a private two-hour viewing that includes rooftop access. Unfortunately visitors can’t stay at Biltmore itself, but there are three hotels on the property as part of Biltmore Village. 960 1280

Getty Images: Walter Bibikow/wjarek  

The Egyptian Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Instead of the Egyptian Pyramids

The Egyptian Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Instead of the Egyptian Pyramids

By all means the Pyramids at Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, should remain a bucket list item. However, you’ll only be visiting a shell; the treasures within have long been looted or removed to world-class museums. Fortunately one of the world’s best collections can be found among 39 rooms at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, thanks in part to a 35-year archeological excavation. Highlights include mummies, jewelry and wooden tomb models.

But the main event is the Temple of Dendur, housed in a soaring, partially glass-enclosed wing. Roman emperor Caesar Augustus constructed the Temple around 15 B.C for the goddess Isis, a major deity in ancient Egypt. Part of a UNESCO campaign in the ‘60s to save it from floodwaters, the Egyptian government dismantled and shipped the Temple to the U.S. for preservation. President Lyndon B. Johnson later gifted it to the museum. Besides admiring the carved reliefs, keep an eye out for 19th-century graffiti that’s been left intact.
960 1280

Brooks Walker/domin_domin  

Overwater Bungalows in Jamaica Instead of the Maldives

Overwater Bungalows in Jamaica Instead of the Maldives

French Polynesia and the Maldives possess the lion’s share of overwater bungalows, but the time and expense of getting to those islands is a deal-breaker for many. Don’t despair: they’re not the only places in the world to get the full overwater experience. Enter the brand-new bungalows at the five-star, all-inclusive Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort, one of the only real-deal overwater bungalows on this side of the world. This new addition to the Montego Bay resort includes 12 truly luxurious villas modeled after their Tahitian counterparts, with glass floors, giant soaking tubs and infinity pools to boot. While the spacious bungalows are removed from the rest of the resort, a private butler, 24-hour room service and dedicated water taxi ensure that you won’t feel like you’re stranded on a remote (if posh) retreat. Starting at $1,435 a night, it’s not cheap, but still a lot closer than the Maldives. 960 1280

Sandals Resort/AleksandarNakic  

California Wine Country Instead of Italy's Wine Country

California Wine Country Instead of Italy's Wine Country

You could easily spend weeks exploring Italy’s many famed wine regions — Tuscany, Piedmont, Veneto — but if that’s not in the budget, head to the best wine region in the U.S. California Wine Country, just north of San Francisco, consists of Napa and Sonoma Valleys, and offers a whopping 800-plus wineries between the two. Take note that many of the smaller wineries are reservation only, even in the slower seasons, and the larger ones may also require advance bookings for tours and special tastings. Many first-timers start in Napa, whose 12 wine regions produce many award-winning wines, from Cabernet Sauvignon to Chardonnay. Deciding where to start can be overwhelming, but you can’t go wrong by exploring the dozens of wineries along the quieter Silverado Trail, such as Clos Du Val, William Hill Estate Winery or Hagafen Cellars. Elsewhere in Napa, Robert Mondavi Winery, Castello di Amorosa and Grgich Hills Estate attract larger crowds, but the grounds and wines of all three are worth it. Sonoma tends to be less crowded and more laid back than Napa, and its 17 appellations produce everything from Merlot to Pinot Noir. Base yourself in charming Healdsburg. From there, head straight to Westside Road, a curving, bucolic stretch with one winery after another. Leave time for Gary Farrell Winery and Porter Creek Vineyards at the very least. Elsewhere in Sonoma, budget time to visit Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Jordan Vineyard & Winery and Scribe Winery to get a comprehensive taste of the best Sonoma has to offer. 960 1280

iStockphoto.com: johnrandallalves/Scacciamosche  

A Wildlife Safari in Yellowstone National Park Instead of an African Safari

A Wildlife Safari in Yellowstone National Park Instead of an African Safari

It’s not uncommon for an all-inclusive, higher-end African safari to run upwards of $1,000 a night (or more). True, there are more affordable options, but then you have to factor in the cost of flights, the hassle of vaccinations and visas, not to mention the time needed. If you’re not ready just yet for this major undertaking, consider going on what amounts to an American safari. Wildlife Expeditions, operated by non-profit Teton Science Schools, runs half, full and multiday trips to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Instead of lions, zebras and elephants, expert guides will track wolves, bears, elk, moose, bison and more. The weeklong Winter Wolves of Yellowstone is a sought-after option to spot retiring gray wolves in their native habitat. Along the way you might also see bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope and golden eagles while traveling via safari-like vehicles. Expect to pay $3,300 a person for the week, but this includes comfortable lodging, meals and snacks. 960 1280

iStockphoto.com: JudiLen/skynesher  

The El Yunque Rainforest in Puerto Rico Instead of the Amazon Rainforest

The El Yunque Rainforest in Puerto Rico Instead of the Amazon Rainforest

As the world’s largest tropical rainforest, the Amazon’s merits don’t need to be touted. It’s home to about 10 percent of the world’s animal species, such as black spider monkeys, macaws and jaguars. But the time, cost and logistics of getting to the Amazon are not insignificant. Enter the El Yunque National Forest in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, less than an hour’s drive east from San Juan. Believe it or not, it’s not only a U.S. national forest, but it’s also the only tropical rainforest in America’s forest system. At 28,000 acres it can’t compare size-wise to the Amazon, but it contains plant life and animal species you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The flora includes 240 types of trees and 150 fern species, while its biodiversity encompasses the endangered Puerto Rican parrot, 11 bat species, and most notably, the indigenous coquí tree frog, Puerto Rico’s national symbol. One of the best ways to experience El Yunque is by hiking one or more of its 18 trails. However, leave the popular La Mina Waterfalls Trail to the tourist hordes, and opt instead for the challenging El Yunque Trail to the 3,496-foot peak. Don’t forget your camera or phone to capture miles of rolling green hills and the sparkling blue water just beyond. 960 1280

iStockphoto.com: OGphoto/apomares  

Bungee Jumping From the Navajo Bridge in Marble Canyon, Arizona Instead of in New Zealand

Bungee Jumping From the Navajo Bridge in Marble Canyon, Arizona Instead of in New Zealand

Bungee jumping tourism started in New Zealand almost 30 years ago; since then, it’s remained a destination goal for adrenaline enthusiasts. Hope isn’t lost if your budget doesn’t cover a plane ticket to New Zealand this year, as the U.S. has worthwhile alternatives. The Navajo Bridge in Marble Canyon, Arizona, near the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, regularly makes it onto lists for top bungee jumping sites. At 467 feet it’s not the tallest in the U.S., but it is among the handful that allow organized jumps. It also offers peerless views of the Colorado River and Marble Canyon, and is the closest you can get to pretending that you’re swan diving into the Grand Canyon. Bungee Expeditions organizes jumps from the Navajo Bridge for $250 a person. 960 1280

iStockphoto.com: pick-uppath/4FR  

Scuba Diving in Marathon Key, Florida Instead of the Great Barrier Reef

Scuba Diving in Marathon Key, Florida Instead of the Great Barrier Reef

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Great Barrier Reef is not only the largest coral reef system in the world, but also the largest living organism; so great, in fact, that it can be viewed from space. Alas, time and money make this bucket list fave a once-in-a-lifetime trip for many scuba divers. If this is not the year, then consider the coral reef along the Florida Keys. It’s the only tropical reef system in the U.S. Atlantic, and the third largest reef in the world. Luckily, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects more than 6,000 types of marine critters, plants and objects. Divers in the know favor Sombrero Reef, off of Marathon in the Middle Keys, for its array of coral, tropical fish, barracuda, stingrays and sea turtles. Another area highlight is Thunderbolt, an intentionally sunken ship from the WWII era. Three decades of corals and sponges cover its surface, attracting angelfish, amberjack, goliath grouper and more. 960 1280

Getty Images: Dickson Images/vyenel  

Milestone Trips

Harry Potter's United Kingdom

Harry Potter's United Kingdom

Harry Potter fans may not be able to apparate into the boy wizard’s world, but Potterphiles can still take a real trip to the wizarding realm. With Purdue University, students can spend a week delving into the magical world of Harry Potter. During the spring break stay, students will visit London, Oxford, Stonehenge and Edinburgh, see real sites featured in the books and those used to depict the fantasy world in the movies and study magical lore and myths. 960 1280

damienkeating  

Antarctica

Antarctica

During winter break, students can summer in Antarctica and see orcas, penguins and sea lions through a program offered by The College of Brockport, a campus of the State University of New York. The 14-day program includes a field study of the Antarctic peninsula, Tierra del Fuego and the tip of Argentina. Students explore the biological systems of the areas as well as observe wildlife in their natural habitat. The program provides students with extraordinary experiences few others will ever have, such as diving into a caldera or sleeping in a hole in a glacier. 960 1280

nikpal  

Semester at Sea

Semester at Sea

The Semester at Sea program is a once-in-a-lifetime journey for students from a variety of colleges and universities to sail around the world in 105 days. The ship sets off in California, traveling to Hawaii and then 11 countries, including Japan, China, Vietnam, Burma, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana and Morocco, before disembarking in Hamburg, Germany. 960 1280

colorlab  

Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy

The capital of Italy’s breathtaking Tuscan region, the city of Florence lies on the Arno River and is famously known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Here, New York University’s Florence study abroad program focuses on art, history, literature and cinema through a humanities and social sciences perspective. NYU’s Florence campus, Villa La Pietra, is made up of five villas and nearly 60 acres of gardens and olive groves. Among other locations, NYU hosts sponsored trips to Lucca, Bologna and Pisa, which are free to study abroad students during the three-month program. 960 1280

muratart  

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands

The unusual land and marine life of the pristine Galapagos Islands have drawn scientists and small groups of wildlife and environmental enthusiasts to this volcanic archipelago off the coast of Ecuador for decades. It was here that Charles Darwin first made observations that led to his groundbreaking theory of evolution. Students in the University of Georgia’s Animals and Insects of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands program travel between Quito, the Galapagos Islands, Maquipucuna Reserve, Playa del Oro and other locations to analyze and preserve insects and animals. Participants in the three-week program go on night and morning hikes to examine the local wild and insect life and spend a week boating to different sites among the Galapagos Islands. 960 1280

DC_Colombia  

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan

Shinto shrines and silent sanctuaries, lush gardens, kabuki theater, Japanese music and a tranquil monument to haiku poetry can all be found in the Japanese city of Kyoto. Students who embark on Harvard University’s Japan study abroad program are introduced to unique eastern customs and traditions through a homestay with a Kyoto family. During their 25-day stay, students study Eastern economies, religions and history. While visiting, students can take trips to ancient shrines and observe the 1,100-year-old Gion Festival, which takes place during the study abroad trip. 960 1280

ferrantraite  

South Africa

South Africa

Once a land of conflict, colonialism and segregation, as South Africa has moved away from its apartheid past, the nation at the southern tip of Africa can now showcase its natural wonders and diverse mixture of cultures, cuisines and wildlife. LeadAbroad's many international travel programs give students the rare opportunity to study leadership and global citizenship from a foreign perspective. Students who embark on its five-week South Africa journey will go bungee jumping, abseiling and paragliding and will go cage diving with sharks and visit an elephant sanctuary. A homestay and introduction to local tribal elders will provide students with the opportunity to experience local culture. 960 1280

Michal Krakowiak  

Turkey

Turkey

The Turkish peninsula, bordered by the Mediterranean and Black seas, has always acted as a bridge between Europe and Asia, specifically the Middle East. Turkey’s ancient cities, rugged mountains and beautiful coastlines can be explored through Georgetown University’s McGhee Center semester-long study abroad program, based in a Mediterranean villa in Alanya that was donated to the school in 1989 by former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and Germany George Crewes McGhee. In order to fully immerse students in the ancient history of the land, the program includes multiple day trips and overnight trips to Istanbul, Cappadocia, Cyprus and more. 960 1280

nejdetduzen  

Madagascar

Madagascar

Located off the southeastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, Madagascar is a biodiversity dream come true. About 90 percent of its plant life is found only on this island nation, and Syracuse University’s Madagascar study program immerses its students in one of the most unique and diverse ecosystems in the world. During their semester-long stay, students tackle biodiversity and environmental issues, spend time living with locals, learn the native Malagasy language, explore the Great Barrier Reef of Tuléar and visit national parks. 960 1280

pawopa3336  

Rome

Rome

With civilizational influences and masterpieces too numerous to mention, the nearly 3,000-year-old city of Rome is a must-see for travelers. Students can get a firsthand look at the country of Michelangelo, Virgil and Cicero, as well as explore Eternal City landmarks like the Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain and Sistine Chapel through the University of Dallas’s Rome program. In 1994, the University established its own Eugene Constantin Rome Campus, which students studying art, architecture, history, literature, theology and philosophy use as their home base to explore ancient sites of Rome and other cities, including the Tower of Pisa and the Duomo in Florence. Additional reporting by Katie Tiller. 960 1280

TomasSereda  

See the Iguazu Falls, Argentina

See the Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Gain perspective by seeing awe-inspiring waterfalls on the border of Argentina and Brazil. More than 275 different drops put in perspective how small people are compared to the world’s largest waterfalls system. The Iguazu National Park, seated in the Paranaense Forest, has a train that runs around the park and uses clean combustion so it won’t pollute the surrounding environment. 960 1280

Pawel Gaul  

Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb, Croatia

Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb, Croatia

This crowd-sourced museum with ongoing traveling exhibitions displays small items from past relationships from around the world. Ponder the paper cranes from Taiwan, teddy bears from South Africa and bras from Texas and contribute your own relationship relic for others to see.  960 1280

  

Jane Austen’s Bath, England

Jane Austen’s Bath, England

Live in the world of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy by exploring the spa resort town popular in the 1800s. Visit the baths, take an audio tour and stay where Austen lived while she was there. The Jane Austen Centre and Regency Tea Room has great scones, and the Jane Austen Festival in September features Regency dances, costumes and workshops. 960 1280

colleenbradley  

Juliet’s House, Verona, Italy

Juliet’s House, Verona, Italy

Go back to the beginning with Romeo and Juliet. A 13th century house in Verona bears a coat of arms with the “Dal Cappello” or “Cappelletti” family name. Stand near the balcony where Romeo pledged his love in Shakespeare’s tragedy, touch Juliet’s statue for good luck and leave a love note on the nearby wall. 960 1280

icenando  

Matchmaking Festival, Lisdoonvarna, Ireland

Matchmaking Festival, Lisdoonvarna, Ireland

After a trip to England, take the ferry to Ireland and find one of its smallest towns, where one of the country’s oldest traditional festivals takes place every September. Now more than 150 years old, the matchmaking festival attracts more than 60,000 people around the world for music, dancing and fun every year. 960 1280

RobinsonBecquart  

Hike the Pacific Crest Trail

Hike the Pacific Crest Trail

Many people think of the Appalachian Trail as the grand hiking challenge, but what about prime views along the West Coast? Hikers often take shorter weekend or weeklong trips to traverse mountains, ridges and lakes across Sierra Nevada, Big Bend, Columbia Gorge and the North Cascades throughout California, Oregon and Washington. 960 1280

RobertCrum  

Retreat to Bali, Indonesia

Retreat to Bali, Indonesia

Known for its beaches, coral reefs, forested volcanic mountains and rice paddies, Bali is the spot to find popular resort towns along with temples and iconic yoga retreats. Book several day tours for a mix of experiences or choose one villa to spend an entire week without digital disruptions or reminders of what you left back home. 960 1280

petrenkod  

Singles Cruise, Miami, Florida

Singles Cruise, Miami, Florida

Do you need to let loose on open waters? Pick from a variety of options that depart from Miami every month. Choose a theme, such as alluring vistas or the Valentine’s Day cruise, or look for trips targeted for different age groups to find people like you. 960 1280

Osmany Torres Martín  

Temple Stay, Gwangju, South Korea

Temple Stay, Gwangju, South Korea

A peaceful, meditative retreat may be the key to resetting and connecting with the inner self. Across South Korea, temples open their gates for visitors to experience authentic temple life on its grounds. Attend Buddhist services, tea ceremonies, different meditation practices and conversations with monks. Learn how to make rice cakes, and hike the mountainous terrain around the temples in search of serene Buddha statues. 960 1280

neomistyle  

Learn to Dance, Cook, Hike and More

Learn to Dance, Cook, Hike and More

Choose your own adventure. Sites such as RoadScholar.org, ACIS.com and Explorica.com offer thousands of options that are searchable by interest and location. Learn about the species of the Galapagos Islands, eat along the Mediterranean Sea or explore the best of theater in New York City. 960 1280

elenaleonova  

Spend a Week at a Dude Ranch

Spend a Week at a Dude Ranch

Ride horses, dine under the stars at chuck wagon dinners and learn the basics of horse care during a week-long stay at a dude ranch. It’s a must for any kids’ bucket list. Elk Mountain Ranch in Colorado offers so much for families ranging from daily trail rides and cookouts to fishing trips and a kids’ rodeo at the end of the week. The Hideout in Wyoming boasts trail riding, cattle drives and riding lessons for all levels. Beyond horses, look for photo workshops, dino digs, canoeing and daily rodeos in the summer.  960 1280

Jeff Vanuga  

Set Sail on a Caribbean Cruise

Set Sail on a Caribbean Cruise

Kids love cruises. There’s so much to do on-board and at each port, making a Caribbean cruise a must for any child’s bucket list. Book a sail on the new Carnival Vista, the largest of their ships, which boasts a ropes course, mini golf and several waterslides. Or, try the Disney Wonder, recently updated with AquaDunk, a new water slide, and Marvel Avenger’s Academy, a part of the Oceaneer Club for kids. Disembark at each port for horseback riding, kayaking and fun explorations. 960 1280

jcarillet  

Take a Family Ski Vacation

Take a Family Ski Vacation

There are many amazing ski resorts across the country, making a ski vacation a must for any bucket list. Hit the slopes, but save time for snowcat rides, snowmobiling, fat biking and snow tubing. Colorado is already getting loads of snow and Keystone is a great ski destination for families. Camp Keystone boasts a world-class ski school, a massive snow fort and ice skating. On the East Coast, try Seven Springs in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, which has lots of snow, great skiing, sleigh rides and snowshoe tours. 960 1280

SolStock  

Build Rockets at Space Camp

Build Rockets at Space Camp

What kid doesn’t dream of going to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama? For an out-of-this-world experience, look for three- and four-day family camps where kids can train like astronauts, launch simulated missions and learn all about space exploration. Kids as young as fourth grade can go on their own to a six-day Space Camp where they build model rockets, learn what it’s like to live on board the International Space Station, even train like a real-life astronaut on the 1/6th Gravity Chair and Multi-Axis Trainer. 960 1280

Richard T. Nowitz  

Go Camping in a National Park

Go Camping in a National Park

Every child should go tent camping under the stars at least once. All the better if you can score a campsite inside one of our iconic national parks, like Grand Canyon or Yosemite. Many take online reservations – the most popular sites book up months in advance – though some do have first-come, first-served campgrounds, which can fill up by noon each day. Not ready for camping? Rent an RV from Apollo, which has pick-up locations within an easy drive of many major parks.  960 1280

Ferran Traité Soler  

Go on a Rafting Adventure

Go on a Rafting Adventure

Whether an easy float or a more adventurous rafting ride, there’s something for everyone when you’re looking to get out on the water as a family. Adventures on the Gorge in West Virginia offers rafting adventures for children as young as six. As a bonus, look for treetop canopy tours, ziplines, fishing, hiking and rock climbing. Or, go west for a half-day rafting adventure in Arizona with Colorado River Discovery, which books rafting trips along the Colorado River.  960 1280

apelletr  

Experience the Holidays in New York City

Experience the Holidays in New York City

It’s hard to get more magical and bucket list-worthy than visiting New York City during the winter holidays. Take selfies in front of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, then walk along Fifth Avenue to see the holiday window displays at each of the department stores. Get tickets to the Christmas Spectacular, featuring the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall (kids will be wowed by the living nativity), then warm up on board The Ride, which is far from your typical sightseeing tour of New York City.  960 1280

Rudi Von Briel  

Mush a Team of Dogs on a Dog Sledding Trip

Mush a Team of Dogs on a Dog Sledding Trip

Mush your own team of dogs or ride in the sled at Nature’s Kennel in McMillan, Michigan. Kids as young as 10 can drive their own team of sled dogs as part of a 10- or 20-mile sledding trip into the snowy forest. Even better, book an overnight adventure and kids can help feed and care for the sled dogs. Another idea is Arctic Paws Dog Sled Tours, which runs sled dogs in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  960 1280

Hero Images  

Embrace the Magic of Walt Disney World

Embrace the Magic of Walt Disney World

No bucket list for kids would be complete without a visit to “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Pick up park-hopper passes and take the kids to each of the four parks at Walt Disney World, including Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, as well as Disney Springs, which boasts a variety of new restaurant concepts. Stay on-property to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours so you can arrive early or stay late at a different park each day. 960 1280

Blaine Harrington III  

Catch a Wave at Surf School

Catch a Wave at Surf School

Kids will love learning how to catch the waves and ride them onto the beach at the five-night Endless Surf Camp in San Clemente, CA. There are even day camps available to kids ages 10 and up that are good for both surfing newbies and those who want to up their skills. You'll also find incredible surf schools for kids in beach locales, like Huntington Beach and Hawaii. Or, head to the east coast of Florida for Ron Jon Surf School in Cocoa Beach. Hang ten! 960 1280

ferrantraite  

Big Ben, clock, London, England
Backpack Through Brazil

Backpack Through Brazil

“Throw caution to the wind and live life with reckless abandon by backpacking through Brazil. Traverse the thick Amazon rain forest in Manaus, immerse yourself in the Afro-centric culture of Salvador, go nude sunbathing on Praia Mole in Florianopolis, witness the awe-inspiring beauty of Iguazu Falls, and stand at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain for panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro. Go -- you’ll be glad you did -- and prepare to get a lifetime of great memories.” -- Kwin Mosby, Managing Producer 960 1280

Rick Neves/Moment Open/Getty Images  

Camp in Canadian Backcountry

Camp in Canadian Backcountry

“What better way to kick off your first step into the real world than by getting away from the hustle and bustle that you have come to call normal? There may be no better place to do that than the Canadian wilderness of Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Spread out over nearly 3,000 square miles of pristine backcountry, Algonquin boasts more than 1,900 campsites set along the shores of more than 2,400 lakes, with plenty of different ways to enjoy them. Grab a canoe, a backpack and a few friends, and paddle off into a sunset-drenched backdrop of the open water and woods to jump-start your trip. After a few days of traveling through the natural highway of portages and lakes, you’ll be relaxed, refreshed and ready to take that next step.” -- Matthew Dewhurst, Producer 960 1280

Henry Georgi/All Canada Photos/Getty Images  

Live Out Your Own Euro-Trip

Live Out Your Own Euro-Trip

“First time across the pond -- you don’t say! There’s not a better way to christen a newly minted passport than with a classic Europe trip. London is the perfect place to wet your whistle with a pint between checking off bucket-list attractions such as Big Ben and the Beatles’ Abbey Road. Then, ride the Eurail to your heart’s content. Hip hostels make traveling to stylish cities such as Paris, Barcelona or Prague possible even before you earn your first ‘big kid’ paycheck.” -- Sara Gilliam, Senior Producer 960 1280

Sylvain Sonnet/The Image Bank/Getty Images  

Party Vegas Style

Party Vegas Style

“As 4-plus years of studying comes to a close, celebrate with 1 last hurrah in Las Vegas! Be a high roller for the weekend and spend some graduation money on high-stakes gambling and bottle service. Enjoy the beginning of summer with crazy Vegas pool parties at the Venetian’s Tao Beach and Mandalay Bay’s Daylight.” -- Michelle Tran, Ad Sales Producer 960 1280

Sylvain Sonnet/Photolibrary/Getty Images  

Cuddle a Koala on Magnetic Island

Cuddle a Koala on Magnetic Island

“Australia is a place on most people’s bucket lists, and it’s a fantastic destination to let go and have some fun after years of studying and exams. Make your way to Magnetic Island in the lower part of the Great Barrier Reef. Go snorkeling to see the colorful fish and coral, and take a free hike along the Forts Walk to catch the sunset while perched atop the historic World War II fortifications. Be sure to keep your eyes on the eucalyptus trees to spot koalas. If you don’t see any, go cuddle one at the Bungalow Bay Koala Village, which is also a backpackers’ hostel.” -- Arthur Hsu, Video Project Manager 960 1280

Townsville Enterprise Ltd/Tourism Australia  

Island-Hop in Greece

Island-Hop in Greece

“Enjoy beautiful beaches, island-hopping and a warm but cooler 77 degrees during the month of June -- the perfect time to go, just before the rush of summer tourists. Charter a catamaran through Blue Lagoon Cruises, whose boats come equipped with swimming platforms, bars, trampolines and much more! Enjoy hidden bays and hot springs on and around the islands of Santorini and Mykonos.” -- Rani Robinson, Digital Director 960 1280

Mbbirdy/E+/Getty Images   

Cruise the Caribbean

Cruise the Caribbean

“Grab a few friends and book a cruise to the Caribbean. Even just a 3- or 4-night sailing is the perfect way to kick back, party till the wee hours, and see a few new places — all in 1 vacation. Not to mention it’s budget-friendly, with most meals and entertainment included. Try a 4-night Western Caribbean itinerary on Carnival, leaving from Miami and sailing to Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. Or, if you have the time and money, spring for a 7-night Southern Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean, leaving from San Juan with stops in places such as Aruba, Barbados, St. Thomas, Antigua and St. Lucia.” -- Hannah Prince, Copy Editor 960 1280

Royal Caribbean International  

Chill Out in Newport Beach, CA

Chill Out in Newport Beach, CA

“If you’re searching for a great domestic post-graduation destination that blends both relaxation and excitement, then Newport Beach, CA, is the place for you. Post up on the expansive plots of sand with a good book or your headphones and relax in the sun, enjoying some of the country’s best weather. Looking for a thrill? Newport Beach also offers a wide variety of adventure and fun, from Jet Skiing and cruising the waves on a surf or boogie board to setting up your teammate for the perfect spike on one of the many public volleyball courts. And if you start to feel parched after a long day in the sun, stop by Sharkeez -- a Newport staple --for a cold cocktail.” -- Ben Breslerman, Producer 960 1280

iStockphoto.com/Jessica Nugent  

Celebrate in the City That Never Sleeps

Celebrate in the City That Never Sleeps

“Not everyone can afford a trip around the world to celebrate graduating, but you can take a budget shortcut and visit NYC instead! While it's still not the cheapest city in America, in 1 weekend, you can take the N/R train down to Chinatown for tasty soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai, walk up to Little Italy for some authentic Chianti from Parm, and then hop the A/C to Koreatown for homemade Miss Korea kimchi and barbecue. Not to mention the dozens of first-class museums, such as the Met and the Frick, that are also just a subway ride away. You'll leave having experienced the best of more than a dozen cultures without ever needing your passport!” -- Liz Fraser, Photo Editor 960 1280

iStockphoto.com/TriggerPhoto  

yachts, boats, Harbor, Havr Town, Croatia
Backpack in Southeast Asia

Backpack in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is ripe for backpackers, as it’s light on packing and the wallet. We’ve lost count of the number of transformative travel tales we’ve heard after someone experiences food stalls in Vietnam, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and a Full Moon Party on Thailand’s Koh Phangan. (Word to the wise: Skip the fiery jump rope unless you’re unfazed by singed hair.) 960 1280

Pixza/Moment Open/Getty Images  

Camp in the Middle of Nowhere (i.e., Glacier National Park)

Camp in the Middle of Nowhere (i.e., Glacier National Park)

There’s an old saying that being outdoors is good for the soul (or something like that), but you will feel more alive gazing at the reflection of Glacier’s namesake snowcapped mountains in a serene alpine lake. There are 1,000 campsites to choose from, but with a little planning (and a permit), you can head into the backcountry to truly feel at one with nature. 960 1280

NPS Photo/Amanda McCutcheon  

Go Volcano-Boarding in Nicaragua

Go Volcano-Boarding in Nicaragua

Your 20s are the time to try new things, and we’re pretty sure you’ve never sledded down the (active!) Cerro Negro (“Black Hill”) volcano at 30 mph — are we right? What’s more, Nicaragua’s charming colonial towns, Caribbean islands, emerging food scene and new eco-friendly resorts beckon from just a short flight directly south. 960 1280

Christian Heeb/AWL Images/Getty Images  

Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Beads, booze and Bourbon Street — there’s nothing like Mardi Gras in the Big Easy. Just make sure to balance out your French Quarter imbibing with some late-night beignets from Café du Monde, all sorts of po’boys, and jazz on Frenchmen Street. 960 1280

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images  

Take the Coming-of-Age Europe Trip

Take the Coming-of-Age Europe Trip

London, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam — the possibilities are endless with a Eurail pass or cheap Ryanair flights. The Euro trip is a rite of passage for coeds studying abroad. Stay in hip hostels to save cash and meet cool people, and don’t be afraid to spin off for a solo trip to Vienna. Just don’t have any star-crossed-lover Before Sunrise expectations. 960 1280

Stefano Oppo/Photolibrary/Getty Images  

Experience Tomorrowland in Belgium

Experience Tomorrowland in Belgium

A music festival is a must in your 20s. While Coachella has some cachet, Belgium’s 3-day festival is on the next level. Because it draws the world’s top DJs and thousands of people, it’s safe to say you’ll make friends from all over the world — especially if you’re camping. Stay for a few days afterward to explore Belgium by train. The plethora of frites, chocolate and, yes, more beer will aid in your recovery. 960 1280

Jonas Roosens/AFP/Getty Images  

Free Fall in Queenstown, New Zealand

Free Fall in Queenstown, New Zealand

You have 2 choices: Will you skydive out of plane or bungee jump off a bridge? Whichever you pick, nothing compares to the natural beauty and adrenaline rush that New Zealand’s “adventure capital" provides. Afterward, come back to Earth by relaxing at a fantastic vineyard or partaking in Queenstown’s bustling nightlife.  960 1280

AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand  

Sail Around the Coast of Croatia

Sail Around the Coast of Croatia

Sail. Party. Repeat. That pretty much sums up the Yacht Week — which has routes all over the world, Croatia being among the favorites — but we think the breathtaking scenery, motorbike adventures, spontaneous cliff jumping and potential to find far-flung travel buddies also have something to do with its growing popularity. 960 1280

Edupereiralima/iStock/Getty Images  

Sign Up for Surf Camp in Costa Rica

Sign Up for Surf Camp in Costa Rica

Anyone who’s taking their first surf lesson has only 2 objectives: to stand up on the board and to make it all the way in to the shore. Odds for both are significantly better if you attend a 5- or 7-day surf camp. In addition to daily instruction, many camps, such as Anamaya, offer organic meals and oceanfront yoga classes. Tack on a trip into the rain forest for white-water rafting, zip-lining or a volcanic thermal spa treatment, and you’ll return exhilarated and refreshed. 960 1280

Ian McDonnell/Vetta/Getty Images  

Raise a Stein at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

Raise a Stein at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

There’s no time like the present to Proust! Plant yourself at a long table under one of the brightly painted beer tents for a Hofbrau and a pretzel the size of your head. The mayor taps the first keg, kicking off the week’s festivities, but later sightings of lederhosen and “das boot” will likely be relegated to tourists (by that point, you won’t care). 960 1280

Eurasia Press/Photononstop/Getty Images  

Watch a Caribbean Sunset With Someone Special

Watch a Caribbean Sunset With Someone Special

There’s nothing that makes you feel more like a grown-up than that first romantic getaway. The perfect spot for your long walks on the beach? Vieques, a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico. Check in to El Blok, a hip, new design hotel, and live out your Little Mermaid fantasies in a kayak for 2 on the Bioluminescent Bay. 960 1280

Oliver Gerhard/Getty Images  

Trek Through the Himalayas

Trek Through the Himalayas

Millennials have a penchant for craving authentic experiences. What better way to immerse yourself in the friendly Nepalese culture than to stay on an organic coffee farm? Organizations such as WWOOF connect travelers with local farmers, whom they help out in exchange for food and accommodations. In your downtime, you can play with goats, hike and rest up for the trek of your life! (Experienced Sherpa required.) 960 1280

Feng Wei Photography/Moment/Getty Images  

Kruger National Park, safari, cheetah, South Africa
Go on Safari in Africa

Go on Safari in Africa

Escape the confines of the office in search of the big 5 (lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards and rhinos, oh my!) in South Africa’s majestic Kruger National Park. And we don’t suggest roughing it; put some of that hard-earned cash toward luxurious digs at the Lion Sands Game Reserve. Think grown-up tree houses with a view. 960 1280

Mayall/Ullstein Bild/Getty Images  

Watch the Sun Set on Santorini, Greece

Watch the Sun Set on Santorini, Greece

You don’t need a romantic occasion to visit the Greek islands, but Santorini’s legendary sunsets are the stuff honeymoon (or anniversary) dreams are made of. Plan ahead to arrange a table at La Maison, a cliffside restaurant in the tiny village of Imerovigli, where you can soak in the watercolor sky reflecting off Oia’s gleaming white buildings over sips of local wine. 960 1280

Alexandros Photos/Moment/Getty Images  

Spend a Weekend in California Wine Country

Spend a Weekend in California Wine Country

How does a weekend of wine tastings, farm-fresh dinners, scenic sunsets and more wine sound? Relaxing, we hope. Spring for a romantic hot-air balloon ride or join friends on a guided bike tour through Napa Valley, whichever’s more your speed. But all first-timers should plan to visit one of chef Thomas Keller’s iconic French establishments, the refined French Laundry or nearby sister bistro Bouchon.  960 1280

Visit California/Carol Highsmith  

Glamp in Moab, Utah

Glamp in Moab, Utah

Becoming one with nature doesn’t mean you have to sleep in nature, per se. Moab Under Canvas offers luxe safari tents, complete with king-size beds and wood-burning stoves, located just minutes from the entrances to Arches and Canyonlands national parks. Where else could you wake up in the middle of the desert with a red-rock wonderland in the background and a rug beneath your feet? 960 1280

Trent Bona  

Get Weird in Austin

Get Weird in Austin

This Texas hub has a DNA all its own -- namely delicious food trucks, a killer music scene and a laid-back atmosphere. While it’s worth visiting on any old weekend to kayak on Lady Bird Lake and try the world’s best barbecue, the city really comes alive during festivals such as Austin City Limits and South by Southwest -- you might even be able to persuade your workplace to foot the bill for the latter. 960 1280

Live Love Paddle  

Take a Dip in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

Take a Dip in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

Why should Iceland be on your travel bucket list? Let us count the ways: the northern lights, its majestic fjords and geysers, and Reykjavik’s food scene, for starters. As if you still need convincing, the most breathtaking sight of all may be seeing the steam rise from the legendary Blue Lagoon, a naturally heated, 100-degree fountain of youth, thanks to its mineral-rich turquoise waters.  960 1280

Emilie Chaix/Photononstop/Getty Images  

Walk Along the Great Wall of China

Walk Along the Great Wall of China

We suggest accessing this mind-boggling, centuries-old structure — the longest ever built by man — at Mutianyu. While it’s not the closest stretch of the Great Wall to Beijing, it’s far less touristy and boasts a cable car that will give you a lift to the top, where you can marvel at the sheer ingenuity of the Chinese empire. Between Towers 5 and 6, you’ll find an unexpectedly speedy (and fun!) toboggan ride back to the entrance. 960 1280

  

Stay in an Overwater Hut in Bora Bora

Stay in an Overwater Hut in Bora Bora

Honeymoon? Babymoon? Birthday celebration? If you’ve always dreamed of sleeping in an overwater hut, you shouldn’t need much coaxing to add this French Polynesian paradise to your bucket list. We suggest springing for a bungalow at the Four Seasons and a sunset dinner at Bloody Mary’s, both popular celeb haunts with unbeatable views. 960 1280

  

Live Out ‘Indiana Jones’ Fantasies in Petra, Jordan

Live Out ‘Indiana Jones’ Fantasies in Petra, Jordan

Sometimes all you need to feel 30 years young is to marvel at an ancient wonder. Enter this “rose-red city half as old as time,” as it was described by poet John Burgon. Journey into another world on a candlelit tour of Petra with Black Tomato. Silenced crowds and cell phones give way to haunting stories told by local guides over soft Bedouin music and tea served among the sandstone. 960 1280

Outcast85/iStock/Getty Images  

Gaze at the Stars on Hawaii’s Big Island

Gaze at the Stars on Hawaii’s Big Island

You don’t have to be an astronomy buff to appreciate the ethereal night sky from atop Mauna Kea. The going is slow and windy on your way to the summit -- best aided by a 4x4 and extra layers to stay warm -- but it’s a climb worth making in time for a spectacular sunset picnic. Head back down the hill to the visitors center, where volunteers are on hand to help you spot the Milky Way, the North Star and more with free telescopes. 960 1280

Grawllf/iStock/Getty Iamges  

The Maldives

The Maldives

Before you plan to have kids, consider taking one (or more!) of these bucket list trips. Some are too physically challenging to undertake with children, others too expensive, too far away or simply more fun without worrying about attending to children’s interests.

And in the case of the Maldives, pictured here, if you wait until your hypothetical offspring are all grown, you may just miss your chance. The nation of 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean is drowning under rising sea levels.
960 1280

DOELAN Yann  

Milford Track, New Zealand

Milford Track, New Zealand

This 53-kilometer walk traverses lakes, fjords, and peaks via rope bridges, boardwalks and alpine passes. The breathtaking scenery includes skyscraping mountains, deep river valleys and New Zealand’s tallest waterfall. Add on a side trip to Sydney or the Great Barrier Reef while you’re there – you probably won’t be eager to take the 24-hour flight from the U.S. again after you’ve had kids. 960 1280

DEA / C. DANI I. JESKE  

Disney World

Disney World

At the opposite end of the travel spectrum are family-friendly destinations that are actually way better without kids. Orlando, Florida’s Walt Disney World is one of those trips. Enjoy the park without strollers and backpacks, hit all the rides (even those with height requirements), and sample cocktails from around the world at Epcot. 960 1280

Kevin Fleming  

Italy's Amalfi Coast

Italy's Amalfi Coast

A beautiful, pricey destination with not much for kids to do except take in the scenery, the 50 miles of steep cliffs rising out of southern Italy’s Mediterranean coastline offers cultural sophistication and romantic, picturesque scenery. 960 1280

Lina Harb / EyeEm  

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Erosion caused by extreme weather conditions combined with damage from tourism also threatens Machu Picchu. Located 8,000 feet above sea level in a remote area of Peru’s Andes Mountains, the “Lost City of the Incas” is considered one of the greatest ancient ruins in the world. Difficult to get to, expensive, and endangered, Machu Picchu is more appropriate for an adults-only trip than for one with kids in tow. 960 1280

Spaces Images/Blend Images  

New Orleans

New Orleans

Another area under threat from climate change, New Orleans, with its historic districts, unique culture, and lively nightlife, is the city where you can indulge your inner adult. So make music and make merry in the Big Easy – sans kids. 960 1280

Bruce Yuanyue Bi  

Road Trip Across America

Road Trip Across America

A cross-country road trip is the dream of many young Americans (and non-Americans, too). Now’s the time to head out on Route 66 with your spirit of adventure – before any backseat whines of “Are we there yet?” can spoil your drive. 960 1280

Ted Soqui  

Israel

Israel

For a combination of history, culture and natural beauty, is there any trip more enticing than Israel? Given the longstanding unrest in the region, many parents prefer not to take kids. Plus, many locales in Israel, like Safed in the northern mountains, with its thriving artists’ community and deep spiritual traditions are best suited to your undivided adult attention. 960 1280

Evan Lang  

Cambodia

Cambodia

Like Israel, Cambodia has a rich spiritual tradition and deeply painful recent history. The many reminders of this history – from land mines to the Killing Fields are probably too disturbing for children, but intrepid adults who make their way across the Southeast Asian country from Phnom Penh to Angkor Wat via bus, boat or on the back of a local’s moped, will be rewarded with gorgeous scenery, ancient temples and friendly people. 960 1280

John S Lander  

Antarctic Expedition

Antarctic Expedition

Looking for a trip that’s even pricier, further away and less kid-friendly? Why not travel to the literal end of the earth? A number of cruise ships offer excursions, often via Zodiac, to the Antarctic Peninsula, where you can hike a glacier, take a polar plunge, kayak icy waters and observe native wildlife like penguins! 960 1280

Paul Souders  

Morocco Beyond Marrakech

Morocco Beyond Marrakech

Visiting Morocco will change your view of the world, however many travelers consider the North African country too challenging, physically and logistically to manage with kids. Hire a guide and be sure to tour the sites outside of Marrakech. Berber villages and Fez, a city that still has a 12th-century feel, are must-sees. 960 1280

ugurhan  

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Called one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal is an ivory marble mausoleum constructed during the Mughal empire in the 17th century. The grounds feature impressive soaring minarets, a mosque, and gardens known for their symmetry. Pause by the reflecting pool and think about the grounds designed as the earthly replica of paradise. 960 1280

adamkaz  

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

This Incan capital has drawn increasing numbers of tourists in recent years. Set in the Andes Mountains, the 15th century structure is known for its stone walls and buildings set in astronomical alignment. Also named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its original use is still a mystery. 960 1280

Siempreverde22  

Northern Lights

Northern Lights

The mysterious phenomenon of aurora borealis occurs when gas particles in the Earth’s atmosphere collide with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. From September to April, visitors can find trips in Alaska, Canada and Scandinavian countries such as Iceland, Sweden and Finland to see the lights. 960 1280

powerofforever  

Route 66

Route 66

A road trip along one of the country’s original highways should make any bucket list. Known as the Main Street of America and constructed in 1926, the route runs more than 2,400 miles long through eight states. Travel the same path as those who migrated west during the 1930s Dust Bowl, and stop at the small towns along the way from Chicago to Los Angeles. 960 1280

ventdusud  

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

The world’s largest coral reef system boasts more than 900 islands and 2,900 reefs across 1,400 miles. Sail, seaplane, snorkel and dive to see the colorful coral, fish, stingrays and tortoises that make the reefs their home. With so many activities available, there’s an option for every family member. 960 1280

chameleonseye  

Havana, Cuba

Havana, Cuba

Now that tourism is opening up in a former embargoed nation, it’s time to see the pastel houses, 1950s-era cars and Spanish-colonial architecture before it changes. Dance to salsa music and attend cabaret shows in the country’s capital. Since regulations are still adapting, find a tour to join to meet visa requirements and stay safe in a group. 960 1280

Nikada  

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon, Arizona

More than 1,900 square miles, Grand Canyon National Park showcases the layered red rock that gleams each day during sunrise and sunset. The South Rim is open all year to visitors who want to see the canyon, which stretches 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and one mile deep. Camp, hike and take a river trip to see all of the angles. 960 1280

Meinzahn  

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

The country’s capital is becoming more accessible to tourists around the globe as officials push for better air travel, accommodations and activities for visitors. Originally a nomadic land home to Genghis Khan and Buddhists, the modern city features Soviet-era buildings and surviving monasteries. Stay in a yurt, learn about shaman ceremonies, and talk to hawk experts on the steppes. 960 1280

MachineHeadz  

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

One of the largest manmade construction projects in the world, the wall runs along the historic northern borders of China. Created with stone, brick, wood and soil, the wall once measured more than 5,500 miles long. Imagine how many people it took during several dynasties to complete construction. 960 1280

kokkai  

Temples of Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Temples of Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Outstanding ruins remain from the Khmer Empire, which existed from the 9th to 15th centuries. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the famed temples showcase advanced architecture, art and society that was present in the megacity so long ago. The most well-known temple, Angkor Wat, is the largest religious monument in the world. 960 1280

joakimbkk  

Take a Road Trip Through Belgium

Take a Road Trip Through Belgium

“Rent a car and don’t miss the vibrant university towns of Ghent and Mons,” say Kristin Henning and Tom Bartel of Travel Past 50. Along the way, stop in Bruges, which was made even more popular by the 2008 film In Bruges. It’s a picturesque city of scenic canals and bridges, art, relics, classic bell towers and historic civic squares. Another must-see is the gorgeous city square in Brussels, where you are never far from a fresh beer, chocolate and fantastic seafood and fries. “There is a whole world of history in Belgium,” Tom says. “Visit Bastogne’s Peace Forest memorial (think Band of Brothers) and the War Museum, newly updated for D-Day’s 70 year anniversary.”  960 1280

Gonzalo Azumendi/ The Image Bank/ Getty Images  

Explore Utah’s Surreal Parks

Explore Utah’s Surreal Parks

In southern Utah, five parks are close enough to string together: Bryce Canyon, Zion, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Arches (home of the much photographed Delicate Arch). Spend a couple days in each. Bryce is home to surreal sandstone spires and some peaceful picnic and camping areas. “Zion hosts a spectacular hike up the Virgin River canyon,” says Kristin Henning and Tom Bartel. “Use walking sticks and prepare to get wet to your thighs. Reaching the Delicate Arch can be a long hot trek, but it’s rewarding.” 960 1280

Aaron Meyers/ Moment/ Getty Images  

Go Off the Beaten Path in Italy

Go Off the Beaten Path in Italy

After you’ve seen Italy’s big 3 — Venice, Rome and Florence — go off the beaten path in Northern Italy. The “Cinque Terre is magical: beautiful scenery, good accommodations, easy access and several travel options between the villages that make it suitable for all fitness levels,” say Alison Armstrong and Don Read of Adventures in Wonderland. The 5 tiny, colorful villages clinging to Liguria’s rugged coastline are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and very few cars are allowed, but you can easily get around by ferry, foot or train.  960 1280

Amoklv/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Adventures at Sea in Beaufort, SC

Adventures at Sea in Beaufort, SC

Find solace in a Deep South filled with towering oak trees strung with Spanish moss, genteel mansions, and tranquil waterways in the picturesque town of Beaufort, SC, known as the "Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands." “The area's 64 islands are perfect for exploring by boat or kayak, and the area's plentiful population of birds and sea life make it a top destination for aviary enthusiasts and anglers,” says Valerie Conners of Retire There. “Travelers will encounter horse-drawn carriages winding through the downtown historic district and more than 300 acres designated a National Historic Landmark.” 960 1280

Snikeltrut/ Getty Images  

Roadtripping in Western National Parks

Roadtripping in Western National Parks

Two weeks of rugged scenery, abundant wildlife watching and adventure for all ability levels make this Western national parks road trip unforgettable. “Begin by exploring the hiking trails, glaciers and lakes of Glacier National Park,” says Donna Hull of My Itchy Travel Feet. “Of course driving the engineering marvel, Going-to-the-Sun Road, is a must do.” Next, visit America’s version of the Serengeti where bison, wolves and elk roam vast Yellowstone National Park and don’t miss the geyser watching at Upper Geyser Basin where Old Faithful puts on a show. “A float down the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park completes this western road trip,” Donna adds. 960 1280

Wyoming Office of Tourism  

Discover Why Paris Is Always a Good Idea

Discover Why Paris Is Always a Good Idea

“Paris may seem like a surprising haven for retirees, but its manageable size, level terrain and superb transportation system make it a remarkably senior-friendly destination,” Lynne Martin of Home Free Adventures says. “Add fabulous food, art, history and undeniable beauty, and you’ll discover why it’s become (my) favorite European destination.” 960 1280

Iakov Kalinin/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Make Memories on a Un-Cruise in Alaska

Make Memories on a Un-Cruise in Alaska

“Swap ports for the quiet bays of Alaska’s Inside Passage with an expedition cruise that’s about doing rather than seeing,” says Donna Hull. “You’ll bond [with loved ones] while kayaking in Thomas Bay, riding a jet boat up the Stikine River or floating with icebergs in LeConte Bay.” 960 1280

State of Alaska/ Brian Adams  

Find Out Why People Fall in Love With San Miguel de Allende

Find Out Why People Fall in Love With San Miguel de Allende

An easy flight from most parts of the country, this UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Mexico has become a frequent stop for retirees. “It is not uncommon for tourists to visit and then purchase property within 3 days of arriving in San Miguel,” Alison Armstrong and Don Read say. Chalk it up to the welcoming people, mild climate, rich cultural opportunities, beautiful colonial architecture, safe environment and world-class shopping. They add, “We often wondered if we were in Mexico or Europe, until we saw some fabulous giant puppets at a Mexican wedding celebration.”  960 1280

JD Estevao/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Aspen, Any Time of the Year

Aspen, Any Time of the Year

Part of the appeal of an Aspen retreat in the Rockies is that while it’s located smack in the middle of Colorado, it’s slightly off the beaten path. “The attraction in winter is, of course, the skiing and winter sports–both at Aspen Mountain and nearby Snowmass, says Kristen Henning. “But the rest of the year, especially autumn, is equally stunning.” Maroon Bells Wilderness area, home to bear, moose, beaver and brilliant Aspen trees, offers hiking for all levels as well as bike trails that wind along rivers, connecting parks, neighborhoods and towns.  960 1280

Barrett Friel  

Premiere Golfing in Naples, FL

Premiere Golfing in Naples, FL

Well-heeled Naples has long been a popular haven for retirees and families and with good reason. “The small town along Florida's postcard-perfect Gulf Coast lets retirees enjoy a charming downtown filled with upscale shopping and dining, as well as cultural attractions,” says Valerie Conners. Still, this self-proclaimed, “Golf Capital of the World" draws scores of experienced and novice golf fans to play on the region's 70-plus greens, many designed by golf icons like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. 960 1280

Jeremy Sterk/ Getty Images  

Video: Face Your Fears

Face your biggest fears in these four adrenaline-pumping locations.

Adventures to Take Your Breath Away

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

The world’s tallest building at 2,717 feet and with 163 stories, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa has observation decks and lounges that are also the highest in the world. Fridays and Saturdays the observation decks open at 5:30 a.m. for sunrise viewing. 960 1280

? Naufal MQ  

Denali, Alaska

Denali, Alaska

Not everyone may be up for summiting 20,210-foot Denali, North America's highest peak in Denali National Park and Preserve. But K2 Aviation in Talkeetna takes visitors on flights around the massive mountain and, weather permitting, will land on a glacier on the side of the mountain for hikes and views usually only seen by serious mountaineers. 960 1280

STEVELARESE  

CN Tower, Toronto

CN Tower, Toronto

Vistors to the 1,815-foot-tall CN Tower can take in the views of Toronto and Lake Ontario as they enjoy dinner at 360 Restaurant, or from one of two observation decks. For the adventurous, put on a harness and walk around the edge of the CN Tower during an EdgeWalk excursion. It is the ninth tallest free-standing structure in the world. 960 1280

Redfox_Ca  

Teotihuacan, Mexico

Teotihuacan, Mexico

The mysterious Teotihuacan culture predates the Aztecs by 1,000 years and is known for its Temple of the Moon and Temple of the Sun, which is 234 feet tall and one of the largest pyramids in Mesoamerica. Visitors may climb the pyramids, located 30 miles outside of Mexico City. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

With its open spaces, good weather and favorable wind currents Albuquerque, New Mexico, claims the title of Ballooning Capital of the World. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place the first full week of October, when more than 550 balloons from 19 countries take flight during mass ascensions, making it the largest annual ballooning event in the world. Balloon rides are available year-round in Albuquerque.  960 1280

STEVELARESE  

London Eye, London

London Eye, London

The Coca Cola London Eye is a 443-foot-tall Ferris wheel with observation pods, and is the second tallest vantage point open to the public in London next to the Shard, which stands at 1,016 feet with an observation deck at 802 feet. The London Eye was the world's tallest Ferris wheel when in opened in 1999, but the current record is held by the High Roller, in Las Vegas, Nevada, at 550 feet. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

Listed among the New Seven Wonders of the World, Brazil's iconic art deco Christ the Redeemer statue was completed in 1931 and is 124 feet tall, including its pedestal. It sits atop 7,300-foot Corcovado Mountain within Tijuca National Park. A steep hike leads to the statue's base with a payoff of views of the vast city and Atlantic Ocean. Vans are also available. Although the statue is hollow with a staircase, the general public is not permitted to climb the statue. 960 1280

Moskow  

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Africa's highest point at 19,341 feet and called the Roof of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro within Tanzania's Kilimanjaro National Park may be climbed with a permit and a guide. It is snow capped with glaciers and contains four climate zones. A dormant volcano, Mount Kilimanjaro is the world's tallest free-standing mountain. 960 1280

Gallo Images - Daryl Balfour  

Mount Fuji, Japan

Mount Fuji, Japan

Mount Fuji is 12,388 feet high and doesn't require special mountaineering skills to summit. The active volcano is 60 miles southwest of Tokyo, and last erupted in 1707. It is Japan's highest peak.  960 1280

I love Photo and Apple.  

Empire State Building, New York City

Empire State Building, New York City

Reaching a height of 1,454 feet with observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors, the Empire State Building is known worldwide and completes any trip to the Big Apple. Tickets must be purchased to visit the observation deck that afford unparalleled views of the city. The Statue of Liberty is 306-feet-tall, and reservations must also be made to visit the observation floor that looks out from within the crown. 960 1280

Stuart Monk / iStock / Getty Images Plus  

Hike in Torres del Paine, Chilean Patagonia

Hike in Torres del Paine, Chilean Patagonia

The southernmost tip of the world is an unmatched combination of jagged mountain peaks, fractured blue glaciers, unbeatable hiking trails and lakes that go on for miles. It’s hard to take your eyes off the Torres, or towers, that command the landscape here. The Base of the Towers (Torres) hike, arguably the most famous hike in the park, totals 7-8 hours of trekking over 18 kms through mountains, forests and boulders. Motivation and stamina required! 960 1280

Lesley Murphy  

Plunge From the World's Highest Bungee Jump in Macau, China

Plunge From the World's Highest Bungee Jump in Macau, China

Why live on the edge when you can jump off? The World’s Highest Bungee Jump comes in at 764 feet, and the AJ Hackett Macau Tower sees over 100 jumpers per day. Many visitors to Hong Kong make the hour-long ferry ride over to the Macau free fall (with passports in order to gain entry). Word to the worried: AJ Hackett has never seen an accident. They even offer night jumps – do you dare? 960 1280

Lesley Murphy  

Ultralight Flight Over Costa Rica

Ultralight Flight Over Costa Rica

If you’re looking for a bird’s-eye view of Costa Rica, grab a camera and hop in an ultralight at Hacienda AltaGracia Resort in the southern region of the country. Powered by an engine, these two-seater aircrafts are not enclosed, allowing visitors to touch the clouds, smell the fresh air and take in the scenery. Welcome to sensory overload at its finest. 960 1280

Lesley Murphy  

Bike the World's Most Dangerous Road in La Paz, Bolivia

Bike the World's Most Dangerous Road in La Paz, Bolivia

An hour outside of La Paz, Bolivia, exists a road so treacherous that it’s aptly named The World’s Most Dangerous Road…and thousands of people pay to bike it yearly. Tour company Gravity takes daredevils to La Cumbre (4,760 meters) where they start downhill on bikes equipped with double suspension and hydraulic disk brakes. About 300 people die each year while riding this road. Don’t make it 301! 960 1280

Lesley Murphy  

Scuba Dive the Great Barrier Reef

Scuba Dive the Great Barrier Reef

If you’re up for going down under, the creatures of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of northern Australia are friendly, colorful and out in full force. Cruise Whitsundays takes eager divers on an all-day adventure to experience corals, colorful fish and marine life. 960 1280

Lesley Murphy  

Walk the Great Wall of China Solo

Walk the Great Wall of China Solo

If you’ve ever thought about a trip around the world by yourself, few attractions are as unique as experiencing the Great Wall alone. To accomplish this, Visitors traveling solo should arrive early around 9 a.m. to beat the crowds. Before departing Beijing for the 1 ½ hour drive, bring lunch and plenty of water, especially if you visit in the heat of summer. The landmark and defensive fortification dates back to over 2,000 years and captivates all walks of life as they meander for miles 960 1280

Lesley Murphy  

Get Your Heart Racing in the Most Stunning Place on Earth, Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Get Your Heart Racing in the Most Stunning Place on Earth, Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Describing the world’s largest salt flat in one word is easy: heavenly. Covering 4,086 square miles and with an altitude of 11,995 feet, Salar de Uyuni attracts worldly visitors who dare to make the rugged trek for the reward of the beautiful mirrored images. During rainy season (January - April), a few inches of water lie on the ground, creating unreal reflection photos. If you’re looking for a good tour group, check out Red Planet’s 3-day and 2-night tour. 960 1280

Lesley Murphy  

Sandboard in the Driest Place on Earth, the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile

Sandboard in the Driest Place on Earth, the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile

The sandboarding mecca of San Pedro de Atacama entices its visitors to climb up massive sand dunes, strap their feet into a sand board, stand up, lean back and fly forward. Sounds easy enough, right? Not entirely. It's as if snowboarding and surfing had a baby, but without snow or salt water in sight. Unlike snowboarding, there's no such thing as a sand-lift. The workout lies in climbing up the sand dune! 960 1280

Lesley Murphy  

Stay in the Skylodge Adventure Suites in Peru

Stay in the Skylodge Adventure Suites in Peru

Welcome to the only Million Star hotel in the world where viewpoints take center stage above the Sacred Valley in Peru. Tourism company Natura Vive has bolted three pods into the side of a cliff offering guests a night they’ll never forget. After a 1,200-foot climb and a $300-a-night bill, you too can call this place home for an evening. What’s included? All equipment, lodging, dinner, breakfast the next morning and a way down. 960 1280

Lesley Murphy  

Swing at the End of the World in Baños, Ecuador

Swing at the End of the World in Baños, Ecuador

Allow your inner 7-year-old to come out and check out the Swing at the End of the World, also known as ‘La Casa del Arbol’ in Spanish. As brave participants swing over the cliff below at their own discretion, onlookers observe Mt. Tungurahua, the nearby active volcano. Being an adventurers' playground, Baños incorporates many outdoor activities such as waterfall hikes, zip lining, bungee jumping, white water rafting, paragliding and biking. 960 1280

Lesley Murphy  

Nankoweap Trail, Grand Canyon National Park

Nankoweap Trail, Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park's most difficult named trail is Nankoweap Trail that begins from the North Rim and travels 14 miles to the Colorado River, including an 11-mile stretch without a water source. The payoff is a view of the Colorado River usually only seen by rafters, and the Nankoweap Graineries–cliff structures used by Native Americans centuries ago to store food supplies. 960 1280

tonda  

Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii

Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai’s Kalalau Trail is an 11-mile trail that crosses five valleys through the rainforest of the Garden Island to the Na Pali Coast, which is only accessible via hiking. The trail, which begins at Ke’e Beach, is as rugged as the distinct cliffs, but the beauty of the hike and the payoff of camping on Kalalau Beach has made this trail a bucket list trip for hikers worldwide. Permits are required for the trail. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Rafting the Gauley, West Virginia

Rafting the Gauley, West Virginia

Every September during “Gauley Season” the Gauley River National Recreation Area rages with white-water released from West Virginia’s Summersville Dam, creating some of the best Class V rafting in the world. Adventures on the Gorge takes thrill-seekers on multi-day rafting and camping trips covering 26 miles of stomach-dropping rapids and beautiful West Virginia scenery. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Mount Everest Base Camp, Nepal

Mount Everest Base Camp, Nepal

You don't have to summit Mount Everest to experience the challenges, beauty and culture surrounding the world's highest peak. This 70-mile round-trip trek from Lukla to the South Everest Base Camp at 17,598 feet is doable without a guide currently, though guides typically charge less than US $20 a day and contribute to the cultural experience of the adventure. Intrepid Travel offers a 15-day supported cultural tour and hike to the base camp and works with local Nepalese and international charities to help Nepal rebuild after the 2015 earthquake. 960 1280

  

Winter in Yellowstone National Park

Winter in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park in winter is a snow shoeing or cross-country skiing paradise for the few who venture into the park. Wildlife is plentiful, and the Yellowstone Association Institute conduct field classses that track wolves and other wildlife. Old Faithful Snow Lodge is open, and guests arrive by tracked snowcoaches. 960 1280

greenwoodfoto  

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park's towering sandstone cliffs, slot canyons, waterfalls and hidden green oases make it a hiker's fantasy. During the winter private vehicles are allowed on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, which is only open to park buses during the summer. There are several marked trails, and backpacking requires a permit which you should apply for three months prior to your visit.    960 1280

AndrewSoundarajan  

Tour du Mont Blanc–France, Switzerland and Italy

Tour du Mont Blanc–France, Switzerland and Italy

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 105-mile, week-long trek that travels through France, Italy and Switzerland as it circles Mont Blanc through the Alps. The trail begins in the ski town of Les Houches, France, and is marked with yellow "TMB" signs. Dorm-style huts are situated 10 miles apart along the trail and are available with prior reservations, or hikers can trail camp or stay in the many small villages the trail passes through. 960 1280

Genyphyr Novak  

Biking Through Myanmar

Biking Through Myanmar

Cycling is the best way to explore Myanmar's interior with its colorful Buddhist stupas and lush, rolling countryside. Myanmar is a safe country to tour alone or with organized tours that handle logistics, such as Intrepid Travel's Cycle Myanmar. 960 1280

worklater1  

Milford Track, New Zealand

Milford Track, New Zealand

Called "the finest walk in the world," New Zealand's Milford Track travels 33 miles through beech forests, mountains and glaciers from Glade Wharf to Sandfly Point in Fiordland. Hikers pass lakes and waterfalls as they travel between communal huts that provide bunks and meals. Hut reservations must be booked in advance since trail camping is not permitted.   960 1280

swissmediavision  

The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru

The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru

This 26-mile, four-day trek passes ancient Inca cities and lush, mountainous farmlands before arriving at at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu. Hike unguided after securing a permit or hire a tour company. Other Peru tours include Peru: Adventure in the Andes that includes visitng Machu Picchu and staying in the Skylodge Adventure Suites, a glass capsule suspended on a cliff overlooking the Sacred Valley. 960 1280

Siempreverde22  

Mohonk Mountain House
For Adventure Seekers: Telluride, Colorado

For Adventure Seekers: Telluride, Colorado

Experienced skiers can take it to the next level by spending the day heli-skiing, which, like it sounds, is downhill skiing on a course accessible only by helicopter. For $1,235, Telluride Helitrax, in operation since 1982, offers daylong excursions that include 6 ski runs, a guide, equipment and food. Helicopters take groups of four to an elevation of at least 10,000 feet, where skiers are surrounded by majestic backcountry terrain while on empty slopes. If that’s not enough, customized tours are also available. 960 1280

Jeff Cricco/Telluride Helitrax  

For Culture Vultures: N.Y.C.

For Culture Vultures: N.Y.C.

Start the clock by catching a matinee of Hamilton, Broadway’s hottest hip-hop musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton. Plan ahead, since tickets tend to sell out months in advance. Cap off the day with an adults-only sleepover at the American Museum of Natural History, where guests can enjoy live music, presentations and the chance to explore the museum all night long. The $350 price includes a buffet dinner, cots and more. 960 1280

© AMNH\R. Mickens  

For Girlfriend Getaways: Miami

For Girlfriend Getaways: Miami

Sunshine, spa treatments and drinks are all that are needed for a quick getaway, and one can find all that and more at The Standard in Miami Beach. It’s removed from the madding crowd, and guests can luxuriate in a Turkish Hamam and take a yoga classes by the water. Leave time to head to nearby Miami Beach for dinner at celeb hotspot Matador Room, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s latest Miami venture offering Latin-fusion fare. Sit on the terrace for ocean views and lush, foliage surroundings. Follow up with poolside drinks at the sophisticated Delano South Beach, where you can camp out in a lantern-lit private cabana before it’s time to head home. 960 1280
For Foodies: Culinary Institute of America: California, New York, Texas

For Foodies: Culinary Institute of America: California, New York, Texas

Boasting such notable alum as Anthony Bourdain and Cat Cora, many a foodie has daydreamed about enrolling at one of the nation’s best culinary schools. While that’s not realistic for most, what is possible is taking a half-day cooking class. Each location offers a bevy of year-round options, from global street food to holiday favorites. Classes include lunch, CIA apron and chef’s hat. For the ultimate experience, two- to five-day boot camps are a must for when time isn’t of the essence. Of course, the upside to taking an afternoon class, particularly at the CIA in California, is the opportunity to have dinner just a quick 20-minute ride away at French Laundry, considered one of the top 10 restaurants in the U.S. The prix fixe chef’s tasting menu costs $295 -- be sure to book two months ahead. 960 1280

By Ɱ (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons  

For Family-Friendly Fun: Mohonk Mountain House

For Family-Friendly Fun: Mohonk Mountain House

This sprawling, fairy tale-esque castle in the scenic Hudson Valley literally has something for everyone. Rock climbing, horseback riding and golf are among the warmer-weather options at Mohonk Mountain House, while ice skating, snow tubing and cross-country skiing are among the winter activities. There’s also an award-winning spa, watersports and a host of fitness classes. (And that’s still not everything.) Trying to cram as many activities as possible into 24 hours is a worthwhile challenge. 960 1280

By Fred Hsu on en.wikipedia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons  

For Romantics: New Orleans

For Romantics: New Orleans

New Orleans has no shortage of romantic neighborhoods and experiences, and the food-and-music scene has some of the best ways to experience them. Start with a late breakfast at Café Amelie and sit outside in the greenery-filled courtyard for a secret garden feel. Stroll through the historic French Quarter to work up an appetite for the Creole jazz brunch at Muriel’s Jackson Square, or simply get a drink at Muriel’s bordello-themed Séance Lounge (ask about the ghost). Don’t miss dinner at top-rated French restaurant August before collapsing into a plush seat at the intimate Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse. 960 1280
For Shopaholics: Los Angeles

For Shopaholics: Los Angeles

Bypass the ubiquitous luxury chains on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and head to unique boutiques selling hard-to-find favorites. Fred Segal, Maxfield, Kitson and Madison are among the old-guard standouts, selling on-trend, high-end designer wares and more. Visit newer trendsetters include Opening Ceremony and TENOVERSIX for well-curated selections of the hottest designers and up-and-comers. Shoe addicts will find nirvana among the wall of shoes at Kathryn Amberleigh. Fans of the offbeat shouldn’t miss Just One Eye, a conceptual space that’s part art gallery, part fashion boutique, or The Well, a combination boutique/hair salon that’s perfect for multitaskers. Before heading out, pop into Poketo for one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone back home. 960 1280

Courtesy of Poketo  

For the Unconventional: Quebec City

For the Unconventional: Quebec City

Even though Quebec City is impossibly charming in the warmer months, it’s downright magical in the winter. Warm up with high tea at the iconic Château Frontenac Hotel in Old Quebec. While it’s tempting to stay there, the highlight is spending a night at Hotel de Glace, a seasonal ice hotel just outside downtown Quebec, and the only one in North America. Book the Adventure Package and squeeze in dogsledding for extra bragging rights. 960 1280
For Outdoorsy Types: Grand Canyon

For Outdoorsy Types: Grand Canyon

It’s one thing to experience the Grand Canyon from a prime viewing spot, and another from the saddle of a mule. While three-hour trips are available, opt for the once-in-a-lifetime overnight ride to Phantom Ranch, a rustic lodge located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The trail ride each way takes about five hours and includes rest stops and lunch. 960 1280
For Sports Fanatics: Super Bowl

For Sports Fanatics: Super Bowl

Yes, Super Bowl tickets are notoriously hard to score. Luckily, it’s not impossible with QuintEvents, the official provider of Super Bowl packages. To really go over the top for this year’s game, choose the "Prime Sidelines" ticket package, which nets you seats on the 30-yard line, lodging, the chance to meet players and cheerleaders and get autographs, and access to a private club serving gourmet food and drink before, during and after the game. Best of all, this package can be purchased the day of the game -- for a mere $13,000. 960 1280
Skógafoss
Skógafoss

Skógafoss

With a 200-foot drop, Skógafoss — located in Skógar, Iceland — rivals Gullfoss as the country’s most famous and tallest waterfall. According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area buried a treasure chest in the cave behind the waterfall. Locals found the chest but were able to grasp only a ring, which is now on display at an area museum. Designated camping areas and hiking trails along the Skógá River have made this waterfall a popular tourist spot. 960 1280

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Rhine Falls

Rhine Falls

The best time to visit Switzerland’s Rhine Falls is between April and October. Tourists flock to the city of Schaffhausen to see the falls via a guided boat tour or train ride. Outdoor enthusiasts can also visit Adventure Park, the country’s largest rope park, built at the Rhine Falls. 960 1280

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Cummins Falls

Cummins Falls

The namesake attraction of Cummins Falls State Park in Tennessee isn't easy to get to, accessible only by foot through some steep terrain. The reward, though, is a scenic dip below the 75-foot falls in one of the country's most popular secret swimming holes. 960 1280

Cummins Falls Tennessee  

Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls, aka Kabarega Falls, is a waterfall on the Nile River in Uganda. At the top of the falls, the Nile is forced through a 23-foot-wide gap in the rocks (seen on the far right) that flows westward into Lake Albert. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Take a look at this aerial view of Victoria Falls, found on the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe. Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone, who is believed to have been the first European to view the falls, named the site in honor of Queen Victoria. 960 1280

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Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls in Supai, AZ, is one of the most famous and most visited waterfalls in the Grand Canyon. The site consist of 1 main chute that drops over a 120-foot vertical cliff. Hikers can relax, stop for lunch and sit at the picnic tables near the waterfall. 960 1280

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La Cascata del Sasso

La Cascata del Sasso

The Metauro River falls over the layers of limestone to create La Cascata del Sasso in Marche, an eastern Italian region. It is one of the 10 largest waterfalls in Italy. Below the waterfall, the lake is surrounded by willow and poplar trees. And it’s also a hot spot for fishermen, who will find rare species including the kingfisher. 960 1280

Gengish Skan, Flickr  

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

Deep in the heart of California's Yosemite National Park, tourists marvel at this waterfall wonder. With its 2,425-foot drop, Yosemite Falls is the sixth-tallest waterfall in the world. The Ahwahneechee, a group of Native American people who lived in the Yosemite Valley, believed that the pool at the base of the falls was inhabited by the spirits of several witches. 960 1280

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Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

A trip to Brazil or Argentina isn’t complete without making a trip to Iguazu Falls. The waterfall runs along the border of the 2 countries and divides the Iguazu River into upper and lower sections. An old legend claims that the falls were created when an angry god split the river in 2 after his fiancée ran away with her lover on a canoe. 960 1280

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Seven Falls

Seven Falls

Take a steep climb up 224 steps to get a picturesque view from the peak of Seven Falls, a cascading waterfall in Colorado Springs, CO. While you’re there, hike the Trail to Inspiration Point or the Trail to Midnight Falls. The best time to enjoy the scenery and wildlife on these 2 trails is between May and October. 960 1280

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Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is the collective name for 3 waterfalls — Horseshoe Falls (Canada), American Falls (US) and Bridal Veil Falls (US) — found on the Canadian-US border between Ontario and New York. The falls have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world. On average, almost 4 million cubic feet of water falls over the crest line in 1 minute. And in case you didn’t know, this waterfall is used as a source of hydroelectric power. 960 1280

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Warren Falls

Warren Falls

Visit the Mad River in Warren, VT. Although small when compared with other waterfalls, Warren Falls, aka Carleton Falls, is a perfect outdoor getaway for communing with nature. Take a relaxing stroll around the falls and along the river. 960 1280

Jeff Myers, Flickr  

Sutherland Falls

Sutherland Falls

Nestled in the woods behind the fog is Sutherland Falls in Milford Sound, New Zealand. The water spills 1,904 feet into 2 glacial lakes on the mountainside inside Fiordland National Park, making it the second-tallest waterfall in the country, behind Browne Falls in Doubtful Sound. 960 1280

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Huangguoshu Waterfall

Huangguoshu Waterfall

Located on the Baishui River in Anshun in the Guizhou province, Huangguoshu Waterfall is the largest in China. The falls reside in Huangguoshu National Park and consist of 18 waterfalls that vary in size. 960 1280

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Bouma Waterfalls

Bouma Waterfalls

Bouma Waterfalls, aka Tavoro Waterfalls — located in Fiji’s Bouma National Heritage Park — looks like a beautiful backdrop from a spectacular movie scene. It consists of 3 waterfalls. The tallest of the 3, Lower Bouma Falls, has a 78-foot drop. 960 1280

Tracey, Flickr   

Kaieteur Falls

Kaieteur Falls

Three times the height of Niagara Falls and twice the height of Victoria Falls, Kaieteur Falls plunges 822 feet into the lake below. The site, part of Kaieteur National Park, is a popular tourist attraction in the center of Guyana’s rain forest. Travelers arriving and departing from Ogle Airport and Cheddi Jagan International Airport may be able to catch a glimpse of the waterfall from the plane’s window. 960 1280

Soren Riise, Flickr  

European Alps
European Alps

European Alps

Ever dream of skiing the high peaks and endless runs of the European Alps? Well, ski bunny, you better book your flight and hop on the gondola sooner rather than later. Because the Alps are at a lower altitude than many other mountain ranges, they are much more susceptible to the potential effects of global warming, and temperatures in the region are increasing at more than twice the global average. Some predictions give the glaciers only until 2050 before they disappear. 960 1280

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Florida Everglades

Florida Everglades

Encroaching development is just one of many threats to the Everglades, the largest subtropical wilderness in the US. Since 1900 the Everglades have been cut in half, and 14 species of animals that call its cypress swamps, mangroves and sawgrass home are now on the brink of extinction. 960 1280

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Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

The 118 small islands that make up the city of Venice have been sinking for centuries, but rising sea levels have caused many to wonder how much longer the Floating City will stay afloat. 960 1280

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Tuvalu

Tuvalu

The tiny Polynesian nation of Tuvalu, located halfway between Australia and Hawaii, could be completely swallowed by the Pacific Ocean if sea levels continue to rise. The highest point of the 9-island country (encompassing only 10 square miles) is only about 15 feet above sea level, and even a rise of a few inches could have devastating consequences for the tiny nation.  960 1280

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Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa

A change in rainfall patterns and an increase in land use have caused the Sahara desert to gradually advance southward. If the growth continues, it could drastically change the landscape of Sub-Saharan Africa. 960 1280

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Timbuktu, Mali

Timbuktu, Mali

The 3 mosques of Timbuktu in Mali, built during a golden age between the 14th and 16th centuries, are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Their walls are mainly built of mud, and any increase in temperature or rainfall could spell disaster for these incredible pieces of history. 960 1280

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Patagonia, Argentina

Patagonia, Argentina

The pristine landscape of Patagonia in Argentina could look drastically different to future visitors. The awe-inspiring glaciers have already begun to shrink because of increases in temperatures and decreases in precipitation.  960 1280

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French Vineyards

French Vineyards

Better start stocking up on French wine. Temperature increases in traditional winemaking regions of France, such as Bordeaux, have caused winemakers to worry. Grapes are hyper-sensitive to climate change, and any increase in temperature could be detrimental to the vines … eliminating the production of varieties that have been a mainstay of the region for centuries. 960 1280

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Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro could look drastically different in our lifetime. The snow is rapidly melting, and scientists predict that it will only be white-capped for another 15 years. 960 1280

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Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska

The state of Alaska currently has more than 100,000 glaciers, but 95% of them are shrinking. The global rise in temperature is happening much faster at higher latitudes, and Alaska’s annual average temperature is increasing twice as fast as the rest of the US. As Glacier Bay gets warmer, snowy winter scenes like this one will be harder to come by. 960 1280

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Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal, Guatemala

The structures of Tikal, one of the largest archaeological sites of the Mayan civilization, are mostly made of soft limestone -- soft enough to erode when subjected to rain and wind. Tourists aren’t helping, either; many have been known to leave with small stone “souvenirs.” 960 1280

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Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica

Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica

The Monteverde cloud forest in the mountains of Costa Rica has become a major ecotourism destination because of its incredible biodiversity. Global warming, however, has scientists worried. Many have warned there will be a decline in the low-level clouds that this lush ecosystem is famous for, with the resulting rise in temperatures threatening many plants and animals. 960 1280

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Maldives

Maldives

Located southwest of India, this archipelago of 1,190 tiny islands and atolls is the lowest-lying country in the world, making it particularly susceptible to a rise in sea levels. Roughly 80% of the country is less than 4 feet above sea level, and many inhabitants live along the coast. If sea levels continue to rise, the Republic of Maldives will be the first nation to disappear into the ocean. 960 1280

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Zahara de la Sierra, Spain

Zahara de la Sierra, Spain

This small town in the hills of Andalusia is famous for its green mountains, pastures and olive groves. The temperature in Andalusia, however, is expected to increase along with the average annual rainfall, which would wipe out the orchards and lush countryside. 960 1280

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Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park has already undergone a significant transformation. The Montana landscape was once home to 150 monstrous glaciers; now there are only 27. Some scientists predict that they will be gone by 2030. 960 1280

Trey Ratcliff through Flickr Creative Commons  

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The world’s biggest structure made by living organisms, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. But the survival of the reef is threatened by rising ocean temperatures and mass coral bleaching, and it could be completely gone in our lifetime. 960 1280

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Hydrogenn

For the Foodie: 20 Must-Eat Dishes From Around the World

Traveling around the world this year? From paella to poutine, make sure to try these iconic dishes in their countries of origin.
Australia: Meat Pie

Australia: Meat Pie

Australians sure do love their meat pies — they consume millions of pies annually, taking it on the go or enjoying it at a cafe. Eat it like locals do by topping it with warm or chilled tomato sauce. 960 1280

bonchan  

Austria: Apfelstrudel

Austria: Apfelstrudel

Apfelstrudel or Viennese apple strudel is a close cousin to classic American apple pie. Tart apple is paired with sweet pastry dough for a delicious combination. Austrians love eating it with their afternoon coffee. 960 1280

anzeletti  

Belgium: Moules Frites

Belgium: Moules Frites

Mussels and fries are as common in Belgium as burgers and fries are in the U.S. Try it the simple way by ordering plain, steamed mussels or with some extra flavor like curry powder. 960 1280

FourEyesTim  

Brazil: Pudim

Brazil: Pudim

Pudim looks exactly like flan, but the Brazilian version has a softer texture. You'll find this dessert in every restaurant, cafe and home. 960 1280

AlbertoChagas  

Canada: Poutine

Canada: Poutine

Gravy, fries and cheese curds — what's not to love about poutine? Although this savory concoction is available in the U.S., you should try it while visiting Canada. Some restaurants have more than 100 variations to choose from, so there is something for everyone. 960 1280

LauriPatterson  

England: Steak and Kidney Pie

England: Steak and Kidney Pie

Before you write off that steak and kidney pie is in fact made with lamb or pork kidneys, give it a try. Britons love the melt-in-your-mouth texture and savory flavor. Be prepared to fork up some money for the real (not factory-made) kind. 960 1280

JoeGough  

Finland: Squeaky Cheese

Finland: Squeaky Cheese

It's unlikely you'll find Leipäjuusto or Finnish squeaky cheese anywhere outside of Finland. The mild cheese is most commonly pan-fried and served with cloudberry jam for dessert or alongside coffee. 960 1280

Atide  

France: Macarons

France: Macarons

The best-selling pastry in France, this delicate cookie comes in a variety of flavors. Since they're so difficult to make, it's best to go the fancy route and grab a few from the world-renowned pastry shop, Ladurée. 960 1280

efetova  

Greece: Spanakopita

Greece: Spanakopita

This savory spinach and feta pie is a Greek staple originating almost 400 years ago. You'll find freshly-made spanakopita at nearly every bakery in the country. 960 1280

_OSSA_  

Hungary: Goulash

Hungary: Goulash

Goulash literally translates to "Herdsman" in Hungarian because they made the dish during cattle drives in harsh conditions. Although, the meaty stew didn't get its rich red color until Turks invaded and introduced paprika to the country during the 16th century. If you visit in September, check out the annual goulash festival held in Szolnok. 960 1280

Mariha-kitchen  

Italy: Deep-Fried Olives

Italy: Deep-Fried Olives

Pasta and pizza are the first foods that come to mind when you think iconic Italian food. While visiting, also keep an eye out for deep-fried olives. The dish originated in the southern region in a town called Ascoli-Piceno and has since spread north. You can choose a variety, like prosciutto-stuffed to ground-beef-stuffed, from street vendors or local restaurants. 960 1280

kabVisio  

Japan: Ramen

Japan: Ramen

Ramen noodles don't come out of a styrofoam cup in Japan. Japanese ramen consists of Chinese-style noodles served in a meat broth flavored with soy sauce or miso. Each region of Japan has its own variation, and toppings range from boiled egg to corn. 960 1280

Hydrogenn  

Morocco: B'stilla (Pastilla)

Morocco: B'stilla (Pastilla)

The surprising traditional ingredient in this slightly sweet pie is pigeon, but it's now mainly made with chicken, quail or Cornish game hen. It's topped with confectioner's sugar and cinnamon, which makes this dish sweet, salty, spicy and buttery all at the same time. 960 1280

PicturePartners  

Poland: Chlodnik

Poland: Chlodnik

A summer staple, Polish chlodnik is a refreshing cold beet soup with a vibrant pink color. It's flavored with cucumbers, radishes, plain yogurt and topped with hard-boiled eggs, making it a truly healthy and delicious meal. 960 1280

Murika  

South Africa: Biltong

South Africa: Biltong

Biltong is made from a variety of spiced, dried and cured meat, including beef and ostrich. It's usually eaten as a snack and tastes like a saltier version of beef jerky. Many locals dice the meat strips and add them to stews or muffins. You can also find biltong-flavored cheese spreads and potato chips in the country. 960 1280

Drbouz  

South Korea: Bulgogi

South Korea: Bulgogi

The U.S. has several Korean barbecue joints, but make sure to try it during your visit to South Korea. Bulgogi literally translates to "fire meat" and gets its slightly sweet flavor from a sugar-and-soy sauce marinade. You can try this fresh meat — eaten within a day of butchering — at upscale restaurants or from pan-ready kits found at local markets. 960 1280

whitewish  

Spain: Paella

Spain: Paella

This Spanish rice dish is like no other with ingredients like chicken, sausage, shrimp, saffron and potatoes. It originated in the Valencia region, where the two main ingredients — saffron and rice — grow. If you can, forgo the restaurant version and try it homemade instead. 960 1280

svariophoto  

Switzerland: Chocolate

Switzerland: Chocolate

Switzerland may not be the first to come to mind when you think of foodie countries around the world, but it has a lot to offer. Aside from delicious cheeses and wine, the Swiss know how to make good chocolate. During your visit, take the Belle Epoque Chocolate train to the Cailler factory, the birthplace of milk chocolate. 960 1280

Jamalrani  

Thailand: Tom Yum Soup

Thailand: Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yum translates to "sour/spicy soup" and is the most popular soup in Thailand. You can order it two different ways: with coconut milk (tom yum goong nam khon) or without (tom yum goong nam sy). 960 1280

PaulPaladin  

Vietnam: Pho

Vietnam: Pho

Food is a prominent aspect of Vietnamese culture. You'll notice markets on every corner that offer an assortment of delicious homemade fare. Pho, a broth-based soup filled with noodles and raw meat, is offered any time of day — even for breakfast. 960 1280

YinYang  

Ultimate Arts and Culture Places

Ghostbusters Firehouse; Hook & Ladder 8, New York City

Ghostbusters Firehouse; Hook & Ladder 8, New York City

If you've ever seen "Ghostbusters", it's hard not to smile when you see the iconic NYC Hook & Ladder 8 fire station. Built in 1903 as the first in a series of Beaux-Arts style firehouses in New York City, it reportedly was chosen for "Ghostbusters" because writer Dan Aykroyd knew the area and liked the building. Although it only served as the set for exterior scenes, it can also claim fame in the movie "Hitch" and an episode of "Seinfeld." Uber "Ghostbusters" fans can watch director Paul Feig’s 2016 take on the supernatural comedy and tackle the new 4,500 piece Lego “Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters” set. 960 1280

Daniel Zuchnik  

The Making of Harry Potter; Warner Bros. Studio Tour, London

The Making of Harry Potter; Warner Bros. Studio Tour, London

A cross between a museum, a movie set and a theme park, The Making of Harry Potter is authentic, detailed and immersive. Warner Bros. has kept and catalogued almost everything from the movies, from wizard wands to eccentric vehicles. It's a Halloween-costume heaven for Hogwarts fanatics. Coupled with a robust audio tour, any muggle will be able to feel like he or she is literally standing on set. 960 1280

Warner Bros  

Lord of the Rings Tours, New Zealand

Lord of the Rings Tours, New Zealand

Let New Zealand’s "Lord of the Rings" specialists tour you around their beautiful landscapes and woodlands via one of the many customized experiences created to “cater to your Middle-earth hopes and expectations.” From full-day tours in remote locations (complete with lunch and costume items) to experiencing Queenstown from the air (touching down in hard-to-reach spots and flying over non-access territory), every Middle-earth explorer will assuredly find his or her own New Zealand paradise. 960 1280

AaronChoi  

Walt Disney Family Museum; San Francisco, California

Walt Disney Family Museum; San Francisco, California

Walt Disney raised animation to an art, transforming the film industry and creating an American pop culture legacy. The Walt Disney Family Museum, in San Francisco’s Presidio district, brings to life his achievements and inspiring story. The 40,000-square-foot museum features early drawings and animation, movies, music, more than 200 video screens, a 14‐foot model of Disneyland and the 114-seat, "Fantasia"-inspired theater, which shows Disney classics six days a week. A special exhibition entitled "Wish Upon a Star: The Art of Pinocchio" is on view through January 2017. 960 1280

Ric Miller  

Alamo Draft House; Austin, Texas

Alamo Draft House; Austin, Texas

Devoted movie fans, Tim and Karrie League, opened the original Alamo Draft House on Colorado Street in Austin, Texas in 1997, as a single-screen theater in a nondescript parking garage. Within its first year, the venue played host to film premieres and visiting filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, who hosted five-day marathon screenings of classic titles from his personal collection. The service model is deliberately low-tech – beer is delivered to your seat, after you scribble orders on actual paper. Although the original theater closed in 2007, there are now five Austin locations and 24 locations across the U.S. The 25th location (in Brooklyn) will open later this summer, and L.A. is slated for 2017. 960 1280

Alamo Draft House  

Arlington Theatre; Santa Barbara, California

Arlington Theatre; Santa Barbara, California

If you can’t watch a movie outside in the plaza of a colonial Spanish town, then the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara is the next best thing. Built in 1931 on the former site of the Arlington Hotel, which was destroyed following the 1925 earthquake, as a showcase movie house for Fox West Coast Theaters, it was restored and expanded in the mid-1970s. Its atmospheric interior contains faux-Spanish villas, a ceiling filled with twinkling stars, a Robert Morton pipe organ hidden from view and seating for 2,000 people. The original ceiling remains to give patrons the impression that they are sitting outdoors under the stars. 960 1280

Arlington Theatre  

Angelika Film Center, New York City

Angelika Film Center, New York City

The original Angelika Film Center & Cafe has epitomized the New York City independent movie scene since its opening in Manhattan’s SoHo district in 1989. Playing an impressive and diverse mix of independent films, it is the definitive cinema of choice for filmmakers and film lovers alike. Check out the film center’s blog for their own video and written interviews with directors and actors that are involved with the films they show. 960 1280

Angelika Film Center  

The Academy Museum; Los Angeles, California

The Academy Museum; Los Angeles, California

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is building the world's leading movie museum in the heart of Los Angeles. The Academy Museum – designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano and slated to open in 2018 – will restore and revitalize the historic 300,000 square-foot Wilshire May Company building, featuring six floors of exhibition space, a movie theater, educational areas, special event spaces, conservation areas, a cafe and store. The Academy has been acquiring and preserving movie-related materials since the 1930s and will draw on approximately 62,000 pieces of production art — such as a "Planet of the Apes" mask, a model horse head made for "The Godfather" and the ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz" — as well as some 12 million photographs, 55,000 posters, 80,000 screenplays and more than 185,000 film and video elements. 960 1280

Academy Museum  

New York City

New York City

An obvious choice indeed, but any respectable movie lover can’t claim fandom without visiting the Big Apple. Not sure where to start? This movie map of N.Y.C. film locations is a pretty handy guide of what’s what – and where. Or, search for your favorite flick On the Set of New York website. (News to us: Many of the scenes from West Side Story were actually filmed on the east side.) 960 1280

Roberto Machado Noa  

Tribeca Film Festival, New York City

Tribeca Film Festival, New York City

The Robert De Niro-sanctioned Tribeca Film Festival boasts several unique aspects at its annual April event: The director, cast and crew are often on hand for a Q&A after the screenings; the films, chosen from more than 6,000 submissions, are from every corner of the globe and “offer almost as many perspectives as New Yorkers have opinions;” and almost every film is a North American, international, or even world premiere, so attendees could be among the first to see the next big hit. 960 1280

BRIAN PALMER  

"Blues Brothers" Set Locations, Chicago

"Blues Brothers" Set Locations, Chicago

One of the greatest action-movie-musicals ever made, "Blues Brothers" showcases the real character of the city of Chicago, utilizing the city’s iconic and underground locales (not to mention immortalizing the jet black suit, fedora and wayfarer sunglasses look). So much so, it has become part of the city’s history. Fans can create their own tour of the Windy City through the lens of "Blues Brothers" diehards and journalists. 960 1280

Archive Photos  

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver, British Columbia

Movie buffs might be surprised at how many films have been shot in Vancouver. Dubbed “Hollywood North,” it claims "Twilight", "Fifty Shades of Grey", "X-Men: The Last Stand", "Elf", "Happy Gilmore", "Godzilla", "Juno", "Robocop", "Jumanji", "Legends of the Fall" and more as its own, due in large part to being a fairly hassle-free endeavor for producers and having the natural backdrops of beaches, mountains, forests and urban neighborhoods that can beautifully pose as American locations. Twilight fans can buy special books to use to just tour this cult-favorite’s locations – but rest assured these are not your average travel guides. 960 1280

Mike Hewitt - FIFA  

Paris, France

Paris, France

We’re fans of Paris for many reasons, but movie lovers will especially appreciate experiencing its many iconic movie sets in real life. Take a walking tour of the Montmartre district to see the famed carousel and Cafe des Deux featured in 2001’s "Amelie". Tour Paris through the eyes of Edith Piaf in the Belleville district and the Paris Olympia Concert Hall from 2007’s "La Vie En Rose", or retrace Robert Langdon's footsteps in Dan Brown’s "The Da Vinci Code" via professional guides who give detailed walking tours based on the movie, scene by scene and clue by clue. 960 1280

Enzo Figueres#79951  

Sundance Film Festival; Park City, Utah

Sundance Film Festival; Park City, Utah

Every January, Park City draws people from all over the country, and the buzz about new films, film producers and directors from this community dedicated to independent storytelling extends to Salt Lake City and beyond. The star-studded Sundance Film Festival boasts "Boyhood", "Little Miss Sunshine", "Reservoir Dogs" and "An Inconvenient Truth" among the titles introduced over the past 30 years since its beginning. From more than 12,000 submissions, only about 200 feature-length and short films are selected each year. 960 1280

Stephen Speckman  

Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash Store; Red Bank, N.J.

Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash Store; Red Bank, N.J.

The mecca for Kevin Smith fans, Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash is a historic comic store that’s featured in his AMC show "Comic Book Men." "Clerks", "Mallrats", and "Chasing Amy" lovers will also revel in the quirky characteristics that epitomize Smith. Not near New Jersey? Fans can use the tour the store feature online to get their Smith fix. 960 1280

Steve Davidson  

Strawberry Fields, Central Park, New York City

Strawberry Fields, Central Park, New York City

Covering 2.5 acres in New York City’s Central Park, Strawberry Fields was built as a memorial to John Lennon, who was killed outside the Dakota apartment building on 72nd Street and Central Park West, the place he lived for the latter part of his life. The centerpiece of Strawberry Fields is the “Imagine” mosaic, where fans often leave mementos or gather for remembrance and sharing music. 960 1280

TIMOTHY A. CLARY  

Paisley Park, Chanhassen, Minnesota

Paisley Park, Chanhassen, Minnesota

Whether Prince’s famed home and recording studio will eventually open as a museum à la Graceland is still a matter of controversy while Prince’s family sorts out his estate. In the meantime, fans can pay their respects to the Purple One at the makeshift memorial around the perimeter of the fenced-in property located in a Minneapolis suburb. 960 1280

Adam Bettcher  

Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee