Travel’s Best Wonders of the World 2015 Pictures

From our expert panel of advisors to you, here is the definitive list of 7 man-made and natural wonders you need to experience in your lifetime.

Photos

Alaska

Alaska

“Experience the natural splendor of America’s last frontier on a cruise ship,” says Rainer Jenss. “Book the family on a smaller ship — either with Lindblad Expeditions or Alaskan Dream Cruises — so you and the kids can get a better view of the breaching whales, foraging bears and calving glaciers throughout the Inside Passage.” On land, we recommend a road trip along the Kenai Peninsula’s Seward Highway, starting in Anchorage. Make stops for fun family activities such as fishing in Homer and hiking Exit Glacier, one of several active ice flows in the state. 960 1280

Lindbald Expeditions  

Argentina

Argentina

From the beautiful capital of Buenos Aires to the sapphire glaciers of Patagonia, locals will not only be interested in meeting your family, but they will go out of their way to make your visit pleasant and memorable. “More than once, chefs emerged from the kitchen to play with our infant son, leaving my wife and me alone for a blissful meal,” says Bruce Kirkby, a family traveler who’s featured on Travel Channel’s Big Crazy Family Adventure. Argentina offers family-friendly adventures such as gaucho day trips at the Don Silvano Ranch, hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park and helicopter tours of Iguazu Falls. 960 1280

Mick Habgood/Moment/Getty Images  

Chicago

Chicago

The Windy City’s world-class museums, art scene and diverse food culture have always been big draws for families. In June, Chicago will become an even bigger family destination when it opens the 606. This trail, similar to NYC’s High Line, will grant locals and tourists access to more bike paths and walking trails connecting the Logan Square, Humboldt Park and Wick Park neighborhoods. “Downtown Chicago is great, but its neighborhoods really are the heart of the city, offering the best food and a slower pace of life more suited for quality family time,” says Keryn Means, a family travel writer and blogger for WalkingOnTravels.com. 960 1280

Adam Alexander Photography  

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Visit the Galapagos Islands for the diverse wildlife, including sea lions, giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies. Families get a rare opportunity to see animals unafraid of human proximity. Kids have unique opportunities to snap a photo of a passing whale and swim above a school of sharks. “Lodging in the past was limited to staying on a boat or in clean but homely local hotels — both great options — but the addition of the area’s first 5-star hotel (the Royal Palm on Santa Cruz) means families who would prefer a more comfortable landing can visit, too,” says Heather Greenwood Davis, a travel journalist and founder of GlobetrottingMama.com. 960 1280

Paul Kennedy/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images  

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Take the kids to Glacier National Park to see its namesake glaciers soon, before climate change makes them a distant memory. Home to 70 different species of mammals, this park offers a wide array of family-friendly activities, including hiking, horseback riding, fishing, boating and backpacking. “This park is filled with stunning beauty, abundant wildlife, some of the country’s most scenic hikes and opportunities for families to explore and learn,” says Nancy Schretter. “For the ultimate family adventure vacation, combine a visit to Glacier National Park with a stay at a dude ranch, such as Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge or Three Bars Ranch.” 960 1280

Donnie Sexton  

Kids Sea Camp in St. Lucia

Kids Sea Camp in St. Lucia

Book your 6-day/7-night stay at the Kids Sea Camp in St. Lucia, hosted by a top-ranked Caribbean resort, Anse Chastanet. In addition to hiking, mountain biking and kayaking, parents can take their kids snorkeling or diving. “Four-year-olds can get in the water for the Professional Association of Scuba Instructors’ (PADI) sanctioned training program,” says Rainer Jenss, president and founder of the Family Travel Association. “That’s great news for parents who thought they’d have to give up diving when the kids were born.”  960 1280

Annie Crawley/Kids Sea Camp Inc.  

Panama City, Panama

Panama City, Panama

Skip the crowds of Costa Rica and visit a new family-friendly destination, Panama. We recommend exploring Panama City’s colonial history, architecture and culture. “Casco Viejo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a great spot to pick up trinkets to take home, grab an ice cream and enjoy a stroll through the old Spanish architecture of Panama,” says Keryn Means. In addition to sightseeing around the city, tourists should venture outside its limits to take a boat tour on Gatun Lake, go white-water rafting on the Chagres River or enjoy the sun and waves on one of Isla Contadora’s beautiful beaches. 960 1280

Hans Joachim Hoos/iStock/Getty Images  

Peru

Peru

Peru is one of the top adventure destinations for 2015, and it's a great choice for an amazing family expedition. Go white-water rafting on the Urubamba River, explore the Amazon’s diverse wildlife and culture, ride Peruvian Paso Fino horses through villages, and mountain bike along dirt roads to see Incan archaeological sites. “Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is popular for families with teens and older children, but family-friendly tour operators such as Austin Adventures offer multiple options for reaching this iconic site,” says Nancy Schretter, a family and multigenerational travel expert. 960 1280

Peru Export and Tourism Promotion Board  

Tofino, British Columbia

Tofino, British Columbia

On Canada's west coast, Tofino has it all: endless beaches, camping, luxury lodges, surfing, kayaking and self-guided hikes in the rain forest. “Take a boat tour to go whale-watching and visit natural hot springs,” says Bruce Kirkby. “But for kids, nothing will beat the beaches.” We suggest family-friendly spots such as MacKenzie Beach, Tonquin Beach and Chesterman Beach. For a more adventurous trip, families can hike the Rainforest Trail at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Bear-watching, bird-watching, kayaking, fishing and surfing make Tofino the perfect location for a family getaway. 960 1280

Destination BC/Tom Ryan  

Tokyo

Tokyo

“Between the cartoons (kids) watch at home (think Avatar: The Last Airbender and Beyblade), the pop culture they’re exposed to (Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls) and the video games they swoon for (Nintendo and Sega have Japanese ties), Tokyo is where families will find plenty to keep them busy,” says Heather Greenwood Davis. Rent a bike to take in the Imperial Palace grounds, or take a local course in the art of origami or tai chi for a bit of culture. Then, go further. Hop on the new bullet train — which travels from Tokyo through the Hokuriku region — and watch your child’s eyes light up as you approach speeds of up to 300 mph. All aboard! The new train route is open to the public starting March 14, 2015. 960 1280

Dan Wiklund/Moment/Getty Images  

Epcot at Walt Disney World, Orlando

Epcot at Walt Disney World, Orlando

Theme parks aren’t just for kids, especially ones like Epcot at Walt Disney World. "While it has fun and thrilling attractions for the whole family, including Test Track, Mission: SPACE, Soarin', Spaceship Earth, etc., the real attractions at Epcot are the World Showcase's 11 countries, where you can sample food and drinks from Germany, Mexico, Norway, Canada, Japan, Italy, France...," says Alvey. In the fall, Epcot's World Showcase transforms into the International Food & Wine Festival, an event featuring food and drink samples from nearly 30 different countries. 960 1280

Gene Duncan, Disney  

Aquaventure, Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas

Aquaventure, Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas

While the region's beautiful beaches might beckon you to the Bahamas, your kids will be in paradise at the largest water park in the Caribbean, Aquaventure at Atlantis. A free perk for overnight guests of the Atlantis resort, the water park has it all: a gentle lazy river, exciting rapid rides and multiple water slides that take guests on huge vertical drops, around 5-story corkscrews and along twisting water coasters. "Kids will love jungle-themed slides and fountains, as well as Splasher's, a Mayan-themed water playground that’s perfect for the smallest guests," adds Gifford. 960 1280

Courtesy of Kerzner International  

Schlitterbahn, Kansas City

Schlitterbahn, Kansas City

Get ready for the world’s tallest waterslide, set to open at Schlitterbahn in summer 2014. According to Insane Coaster Wars producer Steve VanDis, the excitement is building for this one. "This 17-story waterslide will be the tallest waterslide in the world, with just the construction of this massive coaster dominating the skyline," he says. Those not so keen on stomach-hurling rides may be more comfortable floating on the lazy river or relaxing in a private beach cabana (which you can reserve ahead of time) while watching the kids play on 13 mini-slides. Looking to save money? Pack a picnic (you can bring your own food and drinks into the park) and grab a table near Henry’s Hideaway so you can have a breather while the kids play nearby, suggests VanDis. 960 1280

Schlitterbahn Kansas City  

Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Calling all Dolly Parton and country music fans! Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood combines a family-fun atmosphere with down-home country music and fare, including a new lemonade stand featuring over 300 flavors. Kreischer says Dollywood is his favorite family-friendly park, and a perfect spot for a family reunion. Dollywood hosts 5 annual festivals in 2014, including the popular Barbeque & Bluegrass festival that pairs the best barbecue in the South with the biggest names in bluegrass (May 24 -June 8). Fair warning, don’t expect to see Dolly here in person, but you can visit Dolly’s Smoky Mountain Home, an attraction modeled after the country singer’s childhood home. 960 1280

Dollywood  

Noah’s Ark, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Noah’s Ark, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

When it comes to water parks, Kreischer’s pick is Noah's Ark, the largest water park in the US located in Wisconsin Dells, WI, and for one simple reason: Scorpion's Tail! "This is a ride you have to ride multiple times just to figure out what is happening to your body. You start in a coffin-like capsule, then the floor drops out from underneath you, and you freefall for roughly 40 to 50 feet before you're flipped upside down and around in the high-speed, G pulling loop. Before you know it you're squirted out for the masses with a look of shock on your face as they giggle and see you try to figure out what just happened," says Kreischer, who rode this ride over 20 times the first day it opened. Don’t miss trying to hang 10 on the park's newest attraction, Surfing Safari. Or for gentler rides, there’s Bumper Boats and several lazy rivers to relax on in family-size tubes. 960 1280

Noah’s Ark  

Busch Gardens, Virginia

Busch Gardens, Virginia

Don’t have the time or money to take the family to Europe? Head to Busch Gardens for a taste of the "Old World" culture in Williamsburg, VA, which features attractions like Escape from Pompeii, Loch Ness Monster and the 3-D ride, Europe in the Air. There’s more here than just the coasters according to VanDis. "Whether you’re here for the annual Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival or just enjoying the food stands and eateries, the food is always amazing. I love the BBQ spot and I try to stop by every time I’m there," he says. Steve’s all-time favorite coaster? Griffon. At over 200 feet high, it’s still the fastest dive coaster in the world, reaching speeds over 70 mph. Just plan on eating after riding this one. 960 1280

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment  

Tokyo DisneySea, Japan

Tokyo DisneySea, Japan

"There is nothing like Tokyo DisneySea anywhere else on the planet. The moment you step foot inside the park you are transported to another world unlike any other Disney park you've ever seen, with some of the best themed environments ever created," says Robb Alvey, theme park expert, Insane Coaster Wars. Attractions like Journey to the Center of the Earth (a thrilling voyage through the park's centerpiece volcano); a Japanese version of Tower of Terror; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; a section dedicated to The Little Mermaid, and the Raging Spirits roller coaster make up just a handful of the unique Disney rides and attractions found at this park. 960 1280

stevenocchipinti, flickr  

Blizzard Beach at Walt Disney World, Orlando

Blizzard Beach at Walt Disney World, Orlando

Walt Disney World has more to offer than just its 4 main parks – there is also a water park you can’t miss during your stay, too. "Themed as a 'ski resort that is melting' this water park stands out as my favorite water park in the world," says Alvey. There is something for everyone here. For thrill seekers, there is Summit Plummet, once the world's tallest water slide, and for families there are many different attractions including Teamboat Springs, Alvey’s favorite "family raft ride." 960 1280

Gene Duncan, Disney  

Hudson Valley, New York

Hudson Valley, New York

“What’s on my fall drive checklist? Sinuous roads, sweeping vistas, elevation changes, barns and more barns, pleasant farm animals, homes you wish you could live in, a farmers market and and a cool diner for lunch. My favorite fall drive this year has all of the above and then some. As an agricultural area, Duchess County in New York’s Hudson Valley has some of the most beautiful land you’ll ever set your eyes on.” – Samantha Brown, Travel Host 960 1280

Dutchess County Tourism  

Hudson Valley Road Trip

Hudson Valley Road Trip

“Use Route 82 and Route 44 in Salt Point, NY, as your bookends and all the roads in between as your playground.” – Samantha Brown, Travel Host

See Interactive Map
960 1280

  

Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

“Head to Deep Creek Lake in Maryland to enjoy gorgeous views by car along 2 fall foliage heritage tours. Motor along Route 219 up to the Deep Creek Lake overlook in McHenry for a look at the lake, ski slopes and breathtaking autumn foliage before heading back to the visitors center as part of a 90-minute driving loop.”  -- <i>Erin Gifford, Family Travel Expert, Kidventurous.com</i> 960 1280

Garrett County Chamber of Commerce  

Deep Creek Lake Road Trip

Deep Creek Lake Road Trip

“For a longer drive try Historic National Road, which starts near Deep Creek Lake and winds through 6 states. Foliage peaks in early- to mid-October. Slow down for parades, pumpkin chucking and ice cream sundae-eating contests at the annual Autumn Glory Festival (Oct. 9-13), a real family favorite.” -- Erin Gifford, Family Travel Expert, Kidventurous.com

See Interactive Map
960 1280

  

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

“An easy drive from Washington, DC, Harpers Ferry in West Virginia has fall foliage that’s worth the drive the third to fourth week in October. When we take the kids, I like the Jefferson Rock hike, which is less than 1 mile and has a vista overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains.” -- <i>Erin Gifford, Family Travel Expert, Kidventurous.com</i> 960 1280

Jeffrey D. Walters / Moment / Getty Images  

Harpers Ferry Road Trip

Harpers Ferry Road Trip

“Another good spot for leaf peeping is Bolivar Heights, a Civil War battlefield across from the park entrance. You’ll find easy, flat trails and great views.” -- <i>Erin Gifford, Family Travel Expert, Kidventurous.com</i><br/><br/><a href="https://roadtrippers.com/trips/521e22ce9d0782c36b0000f3 " target="_blank"><b>See Interactive Map</b></a> 960 1280

  

Route 112, New Hampshire

Route 112, New Hampshire

“This grand dame of foliage routes -- the ‘Kanc’ (Kancamagus Highway) -- is always worth a drive, but I suggest taking Route 112 west past the quaint little town of Woodstock, NH. Continue on Route 112 to Kinsman Notch at Beaver Pond -- a great spot for beginners and pros alike to photograph fall foliage.” -- <i> Jeff “Foliage” Folger, Fall Foliage Sage and Photographer</i>  960 1280

Denis Jr. Tangney / E+ / Getty Images  

Route 112 Road Trip

Route 112 Road Trip

“The best part of this area outside of the White Mountains is all the little side roads to explore. I found Coffin Pond off Route 116 -- don’t get going too fast or you will miss it. On a windless day it can have incredible reflections of the low hills surrounding the pond.” -- Jeff “Foliage” Folger, Fall Foliage Sage and Photographer

See Interactive Map
960 1280

  

Route 7, Vermont

Route 7, Vermont

“In southern Vermont, Route 7 runs north/south through the Green Mountains. During a stretch just north of Bennington is a valley between 2 ridgelines covered in trees, many of them maples and birch. Around Oct. 12-15 is a great time to take a drive up Route 7 to see peak colors.” -- Jeff “Foliage” Folger, Fall Foliage Sage and Photographer 960 1280

Jeff Folger  

Route 7 Road Trip

Route 7 Road Trip

“You also have a great little college town in Manchester to explore and shop in and the home of Robert Todd Lincoln for history buffs. Then the road names are very interesting. If you get a good map book out, you will find places like Mad Tom Notch -- doesn’t that scream to be explored?” -- Jeff “Foliage” Folger, Fall Foliage Sage and Photographer

See Interactive Map
960 1280

  

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wisconsin

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wisconsin

"Wisconsin is a magical land in the North, where the beer flows like wine and there are rivers of cheese. Not really, but pretty close to it. The Badger State is also the homeland of American architectural icon Frank Lloyd Wright. Fall is the perfect time of year to visit his organic designs, which are particularly stunning when set amidst the changing fall foliage.” -- James Fisher, Founder and CEO of RoadTrippers.com 960 1280

Taliesin Preservation, Inc.  

Wisconsin Road Trip

Wisconsin Road Trip

“Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes and buildings were designed to work in harmony with their environment. Driving through southern Wisconsin, some highlights include Taliesin, Wright’s summer home, Wingspread, the ‘epitome of organic architecture,’ and the Seth Peterson Cottage, which you can rent as a vacation home." -- James Fisher, Founder and CEO of RoadTrippers.com

See Interactive Map
960 1280

  

Twain’s Great River Road, Mississippi to Hannibal, MO

Twain’s Great River Road, Mississippi to Hannibal, MO

"As a boy in England, I was obsessed with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Loquacious and satirical, Mark Twain really knows how to woo a man. Driving down the Mississippi to Hannibal, MO, it isn’t too hard to find the inspiration behind Twain’s iconic coming-of-age novel. Traveling along Twain’s Great River Road during autumn provides incredible leaf-peeping opportunities at every bend.” -- James Fisher, Founder and CEO of RoadTrippers.com 960 1280

Courtesy of the Missouri Division of Tourism  

Twain’s Great River Road Trip

Twain’s Great River Road Trip

“This road trip finishes up in Hannibal, where you can visit Twain’s boyhood home and a slew of other Twain-inspired attractions." -- James Fisher, Founder and CEO of RoadTrippers.com

See Interactive Map
960 1280

  

Ricketts Glen State Park, Northeast Pennsylvania

Ricketts Glen State Park, Northeast Pennsylvania

“Living in the Northeast we are blessed with beautiful fall foliage color due to an abundance of sugar maple and birch trees that turn vibrant orange, red and yellow each year. One of my favorite local drives for a day of leaf peeping is Ricketts Glen State Park off Route 29 and Route 487 in northeast Pennsylvania. The combination of 22 waterfalls, mountains and gorgeous 200-year-old trees make for absolutely stunning photos.” -- Bill Kirk, CEO of Weather Trends International and Meteorologist 960 1280

OGphoto  

Ricketts Glen State Park Road Trip

Ricketts Glen State Park Road Trip

“While the drive here is spectacular, you’ll have to brave a 3-mile hike to really experience the stunning fall color. The waterfalls make it well worth getting out of the car, and the photos and memories of a great day trip will last a lifetime.” -- Bill Kirk, CEO of Weather Trends International and Meteorologist

See Interactive Map
960 1280

  

Skyline Drive, Virginia

Skyline Drive, Virginia

“I fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains when I went to college in the “Valley” in Harrisonburg, VA. Weekend trips to escape campus often included hiking or driving through the 105-mile-long Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. There’s no better time to visit this National Scenic Byway than fall, when the fall foliage peaks the second to third week in October. Now that I live in Washington, DC, it’s only a few hours away -- still perfect for a weekend fall getaway.” -- Kathleen Rellihan, Interactive Producer, Travel Channel 960 1280

Getty Images  

Skyline Drive Road Trip

Skyline Drive Road Trip

“One of the best parts of Skyline Drive is from Front Royal to Rt. 211 -- it’s around 32 miles, with plenty of overlooks for snapping photos. These days, I like to combine my leaf peeping with wine tasting in Virginia’s Wine Country, too. There’s no shortage of wineries to stop at in the area, but some of my favorites include Fox Meadow Vineyards and Gray Ghost Vineyards.” -- Kathleen Rellihan, Interactive Producer, Travel Channel

See Interactive Map
960 1280

  

Lake Wallenpaupack, Northeast Pennsylvania

Lake Wallenpaupack, Northeast Pennsylvania

“Another great spot even closer to the Big Apple is Route 507 around Lake Wallenpaupack in northeast Pennsylvania. The good news: Here at Weather Trends we are projecting ideal fall color this year in the Northeast due to very favorable summer and fall weather conditions unlike last year when record October cold and Superstorm Sandy made for a very short and somewhat dull season.” -- Bill Kirk, CEO of Weather Trends International and Meteorologist 960 1280

Lake Wallenpaupack/ The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, PoconoMountains.com  

Lake Wallenpaupack Road Trip

Lake Wallenpaupack Road Trip

“Stop in Hawley for some lunch and be sure to take the hour scenic boat ride around the lake for more stunning photos.” -- Bill Kirk, CEO of Weather Trends International and Meteorologist

See Interactive Map
960 1280

  

Fan Favorite: Smoky Mountains

Fan Favorite: Smoky Mountains

We asked you what we missed on our list and for you to tell us your favorite fall foliage road trip. It was a landslide – The Great Smoky Mountains won out! Hop in your car and take in the scenery as you drive around Gatlinburg, a picturesque mountain town nestled in the scenic Smokies. Now is the perfect time -- fall colors peak here in mid-October. 960 1280

Zhuzhu / iStock / Getty Images  

The Hot List

Explore America’s most stunning scenery.
Join the conversation on Social Media!
Stay updated on the latest travel tips and trends.
Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.