From national parks to extraordinary beaches, these travel spots are sure to please.
Our planet is home to an endless number of gorgeous landscapes, ranging from scenic white sand beaches to jaw-dropping mountain ranges. Let this list of destinations inspire you to see more of the world in the new year and beyond.
Yellowstone National Park: Wyoming
The world’s first national park is brimming with marvels to behold, from waterfalls to jagged peaks as well as half of the world’s hydrothermal features, including the famous Old Faithful. Visitors come here in droves year-round to scope out the wildlife as well, which include buffalo (Yellowstone is home to America’s largest herd), grizzly bears, wolves, elk and more.
Glacier National Park: Montana
Montana’s Glacier National Park includes more than 1 million acres of natural forestland and untouched wilderness. Head here to hike more than 700 miles of trails and see waterfalls, snow-capped mountain peaks, crystal clear lakes and plenty of unique plant and animal life.
Sanibel and Captiva Islands: Florida
These islands may be right off the coast of Florida, but a trip here can make you feel like you’re worlds away. The Sanibel and Captiva islands boast 15 miles of beautiful white sand beaches and zero stoplights, making this destination truly feel like an oasis. Plus, with 50 different types of fish that call these local waters home, this area is no doubt a snorkeler’s paradise.
Machu Picchu: Machu Picchu Archaeological Park, Peru
Machu Picchu is an extraordinary creation of giant walls and rock-based terraces built in a tropical mountain forest on top of a mountain in the Andes. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was once part of the Inca civilization, but is now a tourist destination for hikers, history lovers and anyone who wants to be inspired.
Flam, Norway, is a popular cruise port among the Norwegian fjords, known for its staggering cliffs, calm waters and hilltops flanked with quaint Norwegian villages. Flam is a great destination to enjoy Norwegian scenery whether you choose to hop on a train through the wilderness or begin a hike into the mountains and valleys nearby.
Banff National Park: Canada
Canada’s Banff National Park is notorious for its wondrous natural beauty and it’s easy to see why. This Canadian Rockies gem boasts plenty of serene places to enjoy nature, towering, snow-capped mountains and Lake Louise – a vibrantly colored body of clear water known for its glacier views.
Pamukkale, Turkey, may be slightly off the beaten path, but this destination is well worth a visit thanks to its travertine terraces filled with warm hot springs. Not only is the scenery shockingly beautiful, but you can take a dip in the mineral-rich waters as the Romans once did.
Fiordland National Park: New Zealand
New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park is made up of nearly 3 million acres of mountains, scenic lakes, fiords and rainforests. The park is also home to plenty of wildlife, which are able to develop and grow thanks to the many habitats that see little human interference. Plan a visit here to take in the beauty and wonder of one of the least disturbed corners of the world.
Rothenburg is a village in Germany’s heartland that still looks very much like it did during the 13th century. Tourists plan trips to see this preserved medieval town with its quintessential German houses, buildings and fortified walls. What’s more, Rothenburg is an excellent destination for the holidays if Christmas markets are high are on your agenda.