Your travel wish list likely includes favorite places you want to see again, along with places you have yet to visit. But what about other parts of the world that perhaps you didn't know existed? It's time to test your geography and pique your curiosity with these seven destinations.
Seven Sister Falls, Shillong, Meghalaya, India; Photo by Rasheda Akter/Unsplash.com
This one requires a tourist permit to visit, but India’s northern state of Meghalaya is worth the effort. Officially the wettest place on the planet, an average of 470'' of annual rainfall produces verdant growth and beauty, including extraordinary waterfalls around the state. In Nongriat, waterways are crossed via living bridges, created by the centuries-old technique of hand-braiding tree roots. A double-decker root bridge in Nongriat is believed to be more than 250 years old.
View of Sint Eustatius seen from St. Kitts; Photo by eqroy/stock.adobe.com
Sint Eustatius, also known as Statia, is among the least visited of the six islands in the Dutch Caribbean. Statia has mostly attracted savvy divers to its more than 60 noteworthy dive sites in the protected waters of Marine Park. In fact, until 2022, there were no full-service hotels on the entire island. There's also a hefty dose of U.S. history to be found in Statia. Once one of the busiest ports in the world, due to its access to both the Caribbean and the New World, Statia was the first foreign entity to recognize the sovereignty of the newly formed United States.
Alpine stream high up in Talkeetna, Alaska mountains; Photo by Michael Connor Photo/stock.adobe.com
With just over 1,000 residents, Talkeetna is quintessential, small-town Alaska, with all of the salmon fishing, bear spotting, and nature gawking anyone could want. It's especially intriguing in the winter when cross-country ski trails traverse the area, but many believe the quirky town is worth exploring all year long. Talkeetna is an ideal layover on the way to Denali National Park. You'll find the most scenic, alfresco dining at Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, with stellar views of Mount Denali, the highest peak in the United States.
A girl with a backpack walks along path on Paradise Bay on Rottnest Island, Australia; Photo by Jakub/stock.adobe.com
Just off Australia’s western coast and easily accessible by ferry from Perth or Fremantle, the entirety of Rottnest Island is a protected nature reserve. Expect to enjoy ultimate calm and relaxation, with white-sand beaches, sprawling vistas, and laid-back exploration of the island's natural wonders. The small businesses in the main settlement are also a popular destination. The star attraction is the island's massive population of ever-smiling quokkas, aptly described as cat-sized marsupials. These happy, carefree creatures are often willing to pose for photos as they roam the streets and try to weasel their way into restaurants.
Hartabasca River, Amos, Québec, Canada; Photo by Claude Laprise/stock.adobe.com
Much of far-reaching Quebec is uninhabited, with most of the population residing closer to the U.S. border. However, Abitibi-Témiscamingue is viewed as an excellent gateway for going farther north before civilization becomes sparse or nonexistent. People are few in this quiet region, but wildlife and parks are plenty, offering all-season outdoor recreation in spectacular settings. Refuge Pageau, located in Amos, Quebec, offers unique opportunities to get up close to elusive creatures, including gray wolves and white moose.
Mt. Sasha in Siskiyou, California; Photo by bullsiphoto/stock.adobe.com
Not all of California's natural splendors are contained within the state's national parks system. The northern county of Siskiyou is home to majestic Mount Shasta, the Lava Beds National Monument, and plenty of mesmerizing waterfalls. There are also several historic mining towns where you can catch the westward expansion vibes of 19th-century America and hunker down for the night between adventures.
Città di San Marino, San Marino, Photo by Matteo Panara/Unsplash.com
It’s possible to drive through San Marino without realizing you’ve done it, because this tiny nation—the fifth smallest in the world by area—is no more than a former city-state that retained its independence when Italy was united. Completely surrounded by the rest of Italy, San Marino's capital still includes the medieval walls that encircle the historic architecture and cobblestone streets of its original village.