Tuesday, August 11, 2020 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

10 of the Coolest Destinations You’ve Never Heard Of

So you think the Eiffel Tower and Disneyland are the end-all vacation spots? Time to start thinking outside the box! Take yourself (or your family) to somewhere totally unique and just as awesome as the typical vacation places. Take a look at these ten awesome attractions and get inspired!
Saba, Dutch Caribbean

You know Anguilla, St. Barths, and St. Martin, but do you know Saba? Saba is a tiny, five square mile volcanic island that is the fourth island in this famous cluster of Caribbean communities. Unlike the others, the island is not bursting with tourist activities and has no beaches. Instead, it’s a quiet, forested rock rising out of the sea. Despite its lack of beaches, it has plenty of activities. You can hike to the highest point in the Netherlands and scuba dive in one of the Caribbean’s best diving locations.
Saba, Dutch Caribbean
Katavi National Park, Tanzania

Katavi is located in the Kigoma region of Tanzania. It’s not often frequented by tourists, but it has some of the richest wildlife you’ll find in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s also the third largest national park in Tanzania, although it’s one of the least busy. You can take a walking or driving safari in the park. Be prepared to see plenty of wildlife, including the “Big Five” of Africa: lions, buffalo, rhinos, elephants, and leopards.
Katavi National Park
Malindi, Kenya

This coastal town strikes the perfect balance of culture and comfort. You can stay in a comfortable hotel and still get to experience authentic Swahili culture. Learn about the Arab influence in this tribal region, enjoy the Indian Ocean, and watch an acrobatic show all in one trip. There’s plenty to do for the whole family!
Malindi, Kenya
Montezuma Well, Arizona

Montezuma Well is not among the most popular of Native ruin sites, but it’s one of the best for many reasons. For one, there are hardly ever tourists blocking your views. For another, it’s a giant sinkhole of water in the middle of the desert, which just may make you cry for joy (although the water isn’t fit for consumption)! For a third, it lets you get up close to the ruins in a way that Montezuma Castle and other parks no longer allow you to do. Of course, you can’t climb in the ruins, but you can walk up close to them and peer inside. You can even take a dip in an ancient canal, dug by the Sinagua centuries ago.

Las Cuevas de Guadix, Andalusia, Spain

This town seems to be only possible in the pages of a fantasy novel. Many of the buildings were dug from the rocks with hand tools centuries ago. Today, they are still utilized, and are kept up beautifully. You can stay in one of these cave hotels when you visit, and admire the incredible architectural skills of the long-forgotten builders.
las cuevas de guadix
Gljúfrabúi Waterfall, Iceland

On the off-chance that you are a huge fan of Icelandic tourism, you may have heard of Seljalandsfoss waterfall. However, you most certainly will not have heard of Gljúfrabúi, a cascade just a short walk away from its more popular brother. If you find yourself in the frigid north, be sure to discover this beauty.
Gljúfrabúi Waterfall, Iceland
Prasat Hin Phimai Khmer Shrine, Thailand

When you visit Thailand, be sure to see all the famous shrines and temples, but don’t neglect the lesser known ones like Prasat Hin Phimai Khmer Shrine. It was built around a millennium ago, and in its day it was likely the center of a thriving metropolis. Today, its romantic ruins are rather lonely.
Prasat Hin Phimai Khmer Shrine
Bay of Fires, Tasmania

This Australian bay is filled with beaches with a vibrant contrasts of colors: the pale yellow of the sand, the deep blue of the sea, and the fiery red of the lichen-covered rocks. You can hike, camp, and play in the national parks and beaches all along the bay.
Bay of Fires, Tasmania
Fordlandia, Brazil

Henry Ford may have been a whiz at making cars, but he was not so great at the rubber plant business. This failed rubber factory is now a ghost town that you can visit. Believe it or not, it’s actually a popular place for Brazilian tours to stop.
La Joya Honda

This giant waterless crater has been a mystery to locals since it was discovered. Many legends surround the area, including tales of treasure and aliens. Take a trip deep into the desert to see it for yourself, and get a glimpse at the natural world of Mexico as you go.
La Joya Honda

If you’ve become bored with the usual tourist destinations, want to avoid the throngs of holiday travelers, or are just looking for the unusual, these unsung sites are for you! Dare to try something a little different to create unique memories.


  1. Hannah
    December 10, 2016 - 7:25 am

    I’ve heard of a few of these places, but I think the most impressive one is that waterfall in Iceland, absolutely stunning. I would also love to go to that place in Spain, they all look so amazing. Sometimes the best part of travel is seeing things that are out of the ordinary, not just the same old same old and these places are definitely the best highlights for that kind of experience. Great roundup.

  2. Denise
    December 10, 2016 - 5:47 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration! We’re planning on spending the first 4 months of 2017 on all continents and I’m in charge of jotting down the itinerary. This is the gutsiest thing I’ve done so far – except for quitting my day job and starting working as a freelancer – and I can’t wait!


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