Summer is the perfect time to plan a vacation. Whether some is a student or they've got a full-time job, it may be easier to have some time off to do what they want. And we all know that summer also the time to relax. It’s not just the nice weather—it’s the vibe. That’s why now is the time to travel.
Nowadays, it can feel like everyone is going to the same destinations. Just one look at social media will show a ton of influencers hanging out in the same hot spots week after week. What if someone wants to get off the beaten path and get into nature? What if they don’t want to have a typical vacation and instead, want to witness something totally different that they could never experience at home?
That’s when they have to start doing their research outside of the typical travel guides. Lucky for those people, there’s a ton of great info out there nowadays, even when it comes to destinations that fall outside the norm. For anyone who wants to plan an interesting vacation, we have plenty of ideas. Here are 25 weird but wonderful vacation spots that seem to defy nature.
25 World’s Largest Salt Flats In Southern Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni, known as the Bolivian Salt Flats, is located in southern Bolivia. It may not sound too exciting on paper, but in person it is truly a sight to behold. According to Matador Network, this is best done as part of a road trip—you can rent a car and drive out on to the salt flats! Definitely not your average road trip, right? These views of the salt flats are unlike anything you have ever seen before.
24 Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina
Have you ever dreamed about visiting bustling cities in Argentina like Buenos Aires? Well, what about going outside of the cities and main tourist spots and checking out some of the country’s most naturally beautiful landscapes? According to Atlas Obscura, the Perito Moreno Glacier is a fairly popular attraction, but it is also a chance to see the true beauty and power of nature. You definitely don’t see landscapes like this every day! It is an amazing thing to see.
23 Ayers Rock, Australia
Everyone wants to visit Australia, right? Honestly, why wouldn’t you? There are fun cities, gorgeous beaches, incredible wildlife, and the outback is truly a bucket list destination. According to Parks Australia, Ayers Rock should be on any Australian itinerary. This is a massive red rock formation in the middle of the desert. No, you’re not allowed to climb on it—but even from a distance, it can provide you with some great photo ops! It is definitely an impressive landmark.
22 Vik Black Sand Beach, Iceland
Iceland is a hot destination right now—and for good reason! This island nation is full of natural wonders that you simply cannot find anywhere else. According to Guide to Iceland, Vik should definitely be on any Icelandic itinerary! This black sand beach is simply otherworldly. Be warned: on some days the waters will be gentle, but on other days, the waves can get very high. It is always best to keep a good distance from the water on this beach!
21 The Fjords Of Northern Norway
Have you ever seen photos of Norway that look simply unbelievable, with towering cliffs, gorgeous sunsets, and clear waters below? You have probably caught a glimpse of the fjords. These natural cliff formations have stunned visitors and locals alike. According to Visit Norway, there are technically fjords all along the many coastlines of the country, but the most beautiful are in northern Norway. Trust us, it will be worth the trek—visit in the summer to avoid the harsh Norwegian winter.
20 Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
We admit, this destination is right along the road well traveled—the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia are definitely not a secret anymore! Families, backpackers, and all kinds of other travelers like to spend time here. According to Matador Network, these lakes are one of the most popular spots in Croatia for a reason—they are simply beautiful and peaceful, and spending time here is super relaxing. You can float under the waterfalls for as long as you want and just feel bliss.
19 Victoria Falls In Zambia And Zimbabwe
The sight of Victoria Falls in person is mind blowing. This massive waterfall is split across the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, and while it does attract many tourists every year, it tends to draw a more adventurous crowd! According to Zambia Tourism, Victoria Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls on the planet because the water falling from such a high height creates a smokey effect—the waterfall looks like it could be a mythical destination in a movie.
18 Shilin Stone Forest, China
When people think of China, we often think of very busy, highly populated cities like Beijing or Shanghai. But have you ever considered all of the natural wonders to be found in the Chinese countryside? After all, this country is enormous—there is so much to see! According to Atlas Obscura, many tourists still do not know about the strange rock formations of the Shilin Stone Forest. It truly looks like something out of a film set on another planet!
17 Spotted Lake, British Columbia, Canada
Whoa! Have you ever seen anything like this before? We are going to guess that the answer is no! Spotted Lake is located in British Columbia, and it is a truly unique place. Why would a lake look like this? According to The New York Times, there is nothing mysterious about the patterns on the lake—the spots are naturally occurring because of the mineral composition of the water. Apparently, native people used to use these minerals in healing ceremonies.
16 Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
How did Giant’s Causeway get its funny name? According to UNESCO, the natives named it this because there was a legend that it was formed by two giants after they got in a fight! Well, here’s the thing—unfortunately, the real story isn’t quite as cool as that. The rocks are simply a natural formation. But the good news is that it looks just as amazing in person, and it is very easy to book a guided tour to see it!
15 Travertine Pools In Pamukkale, Turkey
You may have never considered visiting Turkey before, but although some areas of the country might not be 100% safe for tourists, there are still countless places for visitors to stay and enjoy with no issues. Pamukkale is one of those places. According to Atlas Obscura, these “travertine” pools are a great spot to relax, soak, and watch the sunset. It is known for being a very romantic destination, so if you are planning a couples trip, definitely consider Pamukkale.
14 Lake Hillier, Western Australia
Can you imagine seeing a bright pink lake in person? How would something like this even happen? Lake Hillier in Western Australia may look like it can’t be real, but rest assured, it is, and you can go visit—under special circumstances According to Atlas Obscura, this is another strange lake that has resulted from totally natural causes—scientists believe there is a pink plankton in the lake. The only way to see it? You’ll have to take a helicopter ride!
13 The Tianzi Mountains, Northern China
Another Chinese destination has made it on to the list! This time, it’s the incredible Tianzi Mountains. According to Travel China Guide, these mountains are absolutely a must-see. If you ever get the chance to go to China, you cannot skip them—no chance! No, you do not have to be a pro mountain climber to get a good view of these mountains. There is a cable car system that will take you through them so you can experience it.
12 Monasteries Of Meteora, Greece
When people think of Greek vacations, they often think of the islands, the temples, and the historical museums. But have you ever considered doing something a little different on your Greek getaway? Why not check out the monasteries of the Meteora region? According to Matador Network, these are still working monasteries, and you can buy many interesting souvenirs here, including honey that the nuns and monks produce with local beehives. This is definitely a unique stop for your future travels!
11 Goblin Valley State Park, Utah
America’s national parks are full of natural wonders. If you live in North America, it may not seem as exotic as going to Europe or Asia, but you do not want to skip out! One interesting natural formation is Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park. According to American Southwest, these weird little rocks are known as hoodoo rocks, and the park is full of them! Where did it earn the nickname “Goblin?” Well, locals thought the rocks looked like little goblins!
10 Glass Beach, California
If you have ever dreamed of driving along the California coastline, you may want to make sure you stop at Glass Beach. According to California Beaches, all of the glass on the beach did not suddenly wash up one day—it was sort of a local project. Over the years people just began adding glass to the beach, and eventually, it became covered in glass! There are very few beaches like this in the world, and yes, you can take some seaglass!
9 Fly Geyser, Nevada
How on earth does something like Fly Geyser form? Now, many of the interesting places on this list have resulted from completely natural events, but Fly Geyser is not one of them—as you may have been able to guess! According to Atlas Obscura, this small geothermal geyser was created accidentally by people drilling for a well.The colorful algae on the outside of the geyser is constantly exposed to hot, moist temperatures, and the reaction causes the crazy colors!
8 Marble Caves, Chile
The Marble Caves in Chile look like someone took a paintbrush to them and created these beautiful swirls. It looks like something you could find in a modern art museum—but no, they are not an artist’s project. They are a creation of Mother Nature! According to Travel and Leisure, you can hop on a guided boat tour through the caves, which are located in a beautiful region of southern Chile called Patagonia. You will feel like a mermaid in her grotto!
7 Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand
If you have wanderlust, it’s almost a guarantee that New Zealand is on your list of dream destinations. This country just seems to have it all—who wouldn’t want to visit? According to Historic Mysteries, the Moeraki Boulders on the coast of New Zealand’s South Island were a bit of a mysterious landform—people had no idea how they could have formed! However, scientists have determined that the rocks were naturally formed over 60 million years—but they are still worth seeing!
6 Caño Cristales River, Colombia
What’s going on here? Well, let’s just say that this river is something you might want to see with your own eyes one day—it’s that beautiful in person! According to Travel and Leisure, the Caño Cristales River is one of the world’s strangest natural wonders—it gets these colors because of a certain species of algae that blooms in the water between July and December. So if you want to see the river in its full glory, time it right!
5 The Wave, Coyote Butts, Arizona/Utah Border
The American Southwest is full of incredible landscapes. Some of it looks like it can’t even be real—but you would be amazed at what Mother Nature can do all on her own! “The Wave” is an amazing natural rock formation located in Utah, but it is easily accessed from just across the Arizona border—if you have a permit! According to Bearfoot Theory, you must get permission in advance to visit The Wave because it is in a remote desert area.
4 White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
Another beauty in the American Southwest! Seriously, if you’re not already planning a road trip out here, you might want to get started and ask your best friend to get the GPS! White Sands in New Mexico is a fantastic destination for the adventurous traveler. According to the National Park Service website, White Sands is considered one of the most beautiful places in the US, and it is very easy to drive through, so it is super accessible for all travelers.
3 Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Philippines
Have you ever wondered what an underground river looks like? According to UNESCO, Puerto Princesa National Park is home to one of the most beautiful underground rivers in the world. This is a lovely region of the Philippines, and you can easily take a guided tour with a local guide into the caves to float down this river. There is really nothing else that compares. It is well worth the money—but good news, the Philippines is an affordable destination!
2 Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand are truly out of this world. Exploring these caves will make you feel like you have just landed on an alien planet and you are discovering something that no one else could imagine. It is an experience that cannot be duplicated. According to Waitomo Caves, the glowworms live in these caves by the millions, and they naturally light up in the darkness like fireflies, making for a one of a kind guided tour.
1 Sequoia National Park, California
You may have seen photos of trees that look as tall as skyscrapers before—and if you would like to see them in person one day, look no further than Sequoia National Park in California. According to Visit Sequoia, the park is located in the Sierra Nevadas, and walking amongst these giant trees is truly a humbling experience. You will suddenly feel smaller than ever before, and tourists say that they often gain a greater respect for nature after visiting.
References: matadornetwork.com, atlasobscura.com, parksaustralia.com, guidetoiceland.com, visitnorway.com, zambiatourism.com, thenewyorktimes.com, unesco.com, travelchinaguide.com, californiabeaches.com, americansouthwest.com, travelandleisure.com, historicmysteries.com, bearfoottheory.com, nps.gov, visitsequoia.com, waitomocaves.com