I have a whole bucket list of places that I want to travel to. Most are long-time wishes based on random bits from my childhood. Like Indonesia, for instance. In fourth grade, we had a guest come in to teach my classroom a few phrases of Indonesian, and I’ve wanted to go to Indonesia ever since. But as you can see, that’s a very abstract way to make a travel bucket list!
Then about a year ago, my list grew less abstract. It expanded first to state parks – both parks that friends of mine had been to and raved about, and others around the state purely due to a desire to explore with my parks pass – and national parks after reading Leave Only Footprints. And more recently, I finally managed to get onto hiking- and exploring-TikTok, and I’ve started to discover the most amazing places to visit! In no particular order:
The Hoh Rainforest, PNW – Inside this temperate rainforest, there is a spot called “One Square Inch of Silence,” marked with a red stone. Very few places of absolute silence can be found in the US – I believe fewer than a dozen? – and this area of the rainforest is one.
Black sand beaches of Iceland – Or really, I suppose any black sand beaches would work, but I love that these consist of larger pebbles. The sound the waves make on the rocks as they roll in and out with the waves is just incredible.
The Ice Castles – Not a natural formation, but a business, but essentially there are five spots where this company creates winter castles out of icicles for people to walk through and they look so cool! I used to live only two hours from one of these but never knew they existed until a few weeks ago.
Desert Botanical Gardens, AZ – I’m not normally the hugest cactus fan, but this place looks awesome, combining succulents and glass-blown artwork, and it just seems like a really cool place to learn more about desert environments.
Granite Falls Fish Ladder, PNW – Again, any fish ladders would work, it doesn’t have to be these, but I’d just love to see them in the right time of year!
Lake Champlain (Vermont) when the ice has broken up and there are crusty ice waves!
Belly of the Dragon, UT – A drainage tunnel carved into rock under highways that continue on until eventually reaching a slot canyon. !!! Looks amazing…unless there’s rain, heh.
Iceland basalt columns – Really, I just need to go to Iceland, yeah? These look so amazing. I’d love to hike along them.
Old Zoo Nature Trails, TX – These ruins of a former zoo in north TX are supposedly haunted.
Willamette National Forest, OR – In particular, Tamolitch Falls (the Blue Hole) and Clear Lake, both of which are stunning turquoise waters and seem like an entirely different world!
Natural Tunnel State Park, VA – Naturally carved gigantic tunnel with an active railroad going through it and tons of wilderness to hike through. A fascinating intersection of nature and humanity.
Glass beaches near Fort Bragg, CA – I guess I shouldn’t say that it’s sad these are slowly disappearing, considering they only existed in the first place due to dumped garbage, but they look so beautiful, and like the black sand beach above, the sound of the smooth glass pebbles in the waves is just divine!
Moraine Lake, Alberta – A glacier-fed extremely blue lake bordering (possibly inside) Canada’s Banff National Park. Surrounded by mountains and just gorgeous!
Bonus: Jules Undersea Lodge, FL – This is not on my bucket list, because it sounds frankly terrifying, but it’s too cool not to mention. You literally scuba dive down to an underwater hotel room, which somehow doesn’t fill with water despite you actually swimming into it, and then after your stay, you have to reacclimatize to the decreasing water pressure slowly as you go back up to the surface. Not for me, thank you, but how cool is that??
**Pictures are from my recent hikes, not from these places. I wish I could include pictures of the locations themselves, but I don’t want to take anyone’s copyrighted work even with photo credit, and I wasn’t finding public domain photos. The links out include photos or video!
PS – This list started a week ago with half a dozen places. It has more than doubled in the last week and I expect it to continue to grow even longer very quickly…