10 Best Natural Wonders for an Adventure of a Lifetime

  • Richat Structure of the Sahara Desert
  • Socotra Archipelago in Yemen
  • Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia
  • Namib Desert, Namibia
  • Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone
  • Belize Barrier Reef
  • Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar
  • Gates of Hell, Turkmenistan
  • Wulingyaun in Hunan, China
  • Antelope Canyon

    Slot Canyons of the Desert Southwest

    Photos take in the Slot Canyons of Utah, Arizona and California have a surreal appearance – more like an abstract paintings than actual photographs. These narrow canyons, deeper than they are wide, formed over thousands of years as water gradually wore away at the sandstone or limestone.

    Photo courtesy of theobine

  • Richat Structure

    Richat Structure of the Sahara Desert

    Known as the Eye of the Planet, the Richat Structure looks like a bull's eye painted in the middle of the Sahara Desert. The strange concentric circle formation, caused by an ancient meteor impact, is even visible from space.

    Photo courtesy of Jim Trodel

  • Socotra Dragon blood tree

    Socotra Archipelago in Yemen

    The four islands and two islets that make up the Socotra Archipelago off the coast of Yemen are home to a stunning and strange assortment of plant and animal species, a vast majority of which are found nowhere else on earth. This rich biodiversity earned the islands a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

    Photo courtesy of Gerry & Bonni

  • Bolivian Salt Flats

    Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

    For a truly alien landscape, head to Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. The largest salt flat in the world looks like the setting of a Salvador Dali Painting. During the wet season, a thin layer of glassy water mirrors the sky to create a surreal horizon line. While the salt flat is typically devoid of life, pink flamingos come to breed here each November.

    Photo courtesy of psyberartist

  • Namib Desert

    Namib Desert, Namibia

    The coastal Namib Desert in Namibia is the oldest and one of the most beautiful on earth. The name Namib means "vast place," and the immense sand dunes dominate the landscape of nearly all of Western Namibia and have done so for more than 2 million years.

    Photo courtesy of Santiago Medem

  • Grand Prismatic Spring

    Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone

    Yellowstone National Park is a treasure trove of fascinating geological formations, and the Grand Prismatic Spring tops the list. It's the largest hot spring in the United States and the third largest in the world, but it's vibrant coloration is what keeps the visitors coming. Brilliant blues, greens, yellows and oranges stand in stark contrast to the surrounding landscape.

    Photo courtesy of Domenico Salvagnin

  • Belize Barrier Reef

    Belize Barrier Reef

    Stateside scuba divers don't have to go nearly so far as Australia for stunning coral reefs. The Belize Barrier Reef is the largest in the northern hemisphere, and several threatened species, including manatees, sea turtles and marine crocodiles, call the reef home.

    Photo courtesy of Jetske

  • Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

    Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar

    In a land known for bizarre landscapes, the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park stands out as one of the strangest. Needle-like limestone karsts form a nearly impenetrable maze in a remote area of Madagascar not visited until 1998. The forests, mangroves and lakes of the park house endangered lemurs and many species of birds.

    Photo courtesy of Padmanaba01

  • Darvaza Gas Crater

    Gates of Hell, Turkmenistan

    Next time you're wandering the deserts of Turkmenistan, be careful not to fall into the Gates of Hell. This 328-foot wide hole in the desert has been on fire for more than 40 years and can be seen glowing from miles off. In 1971, Russian geologists accidentally drilled into a massive underground cavern filled with natural gas. To prevent the poisonous gas from leaking out, the hole was lit on fire. It's been burning ever since.

    Photo courtesy of P.Lechien

  • Wulingyuan

    Wulingyaun in Hunan, China

    China's natural wonders often get overlooked in favor of its man made ones, like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, and it's a shame. Wulingyuan, located in Hunan Province, contains more than 3,000 limestone pillars rising up to 700 feet in the sky. The landscape here is so stunning, it inspired scenes from James Cameron's Avatar.

    Photo courtesy of John Philip


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