20 Recently Discovered Vacation Destinations

According to Whim, the Gem State is a diamond in the rough!
Your Mom’s House
Located in your hometown, your mom’s house is the perfect destination for travelers looking to reconnect with younger versions of themselves. Decorated with old family photos, high school yearbooks, and other childhood mementos, your mom’s house invokes feelings of nostalgia, and more often, embarrassment, especially in those visiting with new girl/boyfriends. Do not miss out on the home-cooked meals, though be warned: guests are expected not only to help clean up after dinner, but also with simple chores around the house like folding laundry, replacing light bulbs, and taking a look at the shower, as it’s started making a weird noise whenever the hot water knob is turned all the way to the left. All told, it’s the type of place where, no matter how long your stay, it’s never quite enough. I mean, you took off all those days from work to go snorkeling in Cozumel. You can’t spare one afternoon to visit your mother?

What to Do There:
Jigsaw Puzzles
Mom’s eyesight isn’t what it used to be. See if you can’t find a piece with three pegs and two holes. That’s not it. I know it looks like it’ll fit, but it won’t.

Law & Order Reruns
There’s an SUV marathon on channel 11, if you can figure out how to use this new remote. So many buttons!

Sorting Through Those Boxes Marked “College” in the Attic
It’s been ten years since you graduated, don’t you think it’s time to get rid of some of this stuff?


Marés Gorduroso, Brazil
Nestled in the heart of Brazil’s Mato Grosso region, this former fishing village now reels in visitors by capitalizing on its proximity to the Amazonian rainforest. Unlike wilderness preserves that rarely allow people to venture into protected areas, the resorts of Marés Gorduroso advocate “unsustainable tourism,” encouraging guests to interact–and if the mood strikes them, destroy–large swaths of this increasingly rare habitat. While some say these resorts are nothing but work camps designed to attract cheap foreign labor, those who have seen 50 acres of jungle disappear in the eerie red glow of a controlled burn know the experience is not to be missed. Book a trip today and a portion of the purchase price will go toward relocating the indigenous Yawalapiti tribe, whose ancestral hunting grounds would happen make a great pasture for 500 head of cattle.

What to Do There:
Self-Guided Nature Excursions
Spend an afternoon in the driver’s seat of a Franklin 3600 hydrostatic tree feller, admiring the breathtaking diversity of the rainforest’s upper canopy as it comes crashing down around you.

Team and Road Building Exercises
Get to know your fellow tourists while working together to clear a path for logging trucks. Wielding a machete has never been this much fun.

Infirmary Visits
Be sure to try their signature cocktail: the quinine shot.


Gorkton, PA
A short drive from Gettysburg finds this picturesque hamlet, site of the Battle of Reggie’s Toe–known to history buffs as “the least important battle of the Civil War.” March the very same forest and fields in which no brave young men laid down their lives for the cause of freedom. Look upon the stream where lost members of General Robert E. Lee’s retreating army and six Yankees who’d missed their train waged a ferocious eight-minute skirmish. In the still air, one can almost hear the shoving and hollering that came to a bloodless end only when everyone agreed to pretend it had never happened. Of special note is the plaque commemorating those “fallen” men who tripped on some exposed tree roots while distracted by a bird (though historians now believe this detail is apocryphal).

What to Do There:
Battle Re-enactments
Re-enactments occur regularly, but are easy to miss. Often tourists will find they’ve been taking part in one for several minutes without realizing it.

Bullet Hunting
Comb the woods for real shot and shell. None were fired during the battle, but local teens frequently practice on tin cans while drinking.

Visitor’s Center/Cap’n Jack’s Crab Shack
Informational display presents several shoelaces believed to have been dropped during the battle. Also, $7.99 for a large popcorn shrimp platter.


Sea of Tranquility, The Moon
Searching for the next great vacation destination? Just look to the sky (assuming it’s night). This lunar lagoon caters to those with a desire to get away from it all: people, worries, gravity. Untouched by human feet since 1972, the beaches surrounding this lunar lagoon are as private as it gets this side of the Oort Cloud. Be sure to pack a pressurized, airtight spacesuit and plenty of SPF 200. With no atmosphere to deflect the sun’s UV rays, it doesn’t take long to get a killer tan. Also, though several million years of cosmic radiation bombardment has presumably destroyed any impurities in it, it’s best to abstain from drinking the water. Found only in the moon’s soil, the complicated mining equipment needed to extract it probably won’t make it past TSA screeners at Kennedy Space Center. Instead, stick to a orange-infused mixed drink the locals call “Tang.”

What to Do There:
Rock Collecting
Though somewhat picked over by NASA, there are still plenty of moon rocks littering the Sea of Tranquility’s shores. Note that these are pretty much the only souvenirs you’ll find up there.

You’ll feel like Tiger Woods, as the moon’s low gravity routinely makes drives soar for well over 300 yards. Good luck topping astronaut Alan Shepard’s club record of one.

The Dark Side of the Moon
Though it’s become a tourist trap since the release of the Pink Floyd album of the same name, it’s still worth a visit.


ADX Florence Correctional Facility, CO
Southern Colorado’s premier all-inclusive resort, ADX Florence (or Supermax, as it’s known to regulars), offers a relaxing, ascetic getaway unparalleled in the United States. Far from all human contact (except from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. every other Tuesday), you’ll be able to clear your head and get your mind right. Here’s the best part: during your stay, you don’t have to do a thing. In fact, it’s against facility policy to do much of anything. Meals? Chef’s choice. Laundry? Done for you by your fellow guests. Spend just two nights here and you’ll find yourself wondering why you ever considered going the gulag route.

What to Do There:
Visit the Fitness Center
Sorry, cardio fiends — this gym is strictly for getting your swell on. Most vacationers start pumping iron in advance of their stay, just in case they accidentally look at someone the wrong way during check-in.

Get a Razor Tattoo in Block D
Henna tattoos are great, but one done with a razor is a memento that will last a lifetime. Nothing says “ride or die” like a scar that says “ride or die.”

Start an Uprising
Take part in your own reality show-style coalition. Form alliances, hammer out compromises between rival factions, and maybe even score some sweet contraband for yourself.


123 Sesame Street
Not to be confused with the similarly themed Pennsylvania theme park, this squeaky clean thoroughfare is almost too good to be true, what with a crime rate of zero and the ability to enhance self-esteem in a single hour. Revel in the area’s rich wildlife, featuring rollerskating man-birds, the world’s last known wooly mammoth, and a unclassifiable, red-haired creature that answers to “Elmo.” Best of all, it’s easy to get to. Just ask. Parents, feel like your one of your kids is not like the others? Everyone is welcome at the only travel destination to be brought to you by the letter T.

What to Do There:
Learn to Count
Using your favorite food as a teaching tool, local fixture the Count will, well, teach you to count. One jellybean, wah-ah-ahh… TWO jellybeans, wah-ah-ahh…

Take Your Llama to the Dentist
You haven’t lived until you’ve taken a camelid for a root canal. Don’t have a llama? Don’t worry. Anything is possible on Sesame street — if you ask nicely.

Sit on Stoops for Hours
Enjoy the view from the steps of a brownstone somewhere in a city that looks vaguely like New York. Sitting on stoops in Sesame Street’s number-one pastime, mostly because you’re never allowed to go inside.

Enjoy a Bath
Bath time is more fun with toys and friends, like Ernie and his rubber duckie. [NOTE: extensive paperwork and legal representation may be required.]


Bellevue Ghost Town, AZ
Pull on a pair of Levi’s and wedge your feet into a pair of cowboy boots, because it’s time to take a tumbleweed-ridden stroll back in time. Check out the crumbling foundation of Arizona’s first post office, or dig for spittoon fragments at the former site of Brown’s Saloon. Those looking for adventure can swing by the long-defunct Gibson Cooper Iron Works and peer into its chasmic abandoned mine shaft, but be sure to watch your foot–oooooooooh nooooooooo! [Crashing and grunting noises]

What to Do There:
Don’t Panic
Be thankful everyone is alive. Ignore the fact that your ulna is poking out of your skin. It’ll heal. Remind yourself that you told family members where you were going before you left. Wait? You didn’t tell them?

Attempt Escape
Before the shock wears off and pain sets in, attempt to climb your way out. This won’t work. It will, however, turn your hands into mangled, bloody claws. Be thankful for those mangled, bloody claws. They’re all you have left.

Try Cannibalism
You’re going to be here a while. Determine which member of your tour group has the most meat, but the least fight left in them. If you’re having trouble deciding, go with whoever looks tastiest.


Musée Dave Coulier, Paris
Planning to spend your time in France taking in the same old sites like the Louvre and Eiffel Tower? Well, cut-it-out! Situated on the scenic Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the Musée Dave Coulier has quickly become the toast of Parisian culture, and for good reason. While there are several hundred other museums dedicated to Dave Coulier throughout the globe, the new Paris location was designed by Frank Gehry and is said contain the world’s most comprehensive collection of Dave Coulier relics and historical artifacts. Coulier himself blessed the building’s cornerstone (now known as “the Gladstone”) and is protected by armed guards 24 hours a day.

What to Do There:
America’s Funniest People Exhibit
Running from April 1, 2011 through June 1, 2012, this exhibit features art inspired by clips from the show and guest talks from people involved in its production. On April 20th, AFP theme song composer Philip Glass will speak about his process and what it was like to collaborate with Stephen Sondheim on the lyrics.

The “You Oughta Know” Wing
A landmark honoring the 1995 power ballad thought to be based on Coulier, this wing displays Alanis Morissette’s original handwritten lyrics sheet, as well as the microphone into which she screamed the song during the Jagged Little Pill recording sessions.


Brocono Mountains, PA
Ladies, feel free to skip ahead to the next destination. Resorts in the Bro-canos exclusively cater to those in homosocial relationships. Consistently ranked as America’s most bromantic getaway by Bro-mmer’s travel guides, these Pennsylvania peaks offer all sorts of activities to encourage male bonding (i.e., sports). In the winter months, the skiing is not to be missed (specifically the world-class broguls runs), while in the summer, the area’s many lakes and rivers host all sorts of aquatic games (including some very competitive water brolo leagues). Older, less active visitors can take advantage of the region’s high concentration of proctology practices and get a “brolonoscopy” exam in a supportive environment. If the trip goes well, couples looking to take their bromance to the next level might consider a weekend jaunt to Provincetown or Fire Island.

What to Do There:
Man-Cave Spelunking
Explore a network of caverns that, local legend has it, is where Lenape tribesmen would come to get away from their squaws and talk sports.

Arts & Crafts Workshops
Visitors needing a break from physical activity can learn make stuff with their hands by taking classes in man-crame, bro-cheting, and em-bro-idery.


G.H. Beach, TX
They say if you can remember Woodstock, you weren’t really there. The same is true for this popular spring break destination. Located on the Gulf of Mexico about 60 miles to the northeast of South Padre Island, most college students who come to this notorious party town have only the faintest recollections of what they did while there, no matter how long their stay. Despite the foggy memories, visitors generally look back on the experience with fondness. Though the prolonged blackouts are troubling…

What to Do There:
You’re never far from a bar at G.H. Beach. Perhaps it’s the proximity to the ocean, but for some reason drinks taste saltier than normal here. Not to mention potent.

Nothing feels better after a few super salty cocktails than moving your body.

Waking up in Strange Locations
Don’t bother booking a hotel. Chances are you won’t wind up sleeping there.

Thanks to Devon Coleman, Elliott Kalan, Matt Passet, and Greg Volk for contributing to this piece.

For even more unearthed destinations, head to wanderfly.com.