Nothing gets my wanderlust going like being iced in for a few days. If you’re like me, the most traveling you have done since Sunday is from the front porch to the end of the drive – maybe down the street to retrieve your children or your pets who have been out playing in the snow and ice.
The great thing about being trapped indoors is that I have had plenty of time to dream of getting the heck out of my house. Fortunately, I didn’t lose electricity or Internet during Snow/Sleet/Freezing Rain-Jam 2011, so a world of travel opportunities has been at my idle fingertips.
In my virtual travels this week, I came across a Forbes magazine article that highlights the world’s most unique travel destinations. Those that offer landscapes, attractions or other experiences you can truly find nowhere else in the world.
Since all I could do was dream anyway, I clicked away on “dream” location after “dream” location and trekked via computer to unique places like Bhutan, the Himalayan country also known as the “last Shangri-la.”
I also managed to click on over to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, the site of the world’s largest inland Delta; check out the yakisugi cedar trees of Yakushima, Japan; and indulge in a virtual geothermal steam bath in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon.
The Forbes destination that interested me most, however, was one that was in somewhat of an easy reach for a southern girl like me. A short flight south would land me in Puerto Rico, where I could make my way to Mosquito Bay. On its name, Mosquito Bay doesn’t sound exotic or fun, but the perhaps poorly named bay on the southern shore of Isla de Vieques has been designated as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. Protected by a border of mangrove trees along the shore, millions of plantlike organisms called dinoflagellates give the water a bright blue-green glow year-round from dusk until dawn. It is so beautiful that Travel and Leisure named the bay one of the 50 most romantic spots in the world.
As I considered the unique spots across the globe that I would like to visit, I also thought of the rich variety of destinations here in the South that are so familiar we may forget how unique or special they actually are.
From the wild horses on North Carolina’s Outer Banks to Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave; the Cajun-Creole culture of Louisiana to the sounds of Beale Street in Memphis and Music Row in Nashville; and from historic Key West to the history-filled Civil War sites that dot the region, we don’t have to travel the world to find unique vacation spots. But as I sit here on day three of an Atlanta snow/ice mess, I have to admit, it is pretty to think of jetting off to the Maldives, the Azores or Madagascar.
Has the ice standstill fueled your travel dreams? Where are some of your dream destinations? What are your favorite unique spots in the southern U.S. to visit? What makes them special?