Best Of, Destinations, National Parks, Stories, Wander
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The Ends of the World

There’s a vast sea in eastern California. Not of water but of desert. Death Valley, the lowest elevation point in North America, is another world entirely. The vast landscape broken up by mountains is not only remote but also defined by its incredibly low elevation.

Some destinations are at the heart of civilizations, whose charm comes from the bustle and constant change such as Paris or New York. Some places, like Death Valley, are fascinating for being maybe not the opposite but being remote and being away from it all.

 

Northernmost City in the US

About 4,500 people consider Barrow, Alaska, home. Considering this is the northernmost settlement in North America, sitting within the Arctic Circle, there’s a strong cultural aspect to the city. The Inupiat Eskimo have been settled there for over 1000 years; but Barrow is also home to Americans, Filipinos and other ethnicities. From Barrow, you can take tours to Point Barrow, the northernmost destination in Northern America, such as those offered by the Top of the World Hotel. If you’re there during the winter, make sure to step outside (or look outside) at night to witness the amazing Aurora Borealis.

 

Southern Most City in the World

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Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel (Photo: Remi Jouan)

Three different cities claim to be the southernmost city in the world, all located in South America. Of the 3, Puerto Williams in Chile is actually the most southern. But it is also much smaller, home to under 3,000 people. The other two cities are Punta Arenas, also in Chile, and Ushuaia in Argentina. From Ushuaia, take the End of the World train to the Tierra Del Fuego National Park facing Antarctica. You won’t be alone though. At the end of the world here, you’ll see a series of ponds created by beavers. If you can, climb to the top of the Cerro Guanaco for a great view or walk the 800-meter De La Isla path along the waters.

 

Wettest Place on Earth

Tutunendo in Colombia is among a few destinations in the world vying for title of Wettest Place on Earth. In Western Colombia, near the Pacific Ocean, Tutunendo is covered by constant clouds and experiences on average 354 inches of rain a year. If you visit, you’ll find incredibly lush jungles covering much of the region around Tutenendo.

 

Designated Dark Sky Places

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Sark Island (Courtesy Sark Tourism Office)

Ever wonder where those pictures are taken of the Milky Way and where every star is as clear as flecks of paint on a canvas? Thanks to designated dark sky places across the world, wonder no more. One such place is the Isle of Sark in the UK. A small island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy, there is so little light pollution that the island gained their status in 2011. Helping its status is the fact that there is no public lighting and cars are banned. Naked-eye astronomy has never been better.

 

The World’s Hottest Place

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Death Valley’s Badwater Basin (Photo: Photographersnature)

The lowest point in North America is the Badwater Basin. One of the largest parks in the United States, Death Valley, home to Badwater Basin, is a world unto itself. A vast desert that most people think of as a wasteland, Death Valley is an ecological wonder, home to many species of animals, most notably the Bighorn Sheep. Visit the Artist’s Drive where you’ll see a rainbow of colors across the rocks caused by the oxidation of different minerals. In the spring, parts of the park come alive with desert wildflowers.

 

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