13 Amazing Places to Visit Before They Disappear

SAVING & SPENDING - TRAVEL
Consider putting these spots at the top of your travel bucket list before the opportunity’s gone.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Many of the world’s once-great attractions and destinations have been lost over time, whether due to natural conditions or other events, such as war and urban development.

In today’s world, we still have plenty of amazing places to visit — but for how much longer? From the Great Barrier Reef to Venice, Italy, here are the places you need to visit before it’s too late.

And if you're going to expedite a visit, you may be able to earn travel rewards with the right credit card. 

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Amazon rainforest

Location: About 60% of the Amazon rainforest is in Brazil

What’s happening: Deforestation and fires

The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest rainforest and is also home to some of the most unique species of plants and animals on the planet. But if deforestation and massive fires continue to clear the rainforest, it’s predicted that much of the area will eventually see a permanent change.

Why you should visit: Remote and virtually untouched land awaits your next adventure. Make sure to compare top travel credit cards to help find the right one for your next trip!


Dead Sea

frag/Adobe Dead Sea coastline

Location: Between Israel and Jordan

What’s happening: It’s shrinking

The Dead Sea is dying. Or at least, it’s disappearing. This historic lake between Israel and Jordan is shrinking at a rapid pace each year, which is increasing its already high levels of salt. 

Why you should visit: It’s the lowest land elevation on Earth and swimming in its salty waters feels like floating.

Everglades National Park

Francisco/Adobe Everglades national park

Location: Florida, U.S.

What’s happening: It’s shrinking

The largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S. and a World Heritage Site is slowly disappearing, and many of its inhabitants are along with it. Agricultural and urban development are taking land from the Everglades, while invasive species of plants and animals are spreading and destroying native species.

Why you should visit: Filled with beautiful landscapes and unique plants and wildlife, there’s nowhere in the world quite like the Everglades.

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Galapagos Islands

Grispb/Adobe Galapagos Islands

Location: Ecuador

What’s happening: Ecosystem degradation

Because of increased tourism, illegal fishing and poaching, as well as the introduction of invasive species, the famed Galapagos Islands are seeing a negative impact on their fragile ecosystems. 

Why you should visit: It’s a chain of beautiful, volcanic islands filled with endemic (not found anywhere else in the world) species of plants and animals.

Glacier National Park

Tim/Adobe Glacier National park

Location: Montana, U.S.

What’s happening: Glaciers are melting

Due to climate change, the glaciers that Glacier National Park is named for are vanishing over time, with a prediction for a total disappearance by 2100. With less ice, there has also been more fire, with an increased number of wildfires contributing to more park closures in recent years.

Why you should visit: It’s one of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S., offering pristine scenery and dramatic landscapes.

Grand Canyon National Park

Krzysztof Wiktor/Adobe Grand Canyon

Location: Arizona, U.S.

What’s happening: Irreversible changes

It’s not likely the Grand Canyon will disappear anytime soon, but this world-famous national park has seen some irreversible changes over the years and more changes are bound to happen. This is primarily due to invasive species being introduced to the area and human development, such as the Glen Canyon Dam being built.

Why you should visit: It’s world-famous for a reason, offering jaw-dropping vistas, hiking, camping, and more.

Great Barrier Reef

Coral_Brunner/Adobe Great Barrier Reef

Location: Australia

What’s happening: It’s dying

Coral reefs are living creatures, and we might not have the largest collection of coral reefs for much longer. The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia is suffering from worldwide climate change, which is killing many of its corals.

Why you should visit: It’s one of the seven wonders of the natural world, filled with wonderful plants and wildlife, and it’s disappearing quickly.

Great Wall of China

yuri_yavnik/Adobe Great Wall of China

Location: China

What’s happening: Deterioration

An architectural wonder that was started nearly 2,000 years ago, the Great Wall of China still stands today as a monumental work of historical significance. But not all of it’s still there. It’s estimated that around 30% of the wall has eroded or simply disappeared over time, due to natural occurrences and human interference.

Why you should visit: As one of the new seven wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China is an incredible feat of construction and longevity.

Madagascar

dennisvdwater/Adobe Madagascar

Location: Island country in Southeast Africa

What’s happening: Deforestation

Deforestation is widespread across Madagascar since the local population requires firewood and charcoal for their everyday needs. This has contributed to a large loss of habitat for plants and wildlife in the area. 

Why you should visit: After splitting from the African continent around 160 million years ago, Madagascar has become a veritable natural paradise, with forests, coral reefs, mangroves, and more.

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Mount Kilimanjaro

Photocreo Bednarek/Adobe Mount Kilimanjaro

Location: Tanzania

What’s happening: Ice cap is shrinking

If you’re familiar with Mount Kilimanjaro, you know about its giant ice cap at the top. It’s part of a well-recognized backdrop in photos of Kilimanjaro National Park below the mountain. But the ice cap is shrinking, and predictions say it could be gone completely during this century.

Why you should visit: It’s the highest point in Africa and the largest free-standing (not part of a mountain range) mountain in the world.

Outer Banks

oldmn/Adobe Outer Banks, NC

Location: North Carolina, U.S.

What’s happening: Beach is eroding

The Outer Banks (not the TV show, but where the show is set) are shrinking each year, giving up land to the relentless waves of the ocean. For the residents who live here, it’s a seemingly losing battle to preserve the area they know and love.

Why you should visit: The Outer Banks barrier islands provide beautiful beaches and summertime escapes for visitors nationwide.

Patagonia

travelview/Adobe Patagonia

Location: Argentina and Chile

What’s happening: Glaciers are melting

Patagonia is a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts, but its spectacular icefields aren’t slated to be around forever. According to some, the ice found in Patagonia is melting at some of the planet’s highest rates.

Why you should visit: Patagonia spans both Argentina and Chile and offers visitors opportunities to explore vast and wild landscapes.

Venice

James Ser/Adobe Venice streets

Location: Italy

What’s happening: It’s sinking

When you build a city on the water, there’s always going to be a battle to stay afloat. Such is the case with the city of Venice, the famed City of Canals in Italy, which is slowly sinking into the Venetian Lagoon.

Why you should visit: There aren’t too many cities in the world that are crisscrossed by various canals, and Venice is the most well-known of them.

Bottom line

Nick Fox/Adobe Three monkeys on a branch

All of these places and attractions are expected to one day disappear, but some of them might not have as much time as others. 

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Bank of <span class='whitespace-nowrap'>America<sup>®</sup></span> Travel Rewards credit card
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Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

Annual Fee

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Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is a Senior Credit Cards Writer at FinanceBuzz. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

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