10 Spectacular Natural Wonders That Are Worth the Trip

Wondering where to go on your next adventure? Get out into the world and explore these jaw-dropping natural treasures.
Last updated June 1, 2023 | By Jenny Cohen Edited By Michele Zipp
young female traveler with red backpack and hat enjoying the view

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Experiencing nature and some of the most beautiful scenery on this earth is an ideal way to spend your next vacation. The world is full of amazing, unique, and wondrous natural sites that will make your jaw drop and stir your soul.

Whether you are embarking on a solo trip or planning to travel with a large family, you’ll want to add these beautiful natural wonders from around the world to your bucket list for travel.

The Grand Canyon, Arizona

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Grand Canyon Arizona USA

There’s big, and then there’s Grand Canyon big. Grand Canyon National Park is located in northern Arizona along the Colorado River, whose waters carved out the rock to form the gorge we know today. It’s so immense that it’s a mile deep and up to 18 miles wide in some places. At its peak a few years ago, the park had more than six million annual visitors to view the 277 miles of parkland.

Pro-tip: If you’re planning to be the next on that list of visitors, look into a hiking tour, river rafting trip, or even a mule ride to see the best the canyon has to offer.

The Northern Lights, Norway

Parilov/Adobe tourists looking at northern lights

Also known as the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights are caused by particles from the sun hitting the earth’s atmosphere to create dancing lights in the sky. Be aware, however, that the timing must be right. A visit between late September and late March gives you the best chance to see this wonder. With the right weather conditions at the right time of year, the payoff is spectacular.

Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming

Lane Erickson/Adobe Grand Prismatic Pool at Yellowstone National Park

This vibrant, multi-colored spring is a highlight for anyone who takes a trip to Yellowstone National Park. The Grand Prismatic Spring, which is deeper than a 10-story building, sits in the Midway Geyser Basin of the nation’s first national park and is the most photographed thermal feature at Yellowstone. Its rainbow of colors is created by the different heat-loving bacteria that call the spring home, which make it extra exhilarating to witness.

Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Michael/Adobe Victoria Falls

On the border between these two African nations is the world’s largest waterfall, stretching more than 5,000 feet. Visitors to the falls, which are recognized as a UNESCO Heritage Site, can walk on trails in the national parks that protect the site, take boat rides, or even view the falls from above with a helicopter ride.

The area is also home to elephants, rhinos, buffalo and even hippos, making a trip to Victoria Falls a natural wonderland.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

tolly65/Adobe Great Barrier Reef in Queensland Australia

Visitors can’t help but to be in awe of the world’s largest coral reef system. The Great Barrier Reef, located off the coast of Queensland in Australia, allows visitors to swim, snorkel, and dive into a unique underwater world that a diverse group of marine life call home.

Along the more than 1,400 miles of reef, there are also plenty of islands and beaches to take in. Climate change threatens the very life of the reef, so you’ll want to visit soon and perhaps learn about how environmental changes are damaging this and other international treasure, perhaps even learning how to work toward preservation.

Redwood Forest, California

Aran/Adobe Northern California Redwood Forest

The trees in Redwood Forest National Park are nothing like any trees you’ve seen before. Redwoods are among the world’s tallest, growing more than 360 feet up in some cases. The old-growth trees, which start out as a seed about the same size as a tomato seed, only grow along the northern coast of California and have been there in a form similar to the ones you see today for millions of years. The park is also home to a plethora of animals, including condors, elk, and killer whales.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Markus Mainka/Adobe cliffs of Moher Klippen Irland Reise Meer Tourismus Natur Ozean

The Cliffs of Moher rise more than 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of Ireland. This natural wonder was formed more than 320 million years ago and marks the very western edge of Europe along the ocean. In addition to trails along the cliffs, visitors can also take in the spectacular view from O’Brien’s Tower, which was built as an observation tower in 1835.

Pro-tip: Keep an eye out on the weather — it has been known to change drastically. Bring a raincoat and sunglasses just in case.

Maui, Hawaii

David/Adobe Garden Chapel in Maui Hawaii

Called the Valley Isle, Maui is a quintessential trip and one of the many amazing islands in the U.S. There are gorgeous beaches, lush green mountains, and volcanoes all in one spot. Hike through the forests, take a boat ride along the shores, or even book a helicopter trip to explore all the various natural wonders that the island has to offer.

The Matterhorn, Switzerland

Silvan/Adobe Matterhorn Switzerland

Sure, Mt. Everest may be more well known when it comes to wondrous mountains, but there’s something very special about the Matterhorn in Switzerland. It’s so majestic, in fact, that the Matterhorn Bobsled Rides at Disney theme parks were modeled after this real-life mountain in the Swiss Alps.

Angel Falls, Venezuela

Alice Nerr/Adobe close-up of Angel Falls in morning light

The world’s tallest waterfall is part of Venezuela’s Canaima National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Angel Falls is more than 3,200 feet tall, which is why it’s locally referred to as “the fall from the highest point.” It’s a climber’s paradise. The park, which is more than 12,000 square miles, is also home to cougars, jaguars, hummingbirds, and toucans.

Bottom line

sebra/Adobe Travel planning concept on table

Mystical natural wonders are found all throughout the world and visiting them is an experience unlike any other. When booking your flights and hotels, utilize the best travel credit cards for excellent deals as you explore. The savings you incur may allow you to visit even more magical spots.

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Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.