Long Island is a special place to call home sweet home, but it’s merely a pebble in the ocean that is planet Earth. From natural wonders to man-made masterpieces, there are endless possibilities when it comes to must-see attractions. Don’t let hesitations limit your explorations any longer (the bagels and Sunday sauce will still be here when you return). Walk, swing and fly in a wanderlust wonderland at eight breathtaking places.
Sea of Stars on Vaadhoo Island: Maldives
Long Islanders who live for after-dusk walks on the beach should consider Sea of Stars on Vaadhoo Island their new heaven-on-earth. Visitors to the paradise island can saunter along the shoreline, look into the ocean and see the stars. The secret is this: phytoplankton–the marine microbes–are bioluminescent and emanate the blue glow. The species create the most romantic natural lighting in the world.
The swing at the “End of the World:” Baños, Ecuador
Even those who enjoyed playgrounds as a child have never had a swing experience quite like this. At the edge of Ecuador a decrepit tree house (casa del árbol) overlooks an active volcano. The swing has no harnesses, inviting only the bravest adventure-seekers to take the ride of their lives and catch a breathtaking view.
Salar De Uyuni in the Potosí and Oruro departments: Bolivia
The world’s highest salt flat at 11,975 feet above sea level is also the largest at 4,086 square miles. Travelers should make like the late Debbie Reynolds and sing (or at least visit) in the rain—during rainy season, it transforms into a giant mirror of the sky.
Zhangye Danxia landform: Gansu, China
Known for otherworldly colors, this rainbow landscape resembles an imaginative oil painting. Over the tops of rolling mountains, the rainbow formation is the result of red sandstone and mineral deposits being pressed together for over 24 million years.
Tunnel of Love: Klevan, Ukraine
You’ve probably never seen this many shades of green. Located near the town of Kleven, the luscious green tunnel acts as a passage for a private train that delivers wood to a local factory three times a day. The unique rail route measures 1.8 miles long and has become a popular romantic destination.
Ancient Region of Anatolia: Cappadocia, Turkey
Soaring rock formations, rippled landscapes, incredible walking trails and underground cities make Cappadocia a one-of-a-kind destination. The area has also become a favorite spot for hot air ballooning.
Skaftafell Ice Cave: Iceland
Feeling blue never looked so good at The Crystal Cave, which emerged as a result of its glacier meeting the Icelandic coastline. The cave’s ice dates back centuries and its weight has pressed out all remnant air. Access is via a 22-foot entrance at the water’s edge, for a jaw-“breaking” experience.
Tulip fields: Keukenhof, Netherlands
Talk about flower power. See 7 million spring-flowering bulbs from 100 participating growing companies. Tulip fields play host to more than 20 flower shows each year, where 500 flower growers present an extensive variety of cut flowers and potted plants.