12 Gorgeous Vacation Spots That Are Seriously Underrated 0 2

Vacations to big cities, popular national parks, or famous resort towns can be a lot of fun, but sometimes it can be just as rewarding to visit a lesser-known spot.

Here is a look at some of the most underrated vacation spots around the United States, and a few abroad as well.

Sedona, Arizona

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The Grand Canyon gets most of the attention in northern Arizona, but Sedona, a couple hours south, has scenery that’s just as impressive. Beautiful red sandstone rock formations surround the city and hiking, biking, and mountain climbing opportunities are easy to find nearby.

Denali National Park, Alaska

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Alaska has an abundance of untouched wilderness, and this is especially true of Denali National Park, a six million acre expanse of solitude and tranquility.

Taos, New Mexico

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Santa Fe usually takes the spotlight in New Mexico, but further north in Taos is a city that offers a more authentic, less expensive, and far less commercial vacation. The town offers a number of historic landmarks, and is known for its nearby ski slopes during the winter.

Asheville, North Carolina

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Asheville, North Carolina has long been host to a vibrant live music scene, with the city’s downtown offering a combination of Southern charm and hippie creativity. The scenic town is also a major hub of whitewater recreation, and is surrounded by numerous mountains, trails, and swimming holes.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

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Belfast has long been avoided by tourists in Ireland due to its legacy of IRA bombings and urban slums, but the Northern Ireland capital has seen a transformation in recent years. The city has seen an economic revival thanks to the technology sector, and has regained its reputation as a center for the arts, higher education, business, and law.

Glacier National Park, Montana

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Montana’s Glacier National Park is often overshadowed by some of the other national parks, but it merits attention. The park encompasses over 1 million acres, parts of two mountain ranges, over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants, and hundreds of species of animals. The pristine ecosystem is the centerpiece of what has been referred to as the “Crown of the Continent Ecosystem,” a region of protected land encompassing 16,000 square miles.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Philadelphia is often overshadowed by nearby New York and Washington, D.C., but the city is home to a number of historic landmarks, including Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and Elfreth’s Alley Historic District, the country’s oldest residential neighborhood in continuous use.

Mackinac Island, Michigan

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Mackinac Island, Michigan is a lesser-known retreat in the state, and a peaceful one, as due to a local ordinance, motor vehicles aren’t allowed. The Grand Hotel offers amazing views of Lake Huron as well, and the island is famed for its fudge.

Adelaide, Australia

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Adelaide is often overlooked for other cities like Sydney or Melbourne in Australia, but the city delivers a unique personality as a vacation spot. Adelaide is well known for its art scene and collection of museums, and features a culturally diverse mix of restaurants.

Puebla, Mexico

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Puebla is one of the less popular tourist destinations in Mexico, as it lacks the pristine beaches of resort towns like Cancun, but the city is one of the country’s most historic Spanish colonial cities, and is famous for its ancient Mayan ruins, as well as being the site of the famous battle that spurred the Cinco de Mayo celebrations today. Puebla is also considered by many to be the food capital of Mexico, as it offers cuisine influenced heavily by ancient Mayan recipes.

The Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

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The Apostle Islands on Lake Superior in Wisconsin are known for the numerous caves and rocky cliffs visitors can explore by kayak, as well as its scenic lighthouses overlooking the lake.

St. Augustine, Florida

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St. Augustine is one of the oldest continuously occupied European settlements in the United States, and features beautiful white sand beaches and a host of historic landmarks.

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The Most Extreme Body Modifications Throughout History 0 83

Lyra Radford

 From foot binding to neck stretching, from skull elongating to teeth sharpening, various cultures have endured long and painful processes in order to mold themselves into the shapes they believe appeases their gods and cultural standards.

Kayan Neck Stretching

Wikimedia CommonsThe practice of neck stretching begins at the young age of five for the female population of this northern Thai tribe. They start the process with four-pound coils around their necks, which is gradually increased up to 25 coils. The idea is to stretch the neck out and that’s what the coils appear to do, however, the weight of the coils is actually pushing the collarbone and shoulders down.

The Kayan women say it feels as though the coils are just another part of their body. The possible reasons for this practice vary. One reason is that women with longer and slimmer necks are more desirable in this culture. Another is that it makes the women appear more dragon-like and these mythical creatures are very important throughout Kayan folklore.

Teeth Sharpening

Farandulaya.comVarious cultures take part in the tooth sharpening practice. Mayans would sharpen and carve designs in their teeth, distinguishing them as members of the higher class. The Mentawai people, who live in Indonesia, believe sharpened teeth are a standard of beauty. The sharper and more narrow the teeth, the more desirable the woman is.

It is not mandatory in their culture, but many Mentawai teenage girls go through the painful process of having their teeth chiseled to attract the opposite sex. It’s considered a rite of passage.


WikiMedia CommonsThough many cultures are embarrassed by scarring and go through procedures to reduce their appearance, some cultures actually scar themselves on purpose and consider them something to wear proudly. Many African tribes participate in scarification as a rite of passage.

The Dinka tribe of South Sudan practice facial scarring, etching patterns into girls for beauty and three lines across the faces of boys to represent manhood. The Sepik River Tribes in Papua New Guinea spend weeks performing scarification rituals. The elders slice the pattern of alligator scales into the backs of young men. They believe the alligator devours boyhood, leaving behind only a man capable of protecting his tribe.

Ear Stretching

PinterestEar stretching is an old custom still practiced in modern day all across the globe as a statement. Tribal cultures have used ear stretching not only as a symbol of beauty and a rite of passage, it also has religious meaning, and was believed to ward off witchcraft and various forms of evil.

Mursi Lip Plating

Wikimedia CommonsLip plating or lip stretching is one of the oldest body modification practices. It can be traced back to 8700 B.C. It’s been practiced throughout various parts of the world, like Africa, South America, and Europe, but it’s the people of the Mursi tribe in Ethiopia that still practice it today.

Prior to marriage, as young as 13 years old, the females of the tribe get a lip piercing and fill the hole with a small stick. Then they spend anywhere from six months to a full year adding clay plates in the hole. Each time the plate gets bigger and heavier, stretching the lip out as far as it will go.

Nose Plugs

Wikimedia CommonsThe original goal of nose plugs for the women of the Apatani tribe in India was to become unattractive. They did this as a form of protection, believing if they were undesired by the men of other tribes, they wouldn’t be kidnapped or sexually assaulted.

Feet Binding

The Sun.co.ukFor almost a thousand years, the little girls of China would have their feet tightly wrapped in bandages in hopes of stopping the foot’s growth. This caused their toes to curl and the feet to shrivel in on themselves and creating the illusion of petite and more attractive feet, when they were actually just causing deformities and crippling themselves and their children.

Feet measuring no longer than three inches and crescent in shape were the most desired. In addition to being a symbol of beauty, smaller feet reflected a higher social status and wealth. After all, women who didn’t need their feet to work must have wealthy families. Foot binding was banned from China in the 20th century but there are still elderly women alive today, suffering withdisabilities because of this painful, old custom.

Victorian Corsets And Tight Lacing

PinterestThe most well-known body modification tool is the corset. The Victorian-era corset was basically the same concept as foot binding, just on a larger part of the body. Women would tightly bind their entire torso, just to squeeze their waists and create an hourglass figure. This practice altered the shape of the rib cage, it constricted airflow and put women at risk for liver displacement and heart and lung damage. Tight lacing techniques and corsets still exist in modern society, they just aren’t as widely used as they once were.

Breast Ironing in Cameroon

Veronique De Viguerie/Getty Images News/Getty ImagesBreast ironing is a mortifying technique used to stop a young woman’s breasts from growing. Women in Cameroon will use hot spatulas and pestles on their daughters’ chest in hopes of melting the fat and flattening the breasts.

Prior to puberty, around the age of eight or nine, girls are tightly bandaged, keeping their chests flat. Anything that grows later in life gets treated. This is to make women more undesirable to men and so they can focus on school. Not only does this technique not stop breast growth, it actually causes severe physiological damage and can lead to health issues like cysts, breast cancer, and trouble breastfeeding.

Skull Elongation

Wikimedia CommonsThe act of skull elongation can be traced back as far as 45,000 years ago and was practiced by several ancient cultures. Skulls have been excavated from Iraq, Egypt, and Peru and evidence suggests they started in infancy when the skull is still soft and not fully formed. They would wrap cloth and sometimes use boards for support to direct the head up and backwards into an elongated shape.

It’s believed to be a sign of higher ranking in social status and is directly tied the images of their gods. These findings have led to numerous theories centered on the possibility of ancient alien contact.

The Namibian Desert Has Swallowed Up This Amazing German Ghost Town 0 36

Lyra Radford

 Kolmanskop was once a small but thriving town, founded by German miners and their families in the early 1900s. Now it’s a ghost town, attracting countless tourists and photographers from all over the world who want to see its surreal landscapes first hand.

They Struck Diamonds

The Higher LearningIn 1908, a man named Zacharias Lewala, stumbled across a diamond while working and brought it to the railway inspector August Stauch to confirm what it was. Not only was it authentic, but the area was full of them. Word got out and suddenly miners and their families had settled in and lined the streets with German architecture. Quaint home, hospitals, a theater, as well as the first tram in Africa and the first x-ray station in the Southern Hemisphere were erected here.

The Town’s Decline

The Higher LearningThe people were thriving and the town flourishing, rich with diamonds until after the World War that is. The price of diamonds began to drop and another location further south had a significant amount of much larger diamonds than the people of Kolmanskop were unearthing. By 1954, everyone had packed up and left the little village behind.

What Remains

The higher LearningBeautifully crafted, brightly colored homes were left empty and opened to the elements. While the rough desert winds have taken a toll on the paint, its dry heat works to preserve the remaining wood within the structures.

In Comes The Sand

The Higher LearningOver time, the wind brought in more and more sand. Slowly the desert has been filling nooks and crannies throughout the little village. The wind gusts will cover then uncover various parts of Kolmanskop throughout the span of a single day, making for unique scenery each time it’s looked upon.

Indoor Mountains

Romain Veillon, De Zeen MagazineThe desert has taken the town for its own, weaving its way through buildings, spilling through houses, and consuming entire rooms like a surreal painting come to life; haunting and beautiful.

A Resurgence Of Sorts

Forbes.comKolmanskop may no longer be inhabited or producing diamonds, but it is a rare gem in its own right and still has a spotlight on it. It’s unique, visually stunning, and travelers and photographers alike can’t seem to get enough of this place.

A Hit With Hollywood

Visionary Wild.comWith such a dreamy look and feel about it, it’s no wonder filmmakers began seeking permits to shoot their upcoming projects there. Kolmanskop has been used as the location for various films and television shows including “The King is Alive,” “Dust Devil,” and “The Mantis Project.”

Preserving History

Martin Bailey PhotographyDe Beers Mining Company performed minor restoration work and established a museum in Kolmanskop back in 1980. Their efforts have helped preserve this piece of diamond mining history while opening an eerie collection of architecture up to the public.

Ghostly Residents

The Higher LearningMany share the belief that the town wasn’t completely abandoned in 1954. Some say the spirits of those who died when the town was at its peak are still there. Paranormal investigators, including SyFy Channel’s, Josh Gates of “Destination Truth,” have set out to capture paranormal activity on those sandy slopes.

Visiting Dream Land

Romain Veillon, De Zeen MagazineWhile Kolmanskop is open to the public, it is still located in a restricted area. Tourists need to be cleared before entering, but once they’ve received a permit they are free to join a guided tour that allows them to go off and explore solo.

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