Sian Ka’an Coastal Biosphere Reserve – Mexico

Once you hop in a boat at Muyil, Mayan-dug canals through sprawling tracts mangroves are at your fingertips. Though this reserve is home to plenty of crocs, the canal waters are crystal clear, and most tours climax in a current-driven, boatless free-float. Look for dolphins and sea turtles amongst the mangroves, but don’t expect to set eyes on any of the five species of wildcats that call this reserve home — they like to play at night.

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

If huge old-growth trees are your thing, a visit the redwoods of northern California is probably your best bet. Humboldt Redwoods State Park is one of the best places to be immersed in the state’s redwood forests, and three of the world’s ten tallest trees are located in the park’s Bull Creek Flats area alone. Yes — you can drive through a giant tree here. Just don’t try to hug one, unless you have freakishly long arms.

Mossy Forest

Tanah Rata, where days spent exploring the surrounding mountains are rewarded with steaming hot-pot dinners and local tea.Tours outfitters bring adventurers up to either a slippery boardwalk or to a root-ridden dirt trail — the forest takes under an hour to experience.

Sardinia, Italy

Blissful white-sand beaches, rugged coastal peaks, mouthwatering cuisine, a unique blend of cultures, and ancient archeological treasures: What’s not to love about this saucy Italian isle? Most travelers have heard of the glamorous Costa Smeralda, or Emerald Coast, with its craggy coves and clear green seas, but this large and diverse Mediterranean isle also lays claim to many other attractions. Sardinia is home to the largest canyon in Europe, Gola su Gorropu; prehistoric archaeological sites; the captivating Catalan-tinged town of Alghero; and the medieval streets of Cagliari, the capital. While you’re here be sure to cruise along some of the scenic coastal drives and soak up the spectacular views.

Bali

Steeped in an intoxicating culture, the island of Bali is a feast for the senses. Incense wafts from Hindu temples, rice paddies glow in electric greens, and the food jolts the taste buds. Surfing, swimming, shopping, and sunbathing are the prime pursuits on this exotic isle, as well as sightseeing in the lush countryside. Soak up the spiritual side of Bali in Ubud, see Seminyak, and family-friendly Sanur, feel the pumping pulse of touristy Kuta, or explore the attractions on the neighboring volcanic island of Lombok. Bali’s enchanting spirit will wash over you like a warm, tropical wave.

Santorini, Greece

Encircling a sea-filled caldera, spectacular Santorini scores top points for dramatic beauty. Bleached white villas tumble down volcanic cliffs. Blue-domed churches rise against the sparkling sea, and bright sprays of bougainvillea add to the eye-popping canvas of color. Perched atop the black lava cliffs, the settlements of Firá and Oia are the island’s most picturesque, and pricey, destinations, and Oia ranks among the most photographed locations in the world. Other highlights of the island include Akrotíri Archaeological Site, Ancient Thira, the black sand beach of Perissa, and of course, the sublime sunsets. Sailing into this stunning caldera surrounded by soaring sea cliffs makes an unforgettable first impression.

Palawan, Philippines

Palawan is the Philippine’s answer to paradise. This island province stretches southwest to Borneo with lush limestone peaks rising from a jewel-like sea so clear, that you can almost see the expressions on the fish from above the surface. Slivers of gleaming white sand fringed with rustling palms rim many of these jungle-clad islands, while under the water, coral reefs flourish with an impressive diversity of tropical fish, offering some of the best diving in the world. Other attractions include the islands’ unique wildlife, emerald lakes, and quaint fishing villages. Coron is home to plush resorts, and El Nido drips with natural beauty and is one of the most alluring islands in the chain. From here, you can island hop around the spectacular Bacuit archipelago. One of Palawan’s top attractions is the World Heritage-listed Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, an impressive limestone cave system with a long underground river.

Maldives

The Maldives are home to some of the world’s most ravishing islands, but it’s the sea, which truly makes these islands shine. Luminous aquamarine waters with a crystal clarity lap upon these dazzling white shores, which barely peek above the Indian Ocean. Consisting of 26 natural atolls, the Maldives archipelago is the planet’s lowest lying nation, rising no more than three meters above the sea at its highest point, a measurement that shrinks every year. Beneath the mesmerizing waters, coral reefs flourish, luring divers and snorkelers from around the world. Surfers also flock here to ride the uncrowded breaks. Back on land, luxury resorts provide the perfect launching points for adventures focused upon the sea, the archipelago’s greatest asset, but also, as the planet’s climate changes, its single greatest threat.