These Incredible Wide-Open Spaces Will Make You Ditch Your Fancy Travel Plans

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NEW YORK – Most of today’s tourists stick to trendy hotels, ritzy restaurants and absurdly crowded cities.

But travelers? They’re a different story. They know that true highs are hiding in less-trodden and incredibly remote places. This planet boasts stellar natural wonders and travelers want to explore them all.

They need some wide-open spaces — and we’ve got a bucket list that definitely hits the spot.

Hadrian’s Wall Country, United Kingdom

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Back in the second century, the Roman emperor Hadrian commissioned a 73-mile wall that stretches from coast to coast in what is now northern England. Its path includes a series of ruinous Roman forts and towns.

Námafjall and Hverarondor Hverir, Iceland

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Hot springs, fumaroles and boiling mud pots make this volcanic wasteland both “strange and fantastic.”

The Namib Desert, Namibia

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Larger-than-life sand dunes are the ultimate thrill in a desert some 43 million years old. Be on the lookout for fairy circles — mysterious, patterned rings that appear in the sand have scientists stumped.

Yosemite Valley, California

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Waterfalls, stargazing, lakes and the infamous Half Dome hike make this THE spot for Californian nature junkies.

Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia, Turkey

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When this World Heritage site overwhelms you with its vastness of fairy chimneys and hot air balloons, hide out in a cozy cave hotel.

The Scottish Highlands

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This blazing green landscape is dotted with castles, battlefields and Loch Ness, home of that pesky water beast.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

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The world’s largest salt flat has a hotel made of salt. Oh, and it doubles as a giant mirror when wet.

Rub’ al-Khali, Arabian Peninsula

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This desert — aka the world’s largest area of continuous sand — touches FOUR COUNTRIES on the Arabian Peninsula. Much of it remains unexplored (but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a swing at it!).

Schnebly Hill Road, Arizona

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Thirteen miles of intense switchbacks guide drivers through the vast remnants of a primal sea that existed here hundreds of millions of years ago. It used to be covered in lava — but now it serves to link the city of Sedona with Interstate 17.

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

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On 938 square miles of grassland, you could run into lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, buffalos, zebras or hippos. From July through October, you’ve got a shot at catching the Great Wildebeest Migration.

Joshua Tree National Park, California

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Nearly 800,000 acres span a low desert (the Colorado) and a high desert (the Mojave). The latter is dotted with Joshua trees, named for branches that Mormons compared to Joshua’s outstretched arms. Catch a break from the heat in one of five fan palm oases.

Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka, Japan

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Plants range from red to blue to green at this Seuss-like paradise near the beach. Cycling paths meander through the foliage.

The Drakensberg, South Africa

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Four valleys and a national park make up this massive expanse of hills and peaks (home to the second-highest waterfall in the world). You can climb all over them!

Wadi Rum, Jordan

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Imagine a camel trek (or better yet, a camel race) through a minefield of 5,700-foot rock formations in the “Valley of the Moon.”

Menindee Lakes, Australia

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Four lakes — popular with fishermen and water skiers — supply water to nearby orchards and farms. On the banks of the lakes, you could sleep on a farm or in a converted train car.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona and Utah

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John Wayne rode horseback over this siltstone basin in the movie “Stagecoach.” You might be more interested in a Jeep tour.

The Red Beach in Panjin, China

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A peculiar breed of seaweed turns the world’s largest wetland and reed marsh a deep shade of red in the fall.

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