Adventure travel has always been about getting off the beaten path and visiting the remote corners of the world. While many travelers are more than content with sticking to the well-trodden tourist destinations, the more adventurous amongst us have continually sought out places that remain off the radar. Often times, those places are a little harder to get to, but they reward those who make the effort with some truly unique and memorable experiences that few people ever get the chance to witness.
If this is the kind of travel experience that you've been craving, you're in luck. We've put together a list of places that will take you to the far flung reaches of the planet and show you things you might not have ever thought possible. These are the perfect remote destinations for adventure travelers looking to get away from everything.
Best for Trekkers: K2 Base Camp in Pakistan
For decades a trek to Everest Base Camp has been a must-do bucket list item for adventure travelers. After all, it's not often that you get to walk in the shadow of the world's highest peak. But for trekkers looking for something a little different, consider a journey to K2 Base Camp instead. Longer and more challenging than a visit to Mt. Everest, this hike takes you into the Karakoram Mountains of Pakistan, where the second highest mountain in the world awaits. Majestic and beautiful, K2 is even more revered amongst top mountaineers than Everest, and visiting the peak is made all the better due to the fact that far fewer people ever get to see it. The trail to K2 BC is long, tiring, and mostly empty. But it is also immensely rewarding for those seeking solitude.
Best for Backpackers: Gates of the Arctic National Park in Alaska
If you love backpacking and the national parks, but dislike the often-crowded trails and campsites that can be found there, then a visit to Gates of the Arctic needs to be on your list. Remote and wild, the only way in or out of this park is by bush plane. Once there, you won't find any type of infrastructure, meaning no ranger stations, visitors centers, or even roads. After you're dropped off, you'll simply let the pilot know when to pick you up again, and you're free to roam wherever you please. With more than 8 million acres to explore, and fewer than 9,000 visitors in a given year, chances are you won't see another person for your entire visit. Hike and camp anywhere you want and soak up the scenery in this sprawling wilderness that is virtually untouched by man.
Best for Surfers: Tofo Beach in Mozambique
As surfing has grown in popularity, some of the top surf destinations around the world have gotten very crowded, too. Thankfully, there are still plenty of hidden gems to be found, provided you don't mind getting off the beaten path some. Case in point, Tofo Beach in Mozambique offers everything a surfer could ask for, including some of the best breaks found just about anywhere. Here, the water is warm, the sand is soft, and the waves are big. Really big. The beach is frequented by locals, but seldom sees foreign visitors, making it feel like a hidden spot that has yet to be revealed to the rest of the world. And when you're ready to move on from Tofo, nearby Ponto do Ouro offers some great action as well.
Best for Scuba Divers: Rowley Shoals in Australia
Experienced divers looking to escape the crowds and visit a place that is virtually untouched by man should have Rowley Shoals on their must-visit list. Located 185 miles off the coast of Western Australia, just getting to this location is a bit of an adventure. Once there, visitors discover three large and distinct coral reefs that are healthy, vibrant, and pristine. As you would expect, the site is home to a hundreds of species of marine life, including coral trout, clownfish, tuna, green turtles, and several types of sharks, including reef, blacktip, silvertip, hammerhead, and even tiger sharks. Only a few hundred divers are lucky enough to explore the shoals in any given year, making it one of the most remote and best preserved dive locations found anywhere on the planet.
Best for an Aquatic Adventure: South Georgia Island in the Southern Ocean
Traveling by ship opens up a host of possibilities for reaching remote destinations. One of the absolute best of those locations for adventure travelers is South Georgia Island in the Southern Ocean. Located just north of Antartica, South Georgia is home to large colonies of penguins, rolling hills and rugged mountains, and just a handful of permanent residents. Once a bustling whaling station, the shores off South Georgia were hunted clean of those great mammals. Today, however, they are rebounding dramatically in numbers, with humpbacks, southern right whales, and even blue whales routinely spotted in the area. Filled with history and culture—not to mention some of the most unique bird species on the planet—this is an incredibly special place that will capture the heart of any adventure traveler.
Best for Anglers: Altai Mountains in Mongolia
Mongolia isn't necessarily the first place you think of when it comes to fishing, but the country is home to the massive taimen, which is the largest species of trout in the entire world. Just how big do these fish get? Most are between 30 and 40 inches in length, although they can reach as much as 60 inches or more. They'll also test your strength and endurance due to their weight, which routinely approach 85 pounds. Make no mistake, these are monster fish, and they're generally only found in the remote Altai Mountains, a place where the only people you're likely to encounter are the nomads who have wandered the steppe for centuries. Any angler looking for a true fishing adventure will find not only massive fish, but stunning scenery and plenty of solitude in the wilds of Mongolia.
Best for Mountain Bikers: Simien Mountains in Ethiopia
Rugged, remote, and wild, Ethiopia's Simien Mountains have a lot to offer adventure travelers. With more than 125 miles of trail to explore, it is a destination that strikes a chord with trekkers and backpackers alike. But the best way to experience this stunning landscape is from the seat of a mountain bike, rolling along on centuries-old trails that spiderweb between dozens of small villages. If you're lucky, you may spot a leopard or two along the way, though you will almost certainly cross paths with baboons, ibex, and possibly even wolves. Come prepared for a challenge though, as the trails aren't all that technical, but the thin air at altitude can test even the strongest of riders.
Best for Kaykers: The North Atlantic in The Faroe Islands
Located in the North Atlantic, the Faroe Islands have been an up-and-coming adventure destination for several years now. Visitors to the islands will find plenty of great hiking trails to explore, along with options for fishing, mountain biking, and even rock climbing. But kayakers will especially love this destination however, as the islands are known for their incredibly dramatic landscapes, which include some of the most rugged and untamed coastlines in the world. Exploring the hidden coves, beaches, and reefs of the Faroes by kayak makes for a grand adventure, taking travelers into the most remote corners of an already remote place.
Best for Road Trippers: Driving the Silk Road in Central Asia
A classic road trip is a good way to get away from it all, and there are some spectacular driving routes to be found all over the world. But if you're looking for one that combines history, culture, breathtaking scenery, and plenty of solitude, it is tough to top the Silk Road. Made up of a number of interconnected routes, the Silk Road gives travelers numerous options for how they want to drive across Central Asia. Depending on how you go, it is possible to pass through parts of China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Turkey, or even beyond. Overlanding this ancient trade route allows you to travel as fast or slow as you like, soaking up the scenery and interacting with the local people along the way. This journey will take you through bustling cities, past busy trading ports, and though once-thriving outposts that fell off the map long ago. It is a grand vehicle adventure unlike any other, and a good way to escape for a little while.
Best for Adventurous Families: Liwonde National Park in Malawi
When most people think about going on an African safari, destinations like South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania are the first that come to mind. But those places also tend to be crowded, which isn't always the most ideal. For an entirely different safari experience, plan a visit to the Liwonde National Park in Malawi instead. This off-the-beaten path destination is suitable for the entire family, with parents and children enjoying a unique wildlife experience. In the park, visitors get the chance to spot elephants, lions, warthogs, and an amazing number of hippos, while traveling by boat, traditional safari vehicle, or even on foot. Best of all, thanks to its remote location, the park sees far fewer visitors each year than the Serengeti or Kruger National Park, creating more solitude and serenity as a like.
And when you've wrapped up your visit to Liwonde, schedule a little time on Lake Malawi before heading home. You'll get a decidedly Caribbean vibe when visiting the islands of this lake, which is the third largest in all of Africa. This is the perfect place to relax and recharge after spotting wildlife in the bush.