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15 Hidden Gems To Visit After the Pandemic (Part One)

“Once the pandemic ends” has become an idealized phrase. Many people wonder if there will ever be a true end. Either way, we need to hold on to hope that “normal” will come again. 


In terms of waiting for the future and a sense of normalcy to return, many of us have been dreaming about what we will do or where we might travel when the time finally comes around. So, I’ve listed some hidden gems that deserve more recognition and publicity. I hope you get some travel inspiration for when the world opens back up!

Hôtel de Glace in Quebec, Canada

A few weeks ago, I was watching the Hallmark Channel and a light-hearted movie called “Winter Castle” popped onto the television screen. The main characters traveled to Quebec, Canada, in order to celebrate a winter paradise wedding in an ice hotel. This amazing location is real, and you can book a visit. 


The Hôtel de Glace (ice hotel) offers visitors magical views with intricate ice sculptures and crystal arches. This is the only ice hotel in North America, and the architectural setup is rebuilt every year. They used approximately 500 tons of ice and an enormous amount of snow during construction. 


Please note that you will want some warm clothes and lots of hot chocolate during your stay! The temperature in the hotel stays around 23 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Fort Bragg Sea Glass Beach in California, USA

Unlike other beaches around the West Coast, Fort Bragg is uniquely special. Its beaches contain smooth glass pieces worn down by the waves. Once a place for garbage disposal by local residents, the glass has transformed into colorful little treasures. 

Cinque Terre in Liguria, Italy 

If you ask most people where they want to travel in their life, Italy is a common answer. Besides the overly-popularized and generic Leaning Tower of Pisa, Colosseum, and Grand Canal in Venice, add Cinque Terre to your bucket list. 


Cinque Terre is an assortment of beautiful hillside villages along the coastline. The houses are bright and colorful — ranging from red and orange to pink and yellow. The bright, blue water surrounding the cliffside houses allows for picturesque photo opportunities and memories.

Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland

Besides the site’s rich historical significance, the Cliffs of Moher also provide a once-in-a-lifetime view for visitors. A wide variety of plant and animal life are visible from this spot. 


Furthermore, the Cliffs may appear familiar to you as they have been featured in an assortment of movies, including “Harry Potter” and “The Princess Bride.”

Horseshoe Bay (Beach) in Bermuda 

Have you ever wanted to visit glorious pink sand beaches? If so, then Horseshoe Bay is your destination to visit. Due to tiny red organisms in the coral reefs surrounding the island, the sands turn a subtle, pinkish shade. 

Two years ago, I visited the Horseshoe Bay on vacation, and it was just like the images you see in picture books and movies.

Salem Witch Museum in Massachusetts, USA 

If you’ve ever been fascinated by witch hunts — specifically the Salem Witch Hunt — then you should take a trip to Massachusetts. This museum is an educational opportunity that will keep you fascinated and intrigued.

Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park in Pennsylvania, USA

Penn’s Cave is America’s only all-water cavern. You will see amazing structures of stalactites and stalagmites. Besides a boat ride through the cave system, you will also be able to see adorable wildlife!  


Every person I know who attended public school in Pennsylvania visited this cave at least once before they graduated. I recommend that everyone sees this site at least once. It’s fun for all ages.

Tombstone in Arizona, USA

Tombstone provides an authentic insight into what it was like in the wild, wild west. You can step into historic buildings that will take you back in time. Plus, you will be able to walk on the same streets as American icons.

Dongchuan in Dongchuan Red Land, China

Dongchuan Red Land is a photographer’s paradise. The fields are bright red in color, mixed with patches of yellow and golden orange. 

Hobbiton Village, New Zealand

Are you a fan of “The Hobbit” movies and book series? Have you always wondered what it would be like to live in “The Lord of the Rings” universe? If so, then you should check out Hobbiton Village. 


You will be met with a charming landscape and picturesque houses to match. Dug into the hilly landscape, you will be reminded of the storybooks you read as a child.

Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle) in Romania

You may be saddened to know that Dracula is not, in fact, a real figure. However, the Bran Castle in Romania closely resembles the castle’s description in the book. 


Besides the castle’s connection to Dracula, it also has a rich history dating back to the times of the Ottoman Empire. Check it out, and then tell all your friends that you visited Dracula.

Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Japan

Travel to Japan and take a leisurely walk through the colorful Wisteria Tunnel in Kawachi Fuji Gardens. The gardens are filled with brightly flamboyant flowers — especially of the purple, pink, and blue colors. 


Make sure to visit when the flowers are blooming!

Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia

Who doesn’t like lakes and rushing blue waterfalls? If you like being immersed within nature, this is the place to go. The park is filled with hiking trails and waterways. Plus, just viewing the waterfalls is a worthwhile venture. 


The landscapes are generally stunning, which is just what Croatia is known for.

Seven Falls in Colorado, USA

These two words will seal the deal: cascading waterfalls! Climb the 224 steps and hike all the way to the amazing views waiting at the top. 

Turquoise Lagoon in Bora Bora

Most people have Bora Bora on their bucket lists. Turquoise Lagoon is a specific location you should consider visiting. Who wouldn’t enjoy tropical temperatures and landscapes?

If you get the knack to travel after the pandemic is over, come back to this list — one of these breathtaking destinations might make for the perfect vacation!

Julia is a Penn State student double majoring in English and Journalism. She enjoys reading, writing, and volunteering with Relay for Life in her free time.
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