At Road Scholar, we send lifelong learners on educational adventures to thousands of locations across the globe. Each program destination has its own unique story that makes it well worth discovering, but there are some that stand out among the rest. Here are our top 10 most interesting places in the world and the reasons why we find them so fascinating!
A true example of the sheer power of water to shape a landscape and reveal its secrets, Canada’s Bay of Fundy is home to the most extreme tides on Earth. At high tide, waves can reach the height of a 5-story building, and at low tide, water recedes — exposing a treasure trove of semi-precious minerals and dinosaur fossils. With our expert naturalists, visitors can explore craggy cliffs, sea caves and tide pools, search for relics along the shore, or climb aboard a boat to watch for whales. With the second-largest natural whirlpool in the world and a plethora of rare marine life, including the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale, it’s no surprise that the Bay of Fundy is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of North America.
Learn about Marine Science on a Bay of Fundy adventure.
Motor vehicles were banned from the island in 1898, so a visit to Mackinac Island is a journey back in time, when horse-drawn carriages clip-clop through the streets and Strauss’ waltzes drift from the windows of Victorian summer cottages. Set inside Michigan’s Lake Huron, tiny Mackinac Island is a National Historic Landmark. With a past steeped in the Revolutionary War and North American fur trade, its charming squares, natural spaces and military outposts remain largely untouched. With our expert locals, explore limestone bluffs, marshes and forests, visit historic Fort Mackinac or enjoy afternoon tea on the veranda of the island’s magnificent Grand Hotel.
Discover the old-world traditions of Mackinac Island:
Mackinac Island: The Jewel of Michigan
Every winter, thousands of gray whales migrate to the warm turquoise waters off the coast of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula to breed. Witness this extraordinary event and encounter marine life up-close in the place Jacques Cousteau dubbed “the aquarium of the world.” This is a place made even more extraordinary in the company of a knowledgeable naturalist. Snorkel with tropical fish in the Sea of Cortez, kayak past sea lions and blue-footed boobies sunbathing on rocks and hike through hidden coves, tangled mangroves and an unspoiled UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Stunning coastlines give way to rugged mountains and vast deserts, each with their own unique wildlife. The diverse ecosystems of the Baja Peninsula have inspired explorers and adventurers for generations.
Set sail on the voyage of a lifetime to the Baja Peninsula:
The Wonders of Baja: Waves, Whales & Wildlife
From the vibrant music of the French Quarter to the elaborate mansions and moss-covered oaks of the Garden District, the intoxicating spell of New Orleans is impossible to ignore. Here, French Creole and Spanish influences fuse together in eye-popping architecture, mouthwatering dishes and a fascinating celebration of culture. Attend a jazz performance at a historic club, learn how to cook Cajun cuisine and explore exceptional museums and monuments dedicated to U.S. history. Known as one of the most unique cities in the United States, New Orleans’ multicultural heritage manifests in colorful art, spirited festivals and its residents’ unrivaled passion for life.
Let the good times roll on a Road Scholar learning adventure to New Orleans.
Step inside Utah’s Grand Circle — the world’s greatest concentration of national parks and monuments — to learn about the history behind the red rock canyons, natural arches and sandstone formations found in Utah’s national parks. From Bryce Canyon to Zion National Park, stand in awe of rocky monoliths, striped hoodoos and layers of sedimentary rock perfectly contoured by nature’s hand. Watch morning sunlight filter in from above as you hike through a slot canyon, splash past petrified sand dunes while rafting down the Colorado River and learn about natural phenomena like the Balanced Rock and Delicate Arch. The spectacular vistas of Utah’s national parks inspire a deep respect for nature in us all.
Marvel at geological wonders on a learning adventure in Utah’s National Parks.
Cuba is a complicated country in the midst of a rapid transformation, and nowhere is it more apparent than inside its capital city. Infused in Havana’s culture is a mixture of old-world nostalgia and bright hope for the future. Pastel 17th-century colonial buildings, classic cars and lively music fill the streets of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the original city center. Stroll down the Malecón, Havana’s famous seaside promenade, or visit the Plaza de la Revolución, the setting for numerous revolutionary rallies. Perhaps most notably, you’ll gain an intimate understanding of Havana’s unique history from the people you meet – local artists, musicians, dancers and entrepreneurs who wish to share their love for their city with the world.
Immerse yourself in the fascinating history and culture of Havana:
Weekend in Havana
As the oldest country in Europe, Portugal is rich in history and tradition, but its renowned vineyards and innovative cuisine continue to make waves in the modern world. From the countryside to the coast, each region of Portugal offers visitors something unique. In the capital city of Lisbon, Gothic cathedrals rise up over terracotta buildings covered in street art, while black sand beaches and hidden grottos can be found on the islands of the Azores. Hike through a laurel forest in Madeira, sail past local wineries along the Douro River and meander through medieval architecture and local markets in Porto. From the Age of Discovery to today, Portugal’s heritage is waiting to be discovered.
Explore the vineyards and villages of Portugal on a Road Scholar learning adventure.
Experience nature at its most dramatic as you unravel the mysteries surrounding Iceland’s otherworldly natural wonders. There’s a reason why Iceland’s glaciers and fjords are the stuff of legend – tales of early Viking voyages have long influenced Icelandic folk culture. In the “Land of Fire and Ice,” 19th-century farmhouses and fishing villages are set among volcanic landscapes, where hot springs send swirling water vapor into skies painted by the Northern Lights. Hike scenic trails to the famous Gullfoss waterfall, embark on a whale watching expedition off the coast or explore Skaftafell National Park, which spans three glaciers, including Europe’s largest icecap.
Witness these legendary landscapes on a Road Scholar adventure to Iceland.
A cradle of ancient civilization, Egypt owes its survival to the flow of the Nile River and the ingenuity of its people. 4,000-year-old monuments rise up from the sand dunes, honoring kings of centuries past. From the Pyramids of Giza to the Great Sphinx, it’s no secret that Egypt is home to several of the world’s most iconic man-made structures. With an expert Egyptologist, enter ancient burial sites in the Valley of the Kings and gaze at haunting hieroglyphics lining the walls of tombs. Learn how the pyramids were built and visit mystical temples that have stood the test of time. After, voyage down the Nile to Lake Nasser, where brightly colored bazaars set against arid desert landscapes speak to the resiliency of Egyptian culture.
Explore Egypt’s ancient wonders and iconic monuments:
Beyond the Pharaohs: Egypt Past and Present
Historic fortresses line the Dalmatian Coast, separating quaint seaside villages from postcard-perfect azure waters. These barriers were built during the 14th century and have protected Croatia’s medieval Mediterranean towns from plundering pirates throughout the centuries. In addition to having the most-preserved fortification system in Europe, Croatia’s coast is nearly 10% national park, with beautiful cliff-side vistas, cascading waterfalls and vibrant flora and fauna. Swim in a crater lake surrounded by mountains or float down the crystal-clear water of the Cetina River. In Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, learn about iconic buildings like the Rector’s Palace before strolling down marbled streets to a local market.
Bask in the beauty of the Adriatic Coast on a learning adventure to Croatia:
Croatia: Treasure of the Adriatic Coast