The best stories come from the road less traveled.
  1. Mongolia
    Mongolia's mystique lies in its primal lifestyle. Nomadic herders move to the beat of the seasons, raising yaks and camels and pitching up in gers across endless green steppe.
  2. Papua New Guinea
    Pristine reefs, smoldering volcanoes and steaming tracts of jungle envelop a travel destination that was once mostly banished to legend and lore.
  3. The Arctic: Iceland, Greenland and Norway
    You can see the northern lights, go dogsledding and skiing. Here, polar bears hunt for blubbery bearded seals atop large floes of ice while blue, bowhead and beluga whales tumble below.
  4. Madagascar
    Visitors can hike tropical rainforests and semi-arid desert canyons, winding up on exotic sun-soaked beaches, often alone.
  5. Iran
    Nowhere stirs the imagination quite like Iran. Go skiing or hit the beach, explore exquisite mosques, markets and madrassas, hear classic Persian poetry and eat spiced cuisine to the scent of water pipes.
  6. Taiwan
    Tea and Taiwanese foods are major draws in trendy capital Taipei, a confluence of night markets, designer shops and miniscule alleys studded with lanterns and neon signs.
  7. India's national parks
    The country's fabled tiger parks offer some of the world's best opportunities to see the big cats up close.
  8. Uganda
    Rich in nature, it's an outdoor sanctuary of crater lakes, white-sand beaches on lake islands, thundering waterfalls and national parks.
  9. Georgia
    Blessed with 750 miles of Southern Caucasus mountains, this canvas invites walkers, horse riders and skiers.
  10. United States: North Cascades National Park
    2016 will toast the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service, of which 409 parks exist today.
  11. Patagonia Corridor
    The Chilean side is a maze of inlets, islets and winding waterways, while Argentinian Patagonia dominates vast empty lands and estancias.
  12. Palau
    Called the "Serengeti of the Sea," it's one of the world's premier dive spots.
  13. South Georgia Island and Antarctica
    Colonies of thousands of noisy king penguins sprawl across the tundra of this British Overseas Territory. Three million fur seals bark as Arctic reindeer gather, grazing for hours in a sea of horns. Birdlife thrives too, as 5 million macaroni penguins, albatross and the songbird South Georgia pipit nest here.
  14. Honduras
    Its primary allures are the fine white-sand beaches of the Bay Islands, Mayan ruins and colorful colonial cities.
  15. Gabon
    A forward-thinking beacon of ecotourism, this tiny West African country, which straddles the Equator, largely flies under the tourism radar.
  16. Romania
    Head here for hiking, birding and fishing. Or go gallery hopping in Cluj-Napoca, a hotly-tipped future art scene. But of course the nation is best known for bloodsucking myths of Dracula, werewolves and ghosts.