Places I want to travel in 2013

new orleans jackson square

Active volcanoes, remote forested islands, and colorful culture are among the qualities found in the list of places I want to travel in 2013. Now that I’ve recapped 2012, it’s time to look forward to new adventures for the next 12 months.

Although I’d love to go to faraway lands like Antarctica, Iceland and Kenya, I’m sticking with places closer to home that are more realistic on my current budget.


Just one state remains on my quest to conquer all 50, and that’s the tropical chain of islands out in the Pacific. The only problem is that when I finally make it to Hawaii, I can’t just spend a couple days in Maui or Honululu and come home. I’d need to visit several islands over the course of a couple weeks to see all the hot spots and hidden attractions.

Of course, given my interest in quirky sights, I want to play in the snow in Hawaii. How many people can say they did that? The summit of Mauna Kea in Volcanoes National Park sometimes sees snow in the winter, so I’d do my best to plan a trip during the coldest months. (Of course, when I’m not at the mountain, I would absolutely be hanging out on the beaches. I’m not crazy enough to pass that up.)

Central Mexico

flamenco festival tijuana

Felip has relatives in Mexico and one of them is getting married next summer, so I may end up there for a few days. I’ve only been to Cancun and Tijuana so far, so it’s exciting to possibly have an opportunity to get into the small towns in the heart of Mexico to see how the locals live. Also, I hear Mexican weddings are one giant all-day party – much more out of control than American ceremonies!


Montreal strikes me as one of the most European cities in North America, based on the heavy French influence and all the great things I’ve read about the city’s arts and music and food scenes. If I still had my travel van, I would certainly have visited by now – in fact, I’m sure I would have done a coast-to-coast Canadian road trip – so I’m way overdue in checking out this city.

Isle Royale National Park

Way up in northern Michigan out in Lake Superior sits Isle Royale National Park, a 45 mile by 9 mile island accessible only by boat. It’s one of the most remote U.S. national parks, thus making it one of the best places to find seclusion. There are 165 miles of hiking trails and lots of moose and wolves on the isle. Hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing, all in the Midwest? Sign me up.


Texas capitol building

I’d like to spend a good three weeks road-tripping just around the state of Texas, since the only city there in which I’ve spent any significant time is Austin. It would be fun to do a full month of coverage, just as I did this year for Alaska. Besides finally getting to check out Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, I want to get to know some of the small towns, plus Big Bend, a largely-ignored national park that borders Mexico.

The Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia

Even before National Geographic named it one of the must-see places for 2013, I wanted to visit the Great Bear Rainforest off the western coast of Canada. The big appeal is the rare white-coated spirit bear, but many visitors there never see one. Even without the bears, this land is beautiful, remote forested terrain. Then again, this area has been seeing more visitors, perhaps too many, so I’d have to think over what the impact of a visit there would mean for the environment.

New Orleans

new orleans street

I’ve been to the Big Easy once and have been dying to go back ever since. I love the laid-back and friendly atmosphere, the craziness of Bourbon Street, the history in the old mansions, and the famous Cajun and Creole food. Plus, there are so many more quirky attractions to check out beyond just the grave of the voodoo queen that I found last time. I may just have to go all-out with the NOLA experience and drop by during Mardi Gras.

The Boston Harbor Islands

You’ve probably realized by now that I enjoy islands off the mainland of the U.S. and Canada. I was so excited to discover this group of 34 islands in Massachusetts. When I think of the stretch of land between New York City and Boston, I think of traffic and crowded neighborhoods without an inch of free space. It’s amazing that so close to Boston you can find these more remote places with beaches, forests and primitive camping. The Harbor Islands look like a great place for a getaway.


I had to include one exotic destination on the list, even if I don’t expect to make it there in 2013. Andorra is a tiny, tiny country between France and Spain. When I start traveling overseas, I’m going to make an effort to visit places like this, since they’re not typically covered by travel bloggers and I think these sorts of weird locations are fascinating. Andorra is just 181 square miles and sees 10 million tourists annually. Hopefully next year, that will be 10 million and one…

Where do you want to travel in 2013?


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About the Author

Scott Shetler is a Seattle-based journalist and blogger who seeks out offbeat attractions and awesome destinations around the world. He has been featured in Travel + Leisure, Connect Magazine, Matador Travel, and the Washington Post.

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  1. Wow! These all sound incredible. Now I want to see these places, too. Especially Hawaii, Montreal and Michigan. But then, there are few places I wouldn’t want to go. Sounds like a lot of great adventures to read about this year. I’ll look forward to it.

  2. Isle Royale National Park? Never heard of that island before, but it sounds awesome. Look forward to reading about your adventures there. And I can definitely recommend Montreal! I have few concrete travel plans yet, but there may be a road trip on the US west coast. And hopefully also some BC, maybe Vancouver Island this time! Safe travels in 2013!

  3. I want to visit a lot of places in this list too, mostly the Great Bear Rainforest. I knew Hawaii was about beaches and volcanoes, never thought of snow when I thought of Hawaii. That does bring it to a higher place on my bucket list, yet it’ll have to wait for a while – I’m focusing on local travel in Israel in 2013.

  4. I love that Hawaii is the last state for a lot of people (been, there done that!). My guide in Alaska, Hawaii is/was his last state (at 27 years old!!) and he finally made it there after wrapping up the Alaskan season. Funny enough, my mom has now been to every state and Hawaii was #49 for her! (Any guesses on #50? Maine! And she grew up in NYC!!!)

    Good luck, Lovelovelove Hawaii and so easy from the west coast:-). But I love all the hidden gems you always dig up!

  5. Sounds like you have a great game plan for the year! I wish you all the best in hitting up as many of the places as possible!

    I feel like a terrible lifelong Massachusetts resident for admitting this but…I’ve never been to any of the Harbor Islands. One of my travel goals for this year is to actually explore “my own city” – so perhaps I’ll check the islands out too. Since I just got home from Africa, I’d say now is a good time to plan for this since I’m feeling the pinch money-wise haha. Thanks for the tip!

    It has been a few years since I was in Montreal but it is such a fun city. One of my favorite places there was Alpenhaus, a random Swiss restaurant with fondue. 🙂

  6. Hawaii is on my must-visit list too, I wish it wasn’t so expensive to fly out there.

    I’ve been to Montreal a few times and it is worth the trip. The Biodome is pretty neat and check out Ste. Catherine Street. Just don’t go in the winter, you will freeze!

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