If you love to immerse yourself in a good mystery, you can spend your vacation reading a book — or you can go out to uncover some of the unexplained mysteries of the world. Transporting yourself might be less pricey than you think. GOBankingRates used Skyscanner to research flight prices from New York City to the airport nearest to the attraction. Hotel prices were sourced through GoSeek.
Check out these mysteries of the world where you can head out into a landscape, steeped in the unknown. No matter what you discover, it’s sure to be mysterious.
Bermuda Triangle, Bermuda
- Flights from: $255
- Stay overnight from: $180
About 20 yachts and four aircraft go missing every year in the Bermuda Triangle, an area of coral reefs believed to cover roughly 440,000 miles of the water bordering the island. Take a snorkeling tour of shipwrecks or a nighttime glass-bottom boat cruise through the Bermuda Triangle. You’ll find both in Sandys, Bermuda. While you’re there, visit the National Museum of Bermuda to learn more about the Triangle, its shipwrecks and the nation’s history.
Coral Castle, Fl.
- Flights from: $137
- Stay overnight from: $28
When Edward Leedskalnin’s fiancee canceled just a day prior to their 1913 wedding, the 5-foot-tall, 100-pound man set about building a testament to his love for her. The Coral Castle took him 28 years to build using only hand tools and without any outside assistance. The unexplained mystery is how Leedskalnin did it, as each section of the carved coral walls weighs 58 tons. The Coral Castle imbues the spirit of love rivaling that of the Taj Mahal, and its engineering has been compared to the Great Pyramids and Stonehenge. Although Leedskalnin’s former fiancee refused invitations to visit the wonder dedicated to her, you can take a tour of the carved stone wonders, which includes functional rocking chairs, a sculpture garden, Polaris telescopes and a 9-ton gate that moves with the touch of your finger.
More Sights to See: Your Guide to Florida Travel on a Budget
Devils Tower, Wy.
- Flights from: $512
- Stay overnight from: $79
Rising 867 feet out of the eastern Wyoming plains, the rock monolith named the Devils Tower was shrouded in mystery for centuries. Scientists aren’t completely sure exactly why or how the mountain formed, and Lakota and Cheyenne legends about the sacred mountain are rich. One even includes a story of a cave with a lake and gold centered in the mountain’s core. Visit Devils Tower National Monument, and you can view it from all angles on a loop hike, rock climb its rugged sides or marvel at its silhouette against a sky full of stars. There are good affordable camping options at Devils Tower, too.
Easter Island, Chile
- Flights from: $1,548
- Stay overnight from: $98
Nearly 900 stone statues on Easter Island have baffled scientists as to their meaning and how ancient peoples living on the island around 1100 CE could construct solid stone statues rising up to 33 feet high. Archaeologist teams in our century delve for answers, unearthing more unexplained mysteries as they go. The giant heads actually have bodies attached below ground level. Burial sites, tools and an ancient system of glyphs known as Rongorongo add to the mystique. Feel truly away from it all on one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands with a visit to Rapa Nui National Park, which covers 40 percent of the island.
If you have the resources to splurge, travel around the world by private jet. Easter Island is one of the stops on the tour led by Cultures in Transformation.
Eternal Flame Falls, N.Y.
- Flights from: $143
- Stay overnight from: $52
Hike to one of the unexplained mysteries of the world, which culminates in a flame tucked beneath a 30-foot tiered waterfall in Chestnut Ridge Park just south of Buffalo, N.Y. Eternal flames around the world are exciting to see, but not all that mysterious. Searing hot ancient rocks beneath the earth’s surface produce the gas that fuels these anomalies. Not so with the Eternal Flame Falls, whose subterranean rock structure isn’t nearly hot enough. Discover the flame for yourself along the half-mile trail leading to the falls. The walk is particularly beautiful when the forest is decked out in autumn foliage. A winter hike rewards you with fire-and-ice ambiance at the falls.
Georgia Guidestones, Ga.
- Flights from: $196
- Stay overnight from: $48
Called the Stonehenge of the South, the Georgia Guidestones near Elberton are inscribed with the 10 “principles of humanity” in eight languages. Astronomic features include a hole where the north star appears, capstones that mark noontime throughout the year and a slot that tracks the movement of the sun. The stones appeared in 1979, and no one knows exactly who is responsible for the stones’ design and message. The attributed author, Robert C. Christian, is a pseudonym, and no one knows who he is or the identity of the group who funded the project. It’s worth it to check out the Georgia Guidestones — they’re free to visit.
Giant’s Causeway, United Kingdom
- Flights from: $610
- Stay overnight from: $39
Hexagonal columns of basalt rise along the seacoast two miles northeast of Bushmills in Northern Ireland. Legend has it that they were created as a roadway for a giant named Finn McCool centuries ago to pass over the sea to Scotland. Now a Unesco World Heritage Site, tourists have flocked to the formerly unexplained geometric columns for more than 300 years. Scientists are still studying why the lava that formed the causeway cracked into perfect hexagons as it cooled.
Lake Michigan Monster, Wis.
- Flights from: $274
- Stay overnight from: $49
Lake Michigan is rumored to have its very own Loch Ness-style monster swimming in its waters. The stories aren’t a recent tourist ploy; tales of large dinosaurs or snake-like creatures date back to the Native Americans and are backed up by early explorers and one Chicago newspaper account in the 1800s. A good place to start your search for the Lake Michigan Monster is in Door County near Green Bay, Wis., which boasts 300 miles of shipwreck-riddled shoreline. Take a snorkeling or shipwreck kayaking tour for an up-close look at wrecks dating to the 1800s, or get a birds-eye view from a scenic airplane ride where you can see shipwrecks and look for monsters.
After searching for the Lake Michigan Monster, head to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for a perfect fall road trip through the state’s remote north.
Machu Picchu, Peru
- Flights from: $693
- Stay overnight from: $20
Tucked in the Sacred Valley of the Peruvian Andes, there’s no way to miss the mysterious ambiance of Machu Picchu when you visit these ancient ruins. Enormous granite rocks form the citadel’s 200 stone structures, locked together so tightly without mortar that you can’t even slide a piece of paper between them. Built in the 15th century, the citadel was abandoned a century later and wasn’t rediscovered until 1911. Hire a guide to take you through the ancient Incan city to granaries, aqueducts, temples and a ceremonial bathhouse, or just lose yourself as you meander alone. If you’re not winded by the 8,000- to 11,000-foot altitude, you can even hike the famous mountain, providing you buy a ticket ahead of time. Visiting Machu Picchu is the journey of a lifetime.
Magnetic Hill, New Brunswick
- Flights from: $417
- Stay overnight from: $81
Come to Magnetic Hill in Moncton, New Brunswick, and experience the sight of cars rolling uphill. You might swear there’s a magnet in the hill that’s pulling the cars backward. However, it’s a natural optical illusion. Your brain tells you things are going downhill when they’re actually going up. But knowing the science doesn’t make riding the hill any less mysterious.
Nazca Lines, Peru
- Flights from: $493
- Stay overnight from: $37
The question of why an ancient people built designs into the land that can only be viewed from the air is a long-unexplained mystery that may never be completely solved. Formed from 1 to 700 CE, the lines may have been used in rituals to ask the gods for water or served as an astronomical calendar. Enjoy the view of the glyphs, known as the Nazca Lines, on an airplane tour when you visit the modern city. View plant and animal designs as large as the Empire State Building, straight lines running more than 30 miles and geometric glyphs that may have had a deep spiritual meaning to the people who labored to build them.
Oregon Vortex, Ore.
- Flights from: $445
- Stay overnight from: $97
If you’ve ever wished you were taller, just walk toward the magnetic south along the Oregon Vortex. The anomaly makes people appear shorter as they head toward the magnetic north. “Paranormal Files” visited the site in 2012 to try to debunk balls rolling uphill, brooms standing on end and other strange happenings at the Oregon Vortex. Although they found some reasonable explanations such as off-center building angles, they were still left scratching their heads at many of the attraction’s unexplained phenomena.
Racetrack Playa, Calif.
- Flights from: $233
- Stay overnight from: $49
At Racetrack Playa in California’s Death Valley National Park, rocks are the only thing that break up the vast expanse of dry, cracked lake bed. What’s mysterious is the long smooth trails where rocks up to 700 pounds move up to 200 feet at a time. Less than two inches of rainfall per year collects in the playa during winter months. When the rainfall freezes and melts, it sends the rocks sliding across the slick surface at about 15 feet per minute. Visit during December or January for the best chance of catching rocks in motion, or marvel at the rock trails at any time of year. Another reason to visit in winter? Temperatures will be lowest and flights into Las Vegas, the nearest airport, will be cheapest.
San Luis Valley, Colo.
- Flights from: $224
- Stay overnight from: $47
There are more UFO sightings in Colorado’s San Luis Valley than anywhere else in the U.S., according to Fox 31 News in Denver. The world’s largest alpine desert valley sits at 7,600 feet above sea level, and its sparse population and lack of light pollution make it an ideal place to search the skies for unexplained phenomena. Stop by the UFO Watchtower in Hooper to chat with other alien buffs. Time your visit for the Perseids meteor shower in August or other meteor shower events, and you’ll be oohing and aahing whether you see a flying saucer or not.
Shugborough Inscription, England
- Flights from: $656
- Stay overnight from: $79
Fly across the pond to Staffordshire, England, to wrap your brain around an unexplained mystery that baffled great minds like Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens. Said to be carved by the Knights Templar in the 18th century as a clue to the location of the Holy Grail, the Shugborough Inscription on the Shepherds’ Monument at Shugborough Hall reads “OUOSVAVV” with a “D” and “M” framing either side. One Latin teacher theorizes the letters may stand for “Oro Ut Omnes Sequantur Viam Ad Veram Vitam,” which means “I pray that all may follow the Way to True Life.” The inscription is one of many wonders on the Shugborough Estate, which boasts a treasure-filled mansion, lush gardens, a working farm and vast parkland open to the public.
Pamper Thyself: Get the Royal Treatment at These Castle Hotels
- Flights from: $562
- Stay overnight from: $93
Massive stones weighing up to 8 tons form the construction of Stonehenge near Amesbury, England. How an ancient people erected the monument in 3200 BCE is mysterious in itself, considering some stones came from 170 miles away. Stonehenge is one of the world’s most-studied landscapes, yet science has yet to determine whether this was a temple, graveyard or government building. Unravel the unexplained mystery of Neolithic life at the visitor’s center and reconstructed houses where you can discover more than 250 ancient objects including a 5,500-year-old man. Visit before erosion causes Stonehenge to disappear.
Hiva-Oa, The Marquesas Islands
- Flights from: $2,653
- Stay overnight from: $112
Journey to the remote Marquesas Islands to discover stone tiki statues built more than 1,000 years ago. Like the giant stone statues on Easter Island, what their purpose was remains a mystery. Although it’s forbidden to move the tikis, you can get up close and snap a picture with the stone statues. The island houses a diverse collection of tikis among its forests, from towering giants that are the biggest in French Polynesia to a minion-like smiling tiki. It’s a trek to get to the Marquesas Islands, but the seclusion makes it worth it.
Yonaguni Monument, Japan
- Flights from: $473
- Stay overnight from: $151
Strap on your scuba gear and discover a monument that may have once graced an ancient civilization. Found just offshore of Japan’s westernmost island, Yonaguni, the monument was discovered only in the 1980s. The ancient monument might date back as far as 10,000 years, making it the oldest man-made monument on earth. The water is crystal-clear year round, but take this life-changing trip from June to November to view Japan’s famous hammerhead sharks as a bonus.