While heading from high school right into college is the typical path for most people, it's not always the right option for everyone. Live a little! A gap year can be the perfect opportunity to unwind from the stress of a hectic school schedule and to just ~do you~. There are a ton of incredible ways to spend your gap year — interning, volunteering, teaching in a foreign country, or just traveling wherever the wind (OK, your plane ticket) takes you. Get inspired to start planning your gap year — or your next summer vacation? — with these 10 destinations that remind you what a big, beautiful world there is out there. Get packing!
1. Angel Falls, Venezuela
Angel Falls is the tallest waterfall in the world and is, unsurprisingly, pretty difficult to get to. But if you are willing to fly, take a boat, and then hike to the falls, it will almost certainly be well worth it.
2. Trolltunga, Norway
Hikers will completely fall in love with all of Norway's geography, but especially withTrolltunga. This cliff hovers 2,300 feet above a beautiful lake, and if you're brave enough to sit on the edge, you'll have the best seat in the house.
3. Lavender Fields, Provence, France
The south of France has some incredible sights to see (and smell), one being the lavender fields of Provence. Top tip: After taking a stroll through the fragrant fields, stop by a local ice cream shop to try some lavender sorbet.
4. Seychelles, East Africa
Truly heaven on earth, the Seychelles are found just off the east coast of Africa — a chain made up of 115 different islands. With so many to visit, you can't go wrong, but if you're looking for a secluded postcard-worthy beach, check out Anse Lazio.
5. Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland
Arthur's Seat, a now-dormant ancient volcano, gives some of the best panoramic views of the Scottish city, including views of both Edinburgh Castle and the city's famous Royal Mile. A short 20-minute hike along the stone steps will take you up to the mountain's top, overlooking the city and Scottish hillside.
6. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
Supposedly the inspiration behind much of the scenery in James Cameron's movie Avatar, the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park looks like its from another world. With the unique quartz and sandstone pillars rising out of the jungle, fog adds another element to the epic landscape.
7. Lycian Rock Tombs, Fethiye, Turkey
With intricate ruins carved into the mountainside, the hike up to the Fethiye Tombs in Turkey offers gorgeous views of the city below, as well as a glimpse into an ancient world.
8. The Twelve Apostles, Australia
If you ever find yourself down under, take the Great Ocean Road along the southern coast of Australia to see the Twelve Apostles. These massive rock formations were once huge stone archways, but, due to erosion, they now stand alone. If possible, try to visit during sunrise or sunset, when you'll be able to watch different angles and shades of light make them appear to almost change color.
9. Biertan, Romania
Biertan seriously looks like a town from a Disney movie, but if you are looking for even more storybook scenes, go check out the historical (and incredibly beautiful) fortified church in town.
10. Cathedral Cove, New Zealand
Take a walk along Hahei Beach down the northern coast of New Zealand to Cathedral Covefor a totally Instagram-worthy pic, complete with high ceilings and a natural waterfall shower. And then put your phone down and go swimming!