Few outdoor enthusiasts need to be convinced to get out and see the world. Life is short, and in many ways, it’s a race to see as many beautiful places you can during your time on the planet.
But unfortunately for explorers living in the modern world, the clock is ticking faster than it ever has before due to the threats presented by climate change. In fact, many of the world’s most breathtaking destinations are already suffering damage from global warming. Within a few short years, some may not even be worth visiting.
With that in mind, we’ll be discussing 50 of the most beautiful places that are being affected by global warming below. It is possible that society will get a grip on carbon output and slow the rate of climate change enough to save some of these locations. But it’s probably wise to err on the side of caution and go check out as many of these places as you can, while they are still as magnificent as they once were.
1. The Dead Sea
Located along the borders of Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank, the Dead Sea has been a popular destination for decades. This includes people who visit the salty reservoir for its natural beauty as well as for cultural and religious reasons.
But unfortunately, the Dead Sea is already disappearing before our very eyes. Thanks to the rising temperatures of the region (as well as the problematic management of the watershed) the sea is shrinking at a rate of more than 1 meter per year and experts predict that it will disappear completely by 2050.
Patagonia is a vast portion of South America, that is one of the leading tourist destinations for outdoor adventurers. Home to a variety of fascinating animals, Patagonia is a place that most wildlife lovers should include on their “bucket list.”
But this is yet another location in which a changing climate threatens to change the area forever. The biggest changes will likely come as the expansive Patagonian Icefields begin to melt. And, like many other icefields that are melting, the rate at which the ice is disappearing is accelerating.
If you want to see this one-of-a-kind landscape, you’d be wise to book your trip soon.
3. Kruger National Park, South Africa
Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s most famous game reserves. Visitors from all over the world travel to this South African park each year, with hopes of seeing the incredible wildlife species that call the park home. But if you’d like to snap your own photos of lions, wildebeests, and zebras, you better book your trip soon.
Experts predict that nearly two-thirds of the resident wildlife species will become extinct in the coming years if drastic efforts to stop climate change aren’t implemented. The changing climate is not only causing the temperatures to become inhospitable to the resident animals, but it is changing precipitation patterns too.
4. Key West, Florida
Like the Maldives, Key West is an island destination famous for its breath-taking views. But it’s not only the glorious scenery that makes Key West popular with tourists, as it is also one of the world’s leading places to swim, scuba and fish.
But just like the Maldives, Key West also sits very close to sea level. In fact, most of the island is less than 6 feet above sea level. Given that sea levels are expected to rise by about 26 inches by the end of the century, much of the island is destined to disappear – including many of the local homes, businesses, and infrastructural components.
5. Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park is one of the most celebrated and beautiful parks in all of the United States. And though the park is full of impressive wildlife species and a diverse array of plant life, it is the park’s namesake glaciers that are the primary draw among visitors.
But sadly, these glaciers are disappearing at an alarming rate. Whereas the park was once home to 150 glaciers, park scientists estimate that 124 of them have already melted.
6. The Alps
The European Alps are some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring mountains in the world. Home to several famous mountains, including the Matterhorn of Switzerland and the Italian Dolomites, the Alps have inspired generations of explorers and outdoor adventurers.
But like every other picturesque destination on this list, the Alps are being threatened by climate change. As with Kilimanjaro and several other glacier-covered mountains, the vast ice fields of the Alps are melting at an astonishing rate. In fact, the permafrost – a perpetually frozen layer of rock and ice – that holds many of the mountain ridges together is starting to thaw. This has resulted in the destruction of many long-term paths and trails through the range.
7. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Said to be visible from space, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef and one of Australia’s greatest natural treasures. The reef is not only beautiful in its own right, but it also serves as habitat for countless, fish and invertebrates. But unfortunately for the animals that live amid the reefs and the tourists who snorkel in the surrounding waters, the reef is dying at an alarming rate.
Recently, the reef suffered unprecedented damage in back-to-back years, due to rising water temperatures. In fact, scientists estimate that nearly 30 percent of the reefs in the chain has collapsed. This is especially troubling, as scientists formerly suspected that the coral would tolerate the current temperatures.
8. Athabasca Glacier, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca Glacier, located in Alberta, Canada, is one of the most popular glaciers among tourists. The glacier is certainly beautiful, but part of its popularity stems from the fact that it is relatively easy to access by those who’d like to see it.
However, climate change is wreaking havoc on the glacier, which measures nearly 1,000 feet thick in some regions. Scientists have discovered that the glacier is melting at a rate of nearly 25 feet per year. This will not only cause the glacier to eventually disappear, but it’ll also cause the ocean levels to rise, as the meltwater drains into the ocean.
9. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the most beautiful and popular destinations in all of Africa. It’s not only popular because it is one of the highest non-technical mountains in the world (meaning that anyone in good shape can take it on), but it is also popular because of the glorious glaciers situated near its peak.
But given the current rate of warming, scientists predict that these glaciers won’t last very long. Current estimates suggest that the glaciers will disappear entirely by 2030.
Comprised of 32 different atolls and reef islands, Kiribati is a beautiful nation, located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. And despite being a difficult place to reach, given its remote location, the islands are popular with many tourists.
But if you want to visit Kiribati, you’ll need to plan your visit soon. Rising seas are threatening all of the country’s low-lying islands, and a few have already slipped under the waves. This pattern is likely to continue, which will not only render some of the country’s islands uninhabitable, it’ll likely make farming impossible, due to the increasing salt content of the soil.
11. Venice, Italy
Venice is world-famous for its beautiful riverways and the ornate gondolas that float among them. But Venice is facing a double-dose of problems thanks to climate change.
For one, the water levels in Venice are rising, as they are everywhere else. This will eventually cause buildings and homes near the water to flood. Additionally, the land itself seems to be sinking, and many authorities recommend checking this location off your bucket list before it’s too late.
12. The Rhone Valley, France
The Rhone Valley is an important grape-growing region in France. Grapes are thought to have been grown in the region since 600 BC, and many travelers visit the vineyards each year. But the region isn’t just important for its grapes – it is also an area of considerable natural beauty, which is also a significant part of the region’s draw.
But you’ll want to make sure you visit the area soon, as climate change is making life difficult for the local farmers and their crops. Changing temperatures and precipitation levels will likely make it impossible to continue growing grapes in the region and destroy the natural scenery of the area.
13. Mosques of Timbuktu, Mali
The Mosques of Timbuktu are important not only for their aesthetic beauty but also for their cultural significance. First built in the 1300s, the mosques and associated structures draw thousands of visitors each year.
Unfortunately, the Mosques of Timbuktu are slowly being consumed by the surrounding desert, in a process climatologist call desertification. If serious steps to address climate change aren’t implemented, these beautiful sights will likely disappear entirely in the near future.
14. Solomon Islands
The Solomon Islands are a collection of beautiful islands located about 2,000 miles from Australia in the South Pacific. The islands have been inhabited for thousands of years, and U.S. tourists have been vacationing in the islands since at least the middle of the 20th century. But this may all be about to change in the near future.
Like many other island nations, the Solomon Islands barely rise above the level of the surrounding sea. The mean elevation of the islands is 0 meters – they’re essentially even with the top of the water. Accordingly, as climate change causes sea levels to rise, the islands are starting to disappear into the ocean.
In fact, one of the islands in the archipelago has started becoming completely submerged whenever unusually high tides roll in.
15. Magdalen Islands, Quebec, Canada
The Magdalen Islands are a small archipelago of islands located in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. A popular tourist destination, thousands of visitors descend upon the islands each year to enjoy the beautiful white-sand beaches. It is also an important ecological site, as harp seals use the surrounding area as a nursery each winter.
However, climate change is threatening the small and fragile islands in many ways. Rising sea levels are causing parts of the shoreline to slip into the sea, and changing weather patterns are eroding those parts that are likely to stay above sea level.
16. Cerro Rico Mountain, Bolivia
Bolivia’s Cerro Rico was an important source of silver for many years, and it remains a popular tourist destination for those visiting South America. Surrounded by the picturesque Andes Mountains, the site is well worth visiting and it often ranks among the most interesting sites in the country.
Unfortunately, due to poor management practices and climate change, the mountain is becoming increasingly unsafe to visit. If you’d like to see this important cultural site, you should make plans to do so soon.
There are dozens of popular tourist destinations in Alaska. Denali National Park is likely the most popular vacation spot, but there are plenty of others, including Kenai Fjords National Park and the picturesque Inside Passage.
But climate change is quickly ruining many of the most beautiful vistas Alaska has to offer, and many of the state’s most beautiful glaciers are melting at a rapid rate. The temperatures are actually rising so quickly that it is disrupting the day-to-day life of the local residents. Many residents are even having to devise new ways to travel and move further inland to escape the rising ocean.
18. The Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks are a series of barrier islands located off the coast of North Carolina. Although the islands are most famous for being the place where the Wright Brothers tested their first airplanes, they are also important wildlife habitats, which are popular with eco-tourists.
But if you want to visit the Outer Banks, you’ll need to do so soon. Climate change – and the accompanying rise in sea levels – are destroying this beautiful region. In fact, some scientists predict that many of the regions beaches and other natural areas will be completely submerged by the end of the century.
19. Mumbai, India
Mumbai is one of the world’s largest cities, and it is a popular destination among travelers from all walks of life. It is not only home to a number of modern cultural sites, but it also features a number of beautiful attractions that have been around for centuries.
But like many other coastal cities, Mumbai is facing serious challenges thanks to the changing climate. The biggest problem the city is facing take the form of flash floods. The city has been busily building a number of coastal barriers, but it remains to be seen whether or not they’ll prove sufficient.
Famous for being so cold and harsh that few animals aside from penguins can survive there, Antarctica is also suffering from climate change. And while it isn’t one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, it is certainly one of the most rewarding places to visit for those with the necessary gumption and grit to make the trip.
Just be sure to book your trip soon, as Antarctica is home to a few of the most rapidly warming places on earth, such as the Western Antarctic Peninsula.
21. Franz Josef Glacier
The Franz Josef Glacier is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful west coast glaciers, and it draws nearly one-quarter million visitors each year. But like many of the world’s other glaciers, Franz Josef Glacier is retreating at an incredible rate.
Since 2008, scientists have determined that the glacier has receded by approximately 2,400 feet. However, this is one of the few glaciers in the world that scientists hope may spring back, as the region still enjoys years of unusually heavy snowfall, which help to restore some of the glacier’s mass.
22. The Chan Chan Archaeological Zone
Located in Peru, Chan Chan was the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas. Now an important archeological site and tourist destination, the entire area host thousands of visitors each year. Given the site’s impressive beauty, it is easy to understand why so many people flock to the region each year.
But like the other places on our list, Chan Chan is quickly eroding thanks to the changes in precipitation levels climate change is triggering. So, if you want the chance to see Chan Chan in person, be sure to plan your trip soon.
23. Awash National Park, Ethiopia
Awash National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa. Home to countless wild animals, including ostrich, kudus and gazelles, wildlife lovers from all over the world come to this park to see these spectacular species up close.
But thanks to climate change, it is important that you visit the park soon. Climate change is causing drastic changes to the park’s vegetation, primarily through the disruption of rainfall patterns. This will have an effect on the animals who live in the region, and likely force them to migrate to other areas.
24. The City of Petra
Petra – also known as the Rose City – is an important cultural location, and it is also one of the most beautiful human settlements in the world. Characterized by a series of buildings and monuments carved directly into the surrounding stone, it is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in the world.
But future generations may not be able to enjoy Petra, as it is quickly eroding, thanks to changing precipitation levels. Additionally, flash floods are now striking the region, and they’ve already killed several tourists who were visiting the city. Accordingly, you’ll want to go see it soon, while it still remains safe to do so.
25. The Great Wall of China
One of the most famous man-made structures in the world, the Great Wall of China is something most tourists exploring China want to see in person. But if you would like to see The Wall with your own eyes, you’ll need to visit soon, as the entire wall is eroding at an alarming rate.
Portions of The Wall has been standing for more than 2,000 years, but it is proving to be quite vulnerable to increasing precipitation levels and temperature swings. Unfortunately, these forces are only likely to become stronger over time, as the climate becomes warmer and warmer with each passing day.
26. The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon needs no introduction – it is one of the most famous natural features in the world. Six million people visit the chasm each year, making it the second most visited park in the United States.
But while the impressive geology of the canyon is likely Grand Canyon National Park’s primary draw, the plants and animals of the region are also deserving of appreciation. But unfortunately, climate change is changing the weather patterns in and around the park, which is causing some of the regions plant species – and therefore, the animals who depend upon them – to die off.
Nauru is a small island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. Nauru is a very remote location, but it remains a popular destination for snorkelers and scuba divers who want to swim alongside marine mammals.
However, like a number of other island nations in the Pacific, Nauru is slowly being reclaimed by the rising seas. Additionally, rising temperatures are making life difficult for the local inhabitants and the wildlife species that call the island home.
28. Patagonian Ice Sheets, Chile
The Patagonian Ice Sheets are formed by a beautiful and vast series of glaciers located throughout the southern tip of South America (although they’re primarily found in Chile). Relatively few travelers visit the region, but those that do almost always find it majestic.
But if you want to visit the Patagonian Ice Sheets, you’ll need to go soon: Scientists have already documented the ice thinning in many places. And because glacial melt causes a positive-feedback cycle that accelerates the rate of melting, they may not last very long at all.
29. Telouet Kasbah, Morocco
The Telouet Kasbah is located amid North Africa’s beautiful Atlas Mountains. The impressive buildings of the complex were once used as a stopover point for traveling caravans in the 1700s, and many people still visit the site while exploring the surrounding area.
However, you’d be wise to visit the structure soon, as it is quickly falling apart. Climate change is only exacerbating the process, and experts predict that it won’t continue to stand for very much longer.
30. The Great Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza need no introduction. The only remaining wonder of the ancient world, the pyramids have enchanted visitors for thousands of years.
However, these magnificent structures may not be around for much longer, as erosive forces are quickly causing them to fall apart and collapse. These factors are also causing the nearby Great Sphinx to suffer damage, so it is a good idea to visit these Egyptian monuments while you still have the chance to do so.
31. Big Sur, California
Home to some of the most spectacular redwood forests in all the world, Big Sur State Park is a popular draw with tree lovers from all over the western United States. But thanks to climate change, the park’s iconic trees may soon start to die off.
Redwoods require dense and regular bands of coastal fog to satisfy their water needs. But unfortunately, the changing climate appears to be reducing the amount of fog rolling in from the coast. Scientists and conservationists are already working to devise a plan to save the trees and forest, but only time will tell if their efforts prove sufficient.
32. The Congo Basin, Africa
The Congo Basin is one of the world’s most densely forested areas and it harbors an amazing and unique collection of plants and animals. Utterly unexplored by westerners for thousands of years, many tourists now visit to observe the beautiful region with their own eyes.
But like many of the world’s other habitats, the Congo Basin is falling apart thanks to the changing climate. In 2015, El Nino caused a serious drought in the region, which killed off and weakened thousands of trees. As the climate continues to warm, these droughts are predicted to become more common, which will undoubtedly cause permanent damage.
Although it is not as popular as some of the other destinations on our list, Greenland is one of the most beautiful ice- and snow-covered landscapes in the world. In fact, it is often considered one of the best places in the world to see the Earth’s aurora, given its northern location and the relative lack of artificial lights. Were it easier to reach, it would undoubtedly draw more visitors each year.
Nevertheless, if you want to check out some of the largest glaciers in the world, you better make plans to visit Greenland soon. Greenland’s ice is melting at an astonishing rate, and it is actually one of the most important causes of global sea level rise, given the vast amounts of ice that cover the land.
34. Everglades National Park, Florida
Everglades National Park is the largest tropical wilderness area in the United States and the largest park of any kind in the eastern portion of the country. A unique ecosystem that serves as a home to a number of interesting plant and animal species, the Everglades receive approximately one million visitors each year.
But unless something is done to halt (and reverse) the earth’s warming trend, the habitat is likely to become permanently damaged. Global warming is causing several different problems for the ecosystem, but one of the most pressing is threatening the park’s mangrove forests. As sea levels rise, the trees are becoming inundated with water.
Unfortunately, scientists suspect that the trees (which are moving inland to escape the rising waters) will run into natural and manmade barriers, thereby allowing them to become submerged, in as little as 30 years.
35. The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Famous for the role they played in Charles Darwin’s formation of the theory of natural selection, the Galapagos Islands are home to a number of plant and animal species that don’t exist anywhere else. But like so many other beautiful places on earth, the Galapagos Islands are suffering from the effects of climate change.
Like most other islands, the Galapagos Islands are being threatened by rising ocean levels. However, an even bigger problem relates to the increasing severity of El Nino events. These periodic weather patterns are getting more severe, which is wreaking havoc on the island’s local animals – including those that live on the land as well as the surrounding ocean.
36. The North Pole
Although it is certainly one of the most difficult destinations to reach, the North Pole is a wonderful natural location that dedicated explorers can visit. But unlike the South Pole, which is situated on firm ground, the North Pole has no landmass – it sits on a vast sheet of ice.
And unfortunately, this sheet of ice is melting at an alarming rate. Eventually, the North Pole will no longer be a destination you can walk across – it’ll simply be a spot surrounded on all sides by the Arctic Ocean. So, if you’d like to visit the North Pole, you better start making plans to see it now.
37. Machu Picchu, Peru
First constructed in the 15th century, Machu Picchu is a one-of-a-kind Inca estate that draws visitors from all over the world. The site provides some of the most glorious views in the world, and it gives visitors a glimpse into Incan culture and daily life.
The problem is, climate change is drastically altering rainfall patterns in the region. Historically, the area has received about 2 meters of rain per year, which is already an extraordinarily large amount of precipitation. But scientists worry that the annual rainfall averages may double or triple, which will undoubtedly erode the impressive stone structures and wipe the site out completely.
38. Bears Ears National Monument, Utah
Named for a pair of rock formations that appear like a set of bear ears, Bears Ears National Monument is one of the newest protected areas in the United States. Located in southeastern Utah, the monument is surrounded by miles of beautiful habitat and an impressive collection of plant and animal species.
But the changing climate is affecting Bears Ears National Monument, and changing weather patterns may damage many of the living communities of the region. Complicating this is the fact that recent policy changes have made it more difficult for climate scientists to study and protect the area.
If you want to see Bears Ears National Monument in all of its glory, go soon.
39. Bordeaux Vineyards, France
Some of the most delicious wine grapes in the world are grown in the Bordeaux region of France. But these vineyards aren’t just noteworthy for the delicious wines they help produce, they’re also quite beautiful and many travelers make a point of visiting them while traveling through Europe.
Unfortunately, climate change is threatening these lovely vineyards, as the local temperatures and precipitation patterns are changing. These changes are making the vineyards unsuitable for growing grapes and endangering their very existence.
40. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world. A beautiful region, which is not only a popular tourist destination and breeding ground for flamingoes, the flats are rich in lithium and other important minerals.
But climate change may ruin the area for tourists, breeding birds and the area’s mining industry. These immense salt flats are the result of very specific weather and climatic conditions, and the changing climate may cause significant changes to the region.
41. Stonehenge, Great Britain
Stonehenge is one of the world’s most famous cultural monuments, and approximately 30,000 visitors travel to the site each summer. But this Neolithic-age site is also being threatened by a changing climate.
The stone monuments are being directly impacted by increasing precipitation lev