- Mulberry River, Arkansas
- North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
- Togwotee Pass, Wyoming
- Costa Rica
Photo by sestevens via iStock
When I think of the top travel photography destinations in the world, I think of the "big" places like the Swiss Alps, the African Plains, and Australia's Gold Coast.
And while these locations are certainly worth your while, there are many off-the-beaten-path locations where you can find all sorts of wonders to photograph - and without the huge crowds to fight, either.
Below, I've outlined a handful of must-see travel photography destinations that you likely have never heard of, but will definitely want to consider as your next go-to photography stop.
Table of Contents
Where to Travel With Your Camera: The Mulberry River, Arkansas
Though you might not immediately think of Arkansas as a landscape photography dream location, once you see the Mulberry River Area, you'll understand why it's a hidden gem.
The Mulberry River originates in the Boston Mountains, the most rugged area of the Ozarks. That means gorgeous mountain ridges, cliffs, and dense forests that you can explore with your camera.
The river flows southwest toward the Arkansas River, completely unimpeded by dams. This means ample opportunities to photograph the beautiful landscapes reflected in calm pools. Likewise, there is an abundance of small waterfalls, babbling brooks, and moss-covered rocks along the way that provide further chances to capture the beauty of this area.
Depending on the time of year, you can enjoy whitewater rafting or a lazy float down the river.
There is an abundance of other recreational opportunities in this area too: kayaking, hiking, fishing, and riding ATVs, among them.
When visiting the Mulberry River Area, one of the best ways to take in nature's beauty is to stay right on the river.
For that, Mulberry River Outdoor Adventures is a great choice.
You can tent camp for just $15.00, or if you prefer RV camping, a full-service site with water, sewer, and electricity is just $35.00 per night.
If a day trip is more your vibe, you can grab your camera and backpack and spend the day exploring for just $5.00.
As far as beauty goes, the Mulberry River is certainly a hidden gem, but it's also a highly economical area in which to travel. It's the best of both worlds!
Where to Travel With Your Camera: North Rhine-Westphalia Germany
Though Bavaria might be a better-known area for photographers, there is no lack of beauty - both natural and manmade - in the North Rhine-Westphalia area of Germany.
Away from the crowds, you can be free to explore beautiful landscapes, quaint villages, Medieval architecture, and abandoned industrial zones. It is truly a patchwork of variety for your camera!
In the tiny town on Monschau (shown above), you can explore winding cobblestone streets and photograph half-timbered houses that date to several hundred years ago.
In Aachen, you can visit Charlemagne's Cathedral and photograph its opulent beauty of this incredible house of worship.
But for photographers with a passion for architecture, it's not just hundreds-year-old homes and cathedrals that this area offers...
The post-industrial Ruhr District is full of abandoned buildings that have unique architecture. What's more, there's a coal processing facility that's a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The lines, colors, shapes, and textures of these buildings are absolutely incredible, as you can see above.
Traveling to this area is best done as part of a photography tour - after all, that way all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!
Without having to decide where to go and when, where to stay, and what to do, you can focus instead on photographing the unique beauty of this area.
Princeton Photo Workshop has been offering photography tours of this area for years, and its leaders know the North Rhine-Westphalia region like the back of their hands.
With expert guidance around the region, a small group setting, and plentiful opportunities to reviewing images and taking part in photography demonstrations, there is simply no better way to experience this off-the-beaten-path area!
Where to Travel With Your Camera: Togwotee Pass, Wyoming
Photo by jaypetersen via iStock
Nestled in the middle of Wyoming's Wind River Mountains, Togwotee Pass is as beautiful as its name is to pronounce.
Situated at nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, the pass offers a wide range of photographic opportunities.
From soaring granite peaks to open meadows, dense forests to alpine lakes, there is no lack of fodder for your camera.
In the summer, meadows explode with wildflowers while the later summer and early fall offer gorgeous panoramas filled with the changing colors of the leaves.
And year-round, the drive over the pass offers spectacular views, from the Grand Tetons on the western end to wide-open vistas of the Shoshone National Forest on the other.
Photo by ChrisBoswell via iStock
You can explore hundreds of miles of forest roads in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, and many more miles of roads and trails on an ATV.
In the summer, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, and camping are just a few of the many recreational opportunities you can find in this area.
In the winter, the landscape gets buried in feet of snow, which gives you a chance to create vastly different images of a winter wonderland.
Some of the best snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, and cross-country skiing in the Rocky Mountains is found here as well.
Photo by TenleyThompson via iStock
When you travel to the Togwotee Pass area, you can stay at the iconic Togwotee Mountain Lodge, the majestic Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa, or if you prefer staying in town, there are ample lodging opportunities in the tiny town of Dubois.
Likewise, campgrounds dot the area and primitive camping is allowed on many Forest Service lands.
Wherever you stay, spectacular mountains, gorgeous sunsets, and abundant opportunities for photographing wildlife are just steps away!
Where to Travel With Your Camera: Antarctica
Photo by Justin Black/Visionary Wild
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more off-the-beaten-path location than the world's least-populated continent.
The frozen landscape has its own inherent beauty, but the wildlife in the Antarctic is especially captivating.
You can see penguins on land and in the sea, many different varieties of seabirds, earless seals, and albatross as well.
Photo by Daisy Gilardini/Visionary Wild
Glacial activity is something to keep your camera out for as well.
The giant masses of ice meeting the ocean are something to behold, as are the massive icebergs that dot the seas around Antarctica.
Traveling around the Antarctic is best done by small boat, that way you can get up-close views of the shore where ice activity and wildlife are abundant.
But don't make the mistake of booking a tour on a large vessel - they can't navigate as close to shore as smaller ones.
Photo by Justin Black/Visionary Wild
Instead, try something like Visionary Wild's Antarctic Expedition.
With just a handful of other guests, you'll make your way to King George Island in the South Shetland Islands, where you'll board the M/V Hans Hansson.
Aboard the vessel, you'll travel to the Lemaire Channel and Vernadsky Research Base, maneuvering into small inlets to get a closer look along the way.
Antarctica is a place like no other on earth, and when you travel in style like this, you're sure to make lasting memories (and take some awesome photos too!).
Where to Travel With Your Camera: Costa Rica
The ruggedness of Costa Rica makes it one of the most beautiful places on earth.
And its diversity of landscapes and wildlife make it an ideal playground for photographers...
With incredible waterfalls, dozens of species of frogs, beautiful sunsets, and gorgeous wildflowers, you could easily spend weeks in Costa Rica and never photograph the same thing twice.
Costa Rica has several must-see national parks where you can get up-close and personal with jungle landscapes, mountains, and of course, waterfalls.
The La Paz Waterfall Gardens is certainly a must-see, as is Juan Castro Blanco National Park and Tenorio Volcano National Park, just to name a couple of excellent photography locations.
If you're ready to explore Costa Rica with your camera, why not do it in the lap of luxury?
ColorTexturePhotoTours offers an all-inclusive six-day, five-night trip that takes you to the locations listed above, and more.
Enjoy local cuisine, top-of-the-line accommodations, spa services, massages, and more.
Furthermore, as part of the Colors of Costa Rica Tour, you'll get lots of one-on-one instruction time with workshop leader Scott Setterberg because the tour is limited to just four participants.
What could be better than traveling off-the-beaten-path locations in Costa Rica, learning more about photography, and living it up in luxury accommodations?!