There are few luxuries on Earth that the average person spends more money on than a vacation. True, people frequently spend more money on houses and cars than they perhaps need to, but people do tend to need both food and transportation in order to live their lives. Going out to lunch or dinner is a luxury, but everyone nonetheless needs to eat.
Vacations, on the other hand, are the very definition of needless luxury. After all, five hundred years ago, a lot of people never left the village or town in which they were born.
There’s a lot to be said about travel, of course; for one, it is a multi-billion dollar industry that employs millions. Tourism is, in fact, one of the United States’ largest exports. There are also studies that show that vacations are good for employee productivity and mental health.
Tragically, there are vacation spots that you just don’t want to spend your hard-earned money visiting, as you may disappear and never be seen again. Here are 13 of those places:
1. Yosemite National Park
Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, Yosemite National Park attracts close to 4 million visitors a year. It also directly or indirectly responsible for roughly 45 missing persons.
People die there, too, and not because they’ve been mauled by wildlife. For example, in February of 1999, a woman, her daughter, and her daughter’s friend were murdered by the handyman at the lodge at which they were staying. The daughter, who was 15, was found with her throat slit. The car driven by the women was found torched.
The handyman was caught, in case you’re curious, but not before he murdered again that July. His victim, Joie, taught at the Yosemite Institute.
2. Paris, France
Paris is a lovely and romantic spot, what with the classical architecture and boat rides down the Seine River—not to mention the great bread, coffee, and wine. It is certainly worth a visit. Or is it?
Really, the major reason Paris is on this list is because its iconic Eiffel Tower happens to be a very popular place in Europe for people to commit suicide. Once upon a time, it was the tallest structure on Earth, so it makes sense that people dealing with a very unfortunate state of mind choose jumping off it as a guaranteed way of taking their own lives.
In case you’re curious, Crime rates in Paris are only considered “moderate”, which means—Eiffel Tower suicides asides—it really isn’t any more dangerous than most large cities on Earth.
3. Lake Superior
One of the “Great Lakes”, Lake Superior is truly enormous and deep; it is also accessible via a number of the United States as well as Canada.
It also happens to be the site of many ship disappearances, meaning it is the final resting place of the hundreds or even thousands of crew members who worked on those ships. In terms of numbers, it has been estimated that around 190 ships have disappeared due to Lake Superior’s waters. In general, the Great Lakes are responsible for more ship disappearances than even the Bermuda Triangle!
4. Yellowhead Highway
Located in British Columbia, Canada, the Yellowhead Highway—also known as highway number “16”—is a busy highway in western Canada that goes from Winnipeg all of the way to Graham Island.
Named for the route used to cross the Canadian Rockies, the major highway— it stretches close to 1,800 miles—tends to make women disappear. At least 20 girls have disappeared or been killed on a section of the highway, and most of the girls were aboriginal. Many were teenagers.
Only one of the murders has been more-or-less solved—a woman named Loren Donn Leslie is believed to be killed by Cody Legebokoff, a Canadian serial killer; he was convicted in 2014, but the verdict was overturned.
Sure, there are persons of interest in the other disappearances/killings, but there is not enough evidence available in order to press charges.
Missing persons related to the highway date all of the way back to the late 1960s.
5. The Bennington Triangle
A phrase created in the early 1990s by an author during a radio broadcast, The Bennington Triangle refers to an area in Vermont where—over the course of several years—several people disappeared. The first person disappeared in 1945, and four more people disappeared in the years to follow.
The last person to vanish in the area—located in the southwest area of the state of Vermont—was Frieda Langer, who disappeared in 1950. She wasn’t found until May 0f 1951, and the cause of death couldn’t be determined due to the condition of her remains.
Allegedly, strange occurrences were common in that area prior to the disappearances. One disappearance was that of Paula Welden, who vanished in December of 1946. Another person named James Tedford disappeared exactly three years after Welden.
In addition to being a tourist destination and popular place for people to retire due to its climate, the state of Arizona also seems to be a spot where people disappear. There are a significant number of open cases involving missing persons.
Do remember that Arizona is largely desert, which is a pretty ideal location for hiding bodies. It also contains mountains and a lot of undeveloped space, making it easier for criminal types to hide evidence.
The nearby state of Nevada, which is also comprised of a lot of a lot of desert area, is also known for being a place where people tend to disappear. Back in the 1950’s, well over 100 bodies were found buried in the desert sands of Las Vegas.
7. San Francisco
One of the most famous and frequently visited cities in the state of California, San Francisco is a place where people disappear for one particular reason: the Golden Gate Bridge. Over 1300 people have ended their lives via the bridge in the 80 or so years since it opened. Standing at almost 9,000 feet, jumping off of the bridge is almost guaranteed to be fatal.
Happily for San Francisco, the city offers a number of reasons—other than suicide—to visit it. The cultural and financial center of northern California, it hosts famous tourist attractions like Alamo Square Park and Fisherman’s Wharf. One can also see a ballet, an opera, and a symphony as a result of San Francisco’s vibrant art scene. It also has a major league baseball team, in case you’re a fan of sports.
You might want to stay away from the Golden Gate Bridge, though. Bad things happen there.
A village that can be commuted to from Sante Fe, Pecos is a gateway to the fishing, hunting, camping, and hiking offered by the state of New Mexico.
It is also well known for being the site of unexplained vanishings. At times referred to as the Pecos Triangle—referencing the well-known Bermuda Triangle—authorities can’t always explain where people who disappear in Pecos end up. For example, a 61-year-old man named Mel Nadel vanished in September of 2009. A resident of Santa Fe, the happily married man met up with friends on Elk Mountain; despite the efforts of aircraft, all-terrain vehicles, and hundreds of people searching on foot, Mel Nadel was never found. Strangely, Nadel was sporting thermal underwear when he went missing. He was even armed with a bow and a revolver. He was even a black belt.
Nothing on his person was ever recovered.
Pecos is also known for being a place where Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) are reported, and the Native Americans of the area have often suggested it is a place haunted by malevolent supernatural entities.
Like the state of Arizona, the entire state of Alaska is infamous for being a spot where people just tend to disappear or die. Like Arizona, there are a significant number of missing persons compared to the national average.
So why do people disappear from Alaska? Well, it is dark for over 2 months at a time in the northern portions of the state, which probably makes it pretty easy for killers to dump bodies. The wildlife—bears in particular—can be pretty hazardous to one’s health.
Still, the fact 3,000 people recently went missing in one year is pretty suspect. Of course, locating missing people is hard to do in Alaska, considering there are almost 40 mountain ranges and roughly 3 million lakes. Avalanches and collapsing riverbeds can make a person disappear in a heartbeat. If you wander into the wrong spot, you’re a dead man or woman.
It has also been suggested that the reason so many people disappear in Alaska is not because of the snow and ice caused by the weather, or the fact that the darkness makes disposing of a body easy, but simply the darkness itself. Weeks of darkness at a time can cause depression, which leads to suicide. In Alaska, finding a way to kill one’s self isn’t terribly difficult, and it is relatively unlikely the remains will ever be found.
Located in Oregon, the city of Portland is the largest in the state and also a place where hundreds of people are reported missing every year. Actually, the entire state is sort of known for unidentified bodies. In 2015, more than 100 unidentified bodies could be found in the morgues of Oregon.
Portland is mostly known for its hipsters, LGBT population, music, and breweries. It should be known for cold cases; as of 2016, there were 225 on the books of the Portland Police Department.
The wilderness outside of Portland is just as suspicious. As mentioned above, hundreds of people—many of whom are children—visit the state’s parks and forests and don’t leave alive.
An ex-cop who studies the region claims there are roughly 400 people who wandered into the wilderness, only to never be seen again.
11. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Containing the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for being the most visited United States national park as well as its beautiful streams, forests, and mountains. A number of towns surround the park, and those towns survive largely due to the tourism that results due to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
There are a number of historical attractions in the park that makes it famous, but Great Smokey Mountains National Park is also famous for bizarre disappearances that have yet to be solved. Three people over the course of 12 years have disappeared. The most recent disappearance was that of Thelma Pauline Melton; she disappeared in 1981 at the age of 58.
12. Eastern California
In Eastern California, there is an area known as Death Valley. The name alone and the fact it is one of the hottest areas on Earth should discourage one from visiting the region. Still, people do—maybe because it has been featured in a number of fills—and many of those visitors die. Recently, in 2014, a young man was found with all of his organs missing. He was far from the first death, though. In 1958, an army pilot mysteriously vanished; while his personal effects were found, he never was.
In 1996, four German tourists decided to tour Death Valley. They stopped off to buy a book and a map at a visitor’s center; like the aforementioned army pilot, they were never seen again.
Almost everyone is familiar with—or has at least heard of—the case of Natalee Holloway, who visited the picturesque Caribbean Dutch island of Aruba, which is located off of the coast of Venezuela. Holloway, who was 18 years of age, visited the island on a high school graduation trip and disappeared, failing to show up for her return flight to the United States. Last seen outside of a nightclub in a car with three men, Holloway is still missing. She was declared legally dead in 2012 despite any firm evidence of her death. Human remains thought to belong to Holloway were found in 2017, but they did not belong to her, meaning that there is the slim chance she is still alive.