11. Mount Waialeale, Kauaʻi, Hawaii
> Closest city: Lihue, Hawaii (population: 8,004)
Geologically known as a shield volcano, this mountain is the second highest of Hawaii’s Kauai island, at just over 5,000 ft. With an average rainfall of nearly 400 inches a year, its summit is considered one of the wettest places on earth, as proudly noted on a sign at the top.
12. Centralia, Pennsylvania
> Closest city: Allentown, Pennsylvania (population: 125,845)
Centralia is a virtual ghost town due to a coal mine fire that has been burning underground since the 1960s. The town’s land has been taken by eminent domain and most of its buildings have been demolished. Five residents have been permitted to live out their lives there; all others have moved on.
13. Washington Island, Wisconsin
> Closest city: Green Bay, Wisconsin (population: 107,395)
With ferry access and an economy mainly based on tourism, but also farming, logging and fishing, this island on Lake Michigan has a small year-round population, largely descended from Icelandic settlers. The island offers retail shopping and beautiful scenery, including its famous lavender field.
14. Adirondacks, New York
> Closest city: Utica, New York (population: 65,283)
The name “Adirondacks” describes a mountain range, a region, and the 5,000 square mile state park that protects this popular recreational destination from uncontrolled development. The Adirondack Park is a patchwork of public and private land, with the state owned portions designated as “forever wild.”
15. Monhegan Island, Maine
> Closest city: Brunswick, Maine (population: 21,756)
Picturesque Monhegan Island, 16 miles from the Maine coast and accessible only by boat, has a dwindling year round population — 14 people in 2019, down from 300 a century ago — has functioned as an artist colony since the 1800s. Ferry boatloads of tourists visit the island every summer to enjoy its charm and easy wooded hikes.