Imagine walking through a far-flung island of forest and stumbling across a bright, pink lake. Or quietly rowing your boat through a sea of floating lotus flowers that expand as far as the eye can see. Dreamy? Yes, but also completely possible if you consider a visit to one of the world’s strangest lakes.
Because lakes are mostly contained ecosystems, they have the uncanny ability to evolve in ways you might expect to come from the imagination of Dr. Seuss. Like Spotted Lake in Canada, which is considered one of the most bizarre natural wonders in the world, transmogrifying from an average-looking alpine lake into a field of gigantic green polka dots every summer.
There are more than 3 million or so lakes worldwide, so it takes quite an astounding trick to stand out. Some that caught our attention: a lake made of one of the purest skincare ingredients on earth and another with six-foot waves ideal for freshwater surfing.
Nature can also cook up some pretty forbidding lakeside scenes. At Tanzania’s Lake Natron, where the water reaches 140 degrees, petrified bats and birds (even doves) have been found washed ashore.
For most travelers, of course, a lake vacation brings to mind more soothing, nostalgia-laden images. It’s as classic an American experience as a summer road trip. So by all means, go visit any number of the beautiful lakes in our country’s great outdoors. But if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind, see-it-to-believe-it experience, we recommend a detour to one of these peculiar pools instead.