Water World: Great Cascades

Waterfalls embody the romance and exhilaration nature has to offer. What a rush!

Gullfoss is in southwest Iceland, image

Gullfoss, in southwest Iceland, is stunning year round.

Get ready to soak in the spray of a refreshing waterfall on your next vacation.

Iguassu Falls

Where in the world This South American wonder is on the border of Brazil and Argentina.

When to visit You'll find the most temperate weather and smallest crowds in September and October.

Close? How close? Three ring-shaped balconies at the water's edge give the best views of the popular Devil's Throat section.

Keep your eyes peeled Local birds called vencejos build their nests behind the falls and can often be seen swooping through the skies.

Claim to fame The renowned archaeologist in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) goes over the falls.

Niagara Falls

Where in the world On the border of Ontario and New York, the Canadian side offers a view of Horseshoe Falls.

When to visit Summer is best temperature-wise, but the crowds tend to be larger, so plan to arrive early in the day.

Close? How close? The Whirlpool Aero Car, an antique cable car built in 1916, takes you on a ride above the Whirlpool Rapids.

Keep your eyes peeled Niagara Falls is considered the honeymoon capital of North America, so you may see more than a few lovebirds.

Claim to fame Jim and Pam of The Office were married on The Maid of the Mist during season six (2009).

Victoria Falls

Where in the world One of the largest falls in the world, it lies on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

When to visit July to September is the best time: The falls put on quite 
a show but water volume isn't so high that you get soaked.

Close? How close? Feel the spray 
on your cheeks on a sunset cruise aboard the African Queen.

Keep your eyes peeled You're likely to see bungee jumping and skydiving, along with other adrenalin-pumping activities.

Claim to fame Victoria Falls was the first location visited during the first season of The Amazing Race (2001).

Wailua Falls

Where in the world Hawaii's twin Wailua Falls on the east side of Kauai delivers twice the pleasure.

When to visit Avoid the dry season (April to October), when the water levels tend to be low.

Close? How close? The falls are easily accessible from the road. The observation point next to the falls is perfect for taking photos.

Keep your eyes peeled When the sun is at just the right angle in the early morning, a rainbow is often visible along the base of the falls.

Claim to fame The distinctive double-barrel falls are recognizable in the opening credits of the series Fantasy Island (1977).

Gullfoss

Where in the world The falls are part of the golden circle in south central Iceland.

When to visit Iceland is warmest from May to August, but the falls are especially gorgeous in winter months.

Close? How close? Get close enough to get wet by taking the rocky path just under the first cascade.

Keep your eyes peeled If the weather is clear, turn your back to the falls for a glimpse of the spectacular Langjökull glacier.

Claim to fame The music video for the single "Heaven" (2004) by the alternative rock band Live featured Gullfoss.

Photography courtesy of WoSie/Wikipedia

Please contact your AAA Travel Counselor or go to AAA.com/offices to find one near you.

This article was first published in September 2012 in Traveler. Some facts may have
aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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