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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