Top Ten Extreme Destinations

Some people push life to the limits, seeking out locations from the pages of Guinness World Records like they are a packing to-do list. These ten destinations represent the most extreme climates in the world and offer unparalleled stories once you land back on home turf.
By Jodi Helmer
Death Valley, California
The setting sun brings welcome relief to Death Valley, a locale synonymous with extreme heat. (Jeremy Woodhouse)

Hottest: Death Valley, California
When the sun shines on California's Mojave Desert, it feels like the hottest place on earth—and it is. Sort of.

The title of the earth's hottest locale was awarded to El Azizia, Libya, on September 13, 1922, when temperatures peaked at a scorching 136 degrees.

Prior to that, the hottest temperature recorded was in Furnace Creek, a section of Death Valley National Park that sits 190 feet below sea level. On July 10, 1913, the mercury rose to 134 degrees, claiming the record for the highest temperature in the Western Hemisphere. (The coldest temperatures in Death Valley were also recorded in 1913. On January 8, temperatures dropped to 15 degrees, a record that still holds today.)

The record-breaking temperatures are due, in part, to the park's setting. Some of the narrow basins in the three-million-acre park are situated below sea level, and when they are surrounded by steep mountain ranges the heat becomes trapped in the valleys.


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