1. Area 51
Where: Paradise Ranch, Nevada (Formerly Known As)
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: $2,280*
Area 51 is one of the most popular military facilities in America, thanks to the large number of rumors, urban legends, and myths that surround it. This top-secret U.S. Air Force base is located in Nevada, and everything that goes on there is highly-classified.
Though Area 51 has been the subject of a Netflix movie of the same name, it’s anybody’s guess as to what happens there. Fines and penalties for sneaking into the alien-and-UFO site are steep, reaching well over $2,000 per violator.
2. Vatican Secret Archive
Where: The Vatican
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: $275 Vatican trespassing fee*
Very few people have access to the Vatican Secret Archive, as only scholars over the age of seventy-five are permitted to study the archives. When they are authorized, academics enter the Vatican Secret Archive through an entryway guarded by the Swiss military.
These scholars can access three pre-requested documents per day, no more. Technically, the owner of this secretive library is the Pope, as he owns it until he either dies or resigns. Then, ownership transfers to his successor.
3. Little Hall’s Pond Cay
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: $50*
Little Hall’s Pond Cay is a privately-owned island that is off-limits to the public, though the public will likely know its former owner. Johnny Depp, the star of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, bought the island years ago before later re-selling it to J.K. Rowling.
Little Hall’s Pond Cay certainly looks like something out of a Disney movie, as it is full of lush, tropical vegetation, clear waters, and white sands. The buildings on the island are solar-powered, and the surrounding lands are all part of a wildlife refuge.
4. Vale do Javari
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: Undisclosed
The Brazilian government has made it illegal for people who are not indigenous to enter the Vale do Javari (Valle del Javari). The indigenous territory is one of the largest in Brazil, encompassing tens of thousands of square miles.
Vale do Javari contains the world’s highest concentration of isolated indigenous people. Because these natives are so vulnerable to disease and damage, they are kept safe from the outside world and its pressures.
5. Korean Demilitarized Zone, DMZ
Where: The Korean Peninsula
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: $155 (if South Korea catches you)*
The Korea Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a strip of land that crosses the Korean Peninsula. It acts as a border barrier between South and North Korea, separating the two contentious nations. Technically, the DMZ is an active war zone.
The “world’s most dangerous border” might sound like the stuff of a Netflix action-thriller, but it is real. The stretch is isolated, rife with fences and landmines, and North Korea and South Korea exchanged gunfire across the DMZ as recently as 2020.
6. Maya Bay
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: Undisclosed
After the 2000 movie The Beach, which starred A-list actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Indonesia’s Maya Bay became famous for its clear waters and white sand. Millions of tourists flocked to the Bay, and that visitation came with a price.
Maya Bay’s ecosystem became heavily damaged because of boat traffic, with congestion and pollution killing off 80% of its coral reefs. As a result, Maya Bay was shut down. Now, if the public wants to see it, they can rent The Beach on Amazon Prime Video.
7. Aksai Chin
Where: India/China (Disputed Territory)
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: $500-$1,000*
Aksai Chin is a disputed border area between China and India, though it is primarily controlled by China. Aksai Chin was neglected for years because of its barren, uninhabitable, isolated nature. But, in the 1950s, the Chinese took an interest in the region.
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The country’s military built a road through the region to connect Tibet to Xinjiang, something to which India strenuously objected. This kicked off border clashes that began in 1962 and, in some capacity, are still ongoing today.
8. Bohemian Grove
Where: Monte Rio, California
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: $1,000 or 6 months in jail (maximum)*
“Weaving Spiders Come Not Here” is the motto hanging outside Bohemian Grove’s headquarters, reminding its gatherers that they can only come to the secret club if they leave business at the door. The Bohemian Grove is a secret society in Monte Rio, California.
Its meetings take place at a 2,700-acre private compound in Monte Rio, and members have to jump through a lot of hoops just to be considered for membership. In addition to a $25,000 initiation fee, members are hand-selected, and there is, currently, a sizable waiting list for those who want to become part of the secret society. The club is quite secretive, though there are some documentaries on YouTube that purport to have cracked Bohemian Grove’s mysteries.
9. Google Data Centers
Where: North America, Asia, Europe, and South America
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: $500-$5,000, depending on where it is*
Google operates data centers on four different continents, and these centers are only available to Google employees who have permission to be there. The data centers run 24/7, using as much as 103 megawatts of electricity.
Just one data center is said to cost $600 million, if not more. The Data Centers keep Google’s products running, and the entire cost to set up its centers was rumored to be $13 billion for the year 2019 alone.
10. Chapel of the Tablet
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: $25-$250*
Located in Aksum, Ethiopia, the Chapel of the Tablet is supposedly the home of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark itself is said to be guarded by a virgin sentinel who is not permitted to ever leave the Chapel.
This Guardian of the Covenant is the only person allowed to see the Ark in the Chapel’s catacombs, which are off-limits to the public. Whether fact or fiction, this tale, which brings to mind PARA and his escapades, has made the Chapel famous, bringing curious tourists from all over the world to the tiny Ethiopian town.
11. Chauvet Cave
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: Up to $16,000*
Located within Southeastern France, the Chauvet Cave has some of the most well-preserved figurative cave paintings and drawings in the world. In addition to this artwork, there are other markers of the Upper Paleolithic period within the Cave, too.
©Bruno M Photographie/Shutterstock.com
Because of its historical significance, the Chauvet Cave is banned from public viewing. The techniques and tools used to paint the Chauvet Cave’s artwork are varied and diverse, and the art itself covers a wide range of topics and events from Paleolithic times.
12. Tillamook Rock Lighthouse
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: Up to $1,000*
Tillamook Rock Light is an inactive lighthouse located on the Oregonian coast of the U.S., just a mile off the shore of Tillamook Head. The lighthouse was built atop a rock in 1880, a construction plan that was incredibly risky.
Because of its location, no one is allowed to attempt to visit Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. Nicknamed “Terrible Tilly” for its harsh location, the Lighthouse is rumored to be cursed by gods, spirits, and/or ghosts. These rumors have haunted the Lighthouse since its inception—even earlier, when you factor in Native American legends.
Where: McLean, Virginia
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: $2,500 or 1 year in prison (maximum)*
Langley is an unincorporated town that has become synonymous with secret U.S. government hideouts. Langley, located in McLean, Virginia, is home to the George Bush Center for Intelligence, which is the headquarters of the CIA.
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The CIA relocated from Washington D.C. to Langley in the early 1960s, and it has remained there ever since. Though Langley, as a community, is visitable if you’re part of the public, it goes without saying that the CIA headquarters are kept under lock and key.
14. Fort Knox
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: $1,000 or 6-12 months in prison*
Fort Knox is a U.S. Army installation located in Kentucky, and it is famous for being impossible to break into. Those attempting to trespass are subject to stiff fines and jail sentences, and no one has even attempted to burglarize the fortress since 1935.
No visitors are permitted at Fort Knox, which is located next to the U.S. Bullion Depository. Today, Fort Knox houses 143.7 million troy ounces of gold, which is about half of what the U.S. Treasury owns.
15. Pluto’s Gate
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: Undisclosed
Pluto’s Gate, also called the Ploutonion at Hierapolis, was discovered in the 1960s by Italian archaeologists. Excavation began on the Turkish site, which was revealed to have been a ploutonion (a religious sanctuary) for worshipers of Plouton in Hierapolis.