“Mama, do you see that echo? On the wall there, looking at me.” It was my three-year-old’s first visit to Phnom Penh, the city of my birth. “Why are there so many?” I followed her gaze, where she had spied a gecko clinging to a high corner. In her innocent mispronunciation, she’d touched on something I felt was hauntingly apropos: Despite its breathtaking pace of transformation, this is still a city of echoes, reverberations of the past.

Is there a magic formula for the perfect beach town? No, but America could offer up more than a few candidates if they were doling out the title. Here are just a few of them, recommended by Nat Geo Travel staffers.

A favorite of the late Ingrid Bergman, the Bohuslän Coast feels a bit like a secret French Riviera. What the high-latitude region lacks in American tourists it makes up for with plentiful seafood and bright seasonal sunshine. Here’s the low-down on visiting this Swedish wonderland.

Venice native Igor Scomparin led tours all over Europe with Globus for a decade before returning home to be a “local host” for Monograms. Now, this tourism industry veteran’s mission is to show the real, authentic Venice to travelers who come to visit his homeland. Here’s a look at the City of Canals, through the ultimate local’s eyes.

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in August.

No need for an umpire’s call: Cooperstown, New York, runs on baseball. And as the Baseball Hall of Fame celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2014, baseball lovers can cheer more than one milestone. July 27 also brings a new batch of inductees (including star players Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine) following last year’s steroids-disqualified dry spell.

When World War I broke out, the Dolomites became a treacherous front line for Austrian and Italian soldiers. Here among the jagged peaks and sheer pastel walls of this ancient range of the Alps, where many cultures had coexisted for centuries, soldiers on both sides built networks of bolted-down steel cables, called via ferrata, to move supplies quickly—and for other missions, too.

Music festival season is in full swing. To help our readers wade through the ever-growing list of options, we asked our Facebook fans to give us the lowdown on their favorite aural extravaganzas. So, turn up your favorite tunes, and join us on a tour of stand-out summer music festivals around the world.

Minnesota native and self-described travel addict Shanna Schultz makes a habit out of exploring the world—and of sharing tales of her adventures on her blog. But, not one to forget her roots, Shanna is also passionate about the things that make the Midwestern U.S. unique (check out her musings on A Midwest Travel Companion). Here are a few of her favorite things about her half of the Twin Cities.

For Nat Geo Travel Books Senior Editor Barbara A. Noe, going on a run is the best way to get oriented in a new city, and a great way to take in the sights. So lace up your sneaks and read on to get Barbara’s tips on where to run in some of the world’s greatest places—and what to see along the way.

The best day hikes have an element of quest, or mission, which is why so many of them climb to the top of a mountain or a landmark. Such is the case with many of the hikes presented below. But there’s no serious mountain trekking here—the point of each hike is the experience of getting there—and the inspiring view gained at the quest’s end.

Born and raised in the U.K., Cecily Layzell hopped the pond to Amsterdam a decade ago and has been keeping it continental ever since. When she’s not scoping out the latest restaurant and bars in the Dutch capital for her website, Eat Amsterdam, the food and travel writer spends her time freelancing for publications all around the globe. Here are a few of her favorite things about the Venice of the North.

It’s not easy to get out from under the shadow of a place like Brazil’s Pantanal—a natural wetland bigger than England and home to a biodiversity bonanza of such rare species as the tapir and the jaguar. Yet the town of Bonito, on the Pantanal’s border, is emerging as one of Brazil’s favorite adventure outposts­.

Few cities rival Hong Kong when it comes to hotels. Choices range from some of the most expensive and indulgent in the world–the city boasts two Mandarin Orientals–to dirt-cheap hostels as well as a big range of hip yet reasonable new properties in between. Here are my favorites.

America does beaches extremely well, a point I didn’t begin to realize until my 20s, when I tried to sunbathe on a jam-packed stretch of Spanish shore. But too many of the towns along our coastlines have become charmless and generic. They feel like shopping malls with sand. Then there are those that shine. Here are seven of the best.

America’s national parks are showcases of extraordinary geological phenomena. While some of them are famous, others are unsung, unexplained, or just plain strange. But, to be sure, all of them spur the imagination, helping us to appreciate the forces that have shaped the nation and its parks. Here are five of the most fascinating geological wonders you can find in America’s national parks.

Kathrin Deter moved to Helsinki from Luxembourg in 2010 for what she thought would be a short exchange program. But the Finnish capital stole her heart, and the move quickly became permanent. Not one to look back, Kathrin now she spends her days writing about her newly adopted city for Spotted by Locals, and on her personal blog, Luminoucity. Here are a few of Kathrin’s favorite things about the place she calls home.

This spring, I attended the Mom 2.0 Summit, a gathering of some of the most talented family bloggers and female entrepreneurs in the U.S. and Canada. While these women run the gamut when it comes to coverage–from politics to design–many of them are leaders in the travel blogging community. And who better to pump for tips about family travel than parents who embrace it as a lifestyle? Here are eight recs to remember the next time you’re planning a trip with the kids.

One of the Atlanta’s most desirable neighborhoods in the late 19th century before falling into disrepair in the 1960s, the Old Fourth Ward is also where Martin Luther King, Jr., grew up and honed his preaching style. In recent years, the “O4W” has become a striking symbol of intelligent gentrification in the Georgia capital, a place where abandoned warehouses are being converted to lofts and small businesses are thriving–while the authentic flavor of this historic area remains preserved. Here are ten reasons to love this ever-evolving neighborhood.

To toast the warm weather–and to provide inspiration for all those last-minute vacation planners out there–we asked our Facebook community to share their picks for the best beach town in the world. Our readers didn’t disappoint. Recommendations ran the gamut–from St. John to Singapore–so grab a beach chair and a fruity drink and explore standout seaside spots with Nat Geo Travel.

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in July.

When Ailsa Ross visited Berlin for the first time, she described it as “a big shiny carousel where even under the pale watery skies of winter, you feel part of a Golden Age.” After she decided to call the German capital home, her enthusiasm for the city only grew. Here are a few of her favorite things about Berlin.

By the time I get to Gasparilla Island, a glorified sandbar off Florida’s west coast that’s about an hour’s drive from Fort Myers or Sarasota and a whole lot harder to reach from everywhere else, Labor Day has come and gone. I’m seeking the warmth of the sun, and a genuine Florida beach town that will serve as an antidote to the forests of condos and hotels that line the coasts north of Miami and south of Tampa. I find it in Boca Grande.

NOLA Like a Local

“Eat Local” may be a national trend, but in steamy, dreamy New Orleans the focus is on local living. The Crescent City is fiercely devoted to its homegrown traditions–be they culinary, musical, cultural, or otherwise. Though some of our habits and haunts–like gumbo, go-cups, and the French Quarter–are famous the world over, others remain a bit more elusive to visitors. Here are just a few of them.

In woodlands and jungles, along coastlines, and on mountaintops, parks and trails have been created where you can enjoy nature and art together. Here are our picks for the ten best sculpture parks in the world.