Nowadays, research is at your fingertips with the click of just a few buttons. You can learn about anything using your phone or laptop, and there are few barriers for the curious. Unless they’re trying to learn about what’s inside these top-secret locations, that is.
All of the sites on this list are heavily-restricted, which means they are off-limits to the public due to hazardous conditions, political issues, rumors of hauntings and aliens, and other reasons. All of these places impose heavy fines, if not jail time, for those foolish enough to try to sneak in to capture photos with their smartphones.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.