The ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic has made bustling cities like New York resemble ghost towns. Social distancing has shut national parks and turned tropical paradises into forbidden islands. But instead of dreaming about canceled trips, why not learn about some strange places that have always been forbidden?
Turns out there’s been an actual ghost town (that’s North Brother Island, by the way) within New York City limits for 80 years. And some islands have long been prohibited—for fascinating reasons. While all the places below are restricted in some way, a few can be visited by invitation, seen from afar, or experienced through replicas (once travel restrictions have ended). For now, there’s no time quite like a self-quarantine for descending into the online rabbit hole, where you’ll find plenty of photos and information for a virtual vacation.