Hell's Half Acre, Idaho
This lava plain is one of several basaltic lava fields on the Snake River Plain in Idaho. The landscape looks barren: a sharp, glassy wasteland of volcanic rock. But in the spring and summer, the plains burst into wildflowers.
Antelope, bobcats, and foxes come out to roam among the Indian Paintbrush flowers, wild onions, and prickly pear cacti. Remember that sometimes no matter how damaged a landscape or relationship with your in-laws might look, there's always hope and life hidden away.
Hell Creek Formation, Montana
This is a great getaway for people interested in fossils. The clays and mudstones here expose strata in the rocks. You can actually see in the stone the lines separating the Cretaceous period from the Cenozoic.
All kinds of dinosaur bones have been found here, as well as fossils from ancient birds and mammals. Besides, when you tell your in-laws where you're going, what they'll hear is, "I'd rather look at rocks than spend time with you." You don't have to say it, but they'll get the message.
(image via missoulian)
Hell, Cayman Islands
Hell is a small area of limestone formations on the largest of the Cayman Islands. There's a gift shop and a post office where you can send your in-laws a postcard from Hell.
There's actually not much else to do in Hell, but you're on Grand Cayman. Go to Seven Mile Beach for some snorkeling, or do all sorts of other things that your mother-in-law would never go for.
Hel is situated on the Hel Peninsula in Poland. The city is small, but it's very friendly to tourists. It should be—its spot in the middle of the peninsula means that it's a perfect hub for watersports.
The beach here is an enormous crescent sandbank, and the area houses a seal sanctuary and several places to learn about the area's importance during the World War II. It's better than listening to the three same stories your father-in-law tells over and over, for sure.
Hell, Norway is a small town. It has a decent tourist industry, but it's not too terribly bustling. And while it can get incredibly cold here (-13°F), there's a surprisingly vibrant music scene. Every year the Blues in Hell festival takes place at Hell Station.
The town also gave the world Miss Universe 1990 Mona Grudt, who, at 44, definitely looks better than your mother-in-law did at that age.
This Hell actually failed to take off as a town for some reason. Founded by Charles Carr, the town's population eventually settled in around three people: Carr, his wife, and their son. Still, the area was referenced more than once in local pop culture.
Swing by to pay your respects, and appreciate the absence of your in-laws, on the way to enjoying the year-round perfect weather of the Santa Monica Bay for your holiday.
(image via Google Maps)
Hell's Half Acre, Wyoming
Named by a lost cowhand who thought he was at a different Hell's Half Acre, this bizarre scarp is riddled with caverns and ravines. It looks otherworldly, which might be why it was used for one of the bug planets in Paul Verhoeven's adaptation of Starship Troopers.
Take time to appreciate the mighty forces of nature that created this warped and sundered cliff, and try not to think about how your father-in-law doesn't appreciate Verhoeven's underrated masterpiece. (You showed him the extended cut, didn't you?)
Hell Cave, Slovenia
Hell Cave is more than 3 million years old. Archeologists have found Neanderthal bones here, and even if prehistory isn't your thing, there's also an underground waterfall in the cave, plus unreal-looking cave formations in the upper sections.
Slovenia might not be the first place you think of for a holiday getaway, but it's a gorgeous country, it's far away from the in-laws, and the cave truly is a natural wonder.
George Reeve set up shop here in the 1830s with a sawmill, a gristmill, and a distillery. The area is a bit of a summer resort area for Michigan, owing to nearby Hiland Lake.
Apart from the lake, the area is rich with forests and wetlands, and while the mosquitos might be a nuisance, they won't be nearly as much of a nuisance as your in-laws would be.
This is the capital of Nosy Be, Madagascar's largest tourist destination. Its official name has been changed to Andoany, but the old name is still the most common one. The beaches on the island are more old-school—this isn't going to be an all-inclusive resort like in Jamaica.
Rather it's a quieter, simpler experience with pure white sand, clear blue water, the scent of vanilla in the air, and respite from the noises of modern life, like your mother-in-law's nagging.