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Heart Reef, Hardy Reef, Whitsundays, Whitsunday Islands, Whitsunday archipelago, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia, deb22

A coral formation off the Whitsunday Islands in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, beloved Heart Reef protruded naturally from the water’s surface in the shape of a heart. The small atoll can only be appreciated from the air—snorkeling, diving, and landing of any sort are verboten—making it a popular destination for scenic helicopter flights, especially those involving marriage proposals. Unfortunately, Australia has plans to expand its coal industry on the mainland near the Whitsundays, and dredge spoil may threaten life around Heart Reef and the greater Great Barrier ecosystem in future years.

Canyon X, Page, Arizona, Arizona slot canyon, Overland Canyon Tours, Tami Freed

Slot canyons are rife with shapes and colors, their stripes and spirals often creating optical illusions. X Canyon, located on Navajo land roughly 30 minutes from Page, Arizona, is an uncrowded alternative to Antelope Canyon. Overland Canyon Tours is the only outfitter permitted to enter the slot canyons, some of which have 150-foot walls that close to a mere three feet. Look up and you’ll likely see all kinds of images, especially black hearts emerging from red-orange flames.

Lagh de Calvaresc, Lac de Calvaresc, Lake Calvaresc, Grisons, Switzerland , Calanca Mountain Trail, Vogel

Sitting about 7,000 feet up the Calanca Mountain Trail between the Calanca and Mesolcina Valleys in the Swiss Alps, hikers reach Lac Calvaresc (“lake of heart”), a green pool of water that offers a refreshing dip in summer. The marmots enjoy it too. Most people visit Heart Lake on a three-day hiking trek from San Bernadino, staying in mountain huts along the way.

Isla Corazón, Mascardi Lake, Patagonia, Bariloche Lakes District, Lake Gutierrez, Swoop Patagonia, sunsinger

This forested island floating in the neon glacial waters of Mascardi Lake in Argentinian Patagonia only bears its loving shape from the eastern vantage point of Gutierrez Lake. Many kayaking trips explore the Bariloche Lake District, stopping for photos, kisses, proposals, you name it at Isla Corazón.

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At the site of the Nakele Blow Hole, north of Kapalua in West Maui, there’s a hole in the lava rock that the ocean blew out in a rough image of a heart. High tides and strong surf create the best blow hole effects, which include the spewing of seawater through the heart-shaped window.
Double Heart Stone Weir, Twin Heart Stone Weir, Chimei, Taiwan, stone fish trap, Penghu Islands, Carrie Kellenberger

While not exactly natural since it was created by fishermen to trap their catch on the incoming tide, the Twin-Heart Stone Weir in the township of Chimei, Taiwan, is worth a visit for its flying-heart aesthetic and to learn about an ancient sustainable fishing practice of stacking stones into concentric traps.

Photography by Eric Chanand Carrie Kellenberger via Flickr. All other photographs via Shutterstock.