10 Tiny Towns with Big Tourism Dreams

Kibbutz Merom Golan, Golan Heights, Israel/Syria
Golan Heights is known for stunning scenery. © Richard T. Nowitz/Corbis

Population: 600 [source: Merom Golan]

In the midst of disputed territory between Israel and Syria, where rockets land with some frequency, and where military action could be concentrated should that ages-old conflict escalate, "vacation resort" may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Kibbutz Merom Golan, an Israeli community in the Golan Heights, sees it differently [source: IPS].

Kibbutzim, traditionally communelike villages found throughout Israel, are often visited by tourists for the novelty of communal living in desert-rural settings. Kibbutz Merom Golan has taken that tourist interest much, much further.

Merom Golan, advertising "luxury accommodations" and fun for all ages and interests, offers private cabins and guided trail rides via four-wheeler, bike, jeep and horseback, with horseback lessons on-site. There are romantic sunset treks for the honeymooning types, and several full-service restaurants to choose from, including one serving meat-and-potatoes style meals (with all the meat raised responsibly in the Golan Heights) and hybrid fare like "cowboy kabobs" -- lamb and mint, on the grill.

To be fair, this particular kibbutz is out of the more dangerous territory. But still. Bold move.