If you’re the type of person wired for adventure, vacation planning is probably a little different than someone looking for, say, a quiet tropical getaway. The thrill and excitement that comes with exploring new landscapes and terrains in undiscovered destinations is a mainstay of outdoor travel and if you’re in the process of creating your next great escape, adventure travel ideas abound here. in the USA.
There are two paths to determining how to choose a trip that is best for outdoor enthusiasts: by destination or by activity. If there’s a part of America that’s been on your bucket list for a long time, you can research national parks and wilderness areas to decipher what the area is known for. Alternatively, if you’re an avid mountain biker or have always wanted to try something like horseback riding or canoeing, look into the areas best known for it. From there, you can craft an itinerary that will give you a rewarding and memorable outdoor experience.
Ahead, 10 wanderlust-inducing adventure travel ideas to get you started. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a fly-fishing enthusiast, there’s bound to be a getaway for you. Get ready to hit the road.
Canoeing in Boundary Waters
In northeastern Minnesota, in one of the most remote and breathtaking regions of the United States, lies the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness located in the Superior National Forest. It stretches 150 miles along the Canadian border and covers approximately 1,098,000 acres with over 1,100 lakes and 1,500 miles of canoe routes. If you are a paddler this adventure will tick that trip of a lifetime box rather nicely. And one of the best things about choosing this getaway is the isolation – no one lives here and it’s easy to spend several days on the roads seeing only a handful of other visitors in the waters. If you plan to make it a multi-day trip, there are over 2,000 designated campsites to pitch a tent. Leave the phone behind, soak up the sounds of nature, and enjoy the feeling of being in tune with your surroundings.
Hike in Bryce Canyon National Park
The largest concentration on planet Earth of Hoodoo rock formations is found in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. It’s an otherworldly landscape that culminates atop the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (not a bad place to watch the sunset). If Bryce has been on your list for a while, book a three-day hiking weekend with REI Cooperative Adventures for an in-depth, guided adventure that includes a stay at their private base camp, hikes to waterfalls and other must-see trails, and mesmerizing views of these towering spiers. Beware, the elevation of the park reaches 9,100 feet, so it is strongly advised to train physically and prepare in advance for the elevation change and always make sure to drink enough water.
Mountain Biking in Scottsdale
While Sedona is perhaps Arizona’s best-known destination for mountain biking, nearby Scottsdale is another landscape that provides excellent terrain for this adventure sport. especially in the scenic McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Start your adventure by registering at Andaz and book it mountain bike package which offers a guided tour on high-performance bicycles. The property is located on 23 acres in the heart of the Sonoran Desert and surrounded by plants such as cacti, yucca, prickly pear and mesquite.
Kayaking in the San Juan Islands
The Pacific Northwest is a treasure trove of outdoor activities, and the San Juan Islands, an archipelago known for its world-class whale watching, should be on your to-do list. Position your trip around kayak, an activity that will allow you to get closer to the marine environment here. Since Salish Sea currents can be strong here and often oppose the winds, it’s best to sign up for a guided tour for your first outing to make sure you know how to stay safe. Plus, it’s not uncommon to encounter whales here, so cool off Be wise with the whales guidelines.
Ziplining in Kauai
Often referred to as Hawaii’s “garden island”, kauai is the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain and is characterized by its tropical rainforests, majestic waterfalls, jagged cliffs and lush valleys. Unsurprisingly, this is a destination best enjoyed through outdoor activities and one of the most exhilarating things you can do is zipline. Kaui Outfitters is the longest zipline on the island and their tours take you over landscapes spotted in iconic movies like jurassic park, Pirates of the Caribbeanand IndianaJones. Soar through the trees attached to the Superman for a memorable immersive experience.
Fly fishing in Montana
If there’s one destination that lends itself well to a leisurely day of fly fishing, it’s Montana. With its crystal clear lakes and whispering streams, “Big Sky Country” is a popular place to cast your line. There are countless places to find fish due to the state’s clear, cold water, which creates a solid habitat for these aquatic animals (and anglers too); two of which being Paradise Valley and Flathead Lake. To help keep the environment free of invasive species, be sure to follow three steps: clean, drain and dry (learn more here).
Forest swimming in the Ozarks
If 1.2 million acres of hardwood and pine forests accented by crystal clear mountain streams sounds like something your blood pressure could enjoy right now, it’s time to book a forest swimming adventure at the Ozark-St Francis National Forests. Located in northwest Arkansas, this natural paradise is about as scenic as it gets, and activities like hiking, camping, kayaking, horseback riding, and fishing are all within easy reach. For more ideas, visit forest service website which allows you to discover different areas of the forest depending on the activity.
Hike California’s Lost Coast
Another of REI Co-op Adventures’ guided trips takes outdoor enthusiasts on a hiking trip from Mattole Trailhead to Black Sands Beach, covering 25 miles in four days along The lost coast. This is an isolated stretch of the California coast that is not usually known to the masses. Cross tough terrain like sand, cobbles and streams as you head south with the wind at your back. It’s the kind of backcountry experience that, despite the rigorous physical demands, will leave you feeling recharged and invigorated.
Horseback Riding in New Mexico
Most people venture outdoors to commune with nature, but if you want to go deeper and interact with animals in a way that’s safe for you and wildlife, why not head to New Mexico for a horseback adventure? To episcopal lodge in Santa Fe you can get out of their historic stables for a one to six hour excursion with a packed picnic lunch and a lesson from their wranglers in how to feed and groom horses.