Adventure tourism will grow by nearly 46% between 2016 and 2020. The combination of lower-cost airfare and the discoverability of new destinations on the internet is inspiring people to see more of the world.
If you’ve got the itch for something more exciting than the usual vacation spots, you’re in the right place. Let’s look at some of the best adventure vacations you can take.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands have a storied geological history. The unique geology of the islands has allowed some unique animal species to thrive:
- Giant tortoises
- Sea lions
- Sleeping sharks
- Marine iguanas
- Galapagos penguins
You can enjoy lots of exciting water sports like scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, and boating. But if you’re more of a landlubber, there’s plenty of hiking and other land-based outdoor recreation waiting for you as well.
Etosha National Park and Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Namibia’s commitment to conservation makes it one of the best active vacations. Over 40% of the country is under conservation management, giving you plenty of choices. Etosha National Park is home to many species of animals that roam free including black rhinos, cheetahs, lions, and elephants.
Or visit the Skeleton Coast and see dramatic sand dunes that run into the Atlantic Ocean. You can sand sled and sandboard to your heart’s content on the dunes.
Big Sur, California
California is home to some of the most populated areas and touristy vacation destinations in the world. That’s not all the state has to offer though. Big Sur was inaccessible by road before 1937 and is one of California’s most remote spots.
You can enjoy hiking, backpacking, camping, and fishing. Ocean swimming can be dangerous, so you’re best to stick to the Big Sur River if you want to take a dunk.
You’ve probably seen pictures of the tall peaks shrouded in mist in Zhangjiajie. It looks like something out of a movie; in fact, they were the inspiration for the world of Pandora in the movie Avatar. You can hike through sandstone landscape here, like Zianren Qiao, the Bridge of the Immortals.
Or visit Huang Shi Zhai, the highest village in the area at 3,450 feet. Make sure you’re prepared to climb though. You’ll need to climb a 3,800-step staircase to reach the village.
The nearby Mengdon River offers some of the world’s best white water rafting if you’re looking for a bit more of an adrenaline rush.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Visit the ruins of the Khmer kingdom in Angkor Wat. It’s the world’s largest religious monument, dating back to the early 12th century. You can also explore the Bayon temple, home to thousands of carved smiling faces said to be images of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.
You can hike the area or rent bicycles if that’s more your speed.
Red River Gorge, Kentucky
The Red River Gorge is a canyon system alongside the Red River. Locals consider it the “Grand Canyon of Kentucky.” The gorge is mostly inside the Daniel Boone National Forest and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
There are lots of adventure activities for you in Red River including rock climbing, hiking, camping, and fishing. Check out all the exciting adventures waiting for you at the Gorge.
Southern Ocean Lodge – Kangaroo Island, Australia
The Southern Ocean Lodge is on the southwest coast of Kangaroo Island in Australia. The island offers an amazing amount of unique wildlife. It’s known as Australia’s Galapagos.
The Lodge’s floor-to-ceiling windows in every room, restaurant, and most common areas make you feel like you’re floating above the cliffs overlooking Hanson Bay.
Shakti 360 Leti, India
Shakti 360 Leti offers four private guest accommodations with amazing views of the Himalayas. It’s located at an elevation of 8,000 feet so it’s a remote spot – perfect for a real adventure vacation away from civilization.
Enjoy treks, mountain hiking, and fishing in the area. Because of the remote location, you should plan for at least a three-night stay, if not longer. Shakti 360 Leti is open from October to mid-April.
Whistler is one of the world’s premier ski resorts, about an hour’s drive from Vancouver. It was home to many events in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Many of the facilities were either renovated or built for the games, which means you’ll be enjoying world-class skiing.
Skiing is only part of the picture, however. In the summer many of the ski trails convert to hiking and mountain biking. There are also several lakes in the area with gorgeous views. Canoeing, kayaking, swimming, and fishing are all popular summer activities.
Whistler Village, at the foot of the mountain, offers great restaurants, exciting nightlife, and great shopping. You can go from adventuring to relaxing in a few steps.
Start Planning Your Adventure Vacations Early
While most of these vacation destinations are remote, that doesn’t mean they’re not well-known and popular. Instagram and other social media sites deliver the world to your screen and more people than ever are traveling to these places.
The limited space most of them offer makes it even more challenging to make plans.
You’ll need to plan your trip well ahead of time, several months in most cases. Research the best times to go, both for enjoying the local activities and when the crowds will be the smallest. Read up on other people’s experiences to see what they liked and didn’t like.
Make sure the activities you want to experience will be available when you’re going. There’s nothing worse than getting to your destination, only to find out something is closed or inaccessible for one reason or another.
Don’t Overlook Your Backyard
There are lots of places to see around the world but don’t overlook things that might be right in your own backyard. It’s easy to overlook things you see all the time but what seems mundane to you might be one of someone else’s dream adventure vacations.
Being an adventure tourist close to home can be as exciting and a lot less costly.
Check back often for more interesting and helpful articles.