Best Outdoor Adventures (And Where To Experience Them)

For a brief few months each year, warm weather, long days, and generous vacation time conspire to open up a world of travel possibilities.

For a brief few months each year, warm weather, long days, and generous vacation time conspire to open up a world of travel possibilities.

From climbing the top of remote mountains, to exploring breathtaking river gorges, to biking quiet backcountry roads, the good folks at have selected 10 spectacular outdoor adventures that are sure to get anyone's adrenaline pumping – without breaking the bank.

Best Outdoor Adventures And Where To Do Them
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Best Outdoor Adventures (And Where To Experience Them)

More than a decade of running bike tours in California's top two wine-producing counties, Napa and Sonoma, has given Getaway Adventures unparalleled expertise when it comes to plotting outdoor adventures.

The 6-day ride goes from the hot springs of Calistoga to the hot restaurants of Healdsburg - with plenty of sipping, picnicking, and photo ops en route - plus a different local inn each night.

From $1,577 including rooms, tastings, and most meals

Come high summer, when the desert is roasting, Vertical Adventures Rock Climbing School moves its operations from Joshua Tree to the equally challenging and varied ascents of Suicide Rock in the San Jacinto mountains.

Find sweet lodgings like the Quiet Creek Inn in nearby Idyllwild to complete one of’s favorite outdoor adventures ($100–$170/night).

From $540 for 4-day beginner Rockcraft course

Fly fishers know Big Sky's Gallatin River as the trout Grand Central of the lower 48, and Rainbow Ranch, a former fishing camp with wooden decks and river-rock fireplaces, is on the main tracks. In between casting-clinics, wading and walking trips, or all-day trips to wilderness lakes, visitors can literally cast off from their decks into the Gallatin – or into the ranch’s own trout pond.

Non-fishers can embark on other outdoor adventures, such as rafting, hiking, and biking, and everyone can meet up over dinner at one of the best kitchens in the Rockies, Rainbow Ranch.

From $275/night, guided trips extra

For a quick, budget-minded hiking getaway, consider the 3-day Yosemite and Tahoe itinerary from Australian outfit Intrepid Travel. The trip starts with a half-day of sightseeing in San Francisco before transportation by van to the shores of Lake Tahoe, with options for hiking, sailing, or kayaking.

Then head to Yosemite National Park to view natural wonders like the Nevada Falls and Mirror Lake. There are no frills here – be prepared for two nights of camping – but hikes are suitable for all levels and the sights are well worth it.

From $365 for 3 days, including some meals

Enjoy leisurely rides through Vermont’s Green Mountains with Equitours, the oldest horseback riding vacation company in the US. On the Sugarbush Tolt Trek, rolling farmland and leafy forests serve as a backdrop to guided rides, while a local Vermont inn serves as home base for exploring when not in the saddle. The pace is slow to moderate on these outdoor adventures, and you’ll spend up to 6 hours a day on your horse, so this trip is best suited for riders with at least some previous experience. recommends springing for the slightly more expensive (just $100 more per person) trips in late September and early October to take full advantage of the region’s spectacular fall foliage.

From $1,565 for 6 days, including accommodation and some meals

On this 7-day Sierra Club outdoor adventure through the Okefenokee Refuge, kayakers and canoers paddle down the Suwanee River (which runs through Florida and Georgia), a fresh waterway tinged black by tannic acid from decomposing vegetation. Encounter black bears, otters, and alligators along the (mostly) calm shores.

From $735 for 7 days, all-inclusive

Summer is Caribbean bargain time and at this toniest of resorts, diving deals are in season. Curtain Bluff in Antigua covers all equipment and guides for guests who are certified divers.

Pack those tennis whites, clubs, and yoga pants, and check out the spa for a well-rounded outdoor adventure.

From $695/night, all-inclusive

One of the most experienced river-rafting operators in Colorado, Wilderness Aware treads lightly on land. This 5-day Arkansas River trip covers 90 miles with Class III and IV rapids – plus an optional Class V – every day.

This package takes visitors far, far into the wild, with secluded sleep-outs and fresh multi-course meals cooked on the campfire.

$765 for 5 days, all-inclusive

Local Escape’s century-old classic wooden tall ship, the schooner Martha, is the oldest working sailboat in Washington. Passengers learn to rig the sails and integrate with the professional crew while discovering the history of the comely vessel and spotting sea lions found in the Pacific Northwest.

From $640 per person for 4 days, all-inclusive, with transfers from Seattle

Surf threads purveyor Billabong gives Safari Surf School its official stamp of approval, and with good reason: Red Cross-certified staffers offer lessons at all skill levels at Costa Rica's Playa Guiones, a wildlife refuge that encompasses some of the country’s most surfable waters (expect waves between 4 and 10 feet during wet season, and between 3 and 8 feet throughout the dryer months). The camp hosts various packages, but the 8-day Bare Bones special includes the essentials – accommodations, daily lessons, airport transfers, breakfasts, and two dinners.

From $1,150 for 8 days


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