Some of us are completely content with a vacation that involves bumming it on the beach, taking in the local sights, and sampling delicious cuisine. On the other side of the spectrum, there are those of us who are constantly in search of the next adrenaline rush, unable to sit still, and always ready for the next adventure. If you fall into the latter category, consider these next five locales across the U.S. when planning your next great adventure.
If You Love Animals—Assateague Island, VA/MD
There are so many places around the country to see animals up close and in controlled habitats, but there aren’t nearly as many chances to see these creatures in the wild. Assateague Island National Seashore is known for beautiful shorelines, good camping options and above all, the wild horses running free! The island is best known for these wild feral horses, and once you’re there, you’ll notice that they’re everywhere (even swimming!).
A truly unique experience, a visit to the region is something entirely unforgettable, especially for animal lovers. If you’re lucky, you’ll also be able to spot a host of other creatures including deer and rabbits. Grab your bug spray and sunscreen, set up camp on the grounds, and get ready to wake up to the sight of horses galloping all around.
If You Love the Water—Lake Tahoe, CA/NV
Considered to be one of the greatest lakes in the U.S., Lake Tahoe boasts more entertainment than almost any other outdoor destination and many of those activities involve lots of lake time. Whether you want to boat, kayak, or swim (just to name a few), Lake Tahoe has you covered. Many will automatically gravitate toward a chartered boat to see the waters, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Rent a kayak or paddleboard,and head far from the hustle and bustle for a bit more exploration.
Remember, the lake is enormous and there is a lot to see! For a more fast-paced option, we recommend renting a jet ski for a different but equally enjoyable experience. If you’re feeling really ambitious, join one of the many fishing trips available on the lake and try to catch your dinner! If you need a break from the water activities, wine tastings, biking, and hiking are always options in the lake region.
If You Love to Hike—Canyonlands National Park, UT
Don’t let the name of this vast hiking expanse confuse you: Canyonlands is a good distance from the Grand Canyon you see pictures of on a regular basis. Canyonlands National Park is located in Utah, about 250 miles from Salt Lake City. It’s picturesque yet the barren expanse of jagged red rocks and mountains will have you feeling more like you’re on Mars—making it an unforgettable place to hike.
There are three large sections to the park: the Islands in the Sky, the Maze, and the Needles (which you’ve probably seen and always wondered about!). We recommend making your way to the Islands in the Sky which is only a 30-45 minute drive from Moab, Utah (where you will likely be staying during your visit unless you opt to camp at one of campground sites). The area contains more than a dozen trails ranging from less than a mile in under 30 minutes to the grueling 21.6 mile route through Lathrop Canyon. The trails are often marked by iconic cairn stones, which help guide your way as you traverse the rugged terrain. Make sure to stick around until sundown for one of the most beautiful views of the night sky you could imagine.
If You Love to Camp—The Adirondacks Lake Region, NY
There aren’t many places where you can camp on your own private island (and without spending a pretty penny), but if this sounds like your jam, head to the Adirondacks Lakes Region to experience some of the most amazing, private camping around. Boaters can access the islands with ease and set up camp on one of the many islands scattered through the lakes in the area. The remote campsites mean you’ll have stunning views of the night sky—a huge plus to camping here.
Another favorite in the area is the High Falls Park, which boasts trail access to a stunning 120 foot waterfall. The region also offers boating, water skiing, and hiking trails. For the more extreme campers, the area also offers winter camping options. Though a night of winter camping may sound less than ideal, you’ll forget about your fears when you catch sight of the winter’s night sky, which often includes meteor showers and views of the Milky Way. Winter camping shelters provide protection, but make sure to pack your cool-weather essentials!
If You Love it All—Alaska
Glacier cruises, hiking, whale-watching, fishing… the list goes on, making a trip to Alaska the perfect spot for adventure lovers who want to experience a little bit of everything. Alaska is a big state so it’s impossible to see it all, but there are some definite highlights to keep in mind.
Denali National Park is a must, covering a whopping 6 million (yes, really! that is not a typo) acres of land, chock full of some of the most scenic places in all of Alaska and it’s home to the highest mountain in the U.S. Glacier tours are another must, and you’ll often be able to experience the Alaskan wildlife during these tours making it perfect for animal lovers. There are also several other activities that give you a closer glimpse into Alaskan wildlife, including bear viewing tours!