For your next vacation, why not try something that really gets the blood flowing? Adrenaline-filled activities can help relieve stress, which means the adventure vacations here could help clear your mind of everyday worries and leave you feeling energized. Here are four life-affirming adventure vacation ideas to consider this summer.
1. Hike, Raft, and Soar in the Great Smoky Mountains
Enjoy a breathtaking point of view at one of the country’s most popular national parks. REI’s Great Smoky Mountains Adventure is a four-day hiking and climbing trip through the glorious mountain range that straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. Hike your way through mountains and past waterfalls, along the Appalachian Trail and onto Civil War-era roads. Then amp up your heart rate by rafting through Class II and III rapids on the Nantahala River. Take in exhilarating views high above the forest floor on a two-mile-long zip line course (fall foliage can make the views especially stunning). Cap each day off around the campfire, staring at the stars instead of your phone.
What else you should know: You may want to do some training in advance, as the longest day of hiking covers 11 miles.
Details: Prices start at $1,649 for members and $1,825 for nonmembers.
2. Take a Speedboat for a Spin
When you’re rocketing across the waves in a speedboat at nearly 100 mph, you’re completely focused on the task at hand, not thinking about work or parenting or other obligations. At Florida’s Incredible Adventures, you’ll start with a safety briefing followed by one-on-one instruction in the Intracoastal Waterway to learn about speed zones and racing rules. Then the real fun begins in the Atlantic, where you’ll practice planing (getting a boat up to speed so that the hull rises and glides on top of the water), maneuvering through zones, throttling, and wave jumping.
What else you should know: Although Incredible Adventures says the ride across the water should be smooth, the company does not recommend this if you have serious back problems.
Details: Prices start at $4,200 for two hours and up to four people.