June 30, 2014

New Destinations for Adventurous Families

One of the most common requests I get is to suggest a vacation destination that has lots of outdoor activity and adventure.  Getting outside, being active, and seeing lots of wildlife seems to make everyone happy.  I know that formula works for my family!

So here are some vacation destinations you might not think of right of right away, which are great for the active family.   There is something for every age on this list, and several which are perfect for a multi-generational group.

PUERTO RICO – This gorgeous Caribbean island offers a wealth of activities, from cultural sites to impressive national parks.  Some of my favorites:  kayaking in a bioluminescent bay, hiking in El Yunque rainforest, and snorkeling in Culebra’s Luis Peña Channel Natural Reserve.   You can also visit Rio Camuy Cave Park or check out Rincon, one of the Caribbean’s top surfing destinations.  The bonus: no passport needed!
Culebra kayak and snorkel excursion
Hiking in El Yunque
SWITZERLAND – While known as a great destination for hiking and spectacular alpine scenery, there are quite a few other activities for adventure seekers.  The Bernese Oberland offers bungee jumping off a canyon wall into glacial gorge, or even out of a gondola suspended over a lake.  And there’s whitewater rafting and canyoning for all ability levels, some routes including high rappels, water slides, and zip lines.

Canyon water slides
Matterhorn hiking
EXPEDITION CRUISE – Don’t skip this paragraph because you saw the word “cruise.”  I’m not talking about a 2000-3000 passenger vessel that offers midnight buffets and Vegas-style shows.  These are small ships, often with fewer than 100 passengers, that focus on the destination and the activities, not onboard entertainment.  Their small size allows you to get up close and personal with wildlife and scenery in destinations like the Galapagos Islands, Alaska, Antarctica, South America, and Asia.   And they have a fleet of kayaks and zodiacs for even closer exploration (plus snorkeling gear where suitable).

Galapagos with Lindblad Expeditions

ARCTIC CANADA –   Been there, done that?  Now this is a list of activities that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else: kayaking with narwhals, hiking in Inuit territory, hot air ballooning between icebergs, polar bear safaris.  You’ll have cocktail party bragging rights for many years to come!
Polar Bear Viewing with
Natural Habitat Adventures 
Note that even places that are not normally considered “active” destinations have fun adventures, you just have to know where to look.  For example, companies like Butterfield & Robinson and Backroads offer cycling, hiking, and multisport tours in many European countries.  If you don't want to cycle or hike for a whole week, I can arrange just a day or tour of outdoor activity, such as cycling in The Hague or rock climbing and a high ropes course in the Dolomites.

Backroads in France
San Juan Islands
For some inspiration on where to go for you next outdoor adventure, check out the 2014 Virtuoso VAST catalog. That should spark your imagination!

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