Getting Fit While Getting Away

By: KELLY SHERIDAN

Let’s be honest: for most people, an ideal vacation consists of lounging on a beach or by a pool, sipping on lemonade and not doing much of anything. After all, vacation is most often considered a time to unwind and relieve the mental stress caused by work and everyday life. What many people do not realize, though, is that an active vacation can be just as fun as a lazy one. Make the most of time off not by bumming around, but by going on an adventure.

Going on an active vacation does not necessarily mean that the trip will result in pain and physical exhaustion. Shannon Stowell, president of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, tells the World Culture Pictorial blog that “It used to be that adventure travel was very physical and risky,” However, this is no longer the case. Physical activity while on vacation can range from casual sightseeing walking tours, to whitewater rafting, to hiking rugged terrain at high elevations. It all depends on the vacationer! Take a look at the list below for some suggestions as to where to go for an American adventure trip that will not leave travelers not exhausted, but exhilarated.


  • The Grand Canyon (Arizona): Known as one of the most breathtaking natural sights in the world, The Grand Canyon is not a place for the habitually lazy. There are multiple fun adventures to be had here. Hike the North Rim of the Canyon, or take a multi-day hike down the Bright Angel Trail. Note: do not try to hike down to the river and back in one day! The hikers that have done this call it an unforgettable experience, but were also in pain for a long time afterwards (I call these hikers Mom and Dad – you go, guys!). There are also opportunities to raft down the Colorado River, where adventurers can see the beautiful canyon from a unique point of view.
  • Yosemite National Park (California): This beautiful landscape, composed of glacial valleys, is located in California’s High Sierra region. Hikers can explore Glacier Point or the Half Dome, a trek which has been described as life-changing. Both advanced and amateur climbers can practice scaling Matterhorn and Dunderber. Aside from hiking the park’s many beautiful trails, one can bike through the wilderness and fish. Catch glimpses of wild animals such as bobcats, bears, coyotes, and even mountain lions!
  • Kauai (Hawaii): This location is also home to beautiful scenery. Adventurers can explore the multi-colored Waimea Canyon and the bamboo forests on the Na Pali Coast. The Kalalau Trauk is also recommended. An 11-mile trek, it offers the only land access to the island’s rugged coast and is marked both valleys and cliffs along the way.
  • Arctic National Park and Preserve (Alaska): This wilderness trek is not for the faint of heart! Explorers of the beautiful Alaskan terrain, one of the biggest and most isolated areas of nature in the entirety of North America. Dare to attempt the 9-day trip traveling north in the Koyukuk River Valley. Have a lot of gear? No worries! A team of dogsleds carries the heavy load, while adventurers ski along the way. Also see wild animals, such as bears, wolves, and foxes, in their natural habitats.
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: This is a great place to go for water sport enthusiasts. Learn how to scuba dive, or just snorkel among the plants and fish in the Caribbean Sea. Sailing is also a popular sport here, as well as fishing, hiking, and golfing.
  • Acadia National Park (Maine): This location offers multiple opportunities for travelers to hike, mountain bike, and explore the wilderness of Maine. Those looking for a relaxing activity can drive and sightsee along Park View Road, or view Otter Cliff and Thunder Hole. For those vacationing in the wintertime, Acadia National Park is also a popular place for winter sports.
  • Miami Beach (Florida): Another popular destination for those who love the water, Miami Beach is closer in proximity to east coast residents. There is a wealth of opportunities to participate in water sports, including fishing and snorkeling. Those who want a break from the water can bike ride along South Beach or take a day trip to the Everglades National Park.

This summer, don’t spend the entirety of vacation on a beach recliner. This is a great opportunity to get out and explore. Beat the stress not by lounging, but adventuring!

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