Are you looking to add a little adventure to your travels? The USA is filled with outdoor activities and some of the most breathtaking national parks in the world. From hiking up volcanoes to canoeing down rivers, there are endless possibilities when it comes to adventure vacations in America.
The US has everything from vast deserts and rugged mountain ranges to grand canyons and magnificent coastlines waiting for you to explore. There are countless incredible places waiting for you to get out there and experience all the thrilling activities they have on offer.
Whether you’re looking for an active outdoor vacation or just something different, here’s a list of some of the best adventure vacations in the United States for thrill seekers looking for a truly unforgettable experience.
Key Notes To Ensure The Best Adventure Vacations:
- Adventure vacations in the USA offer exciting outdoor activities like airboating and kayaking.
- Popular locations include the Wacissa River in Florida, the Rogue River in Oregon, and the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
- Activities available range from hang gliding to parasailing, skydiving, kayaking, fishing, and more.
Explore America! Top 15 Exciting Adventure Vacations
The United States is full of amazing places to explore and unique experiences to enjoy. From iconic sites like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, country music in Nashville, and the Rocky Mountains, to natural wonders like Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and the Great Smoky Mountains, there is something for every family to explore. For those looking for a truly unique adventure, this list of USA bucket list adventures focuses on fun, adventurous, and out-of-the-ordinary experiences.
1. Airboat and Kayak the Wacissa River, Florida
The Wacissa River in Florida is an amazing place to explore by airboat and kayak. On an 11-mile airboat adventure, you can spot egrets, bald eagles, and alligators as you cruise through the river. After the airboat ride, switch to kayaks and take a thrilling journey through the Slave Canal. Navigate narrow spaces between fallen logs and overhanging branches of ancient oaks, cypress, and palmettos draped with Spanish Moss.
Jet boating on the Rogue River in Oregon is another exciting adventure for all ages. Jerry’s Rogue Jets offers a 104-mile Wilderness Whitewater tour that takes you into the ‘Wild’ section of the river with thrilling rapids and views not accessible by other means. Take a picnic lunch or stop along the way for food and drinks while enjoying spectacular scenery and possible sightings of wildlife such as bears, mountain lions, deer, and birds.
2. Wacissa River Adventures
Exploring the Wacissa River in Florida is an unforgettable adventure. The river is a popular spot for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. With crystal clear waters and lush vegetation, it’s easy to see why this area is so popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Along the way, you can spot wildlife such as alligators, turtles, and birds. There are also plenty of sandbars to explore and take a break from paddling. For those looking for more thrills, there are guided tours that offer tubing down the river or airboat rides through the wetlands.
3. Hang Gliding in the Outer Banks
Hang gliding in the Outer Banks is an unforgettable experience for any family. With its stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and its mild weather, it’s no wonder why so many people flock to this area for a thrilling adventure. From the moment you take off, you’ll be filled with a sense of freedom and awe as you soar through the sky. The wind will carry you over miles of beaches, sand dunes, and lighthouses while providing breathtaking views of the coastline. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hang glider, there are plenty of options available to suit your skill level.
The Outer Banks also offers plenty of other activities to explore during your stay. From kayaking and fishing to surfing and kiteboarding, there’s something for everyone here. You can even take part in some unique experiences like parasailing or skydiving if you’re feeling adventurous. No matter what activity you choose, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time in the Outer Banks.
4. Jet Boating the Rogue River, Oregon
Jet boating down the Rogue River in Oregon is an exciting adventure for all ages. With Jerry’s Rogue Jets, you can take a 104-mile Wilderness Whitewater tour and explore the stunning scenery of the area. Along the way, you can spot wildlife and listen to entertaining commentary from your guide. Kids will love jet boating as it is thrilling without requiring too much energy from them, but they will be worn out by the end of the day. You can also stop for lunch and a brew or bring your own picnic lunch.
For another thrilling experience, head to St George, Utah where you can explore 6,000 acres of ATV and OHV off-road trails in Sand Hollow State Park. Here you’ll find red sand dunes, rock formations, and a blue man-made lake that make for an unforgettable experience for the whole family. Top off your day with a beautiful sunset over the sand dunes and create memories that will last a lifetime. There are also 13 miles of hiking trails for those looking for a more leisurely adventure.
5. Jet Boating Rogue River
Jet boating down the Rogue River in Oregon is an exciting adventure for all ages. The scenery is rugged and spectacular, with possible sightings of wildlife such as bears, mountain lions, deer, and birds. Jerry’s Rogue Jets offers a 104-mile Wilderness Whitewater tour that takes you into the ‘Wild’ section of the river, only accessible by jet boating, rafting, and hiking. Along the way, you can stop for lunch and a brew or bring your own picnic lunch. The jet boat ride is thrilling without requiring too much energy from the kids, but they will be worn out by the end of the day.
The family who went jet boating down the Rogue River had a thrilling experience that they won’t soon forget. Not only did they get to witness some of nature’s most beautiful sights while on their journey, but they also got to experience some thrilling ATV adventures in St George Utah along with 13 other places that are often overlooked in Utah.
6. ATV Tour St George
Taking an ATV tour in St George is an exciting way to explore the area. The tour takes you through some of the most beautiful and rugged terrains in the region, offering breathtaking views of red rock canyons, sandstone cliffs, and desert landscapes. You’ll get to experience the thrill of off-roading while taking in the stunning scenery. The tour also includes stops at historical sites such as old mining towns and ancient Native American ruins. With a knowledgeable guide leading the way, you’ll learn about the history and culture of this unique part of Utah.
For those looking for a more adventurous vacation, there are plenty of options available in St George. Helicopter tours over the Grand Canyon offer spectacular views from above, while mule rides, camping trips, rafting expeditions, and hiking trails provide opportunities to explore on foot. There’s also the Grand Canyon Skywalk and Shoshone Point Trail in the South Rim or Transcept Trail in the North Rim for those who
7. Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands National Park is a great destination for families looking to explore the outdoors and has some fun. From June to August, visitors can take part in a free dive in the shallows for wild sea scallops with Captain Mike, a private charter captain who organizes sea scallop bootie excursions and shucking of the scallops back at the marina. Afterward, Fiddler’s Restaurant at the resort cooks up the scallops for everyone to enjoy with a cold drink and live music on their newly built deck overlooking the river.
The park also offers plenty of activities for kids such as exploring Rialto Beach, nicknamed the Ghost Forest, where they can build forts with driftwood or climb basalt rocks at Ruby Beach. Second Beach requires a 2-mile hike in but offers long stretches of sandy beach perfect for sand castle building. Olympic National Park is home to 14 public campgrounds and two more nearby and RVs up to 21 feet long can be accommodated. The park also offers kayaking, whale watching, and fishing trips for those looking to get out on the water.
8. Wild Scalloping, Florida
The Route of the Hiawatha in Idaho is a 15-mile path that is perfect for novice adventurers. The route takes you through the stunning scenery of the Bitterroot Mountains and offers plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife along the way. Be prepared for 9 tunnels, 7 high trestle bridges, and a 1.7-mile long tunnel in pitch black darkness – flashlights and jackets are essential! Bikes can be hired from the Lookout Pass ski area, including a tag-along for younger riders. The 15-mile bike ride includes a shuttle back to the first tunnel so you can enjoy the entire ride without having to worry about getting back.
Savannah had an amazing time singing along the entire ride and said it was one of her most memorable experiences ever! She highly recommends this adventure to anyone looking for an exciting outdoor experience with beautiful views and plenty of thrills. If you’re looking for something different, this is definitely worth checking out!
9. Route of the Hiawatha
The Route of the Hiawatha is an unforgettable adventure for families located in North Cascades National Park, Washington State. This 7.4-mile return hike offers stunning views of the surrounding mountain peaks and glaciers, as well as passing wildlife such as bears and marmots. With an elevation gain of 1,800 feet, hikers can enjoy a challenging but rewarding experience. For those looking for a longer journey, the trail can be extended to 15 miles with a total elevation gain of over 4,000 feet to reach Sahale Glacier – offering 360-degree panoramic views of jagged mountain peaks and glaciers.
Maui also offers a variety of adventure travel options for those seeking thrills and breathtaking scenery. Haleakala Volcano is the perfect spot for an unforgettable sunrise viewing while adrenaline junkies can test their mettle with a downhill bike ride across 25 miles of roads.
10. Upper Grinnel Lake Hike, Glacier NP, Montana
The Upper Grinnell Lake Hike in Glacier National Park, Montana is a must-see for nature lovers. After a 5-mile hike, hikers are rewarded with stunning panoramic views of Grinnell Lake, Swiftcurrent Lake, and Josephine Lake. The lake is also filled with icebergs and the majestic Grinnell Glacier stands guard over it. This hike is great for kids to learn about the importance of caring for nature as the glaciers are quickly disappearing.
Glacier National Park offers a variety of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy. Popular attractions include Lake McDonald, the North Fork Flathead River, Avalanche Lake, and huckleberry ice cream. Fishing, rafting, kayaking, and more can be done here as well. Located in northwestern Montana bordering Canada, this park is an amazing place to explore and experience nature at its finest.
11. Night Swim with Manta Rays, Big Island of Hawaii
Swimming with manta rays at night on the Big Island of Hawaii is an unforgettable experience. The manta rays glide close enough for observers to peer into their stomachs and even plant a kiss on their horned fins. The manta rays are illuminated by lights below the surface, which attract plankton that in turn attract the manta rays for feeding. This allows you to witness their majestic movements up close! Tour packages include a wetsuit, snorkel set, and ankle floaties, and they last about an hour.
For those who don’t want to get in the water, they can still observe the manta rays from a boat or the Outrigger Kona Resort’s viewing deck. The blue lights attract plankton which in turn attract the manta rays for feeding – allowing you to witness their majestic movements up close! Manta rays are attracted to lights and will continue their “dance” until the lights are turned off.
12. Off-Roading Pink Jeep Tour, Sedona
The Pink Jeep Tour in Sedona is an exciting off-road adventure that will take you through some of the most beautiful and rugged terrains in Arizona. You’ll get to experience the 45-degree graded rock face known as the Devil Staircase, while your guide shares stories about the history and geological richness of the area. This tour is perfect for those looking for a thrilling outdoor experience with plenty of breathtaking views.
If you’re looking for a longer road trip, consider taking a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway in California. Starting in San Francisco and ending in San Diego, this journey will take you through some of the most iconic spots along the coast. Stop to explore Big Sur, do wine tasting in Lompoc or Malibu, visit the Santa Monica Pier, or take surfing lessons in Huntington Beach. Spend time in San Diego kayaking, hanging out on Condado Beach, or seeing the famous San Diego Zoo.
13. Horse Riding through the Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho
Exploring the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho on horseback was an incredible experience. The gentle and steady horses made for a comfortable ride, allowing us to take in the stunning views of the jagged peaks and Redfish Lakes. Stanley region in Central Idaho is one of the best places to visit in the USA, and it was easy to see why. We were able to take in panoramic views of the mountains and lakes that we would have missed if we had been walking or driving.
Rock crawling in a Jeep was another amazing adventure that our family enjoyed during our trip. Jeeps are incredibly versatile vehicles, making them perfect for rock crawling. It requires trust from the driver, as they must let go and trust that their Jeep will stick and right itself up when needed. We explored some of the backcountries of Moab, Utah on horseback, enjoying stunning views of the surrounding area along with plenty of laughter, tears, and screams! It was an epic USA bucket list experience that we will never forget.
14. Horse Riding Sawtooth Wilderness
Exploring the backcountry of Moab, Utah on horseback is an unforgettable experience. Horse riding through the Sawtooth Wilderness in Stanley, Idaho was a memorable adventure that provided stunning views of the jagged Sawtooth Mountain peaks and Redfish Lakes. The horses were gentle and steady, and the guide was friendly and knowledgeable. The experience was filled with laughter, tears, and screams of excitement as we rode through the rugged terrain. We stopped to take in the breathtaking scenery along the way, enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding area.
Rock crawling in a Jeep is another exciting family adventure that can be found in Moab, Utah. It requires trust in the vehicle as it navigates rocks and steep angles. This epic USA bucket list travel adventure is filled with thrills and spills as you explore off-road trails that are sure to get your adrenaline pumping! With its unique landscape and incredible views, Moab offers something for everyone – from horseback riding to rock crawling.
15. Explore The Wilderness of Alaska
Alaska is a wild and untamed state in America with remote towns, snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes, and expansive wilderness. It is one of the few places in North America where you can experience the beauty of nature and wildlife up close. From the coast, you can spot whales, sea lions, and dolphins in their natural habitat. Inland, there’s the possibility of seeing bears and bald eagles. You can also explore the stunning landscapes of Alaskan National Parks such as Denali National Park, Glacier Bay National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, and Katmai National Park.
Visiting Anchorage, Fairbanks or Juneau is a great way to experience Alaska’s culture and history. Ride the White Pass and Yukon Train for an unforgettable journey through some of Alaska’s most beautiful scenery. For those looking for an even more unique experience, try spotting wildlife or viewing the Northern Lights for a truly unforgettable experience.
Conclusion From The Author
The USA is a vast and diverse country with an abundance of incredible experiences to offer. From the majestic Rocky Mountains to the bustling cities of New York and Los Angeles, there are countless bucket-list adventures for families to explore. Whether you’re looking for thrilling activities or inspiring history and culture, the USA has something for everyone. The Ultimate US Bucket List is a compilation of some of the most epic adventures in the country. It includes activities such as hiking, camping, kayaking, skiing, and more that will inspire and motivate people to explore all that the USA has to offer.