We all need a little more adventure in our lives. When life starts to seem routine, there’s nothing like trying something out of the ordinary, and maybe a little daring, to shake us out of the everyday. There are awesome adventures to be had across the country, and not all of them require you to be a professional skydiver. We’ve put together a list of some of the most unique and accessible places and activities that will make you feel like an explorer.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Chattahoochee River, Georgia
Why it's awesome: the Chattahoochee River is perfect for explorers of all ages and interests, as it offers a bit of everything. From lazy tubing, to fishing, hiking, and sailing through the air from rope swings, there are a million ways to feel like you're having the perfect river adventure. This river runs along the southern half of the Alabama and Georgia border, as well as a portion of the Florida border, so it's easy to access.
2. Pennsylvania: Dutch Springs
Why it's awesome: this place offers giant, inflatable floating structures that guests can climb, slide down, and jump from. Dutch Springs aquapark is located in Bethlehem, and it's definitely not just for kids. This place welcomes guests of all ages, and there's even an on-site scuba class for those who want to learn how to hang out beneath the waves.
3. Ithiel Falls, Vermont
Why it's awesome: if heights make you nervous, the epic suspension bridge at Ithiel Falls is the perfect place get a bit of a thrill without actually being in danger. If you'd prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, the park has plenty of spots to kayak and hike, not to mention quite a few sandy stretches of beach that are perfect for laying out a towel and embarking on a paperback adventure in the sun.
4. Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina
Why it's awesome: this mountain features an incredible swinging bridge that offers absolutely stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The swinging bridge doesn't actually rock back and forth like a hammock, so you don't have to worry about getting sea-sick. Besides the bridge, Grandfather mountain has a host of great hiking trails, lots of friendly wildlife, and much more.
5. Cedar Mesa, Utah
Why it's awesome: this spectacular group of native structures is built right into the living sandstone of the mesa, and exploring the area feels like discovering a mythical lost city. You'll need a special permit to gain access to this plateau in San Juan County, which will allow you to hike and camp in the area. You can nab one at the park's Kane Gulch Ranger Station.
6. The City Museum, Missouri
Why it's awesome: this place is a massive adult playground, in the most literal sense. Climb, slide, swing, and splash your way through the museum's 600,000-square-feet of exhilarating indoor and outdoor "exhibits." There's a huge jungle gym, an elaborate complex of enchanted caves, the massive World Aquarium and MonstroCity, as well as a spiral slide that travels 10 stories! Head up to the roof to ride an authentic 1940s Ferris wheel, skip through some spraying fountains and take in the beauty of St. Louis from an observation dome.
7. Cummins Falls, Tennessee
Why it's awesome: Cummins Falls is a gorgeous waterfall that lets you get up close and personal with its incredible cascades. Visitors frequently recline and hang out on the waterfalls many stone tiers. Depending on where you plop yourself down, the spray varies in pressure and quantity. This is one of the few waterfalls in the region that is safe to explore by just about anyone.
8. Palace of Gold, West Virginia
Why it's awesome: visiting this place makes you feel like you've traveled to the Far East. Located near Moundsville, this spectacular temple (also known as New Vrindaban) was named one of the eight religious wonders of the United States by CNN. The palace is actually a Hare Krishna temple, but is open to visitors and worshipers of all faiths, or none. The temple has a live-in population of over 500 people!
9. Llama Trekking At Wind River Range, Wyoming
Why it's awesome: you'll be trekking through fields of wildflowers on the back of an adorable (and surprisingly sturdy) trained llama. What could be more adventurous than that? The llamas are specially trained to navigate the path, so you don't have to know how to steer your furry steed, or even lift a finger on your journey through the stunning landscape of the Wind River Range. A friendly guide will be with you and your group every two-toed step of the way, pointing out interesting landmarks and making sure everyone is happy.
10. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana
Why it's awesome: Going-to-the-Sun Road is one of the most scenic byways in Montana, and definitely worth the trip. It passes right through Glacier National Park, taking you under and over glacial streams, through gorgeous valleys, and past heart-stopping views of the park. It's the perfect way to see this national treasure without hiking a single mile.
11. Palace Playland, Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Why it's awesome: Palace Playland is a landmark on Maine's Old Orchard Beach. Filled with rides, games, old-fashioned carnival food, an arcade, and plenty of retro touches, this place is definitely the perfect place for nostalgic adventure.
12. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Why it's awesome: this place will make you feel like you've entered a fantasy realm. Columbia River Gorge has countless incredible hikes and waterfalls to enjoy, not to mention over 292,500 acres of beautiful naturally- and culturally-rich real estate. It's a designated National Scenic Area, and by the looks of Multnomah Falls (pictured) we can see why.
13. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Why it's awesome: Fort Jefferson is the largest masonry structure in the Americas, and is set amongst some of the most beautiful waters of Florida. Located in Key West, the unfinished military fort is open to the public and is an amazing spot for picnicking and exploration. The rest of the park offers unparalleled snorkeling, saltwater fishing, kayaking, and camping opportunities.
14. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, California
Why it's awesome: this is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world. Up to 80 passengers can simply hop in a tram car that will float them up toward the peak of San Jacinto Mountain. The tram car actually rotates for two full revolutions, which lets everyone see the view from every angle.
15. Wildcat Den State Park, Iowa
Why it's awesome: sometimes, all the adventure you need is just an incredible hike in a stunning area. The Wildcat Den State Park in Muscatine has a well-developed trail system that takes visitors past 75-foot cliffs and fascinating rock formations. You'll also come across various historic structures that are open for exploration.
Have you been to any of these spectacular places in the U.S.? What kinds of adventures do you like best? Let us know!