America is the land of opportunity and adventure. However, there’s a fine line between feeling adventurous and being a base-jumping, cliff-climbing, mountaineering survivalist. Sometimes you’re in the mood for some fun exploration that doesn’t have you risking life and limb. Check out these amazing places across the country that will fulfill your craving for adventure without asking too much of you in return.
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:
Alabama: Lake Guntersville
This is the state's largest lake, and definitely a great place for a landlocked aquatic adventure. With 69,000 acres to explore, you won't run out of awesome places to water ski, canoe, boat and fish.
Alaska: Hike to Eagle and Symphony Lakes
An easy, 5-mile hike with an incredible pay-off? Sign me up. This hike starts at Eagle River and ends up at the beautiful turquoise shores of Eagle and Symphony lakes.
Arizona: Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
These stunning rock formations are just off the highway, making this park an easy destination for those who don't want to trek for miles just to reach the starting point of their adventure. The gorgeous red stones of this mesa are a feast for the eyes.
Arkansas: Blanchard Springs Caverns
Located within the Ozark–St. Francis National Forest, these caves are open for exploration by the public. Want to check out secret areas of the caverns? Book a spot on the "Wild Cave" tour, and you'll be granted access to areas that are otherwise off-limits to the public.
California: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Reach death-defying heights without breaking out your climbing gear. This is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world. It takes passengers on a 12.5 minute journey to the peak of San Jacinto Mountain. The tram car slowly and gently rotates as it climbs, giving passengers a 360-degree view of the stunning mountainside.
Colorado: Lost Canyon Ziplining
Salida's Aerial Adventure park offers awesome outdoor courses and activities for all abilities and comfort levels. Feel up for an adrenaline rush? Try the zipline tour through a 300 million-year-old purple mountain range.
Connecticut: Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park
Located in Portland, this awesome park offers cliff jumping, ropes courses, zip lining, and some really cool floating inflatables to climb all over!
Delaware: Reedy Point Bridge Bike Ride
Hop on your bike and head over to New Castle County for a scenic bike ride along Route 9. Cycling over the Reedy Point Bridge offers stunning views and a fresh, cool breeze.
Florida: Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park
Located in Micanopy, this National Natural Landmark is a great place to camp out. For just $18 a night, visitors can roam the beautiful park grounds and catch a glimpse of alligators, horses, and wild bison.
Georgia: Tubing on the Chattahoochee River
Head down to Helen for a river adventure that is more soothing than scary. The whole family can take in the beauty of the Chattahoochee while drifting lazily downstream in the sunshine.
Hawaii: Go cage-diving with sharks.
This adventure might sound pretty dangerous...but...okay, it seems REALLY dangerous. Don't worry though: trained cage-diving pros will be there with you every moment, and the chance to get up close and personal with some of the most fascinating creatures of the sea is not to be passed up.
Idaho: Salmon River
Take a river rafting tour along the Salmon River for an adventure that will delight all of your senses. The Middle Fork route can provide awesome wildlife viewing opportunities, natural hot springs, and access to plenty of fascinating historical sites.
Illinois: Cache River State Natural Area
Beautiful bald cypress trees rise out of the river in this state park. This is a great place to explore an other-worldly landscape without traveling too far from home.
Indiana: Indiana Dunes State Park
Stroll the shores of Lake Michigan or hike over 15 miles of magnificent woodland trails at this beautiful state park.
Iowa: Devonian Fossil Gorge
Just outside Iowa City, the Devonian Fossil Gorge allows visitors to feel like Indiana Jones for a day. Thousands of fossils are strewn across the rocky floor of the gorge, making a hike here seem like a fascinating trip back in time.
Louisiana: Avery Island
The real gems of this island are the massive, mossy trees. Thousands of birds nest in their fuzzy branches, making this area feel like an enchanted wood. The Tabasco factory museum is also right next door!
Maine: The LimeRock Inn, Rockland
Maine is full of natural wonders, but if you're looking for snug, indoor thrills, the LimeRock Inn can deliver. Originally owned by a local doctor, this inn is supposedly haunted by the ghosts of former patients.
Maryland: Great Allegheny Passage
Over 150 miles of biking and trails stretch from Cumberland, MD to Pittsburgh, PA. You'll find plenty of old bridges, spooky tunnels, and beautiful forested terrain to explore.
Massachusetts: Essex River Cruises
Take a narrated sightseeing cruise around the pure, protected waters of the Essex River. Food and beverages are available on board, and your tour will include a traditional New England clambake, lobster lunch, or barbecue on a secluded beach.
Michigan: Bella Solviva
So you want to have an adventure, but you don't really want to get much dirt under your nails. Problem solved: go glamping. This great eco-resort gives guests a luxurious furnished tent, catered meals, fluffy bedding and even a spa.
Minnesota: Judge C. R. Magney State Park
This is a great destination for a family adventure. Explore the shores of the Brule River, and check out the mysterious Devil's Kettle pool, where objects seem to disappear into the water to never be seen again.
Mississippi: The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS)
This Gulfport marine center offers an hour-long program that allows visitors to feed, touch, and swim with the dolphins at the center. Besides making memories that will last a lifetime, the photo opportunities are well worth it.
Missouri: The City Museum
Located in St. Louis, this incredible 600,000-square-foot complex features an outdoor jungle gym, a magical system of caves to explore, slides that plummet over 10 stories, and a gigantic 1940s ferris wheel. This place is open to adventurers of all ages, letting you feel like a kid again for an afternoon.
Montana: Going-to-the-Sun Road
Sometimes the best way to see the wonders of nature is from the comfy front seat of your car. Drive the 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National park to see the beauty of the area without hiking all over the place.
Nebraska: Grain Bin Antique Town
If hunting of the typical variety is not for you, then try your hand at hunting for incredible antiques at this little village of retro treasures. Located in North Platte, this collection of antique shops is a great day-trip destination.
Nevada: Lamoille Canyon
Frequently called the "Grand Canyon" of Nevada, Lamoille Canyon is the largest valley in the Ruby Mountains. There's plenty of awesome hiking and camping to be had here.
New Hampshire: Polar Caves
Located in Rumney, these caves are a family-friendly destination that are perfect for cooling off during the summer. There are some narrow places that adventurers will have to shimmy through, but these granite caves definitely aren't too scary.
New Jersey: Popcorn Park Animal Refuge
Head to Forked River and make new furry friends at this rescue zoo. Visitors can even feed and interact with many of the creatures that live here.
New Mexico: Bisti Badlands
This incredible environment looks like it belongs on another planet, but it's really only a 0.75-mile easy stroll mile from a parking lot! More intrepid adventurers can explore further into these Nageezi badlands, but you don't need to trek far to spot some marvelous colored banding and truly unique rock formations.
New York: Plotter Kill Preserve
This 600-acre nature preserve is the perfect blend of rugged and accessible. There are spectacular waterfalls scattered throughout this wilderness, and the hiking trails are well-planned and maintained.
North Carolina: Grandfather Mountain
This beautiful mountain offers plenty of easy hiking trails, wildlife spotting opportunities, scenic stone overlooks, and breathtaking views from a swinging bridge. Don't worry: it's completely safe!
North Dakota: North County National Scenic Trail, Wahpeton to Lake Sakakawea
Travel through stunning prairies and grasslands on this scenic journey. Though the trail covers almost 4,600 miles and stretches across 12 national scenic forests, adventurers can jump on the North Dakota section of the path in Wahpeton.
Ohio: Oak Openings Preserve Metropark
Situated near Toledo is one of the world's rarest ecosystems. Endangered plants and animals inhabit this gorgeous wilderness of tall-grass prairies, savannas, and swamp forest. Head to Swanton to tour this ecological gem.
Oklahoma: Natural Falls State Park
Head to this amazing state park for a day of nature and scenic beauty. Check out the 77-foot waterfall from a viewing platform at the bottom of the cascade, and walk along lovely boardwalks and trails.
Oregon: Trillium Lake
Oregon has no shortage of adrenaline-surge adventures and rugged mountain climbing, but when you need a low-key escape that still feels miles away from the everyday, head to Trillium Lake. This beautiful spot is perfect for swimming, kayaking, camping and easy hiking.
Pennsylvania: Dutch Springs
Located in Bethlehem, this fun aquapark offers a variety of huge, inflatable structures that allow visitors to climb, slide, bounce and splash to their hearts' content. There's also a scuba diving course available on-site.
Rhode Island: Beavertail State Park
Located in Jamestown, this awesome park is perfect for a day of picnicking, fishing, and beach exploration. Visit the historic lighthouse, and ramble over to the waterfront cliffs for a great view of the Atlantic Ocean.
South Carolina: Bull Island
This island is undeveloped and totally gorgeous. Catch a ferry and head just north of Charleston for a ramble over the pristine beaches and rugged woodlands of this natural preserve.
South Dakota: Sylvan Lake
This stunning lake offers a little bit of everything. Rock climbing and cliff jumping spots are available for those seeking thrills, but there's plenty of great places to fish, hike, and just soak in the sunshine as well.
Tennessee: Cummins Falls
This is one of the most popular swimming holes in the state, and with good reason. The cascading waters and clear, shallow pools are like something from a Southern fairy tale.
Texas: Natural Bridge Caverns
Just beyond San Antonio, there are some of the most spectacular caves in the country. A few of these caverns are as big as football fields, and all are encrusted with glittering stalactites and stalagmites. Take a guided tour for a fun way to get out of the sun and feel like an explorer.
Utah: Cedar Mesa
This amazing collection of native dwellings is truly a state treasure. Visitors will need an easily acquired permit from the Bureau of Land Management. Grab one at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station and get to exploring.
Vermont: Ithiel Falls
This awesome bridge makes every step an adventure. Located at Ithiel Falls in Johnson, the suspension bridge is completely safe and definitely a way to add a bit of adrenaline to your day without being in any real danger. If heights aren't your thing, Ithiel Falls offers plenty of beachy spots to catch some rays.
Virginia: High Bridge Trails State Park
This incredible walk across the treetops is one of the most scenic paths in the state. Stroll almost 160 feet above the Appomattox River and take in the sights and sounds of nature.
Washington: Skyline Trail, Mount Rainier
This easy loop trail is popular with adventurers of all ages and ability levels. The journey is under 5 miles and will take you through blossoming meadows, past gorgeous waterfalls, and within view of magnificent glaciers.
West Virginia: The Palace of Gold
Located near Moundsville, this magnificent temple was named one of the eight religious wonders of the United States by CNN. This splendid Hindu temple features an award-winning rose garden and many beautiful water fountains.
Wisconsin: Apostle Islands
These uniquely shaped and colored islands are a great day-trip adventure destination. Explore the rocky isles on foot, or sail around their beautiful edges by kayak.
Wyoming: Llama Trekking At Wind River Range
This is one way to trek through the wilderness without doing any hard work. Let the guided llama pack carry you through fields of wildflowers and along scenic overlooks. The animals are carefully directed by professional llama keepers, so you don't need to worry about steering your hairy friend.
Do you have any other suggestions for great places to go on an adventure? Let us know!