10 Cool Outdoor Getaways

The Great Outdoors

Summer is almost here, which means it’s time to start planning your big getaway. We fished around a bit to find these 10 cool trip ideas. All of these are intended for the outdoor enthusiast looking to do something off the beaten path. We included a few bargain trips as well as some dream vacations that are worth the extra money. At the very least, we hope these trips will give you some new ideas for what you can do with a vacation. Photo Credit: Ken Curtis


Kitesurfing in Vietnam

Vietnam may not be high on your list when you think of places to go on vacation, but it should be. The country is full of great bargains, not to mention a vibrant art scene and exotic foods. And if you’re looking for a fun outdoor trip while you’re there, we recommend you make your way over to Vietnam’s beaches and enjoy their kitesurfing opportunities. For $180, Vietnam Kitesurfing Tours will show you the ropes, taking you surfing and snorkeling for two days, as well as taking you sightseeing around the south of Vietnam. That price includes food, transportation and a place to stay. Photo Credit: jhecking


Volcano Adventure

OK, yes, we know you’re probably sick of hearing about volcanoes after that unpronounceable one in Iceland erupted, but if you’re willing to look past that for a minute, volcano getaways can be a blast (sorry, I mean, they can be fun). The Lost Iguana Resort & Spa in Costa Rica is currently offering a good deal on family trips from now through Nov. 15. Their Family Jungle Adventure Package includes a hike along a volcano, two spa treatments (with free babysitting for your kids) and three good meals a day. It costs $1,990, but that covers two adults and up to two children for six nights. Alternatively, if you want to leave the kids at a home, you can take advantage of their Pura Vida package for the same price, but with more spa time included and an evening at the local hot springs. Not too shabby. Photo Credit: Wha'ppen


Horseback Riding in Montana

There are plenty of great outdoor adventure trips right here in America. At the Lone Mountain Ranch in Montana, just outside Yellowstone Park, you can speed mountain bikes down forest roads or go horseback riding through the ranch and into Yellowstone. A four-night mountain biking package with lodging, guides and food costs $1,745 per person. The horseback riding trip starts at $3,496 for four nights per couple, and it also includes food and lodging. Photo Credit: lowjumpingfrog


Glacier Trekking in Patagonia

Patagonia may be the most breathtaking landscape in the western hemisphere, and this part of Argentina is certainly heaven for hikers. Adventure Life offers a great deal where travelers can spend eight days hiking along glaciers and visiting the region’s national park. The trip starts and ends in the city of Buenos Aires, so you can pair your adventure trip with some more traditional touristing. The trip costs $2,725 per person, which may be a bit steep, but it does include hotels and camping costs, food, a private guide and flights to and from Buenos Aires. Photo Credit: Tibby Jones


Tree Climbing, Anywhere USA

Everyone has a different idea of adventure. For some, it may be hiking a steep mountain, for others it may be climbing a moderately sized tree. Tree Climbers International has been teaching people how to climb trees for years. They opened their first school back in Atlanta back in 1983, and since then have helped others to found small schools around the country in places like Oregon, Kentucky and Kansas. The schools all offer beginners climbing classes that last three hours and cost $20 a person, with gear included. But if you want to be a bit more adventurous, try their two-day basic intensive tree climbing course. For $475 a person, you’ll have a personal instructor teach you how to set up the ropes, ascend and descend trees and how to distinguish a good climbing tree from a hazardous one. Find out more about tree climbing classes in your area on their official Web site. Photo Credit: nessman


Kayaking in the Amazon

I’ll admit that the only time I’ve really gone kayaking for more than a few minutes is in the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York. But even that was a thrill for me, so I can only imagine how incredible it would be to kayak through the Amazon. Adventure Life has a good offer on an eight-day package where they’ll take you camping and kayaking through the jungles of Ecuador. When you’re not paddling a kayak, you’ll be hiking through the rainforest. It costs $1,960 per person and is a great way to see one of the most exciting regions on the planet. Photo Credit: Kenneth_b41


Alabama Wildlife

Who knew that Alabama was full of exotic wildlife? Exploritas, which specializes in affordable trips for grandparents and their grandchildren, has a great deal on a vacation to Alabama. Over the course of five days, you’ll visit an alligator reserve, go dolphin watching and take a look for sea creatures with an environmentalist. The trip costs $600 per person. Exploritas also has plenty of other deals tailored for grandparents so check out their Web site. Photo Credit: SeeMidTN.com


Swimming with Sharks

Now I’m sure a few of our readers will probably quickly ignore this suggestion, but for the rest of you, swimming with sharks may make for one of the more memorable vacations you’ll ever have. Unfortunately, these trips are pretty pricey. Shark Diver offers a five-day adventure package in the Bahamas where they promise tiger sharks, reef sharks and some spotted dolphins. It costs $3,100 per person, diving with sharks really only needs to be a once in a lifetime event. Photo Credit: Barnaby


Biking Through Bryce Canyon

The Grand Canyon may get all the attention, but Bryce Canyon in Utah is one of the most stunning sights in the U.S. and the world. There are miles and miles of jagged rocks and cliffs. Escape Adventures leads tours through Bryce Canyon and nearby Zion National Park. They have a six-day mountain biking package that includes camping and inns, plus a tour guide and free meals for $1,295 per person. Photo Credit: Digon3


Travel Cheaper with a Non-Profit Group

If you’re looking to see more exotic places in the world without seriously damaging your bank account, you might consider travelling with a non-profit group. The Sierra Club, an environmental organization, offers hundreds of great trips around the country and abroad, including a six-day backpacking trip through the canyons of Utah for $895 a person and a six-day hike through the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Similarly, Crooked Trails, a community development group, offers a number of trips abroad including a two-week adventure to Nepal for $1,980. But be prepared, you will be asked to do some work while on this vacation, though at least it’s work that helps others and gets you out of the office. Photo Credit: Kossy@FINEDAYS


The Unfortunately Long List of Airline Fees

If you plan to fly to any of these destinations, make sure you choose your airline carefully. Many domestic and international airlines have added an absurd list of airline fees which will drain your wallet before you even arrive at your destination. If possible, stick with airlines like JetBlue and Southwest, which have fewer fees. Check out our roundup of the worst airline fees here. Photo Credit: Getty Images


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