Looking to plan the best United States adventure holidays? It is a huge country offering everything from skydiving to scuba diving… So to help you narrow it down, check out our top 19 active vacations in USA.
The United States is a massive country! Seriously, look at google maps, perhaps pick just one state, and then zoom in. Vast. Past this, the superlatives rarely match the scale. And if you’ve never visited, deciding where to go and what to do is a daunting task.
Most of the individual states are larger than European countries, so unlike travel in Europe you won’t get to cover the US highlights during a two week break. Perhaps pick a state, or a few, to concentrate your travels in a certain area. Alternatively, a big part of active vacations in USA is about the journey, so incorporate some overlanding into your trip.
The US is not just large but varied. From the Sonoran Desert in south west to the Bering Glacier in Alaska and the California redwood forests to the Florida mangroves. There are huge mountain ranges in the west and the east, volcanic hotspots, the Great Lakes and two immense coastlines to explore.
Hopefully this list of the best United States adventure holidays helps you to narrow down the options. Now as with any top 10 (or 19!), remember this is just one opinion. We are sure yours is different and encourage you to let us know in the comments below. But in no particular order the top 19 active vacations in USA are:
Surfing, perhaps the purest of adventure sports, is a great place to begin. It is man against nature with a lot of effort for a short reward. But man it feels good! While there is good surf up and down both the east and west coasts Hawaii is the top destination. Afterall it is where surfing originated. Check out the best Hawaiian surf spots to help plan your trip.
This area of natural beauty and has such a rugged coastline that in places only a kayak will suffice. And as the largest state, bristling with mountains, glaciers and national parks, it should be top of any adventurer’s list. There’s the chance to paddle through fjords, enjoy the calm waters of glacial lakes, take on white water rapids or do some whale watching.
From Alaska to California and Vermont to Washington State, the US landmass offers epic winter sports opportunities. But in Colorado you’ll find many of the top ski resorts, such as Aspen with some of the best snowboarding in USA. Boulder is is a great city to base yourself to explore the Rockies with ski areas such as Eldora Mountain Resort, Breckenridge, Vail, Winter Park and Copper Mountain less than two hours away.
With 24 dropzones, wherever you are in Texas the chance to skydive is never far away. To be fair skydiving in the USA is relatively cheap and plentiful countrywide. However, Texas offers reliable weather, good views and low prices. Florida is also a good option with 21 dropzones, as is California with 26 places to skydive.
Cape Hatteras in North Carolina has some of the best kite and windsurf conditions on the planet. Located on the barrier island chain known as the Outer Banks this remote and tranquil area of the USA is a wind sports haven. With both Atlantic wave riding and slick flat water on the inside of the banks, windsurfing and kitesurfing in North Carolina offers the best of both worlds.
If you are looking for active vacations in USA that are all about health and wellbeing then Vermont it a great option. Killington in the Green Mountains is home to spas, health retreats and plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy. Check out the wellness holidays by Vacayou for inspiration.
The traditional territory of the Navajo Indians is between southern Utah and northern Arizona. There are routes between Monument Valley and Moab that were once only accessible to braves on horseback. But now some of these stunning grounds can also be reached by 4×4. Expect flat topped mesas and sandstone arches as well as opportunities to rock climb, hike, mountain bike or horse ride.
California is much more than the sunshine state. It’s home to stunning climbing at Yosemite and Joshua Tree national parks. Options range from the most basic beginner scrambles, to internationally respected routes found near Yosemite Camp 4. One of the best United States adventure holidays if you have a head for heights.
The Grand Canyon is known for its sun-baked ravines, colossal valleys and some of the best white-water rafting in the world. The fast, powerful water of the Colorado River, creates plenty of class IV-V rapids. You can raft for a day or for two weeks. Either way, incredible US adventures await.
This road trip is a classic US travel experience. Travelling coast-to-coast is almost a rite of passage. Little wonder as you’ll visit the most majestic wildernesses: Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Great Lakes, and pass Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and even get to see the Niagara Falls. From coast-to-coast, from metropolis to mountain valley, it’s a great journey. It is easy to rent a car for a one way journey in the US.
Ranching was a traditional way of life in the US. With swathes of fertile grassland stretching along the Missouri River, this state provided prime land on which to raise cattle and horses. And it still does. There are family owned ranches here that welcome tourists, provide guided riding tours, and give you access to wonderful pine forests and creeks. It is one of the best United States adventure holidays if you are looking for something traditional.
Between Montana and Alberta (Canada) is the world’s first International Peace Park. Waterton-Glacier includes prairie, alpine and mountain environments, and is home to plant species found nowhere else in the world. Hiking here you’ll have access to five large eco-regions and enjoy routes that pass snow-capped peaks, follow rivers and cross streams. It’s a hiker’s dream.
At 2,190 miles long the Appalachian Trail is one of the world’s longest treks. It takes thru hikers 5 to 7 months to complete and they take on a trail name for the duration of their hike. The route crosses Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Can’t do it all in one go? Perhaps hike a different section each year.
With more than 1,000 miles of coastline, Florida has some prime dive spots. The main attractions are the coral reefs found off the Florida Keys and south Florida. For divers in the US, these are the only naturally occurring reefs, so huge efforts have been made to protect them. There are also shore-entry dives and wrecks to be discovered.
Moab in Utah is the mountain biking capital of the United States. Not only is it the oldest but it is still the best destination to get your fix of single track. There are hundreds of miles of epic trails and slickrock to experience. The Whole Enchilada is widely regarded as one of the best trails in the world, and Moab has the MTB and tourist infrastructure to match.
We hope this guide to the best United States adventure holidays has inspired a trip for you. If you would like to to book one of the top active vacations in USA then check out out these United States adventure holidays.