40 Summer Adventures You Should Start Planning NOW

Summer is a time to get outside and explore and to try new things. Whether you already have favorite outdoor hobbies or are looking for new, going on an adventure takes some time to plan, and you should start now. Being spontaneous and impulsive is always adventurous but not always possible. It's not even a good option when you have children, few days off, trip-buddies who are always busy, and a limited budget.

Adventure racing

The sport of Adventure Racing has been growing fast, according to the U.S. Adventure Racing Association (USARA). Training for one takes months, so you better start now. Whether it's because just completing the event is considered a victory, because participants have to handle unusual obstacles, or because if they don't work as a team they won't succeed, the sport has attracted elite and amateur runners, cyclists and swimmers alike.

Go to Siberia by train

Start in Moscow, as most people do. Take a day to see the Kremlin and walk around this beautiful city. The famous Trans-Siberian Railway is just one part of the massive Russian railway network. Take the train to Vladivostok. This can be a 6-day trip but the experience and the views are worth it. You can take a lot longer and stop in several cities, such as the beautiful 1,000-year-old city of Kazan or Irkutsk to see Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, along the way. Take it slow and enjoy one of the most famous trips in the world.

Trek the Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Remote adventure awaits in the high peaks of the unspoiled Atlas Mountains. The impressive North African range is a haven for trekkers looking for a challenge and a truly unique experience. The Berber villages that dot the mountains are home to trekking guides and ancient traditions like carpet weaving. From the bustling ancient city of Marrakech, Toubkal National Park isn't far off; it's home to the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains, Toubkal and is a gateway to other adventures like ski mountaineering, rock climbing and even mountain biking on worn in mule paths.

Mountain biking in the Dolomites, Italy

Set in northern Italy, the Dolomites were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. This range with more than a dozen major peaks is a top destination for adventurous travelers — offering incredible mountain climbing, hiking, cycling and hang-gliding in the warmer months. Make sure you visit the spectacularly gorgeous man-made caves that sit high among the Dolomites. The area was the front line between Italy and Austria during World War I and as a result these caves still exist in the mountains, and bullet holes still line many of the trees below.

Vacation in Sayulita, Mexico

Sayulita, a small fishing village about 25 miles north of downtown Puerto Vallarta, is very popular for surfers. Go on a reef excursion and stay in villas with plunge pools looking at the Pacific. If surfing is not your thing, you can ride a bike in the jungle or trek the rainforest. Canopy tours, horseback riding on the beach, sailing, and whale watching are also options.

Go rafting in Pucon, Chile

This well-known outdoor adventure hotspot has a solid reputation for providing world-class thrills in a breathtakingly beautiful setting. Adventurers will be in their glory climbing snowcapped volcano Villarrica, rafting the glacier-fed Trancura River or skiing and snowboarding. Food, drink and overnight accommodations are available for all kinds of budgets in town.

See Gelada Baboons in Ethiopia

Go on a journey through the Ethiopia Highlands; hike through unspoiled nature and learn about ancient history. Many years ago World Expeditions identified Ethiopia as the perfect haven for those desiring to trek in dramatic mountain scenery, where it is still a novelty to be a westerner. Their trek goes around more fertile highland plateau of the Simien Mountains, through small villages and terraced fields of the lower valleys, and later reaching a series of dramatic cliffs and escarpments. Get close to unusual wildlife, including Gelada Baboons and, possibly, Ethiopian wolves. 

Hike in the Greek Isles

Avid hikers will love the Greek Isles. Most of the country is mountainous, presenting quite the challenge. But most of the popular routes are well-maintained. The hiking adventure will take you to the serene realms of Tinos and rocky Amorgos. You'll come across churches, cliff-perched monasteries, and tiny beaten villages. Take a break with a picnic on lush landscapes and swims in the azure seas.

Enjoy the pristine Wanaka, New Zealand

Towering peaks dip into lush valleys as alpine lakes, rivers and glaciers dot the landscape. This is the Wanaka region of New Zealand, Queenstown's lesser-known counterpart, a must-visit adventure area for those looking to escape some of the more touristy areas of New Zealand. Explore the stunning Mt. Aspiring National Park, take in the views by sky diving or paragliding, enjoy the pristine lakes by kayak or take in the town that hasn't yet been overrun by tourism.

Explore Laos

A favorite destination for backpackers and those in search of authentic Southeast Asian culture, Laos is a naturally beautiful country with lots to offer. Those looking for a thrill will find themselves paddling whitewater rapids, making their way through underground caves or flying over nature reserves on zip-lines. Others hoping to take in the sights and sounds at a slower pace won't be disappointed either. This land of natural beauty and unwavering tradition is one of the best places to explore in all of Asia.

Go backpacking in the North Cascades

This is the least visited national park in the country in 2015 with only 20,677 guests. The park is not too far from Seattle and it has everything any person living in a big city can want – serenity, alpine lakes, more than 300 glaciers and a lavish forest. Camping and backpacking are some of the favorite activities of  people who visit the park. They also like it because it's not crowded at any time of the year. Conditions from October to May can close roads and facilities.

Hike the Pyrenees Mountains, France and Spain

The mountain range that splits the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of Europe is a skiers paradise in the winter and, come summertime, a hiker's gem hidden in plain sight. Stretching 267 miles and gaining more than 10,000 feet of elevation, hikers can attempt the whole thing, but most opt for shorter sections. Find your way to one of the many national parks in the area, explore local mountain towns and enjoy stunning alpine lakes and waterways.

Go surfing in Lombok, Indonesia

The Indonesian island east of Bali has always been overshadowed by its neighbor. Lombok made the list because of its beachescool surf spots, and lavish forests. You also get to hike through tobacco and rice fields. Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia's second-highest volcano, is the island's most famous attraction. Others include Senggigi Beach for surfing, the Pusuk Monkey Forest, and waterfalls. Sheraton, Holiday Resort Lombok, Asia Living Resort Lombok Lodge and Oberoi Resort offer all-inclusive packages.

Road trip across the country

Exploring the iconic Route 66 by car is often described as a rite of passage for every American. Traveling along the legendary 2,400 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica is one of the craziest adventures you can do. The kids will be in awe of the stunning panoramascharming towns, rocky cliffs, and beautiful deserts and parks along the way. The opportunities for adventure and discovery are endless. Some underrated road trips include from California to Montana, the Highway 61 Blues Trail, and the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway.

See rare gorillas in Virunga National Park, Rwanda

The Virunga Mountains are a chain of eight active volcanoes in East Africa. There are only around 900 gorillas remaining in the world and about 200 of them reside in  Volcanoes National Park, deep within the Virunga Mountains. Hikers can scale the volcanoes. Some go up to heights of 15,000 feet. You'll see plenty of other wildlife as well, including elephants.

Go stargazing on Galapagos Islands

Take your family on a week-long adventure to the Galapagos. You'll be hiking and kayaking in one of the most unique ecosystems in the world. Highlights of the trip include cruising to pristine islands and walking among colonies of animals and birds; snorkeling with sea turtles, peculiar penguins, and frisky sea lions; and sitting among a colorful band of marine iguanas. Kids can enjoy stargazing, scavenger hunts, and knot-tying lessons.

Paddle the U.S. coastline in Maine

Acadia has long been known for its stunningly rugged natural coastline and the best way to take it all in is from the water. It is one of the best spots to paddle the U.S. coastline. Other fun adventures include the Lobsterman Triathlon. After the swimming, the running and the biking, you get a full lobsterbake. Other things to do in the park include biking, climbing (there are routes for all-level climbers), and camping. 

Go on a safari in Maasai Mara, Kenya

Kenya has some of the world's best safaris. Known as one of the best country parks in Kenya, Maasai Mara offers wide range of safaris – hot air balloons, walking, and photography. The reserve, along with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, forms Africa's most diverse eco-system. The best time to visit is between July and October because of the wildebeest migration, famous as one of the "Seven New Wonders of the World" and also known as The World Cup of Wildlife.

Explore lava tubes on Jeju Island, South Korea

Jeju Island, often referred to as "the Hawaii of Korea," attracts most of its travelers from the mainland, but since 2011, when it was voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, international attention has been growing. At three times the size of Seoul, though, there's plenty of room to accommodate travelers. Some visit for the scenery, others to get away, but if you're looking for adventure you won't have to look hard. Explore lava tubes, hike to the highest point in the country, a dormant volcano or dive off the coast to find beautiful coral.

Swim under waterfalls in Iceland

Natural wonders and stunning scenery abound in Iceland. One of the least densely populated countries in the world, Iceland is blessed with hot spring lagoons, the Great Geysir, volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls and lava fields. A visit to Iceland is the ultimate adventure and if the sights aren't enough to prompt a visit, then go for a swim in the Blue Lagoon. Glacier walks, hikes behind massive waterfalls and whale watching in the summer are just a few more suggestions.

Camp under the stars

Despite city lights and pollution that have diminished the majesty of dark skies, there are still wild spots in the U.S. and all over the world that have kept their natural nightscape and made it their goal to preserve the awe-striking experience of stargazing. Camping is all about reconnecting with nature, breathing fresh air by a campfire and admiring the sky. Some of the best places for sleeping outside and enjoying the stars are Galloway Forest Park in Scotland, Badlands National Park in South Dakota, the Atacama Desert in Chile, and Mauna Kea State Park in Hawaii.

Go wildlife spotting in South Africa

Going wildlife spotting is just one of the endless adventurous options you have available in South Africa. Take a River Cruise and see the hippos and crocodiles; you can even kayak with them. Witness the gorgeous natural beauty of the famous Garden Route and its beaches, scenic creeks and lakes, hills and mountains. The Cango Caves are probably the oldest tourist attraction in the country and totally worth your time. If you're brave enough, you can dive with white sharks and even ride an ostrich. You can also see the penguins in Simons Town.

Camp at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Somewhere between Olympic and Yosemite National Park, sits the often overlooked Crater Lake National Park. Though the park serves as a peaceful winter retreat, summertime is peak season. Hiking, swimming, kayaking, camping, the list goes on, Crater Lake is the perfect spot and the views simply can't be beat. Explore old-growth forests or wildflower meadows and climb mountains for great views of the lake or hike to the lake itself.

Tour Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand

Trips to Cambodia usually involve Vietnam, but why not add Thailand to this exotic itinerary? Start with exploring bustling Bangkok. Cross into Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat, an ancient temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world. Along the way you'll get to swim, sunbath, and snorkel. There are also boat tours that are readily available. Eventually, make your way to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam's dazzling economic and cultural capital.

Visit Morocco and Sahara

While you're in Morocco, consider making a trip to see the grandeur of the Sahara. Start with Fez. Sign up for a camel excursion. Mountain biking through villages with mud and stone houses is quite the challenge. Don't miss out on the opportunity to see Casablanca and Rabat, the ancient imperial cities in the country. If you have time, visit Marrakesh, a major economic center and home to picturesque mosques, majestic palaces and beautiful gardens.

Skiing in New Zealand

If you're the kind of person who never wants the snow to melt, plan a trip to New Zealand. July is the coldest month of the year there. It's between 50-60°F. Snow typically appears during the months of June through October, so plan a ski vacation there. Heli-skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and tubing are also popular.

Stay overnight in a castle

Consider making your traveling experience more authentic by staying in a castle instead of a traditional hotel. You can stay in a prehistoric Scottish drystone tower or castles built centuries ago. Exploring the stone halls of the homes of former kings and queens and sleeping where some of the most powerful people in history did is an adventure in itself. Some of the castles have stood through centuries of war.

Stay at an extreme hotel in Bolivia

Formed by changes in prehistoric lakes, Salar de Uyuni are the largest and most famous bodies of water in the world. The far-flung site is cast off from major cities, but still attracts many tourists, so there are several hotels there. If you've stayed at a hotel made of ice, it's time to visit one made of salt. Palacio de Sal is built on the world's largest salt flat. Even the furniture in the hotel is made of salt. The rooms at Palacio de Sal look like igloos build with salt blocks.

Go to a music festival in Nashville, Tennessee

Tourists who want to have an enjoyable weekend on a modest budget should consider Nashville; its nickname is "Music City" for a reason. There is plenty of free music, and the city hosts many cultural attractions that will entertain you. Listen to music at the famous Bluebird Café, visit the Tennessee Agricultural Museum, watch free concerts by the Nashville Symphony, and take a stroll along the Music City Walk of Fame – all for free.

Go on a romantic trip on Little Palm Island, Florida

It is often called the most exclusive and romantic resort in all of the Florida Keys. It's discreetly located and so remote that it's only accessible by seaplane or boat, which makes it perfect for recharging for the week ahead. You won't find any phones or TVs – just a lot of opportunities for active adventures and a lot of fun – deep sea fishing, scuba divingsnorkeling, sailing, skydiving, and even dolphin encounters.

Climb an active volcano

Are you a curious traveler? Lake Atitlan in Guatemala is the perfect destination for you. Climb Volcano Atitlan and Volcano San Pedro. Hiking a dangerous and active volcano is an exhilarating way to explore otherworldly terrain, steep slopes, lava flows and hot springs all in one trip. Pacaya is another option in Guatemala. People describe the hike as an "excellent medium-high effort trek." You can rent horses on the way up and down, according to Trip Advisor, which will only make the adventure more thrilling.

Go on a river cruise

River cruises are quite different than those at sea or the ocean, which are much more popular. You get to be on land in a different city almost every day. Mekong River has often been rated as one of the best rivers for cruises. It passes through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China, Myanmar and Vietnam. Other popular cruises will take you on an unforgettable trip along the Danube, Irrawaddy, Amazon, Nile, and Seine.

Visit an island where animals outnumber people

Sometimes making friends with the locals means bringing treats for monkeys, rabbits, cats and dogs. Pig Island in the Bahamas, for example, is an uninhabited island known for being populated by many swimming feral pigs. They participate in all kinds of aquatic activities that visitors usually enjoy, from snorkeling with tropical fish and sea turtles, to shark and eel sightings, to scuba diving. Monkey Island in Puerto Rico is an awesome place to visit, too. You won't have to walk far or for too long to see the cute creates. About 1,200 free-roaming Rhesus monkeys live there.

Escape the hustle and bustle on Little St. Simons Island, Georgia

If you ever wanted to escape anything, this is the place to hide. You can reach it only by boat. In 2014, St. Simons Island was voted America's #1 Favorite Romantic Town as well as America's #1 Favorite Beach Town by Travel + Leisure Magazine. The island has more than 250 types of birds, lots of wildlife, beaches, spas, hiking and kayaking opportunities. The Lodge, a resort that includes these services, comprises countryside-chic cottages in the middle of the wilderness.

Visit classic Vermont

Head to often underrated Barnard. It is a tiny and classic town in Windsor County, with a population of about 1,000 people. It's surrounded by high rolling hills and scattered with farms. The picturesque panoramas will take your breath away. Visit the Silver Lake State Park for swimming, camping and picnicking. Or stay at Twin Farms, an all-inclusive resort in Barnard, and possibly its most famous site. Hiking, fishing, camping and skiing (in the winter) on private trails are some of your adventurous options.

Go on an eco-adventure in Saba, Caribbean

The small rocky island just south of St. Maarten – an ideal place for eco-adventures – does not get a lot of visitors each year. As with many locations in the Caribbean, Saba offers world-class scuba diving opportunities. The waters are part of the Saba National Marine Park, which means they are protected and untouched. On land, you can gamble, hike, climb and bike around the island to explore its serenity.

Fly above the Ozarks, Arkansas

The Ozarks are the place to be if you can't decide what summer adventure you want to go on this season. The highland regions offers it all – fly across the sky on a zip line tour, catch your own fish for dinner, go waterskiing, canoeing or hiking to see stunning waterfalls. 

“Travel in time” on Mackinac Island, Michigan

Voted a "Top 10 U.S. Island" by Trip Advisor, this Island is a trip back in time. For one, there are no cars; they are not allowed. So trek this Victorian treasure on bike, horseback and carriage. You will never run out of quests to explore. The island has little development land because it's working hard to preserve its natural treasures. That's why hiking, fishing and hunting are exhilarating.

Windsurf on Brac Island, Croatia

Everybody goes to Dubrovnik, but consider going off the beaten path and visiting Brac, the largest island of the central Dalmatian group of islands, the third largest among the Adriatic islands, according to BracInfo. People who already love it go there for windsurfing. The stunning beaches and nightlife bustling with parties, festivals and shows also lure people.

Go glamping in Scotland

The Stuc a'Chroin in Scotland is a top choice. You will be staying at a Mongolian-style yurt. Consider this glamping spot for a honeymoon as the beautiful Scottish countryside, in the middle of which you'll be staying, makes for the perfect romantic retreat. The yurts have wooden stoves and thick carpets, making you feel cozy and warm, double beds and futons.