The Best Active Adventure In Every State

The Best Active Adventure in Every State

Summer is finally here and if you haven't made your vacation plans yet, you're in luck. Do you enjoy adrenaline-pumping adventures? America is full of a variety of iconic landmarks and natural wonders to explore. Sightseeing is definitely worth the trip. But how about participating in active adventures? Each state has an abundance of outdoorsy quests to choose from.


Alabama is the perfect hiking and backpacking destination. Head to Orange Beach for beach hikes and kayaking. Visit Desoto State Park to hike Birmingham's longest trail – Cheaha Mountain. Also go biking and capture views of incredible waterfalls. For more trails visit the Talladega National Forest, explore the Natural Wells Trail, Three Caves, Dry Falls, Pinhoti Trail and Wall of Jericho Trail.


Imagine kayaking surrounded by glaciers. You can do this in Alaska. Glacier Bay National Park offers some of the most spectacular sea kayaking in the world. View marine life including sea lions and humpback whales and see spectacular scenery. While you are there, make sure you go to the eastern boundary of Denali National Park and go whitewater rafting on the Nenana River. It is perfect for individuals of intermediate to advanced skill levels with Class III and IV whitewater. Oh, and don't forget to check out their famous ice caves.


Arizona is full of a variety of active adventures. One of the absolute best experiences includes whitewater rafting the Colorado River. It has more than 1,450 miles in total and cuts through the world famous Grand Canyon, making one of the most popular rafting destinations in the world. Some other adventures in Arizona include mountain biking, cycling Mt. Lemmon and trail running Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon.


If you're into biking, Arkansas is definitely the adventure destination for you. Bike ride over the Big Dam Bridge – "the longest pedestrian bridge built specifically for pedestrians and bicyclists and the second largest in the United States (" It is approximately 14-feet wide, and rises about seven stories above the river. Society of American Travel Writers named it as one of their "Top 10 Bridge Travel Sites" in the U.S. and Canada in 2012.


From surfing in Malibu to cycling in Big Sur and camping and hiking, California is known for its numerous active adventures. However, the most exciting adventure may just be skydiving in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara is the only dropzone in Southern California and is the home of the highest tandem jump in the United States. The jump is so high that you are given supplemental oxygen on the ride up. Enjoy spectacular views of California from above.



Colorado is famous for its rock climbing opportunities. One of the most famous places to climb is Boulder. But you can also rock climb, ice climb or boulder in Rocky Mountain National Park and take on one of Colorado's deepest cliff walls in Black Canyon the Gunnison National Park. While you are there, make sure you go hiking Maroon Bells and white water rafting on Fork Rivers.


Nepaug is a very famous location, especially Nepaug State Forest. Nepaug is known for its variety of mountain biking trails. Regardless of your experience level, there is a route for you. More specifically, New Hartford's Nepaug State Forest Trail is a moderately trafficked loop trail that runs for approximately 1.8 miles. Capture views of beautiful scenery and gorgeous wild flowers.


There is tons of adventure events in Idaho this year – the Standhope Ultra Challenge, Rebecca's Private Idaho, Crosstoberfest and the North Fork Championships and Melt Awards, just to name a few. However, the best active adventure in the state is whitewater rafting the Salmon River. "Middle Fork" is said to be the best river trip in the world due to its Class Class III and IV whitewater. Take a 6-day river trip to experience Salmon River at its fullest. Tip: While you're in Idaho, make sure you also go trail running in Sun Valley and cycling in Boise.


Kentucky is home to the famous Red River Gorge – one of the most popular climbing destinations east of the Mississippi. Are you a beginner or an experienced climber? Either way, there are over 1,600 climbs to choose from. You are sure to find one or more that suits your experience level. Also, while you are there make sure you try one of the Red River Gorge zip line tours.


Looking for the best active adventure in Maine? Go hiking in Acadia National Park. There are a variety of hikes to choose from – the Precipice Trail which is a very popular, yet dangerous hike. It has steep drops and open cliffs, which make the hike complicated. Also, try the Isle au Haut hike; it's one of the most remote places in the park, with approximately 18 miles of trails and great camping opportunities.  


Nevada is home to the famous Las Vegas and tons of exciting adventures. Go zip lining over the Mojave Desert or hop on the SlotZilla zip line and soar down Freemont Street between the casinos and pedestrian promenade. Go on a more outdoorsy adventure and try hiking and climbing in Red Rocks. Also, visit Great Basin National Park and go on a Lehman cave tour to see a beautiful marble cave with over 300 rare shield formations.

New Hampshire

Dip your paddle into a beautiful lake or lazy river and go kayaking in New Hampshire. You can choose between sea kayaking or whitewater rapids. Some of the best kayaking destinations include Ellacoya State Park in Gilford, Mollidgewock State Park in Errol, Echo Lake State Park in Conway and Lake Francis State Park in Pittsburg ( While you are in New Hampshire, make sure you explore Lake Sunapee in Newport; go boating, hiking, swimming and fishing. Camping in White Mountain National Forest is a great adventure as well.

North Carolina

When many of us think of surfing, we usually think of California and Hawaii. But did you know North Carolina has some of the best surfing in the country? Kill Devil Hills is one of the best surf locations. Some of the best spots include Avalon pier, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and S-Turns.  Make sure you visit the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville. Drive along the highest ridge tips of the Southern Appalachians on the Blue Ridge Parkway and explore their scenic hiking trails – Graveyard Fields, one of the most challenging trails and Craggy Pinnacle Trail which is about a 30 minute drive from Asheville.


For one of the best adventures and most scenic experiences, go whitewater rafting in Oregon. Paddle through canyons and rocky waters with the stunning backdrop of mountains on the Rogue River. View incredible waterfalls, beautiful beaches and spot some wildlife.  Also, head to Crater Lake National Park for a variety of running, cycling and hiking opportunities.


The best active adventure in Pennsylvania is happening Oct. 23, 2016 – the Covered Bridges Ride. Each year Bucks County hosts this incredible event. With five routes to choose from, family-friendly routes included, you will find yourself cycling along the shores of the Delaware River. After the ride, make sure you continue to explore Pennsylvania. Go kayaking down the Susquehanna River or camping in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Black Moshannon, Hickory Run or Canoe Creek.

South Carolina

If you're looking for the best adventure in South Carolina, head to Congaree National Park. Hiking is one of the most popular adventures. There are a variety of trails – short trails, long trails and backcountry trails. The River Trail is one of the longest trails in the park at about 10 miles. It leads to the Congaree River. The Oakridge Trail is 6.6 miles long; it's a great hike for wildlife viewing. Other trails include Kingsnake Trail, Weston Lake Loop Trail and Bluff Trail (nps). Also, camp out in James Island County Park.


Experience the Delaware River by kayak. It's the longest free-flowing river in the Eastern United States. View a variety of wildlife including birds and eagles. Paddle through easy and difficult streams. But make sure you remember to indulge in your surroundings – the scenery is absolutely spectacular.


Florida has a ton of amusement parks, making them the state's best active adventure. Visit Walt Disney World, Sea World, Busch Gardens and Universal Studios.  Also, if you enjoy running, make sure to plan your vacation to Florida around Jan. 15, 2017 when the Key West Half Marathon and 5k will take place.


Cedar Point Amusement Park is known as the "Roller Coaster Capitol of the World." It's the perfect amusement park for the adventurous family. There is a variety of family rides, 18 world-class roller coasters, three kids areas and a water park for when you get too hot. While you are there make sure you also experience Ohio's famous hikes. Some of these include, Old Man's Cave Loop in Columbus, Hemlock Gorge to Lyons Falls in Cleveland and Redwing Trail Loop in Cincinnati.


It's hard to pick just one adventure in Utah. The best adventures are located in one destination – Arches National Park. Go backpacking, bike around their trails, go camping, canyoneering, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and go on an auto tour and view the park's incredible arches and landscapes.


Wyalusing Hardwood Forest is one of Wisconsin's oldest parks and one of the best places to go camping in North America. The wooded buffs of the forest rise more than 400 feet above the Wisconsin River. You can literally camp 500 feet above it. While you are there take advantage of other activities in the park – cycling, boating and fishing.



If you are an adrenaline seeker, Wyoming is offering you one of the biggest rushes of your life. Go Heli Skiing in Jackson Hole. Helicopters will take you up to ungroomed slopes and backcountry terrain that no one else has access to. They will release you on the mountain and, before you know it, you're enjoying the ski ride of your life. Bonus: You have the option between five mountain ranges surrounding the resort.


Drive or bike Hawaii's famous Road to Hana. It's one of the most popular adventures to embark on in Maui. View black sand beaches, stunning waterfalls, unique jungles, beautiful oceans and super high cliffs. Places to visit along the route include Pua'a Ka'a State Park, Waianapanapa State Park and Wailu Falls. Take advantage of the snorkeling, scuba diving and surfing opportunities.


The best adventure in Iowa is taking place in July 2016 – the RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) bike ride. It's a seven-day bicycle ride across the state and is known to be the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world (  


Virginia is home to the incredible Shenandoah National Park. Hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail in the park is definitely the best active adventure in the state. Also enjoy mountain biking, cycling and taking a road trip along the Skyline Drive.


Explore the adventurous side of Illinois by zip lining deep inside and through the Shawnee National Forest. See its richness from a unique perspective high above the hiking and biking trails. You have plenty of choices. Slide through—and above—lavish forests at 40 mph.


There is no better way to explore the city. In 1999, Indianapolis officially designates six Cultural Districts: Massachusetts Avenue, Fountain Square, The Canal & White River State Park, Indiana Avenue, the Wholesale District, and Broad Ripple. The total distance of the Cultural Trail is 8 miles. On average, the time is calculated at a 20 minute per mile. Enjoy the landscaping, nine pieces of public art, and downtown amenities along the way.


Go to Kansas' Schlitterbahn Waterpark, which is home to Verrückt, the tallest water slide in the world, featuring a 168-foot drop. It opened in the state in 2009, making it the first non-Texas park owned by the company.


The state is known as the place to eat some of the best seafood in the country. Make your trip unforgettable by joining a fishing rodeo, which is basically a large-scale tournament where people compete to get the biggest fish. "You don't need a lasso, just a line will do at these rodeos, where to win, you simply have to "geaux fish,'" according to Louisiana Travel.


If you go to Ocean City, you'll have the opportunity to see what it's like to jump off the highest point in the East Coast – up to 18,000 feet and 80 seconds of free fall. In total, companies do about 20,000 freefall parachute jumps a year. You'll find what you're looking for.


Go on a Hot Air Balloon ride above the gorgeous Pioneer Valley. Misty River flies from several locations in the valley and the surrounding hill towns. As you float quietly above you can see the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, as well as the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire.


If you can't afford a vacation in the Caribbean, which has some of the best scuba diving spots in the world, take a road trip to Michigan's Great Lakes. Four of the five lakes touch state boundaries and had ship traffic for nearly 400 years. That's four centuries of wrecks underwater waiting for you to explore.


Too many adventurous options in Minnesota will make your head spin. The good news is that you can create your own itinerary in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a vast preserve of lakes and woods that stretches for about 100 miles along the U.S. border with Canada. This is the one place where you will see no sign of civilization; there are even no roads. You can set up base camp, spend days hiking, or take a "loop" trip, moving from lake to lake.


Biloxi Shrimping Trip was voted No. 1 attraction in the state. Go on a shrimping expedition and learn everything you ever wanted to know about catching, cooking, and eating the tasty southern delicacy in  authentic Mississippi Gulf Coast style.


Do you think you can paddle for 60+ hours and cover 340 miles of the Missouri river? You'll be handling wind, heat, bugs and possibly rain. Enjoy the scenic and sometimes isolated river, with rich wildlife and beautiful panoramas along the way. The race this year is scheduled for July 19-22.


If you are looking for a rejuvenating and inspiring trip that will keep your heart rate up, go backpacking the Montana-Idaho border on the Continental Divide Trail. The entire CDT actually runs for 3,100 miles between Mexico and Canada, but in Montana it crosses the Triple Divide Peak mountain. Soak up the stunning vistas, blue and clear skies, and Montana on the right and Idaho on the left.


Most visitors come to the Niobrara to float the river by canoe, tube, kayak, or raft. Many camp overnight in various private campgrounds operated by individual outfitters, or at the campground in Smith Falls State Park, according to NPS. The Niobrara National Scenic River is a "unique crossroads where many species of plants and animals coexist unlike anywhere else."

New Jersey

How many people in your group of friends know how to fly a plane or a helicopter? Don't you want to be the person who can take anyone on an impulsive trip as long as there is a flying object around? You can learn how to do that at many locations in the Garden State. Companies offer various packages that range from hands-on helicopter experiences to  simple photo flights.

New Mexico

Explore the Gila Wilderness, 3.3 million acres of forested hills, majestic mountains and range land, while horseback riding. You will feel like you just went back in time to the era of the Wild West. Those of you who want to bike or walk will find plenty of gorgeous and maintained trails.

New York

Canoe or kayak the Adirondacks of Northern New York. You'll have about 3,000 lakes and ponds and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams to enjoy. The Adirondacks are unique among mountain regions in North America for the simple fact that for every mountain peak, there are hundreds of miles of waterways – from the mighty Hudson River to the magnificence of Lake Champlain.

North Dakota

Bike the Maah Daah Hey, known as North Dakota's best kept secret. The name means "Grandfather" or "an area that has been or will be around for a long time." Along the 96-mile singletrack trail you're likely to see mule and whitetail deer, antelope, wild turkeys, beaver, prairie dogs, golden eagle, red tail hawk, bighorn sheep and elk.


Dragon boating looks exactly the way it sounds – lots of people on an oversized canoe with a dragon tail paddle (often to the beat of a drummer). This water sport has been growing in popularity every year because it's a lot of fun for large groups of friends and families. Oklahoma has its own league. The two seasons of the 2016 Dragon Boat League begin in April and July.

Rhode Island

Try cliff walking for 3.5 miles along the eastern shore of Newport. This is a very popular public access walk, a National Recreation Trail in a National Historic District, that combines the natural beauty of the coast with the architectural history of the city's golden age. Wildflowers, birds, geology will make the trip even more charming.

South Dakota

Have you ever been backcountry camping or spent a whole night under the stars? Cedar Pass Campground in Badlands National Park is the place to be in the summer. Night sky viewing is offered on Friday through Monday nights, according to NPS. After the evening ranger program, you are welcome to stay and continue enjoy the stars.  Telescopes are provided. The entire campground is equipped with 96 level campsites, and each offers striking views. On any given night, you will be stunned by more than 7,500 stars. Especially extraordinary is the clarity of the Milky Way Galaxy.


Spelunking (caving) is a very popular active adventure in Tennessee. Various caverns will take you to underground lakes and chambers formed by odd rock formations. Some of the options to explore include Craighead Caverns. You'll see what is certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as America's largest underground lake. Cumberland Caverns offers tours covering 32 miles of passages.


If you want to try rock climbing, do it in Hueco Tanks State Historic Site. Many climbers from Europe and Asia visit every year. The routes are extremely varied. There is truly something for people of all skill levels. For thousands of years, people have trekked to these rock hills. Visitors today marvel at the imagery left by those ancient people, according to Texas Wildlife and Parks. You can also hike, go bird watching, stargaze and study nature.


Go cross-country skiing on the Catamount Trail. The country's longest ski trail – about 300 miles – is also the most brilliantly conceived, according to National Geographic. "It was dreamed up 26 years ago by three zealous backcountry skiers, one of them a cartographer, who didn't want just a straight-shot wilderness route from the Massachusetts border to Quebec."

West Virginia

How does rafting down the oldest river on the continent sound? West Virginia's renowned Upper New River is flowing northward through deep canyons to form what is commonly referred to as "The Grand Canyon of the East," according to Rafting Info. You will have many opportunities for active adventures suitable for everyone – from novice paddlers and experienced whitewater veterans.


Washington State is an ideal destination for heli skiing, hiking and climbing. Just recently in Mazama skiers did up to 13 runs in a day. The best time to ski with North Cascade Heli is in March because that's when they offer their best deals. How would you like to hike a volcano? Glacier Peak, one of the five volcanoes in the state, is a perfect choice. You'll also be one of a few: It's not very popular because it's so far in the crest of the Cascades.


Canoe the 438,000-acre Okeefenokee swamp, which, according to the National Geographic, actually has clear water and well-marked canoe trails which make getting lost difficult. "Much of the swamp is wide-open prairie—more big sky than heart of darkness." Expect to see alligators, cottonmouth snakes, carnivorous plants, and even bears.