Explore active vacations

If the thought of lounging on a beach for a week isn’t exactly your idea of a memorable vacation, then you may enjoy more activity in your recreational pursuits. Many individuals and families brainstorm their getaways well in advance of taking a trip. A jaunt to the coast may have satisfied an urge to wander in years past, but if you’re interested in something that is a bit more physical and demanding, you may want to spend your next days away from the office on a more active vacation. An active vacation is a trip that is built around physical activity. Instead of keeping the poolside chaise warm, you may be participating in a walking tour or hiking across a national park. Such vacations provide a respite from the daily grind and benefit the mind and body. Estimates from U.S. News and World Report suggest that active travel accounted for $60 billion in vacation spending in 2007. Over the past half decade, the number of people interested in active vacations has continued to grow and, as a result, more destinations are catering to such vacationers. Those ready to embark on an active vacation can choose from a host of options and locales. Horseback riding Making a trek on horseback is a great way to see the countryside from a new perspective. Many resorts worldwide offer horseback riding in which you can tour mountains, crags, trails, and other adventures. Some resorts pair horseback trekking with camping and other activities for a well-rounded adventure. Water sports Many vacationers enjoy water sports like kayaking, canoeing, river rafting, riding jet skis, surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Depending on your skill level, you may be able to work with a water sports company that offers experienced guides to help you through some of the more challenging parts of the trip. Some vacation providers also may offer training and certification, such as becoming SCUBA certified. Biking and hiking There are thousands of miles of trails just waiting to be explored. Many national parks and wildlife refuges have walking and biking trails, or you can create your own travel itinerary and explore trails less traveled. Biking and walking tours also are possible in urban areas. See the sights and sounds of the city as a pedestrian and mingle with locals as you squeeze in some shopping. Mountain climbing Boost adrenaline levels by scaling mountains or rocky crags nearby. Many companies offer climbing courses so you can learn before exploring. Rely on experienced climbers to assess your skill level and choose mountain ranges that match up well with your skill level. Novice climbers may be able to rent gear if they’re not yet ready to purchase. Volunteering Volunteering allows you to marry a vacation with social consciousness. For example, Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit with worldwide reach that helps make affordable housing a reality. You may be able to volunteer your time helping to build houses or making improvements anywhere in the world. People who enjoy staying active on vacation have many choices. Whether rafting down a river or touring a national park on horseback, active vacation opportunities abound.

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