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Adventure Getaways: 9 Best Adventure Vacation Ideas in the USA

Whether you're avidly active or a total newbie, book one of these nine adventure vacations US and start exploring

A light dusting of snow blankets Yosemite Valley in a rare layer of white, quieting the park and inviting coyotes and critters to wander freely in search of food without the gawking crowds of summer. Only the sounds of ice crashing down the waterfalls resonate through the valley, and we’re awestruck to wander this destination like John Muir once did—in 1890’s-style solitude.

Instead of lounging on a beach or simply staying home, make your next vacay an adventurous USA getaway like this. Whether you’re ziplining amid Utah red rock or heliskiing in Wyoming‘s backcountry, escape your everyday life by venturing outdoors to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit. Designed for both the avidly active and total newbies, book these nine outdoorsy vacations to get your adventure on without a ton of effort.

Hip Adventure Lodge Right Outside Yosemite

Yosemite National Park is a one-of-a-kind national park known for its waterfalls, granite monoliths, giant sequoias, and vast wilderness. Instead of a long journey to the gate each day, stay where you play at Rush Creek Lodge, the closest hotel to Yosemite National Park—located just beyond its West entrance.

Built for kids (and kids at heart) with ziplines, slides, rope swings, corn hole, and a huge saltwater pool, this property’s unique outdoor playground makes it unlike any hotel you’ve visited before. New hiking trails let you explore the surrounding mountains without even leaving the property. Inside, the fun doesn’t stop, as an overhead playground and game room keeps even the rowdiest kids occupied.

Grown-ups can game the night away there too, or visit the Guided Recreation Program to schedule Yosemite hiking adventures led by personable guides. The robust program includes short, kid-friendly strolls to sunset vistas and full-day forays up Yosemite’s domes and into the wilds. River rafting and swimming are available in the summer season while snowshoeing amid ancient sequoias is the way to see the park when it’s dusted in snow. The guides know the secrets of Yosemite and can take you beyond the bustling valley into the backcountry— where you’re more likely to see a bear than another human.

Back at Rush Creek, enjoy Yosemite’s best California cuisine at the on- site restaurant or shop for provisions at the hotel general store. If you’re lounging by the pool, grab a refreshing adult beverage or mocktail at the Pool Café. At night, roast s’mores like you’re camping over the roaring outdoor fire pits.

Rush Creek Lodge

El Portal
9.4 Excellent (1409 reviews)

Adventure on the Edge of Zion National Park

Zion National Park‘s soaring red rock cliffs and canyons make it one of America’s most stunning (and popular) national parks. But there is a way to avoid the crowds in this visitor mecca: head to the eastern side. Home to Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, this quiet side of Zion offers plenty of adventure without the need for packed shuttle rides. Lodging is choose-your-own-adventure style, with everything from full homes to cabins to glamping tents available on the expansive property.

Choose from on-site activities like ziplining and horseback riding, or venture into the red rock cliffs and canyons on a canyoneering or Jeep tour with a seasoned guide. Canyoneering (AKA rappelling into a slot canyon) is the most iconic Zion experience but is too dangerous to experience without, well, experience. Book a guide to venture into winding sandstone slots and rappel into their depths. Bonus: some of the ranch’s canyoneering tours take place in a slot canyon not open to the public. So you can climb and explore without another soul in sight— just how Zion should be explored.

If you’re the fly solo type, hike from the ranch’s property into Zion National Park for the best panoramic canyon vista at Observation Point. The seven-mile roundtrip features little elevation gain, making it doable for most, and leads to a jaw-dropping overlook 2,200 feet above the canyon floor. The resort also offers a hiking shuttle for guests to other trailheads. Back at the resort, a climbing wall, mini-golf, skeet shooting, and ziplining fill up open afternoons.

Summer is the most popular time to visit and the ranch is bustling, but it’s the best time to enjoy the ranch’s pool and amenities like Western- style outdoor dinners. Winters are often mild, but snowstorms can occur, if rarely. Fewer dining options are available at the ranch and the place is a ghost town—ideal if you’re dodging crowds, but less great if you like more choices and warm temperatures.

Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

Mount Carmel
8.2 Very good (1587 reviews)

Transformed Motel in the Heart of Jackson Hole

Explore the wild west at this revamped motel in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Mountain Modern is a short walk from the Town Square and Million Dollar Cowboy Saloon and adjacent to outdoor adventures in Jackson’s mountains. Skiers and snowboarders will love this central location—just five blocks from Snow King Mountain and 10 miles from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

When the snow melts, visit Jackson to explore the peaks and paths of Grand Teton National Park—a short drive from Mountain Modern. See bison freely roaming, or take a hike to shimmering Jenny Lake. No matter what you do, you’ll be dazzled by the backdrop of the jagged Teton Mountain range.

Even if you don’t venture atop these peaks, take in the sight of them on a forested hike through wetlands to Swan Lake. Looking to cool off on a hot day by paddleboarding around a lake? Rent gear at Mountain Modern Gear Grab Rentals. Simply rent online and grab the gear from a locker right outside the hotel. Return the gear to the locker post- adventure for no-stress exploration.

After an exhausting day outdoors, you’re likely ready for some downtime—and Mountain Modern provides. With two on-site restaurants —Big Hole BBQ and BAPP Korean—you can dine within steps of your room. Unwind after dining with a relaxing soak in the indoor heated pool and hot tub. Start the next day fresh with free in-room coffee and fresh breakfast options at Mountain Modern’s own café.

Mountain Modern

Jackson Hole
7.9 Good (1647 reviews)

Lakefront Retreat Outside Austin, Texas

Get a dose of Texan hospitality in the rolling green hills of Lake Austin Spa Resort—a water taxi ride away from downtown Austin. This Hill Country retreat welcomes guests for rejuvenating, all-inclusive stays at this secluded waterfront property.

With adventure included in the room rate, there’s no excuse to skip exploring the expansive property. Paddle across the lake on a kayak, practice your Warrior pose with a paddleboard yoga session, or try something new and take a hydrobike for a spin. Fuel up with three healthy meals a day — including unlimited juices and smoothies. And don’t expect basic hotel fare – the chef-led restaurant specializes in healthy, French-influenced dishes that will have you scraping your dinner plate clean.

Seeking relaxation? Unwind in the 25,000-square-foot Lake House Spa where steam rooms, whirlpools, saunas, and gardens invite you to rest and relax. The lakeside beach is also built for chilling, with swings and hammocks right along its shores. Included calming yoga classes and sweat sessions help you find calm and detach from the stresses of daily living. If you’re feeling especially lazy after a busy day of recreation, stay in your plush suite and enjoy complimentary room service.

Lake Austin Spa Resort

Top rated
Austin
8.5 Excellent (43 reviews)

Wilderness Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Escape into Viriginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains with a luxurious stay at Lodge at Primland. Tucked in the heart of these forested peaks above the Dan River Gorge, this high-end lodge set on 12,000 private acres features both thrilling and restful activities at every turn. Whether you get a rush mountain biking through the woods, riding horseback on mountain trails, or casting a fishing rod on the river, Primland reconnects you with nature and the grandeur of the Blue Ridge Mountains—without you working to find adventure yourself.

Primland is open year-round for outdoor adventuring, but summer is the high season for wandering in these wilds. Easily explore via Primland’s Outdoor Activities Center, where you can find a guide for horseback riding and mountain biking, or practice your survival skills and take aim with arrows, tomahawks, and air rifles on the target range. Go beyond the resort on an all-terrain vehicle ride through the woods, or venture into the emerald valleys and summits on rugged mountain trails.

Mindful activities are a highlight at Primland too, and you can reconnect with nature on a casual forest bathing walk, or unwind with meditation and yoga. An indoor swimming pool and hot tub overlooking the grounds and golf course offers a welcome respite from inclement weather. Keep the outdoorsy adventures going past nightfall with a stay in Primland’s private treehouses. Built for two adults, these romantic cabins nestled in the branches of huge trees overlook the river gorge and valley 2,000 feet below.

The Lodge And Cottages At Primland

Stuart
8.6 Excellent (14 reviews)

Year-round Adventure Lodge in New Mexico's Mountains

Stay where you play at Angel Fire Resort—a small ski resort in Northern New Mexico. The hotel is steps away from the chairlifts, so you can ski the day away, or take it easy with a mid-day nap between shred sessions and return later for New Mexico’s only night skiing. Beyond the ski slopes, explore Southern Rockies’ Sangre de Cristo Mountains by snowshoeing, tubing, and sledding the slopes.

If snow isn’t your jam, bring the family for fresh alpine air and pleasant summer temperatures. Explore the mountains by bike or on a hike, or play near the resort base with a thrilling zipline ride. Once exhausted from a day spent on mountain trails, relax right in the resort base area at the lodge, boasting a fitness center and indoor pool. If you need more space than a hotel room, book a condo or home and bring the whole family for this adventurous getaway.

Angel Fire

Angel Fire
7.6 Good (762 reviews)

Pocono Mountain Lodge Fit for Adventurous Adults

Discover new outdoor adventures or rekindle old passions in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains at the Lodge at Woodloch. Set on a private lake surrounded by woodlands, this serene outdoor escape is just three hours from New York City and Philadelphia. Inside Woodloch, the design brings the outdoors in with floor-to-ceiling windows and terraces for taking in fresh air and mountain views. Inclusive rates include meals, fitness classes, and outdoor adventures, allowing you to worry less and adventure more in this idyllic landscape.

Spark your creativity, boost your culinary skills, and try a new outdoor adventure with the lodge’s menu of 35 classes per day. Choose a new hobby or renew the love of an old one at The Lily Pad—the resort’s home for outdoor offerings. Knowledgeable guides lead explorative exploits throughout the 500-acre property that range from contemplative nighttime walks to educational classes on birding and how snowshoes work.

Guests can also grab gear from the Lily Pad and set off on their own. Choose to kayak about Lake Teedyskung, an uncommon ecosystem home to turtles, birds, and bogs, or take a bike to explore the winding wooded trails. Learn the art of Forest Bathing with certified nature guides who teach walking meditations and how to use your five senses to mindfully explore the property. Summer is the high season here, but guests can enjoy snowy solitude and snowshoeing during winter stays. Pair your outdoor adventures with a healthy mindset through the resort’s nutrition and lifestyle counseling.

The Lodge At Woodloch

Top rated
Hawley
9.1 Excellent (174 reviews)

Castle Resort on a New York Mountaintop

High on a rocky cliff above an azure glacial lake in New York‘s Hudson Valley, find Mohonk Mountain House – a historic Victorian castle welcoming adventurous guests since the 1800s. Forty-thousand acres of forest surround this National Historic Landmark and family-owned retreat first built as a destination for guests to restore their mind, body, and spirit in nature. That mission continues today with outdoor escapes aplenty spread throughout the property.

While paddling, swimming, and rowing across Lake Mohonk are popular pursuits, Mohonk’s biggest claim to fame is its renowned Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze rock scramble. Hike across the grounds to reach this one-mile hike up naturally-formed rock slabs, climbing ladders and bouldering to a 100-foot rock crevice called the Lemon Squeeze. Suck in your tummy and press through like a human lemon to emerge atop Shawangunk Ridge at Skytop Tower—a landmark overlooking the mountain house and lake below. Built in 1921, it’s worth the 100-stair climb up the stone tower to expansive views of six states. Plan a summer visit, as the trail closes in winter due to ice that makes climbing too dangerous.

Beyond rock climbing, Mohonk has carriage roads and trails built for hiking, biking, trail running, and horseback riding. Twice-daily guided hikes show you where to go if you don’t know how to start your exploration. At the Mountain House, your price includes three chef-made meals and daily tea, allowing you to focus on fun—not fueling up with food. Bonus: unlimited basketball, tennis, disc golf, and lawn games are covered for all lodging guests.

Hotel Mohonk Mountain House

New Paltz
7.9 Good (206 reviews)

High Adventure Backcountry Lodge in Idaho

Ski fresh lines and embrace extreme adventure at Teton Springs Lodge, a rustic retreat where pursuing your outdoor passions is as simple as walking out your hotel room door. This eastern Idaho retreat is not just a hotel, but an outdoor adventure basecamp for brave and cautious explorers alike. Test your mettle (and ski skills) with a guided high mountain heli-ski trip that departs right from the resort. If heliskiing is a bit too extreme, hop on the Targhee shuttle for a free ride to Grand Targhee—a Wyoming ski resort just 30 minutes from Teton Springs. It’s known for fluffy powder, family-friendly vibes, and incredible ski and snowboard terrain.

When the summer sun is shining, simply roll out of bed and take to hiking, biking, and swimming on the lodge’s private property. Book an adventure package beyond the lodge to fly fish or float on the Snake River or take a wildlife safari in neighboring Grand Teton National Park.

No matter when you visit, a drive through Jackson Hole and Grand Teton to Yellowstone is a must for your bucket list. America’s first national park is home to geologic wonders like the Old Faithful geyser and Grand Prismatic Spring—a colorful hot spring that’s also America’s largest. Explore by hiking or biking in summer months, or schedule a winter snow coach tour to see Yellowstone in its quiet off-season. Save yourself hassle and book summer and winter adventure packages directly through the resort.

Back at Teton Springs, book a mix of hotel-style suites and rustic cabins. Some sleep up to 14 folks, letting you bring the whole family along for the adventure. Take in Teton vistas from your private patio or swim laps in Teton Springs’ outdoor heated pool.

Teton Springs Lodge & Spa

Top rated
Victor
9.1 Excellent (852 reviews)