10 Travel Experiences for Adrenaline Junkies
Dive underwater in a mechanical shark or walk a terrifying platform 116 stories above the ground. Thrill seekers, these adventures were made for you.
Photo By: Hydro Attack
Photo By: Mikhail Sinitcyn/Safartica
Photo By: Cueva de las Serpientes Colgantes
Photo By: Audley Travel/Mark Robinson
Photo By: REI
Photo By: Kent Mountain Adventure Center
Photo By: Rotorua Rafting, New Zealand
Photo By: Wilderness Way
Photo By: Tourism Toronto
Photo By: Thomson Treks by Thomson Safaris
Leap, Dive and Roll
Ride in a shark-shaped vehicle that leaps into the air, zips across New Zealand's Lake Wakatipu and then dives below the surface, all at speeds up to 50 m.p.h. on the water and 20 m.p.h. underwater. Hydro Attack, based in Queenstown, uses Seabreacher X watercraft that look like torpedos crossed with fighter jets to give you a wild ride. (Opt for a mild ride if your inner daredevil isn't feeling it.)
Float in a Frozen Lake
Got ice water in your veins? Ice floating is an extraordinary way to see the Northern Lights if you visit Rovaniemi or Yllas, Finland, when they're visible. Even if they're not, you can still "chill out," so to speak, in a hole chopped in a frozen lake at either location. Special suits keep you warm and dry. You don't have to be able to swim; Safartica instructors will tell you how to handle yourself.
Trek Through a Cave of Hanging Snakes
Intrepid movie hero Indiana Jones hated snakes. You'd better be okay with them if you venture into the Cave of the Hanging Serpents in Maya Ka’an, in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Eco-tourists pedal mountain bikes through the jungle at night to reach the cave, which is inhabited by -- get ready -- snakes that hang from the walls and prey on bats. It's part of an extreme nature experience at this destination. You can also go boating to look for crocodiles and see fossils and blind aquatic life.
Camp Overnight in a Cave
Want a less snaky but equally exciting cave adventure? Audley Travel’s UNESCO Discovery Tour takes you through one of the largest cave networks in the world in Vietnam’s Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. You’ll follow a guide on a 9-mile trek to Hang En, the world’s third-largest cave, where you'll camp overnight. The surrounding jungle and the caves, formed over 400 million years ago, have a prehistoric feel.
Mountain Bike Like a Weekend Warrior
Hit the trail in Scottsdale on a mountain bike adventure into Arizona's Sonoran Desert. Guides with REI Adventures lead you on single-track trails into McDowell Mountain Regional Park, past spectacular mountain ranges and desert landscapes studded with cacti. Riders use Giant Anthem X full-suspension mountain bikes, and trips can be tailored to your skill level. A moderate trip typically lasts three to seven hours a day for four consecutive days.
Camp on a Cliff
Conquer your hang-ups about heights when you go cliff camping. This overnight adventure lets you spend the night in a portaledge, a kind of hanging tent system, on a sheer rock face. Kent Mountain Adventure Center, in Estes Park, Colorado, provides the equipment you need to hike to the top and rappel down or climb up from ground level. Spend a day climbing, snapping selfies and watching the mountain birds soar past before you enjoy a steak dinner and zip up your sleeping bag.
White-Knuckle a Waterfall
Head to the Kaituna River in Rotorua, New Zealand to test your courage against a 23-foot high waterfall; Tutea Falls is the highest commercially-rated waterfall in the world. Rotorua Rafting offers guided tours. It doesn't happen often, but rafts can flip over. The grade 5 rapids soon give way to calmer water, though, so rafters can climb back in and keep going.
Get Wild About the Wilderness
You don’t have to be a survivalist to get a rush from learning and practicing primitive skills. Outdoor enthusiasts can learn ancient tracking methods, wilderness navigation techniques and other ways to live self-sufficient lives. Hands-on instruction is also available for using traps and snares, making tools and hunting weapons, flint napping and more. Courses are held at the 40-acre Wilderness Way School in Owego, New York.
Lean Out Into Space
You’ve heard about leaning in? How about leaning out at the CN Tower? This Toronto landmark stands 1,815 feet tall, and visitors can defy gravity on its hands-free EdgeWalk, a five-foot platform some 1,168 feet above the ground. Guides lead participants in harnesses on a 30-minute walk outside the tower and continue the tour inside for another hour.
Make a Summit Bid for a Mountain
Make your summit bid on a physically challenging climb or on a less strenuous route. You can also choose an ascent with amenities like cot beds, or opt for a budget-friendly adventure. Thomson Treks by Thomson Safaris offers a choice of routes and experiences for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. Guides on the Umbwe Route lead hikers through a scenic rainforest to attempt the summit at night; 96% of the climbers succeed.