AN EPIC ADVENTURE BUCKET LIST TO COMPLETE THIS SUMMER
Can you complete them all?
There’s nothing wrong with a summer spent at the beach. But if you want more than tan lines and sand-covered clothes, consider embarking on one (or all) of these incredible seasonal adventures.
After all, bucket list trips are like snowflakes. And for this one, we’ve ditched the tame and the far-flung in favor of a high-octane, thrilling series of experiences you can complete on your summer break (or maybe during your summer Fridays). Whether you’re a fan of sun and sand, fresh mountain air, or sweeping desert vistas, there’s a potential adventure for you. Very ambitious travelers can even try checking off every item on this wild, once-in-a-lifetime list.
Consider, for example, spending a balmy weekend in June scuba diving around the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, off the Florida Keys. Or getting extra muddy during the Tough Mudder competition in New York.
Regardless of whether or not you want to get high (parasailing or hang gliding) or go low (spelunking in Kentucky) we promise your summer stories won’t be the least bit boring. And the pictures you share on Instagram won’t look like every other snapshot of beach umbrellas and pool floats.
Hiking in the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is one of those places that initially leaves you feeling like you’ve walked onto a movie set—an action movie set, specifically. And there’s this other thing: it’s mind-bogglingly huge. Not only is it a mile deep, but it’s also 277-“river miles”-long and up to 18-miles-wide. Incidentally, it’s also a bit of a challenge to get to, with only three spots where you can reasonably get into the Canyon: the North Rim, the South Rim, and the West Rim.
A vast majority of hikers start at the South Rim, from which there are two major trails—the 12.8-mile-long Rim Trail and the 6.6-mile Greenway trail. Each is broken down into sections of varying difficulty. The Hermit Trail, for example, is a rocky, steep, and challenging route that starts at an elevation of 6,640 feet. The recommended day hike destination is 2.5 miles away at Santa Maria Springs (4,880 feet). If you’re up for an overnight hike, you can do the seven hours of hiking needed to go from the trailhead to Hermit Creek (a distance of only 7.8 miles).
Andrew Peacock/Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images
Whitewater Rafting on the Colorado River
At the base of the Grand Canyon is the Colorado River, a famous spot for whitewater rafting. (You don’t actually have to hike into the Grand Canyon to do a whitewater rafting trip, however, as there are many spots along the 1,450-mile-long river where you can start your adventure.)
One of the most popular places to begin is at Lee’s Ferry in Arizona. The trip from Lee’s Ferry to Phantom Ranch is a great way to experience the Colorado River rapids, as well as get a view of the Grand Canyon that you just won’t see any other way. Be prepared, however, to spend a little time on this experience. It’s often considered a six or seven day adventure. And you may want to take a few shorter, gentler trips before tackling this one, which features no less than 19 major rapids over the course of an 87-mile journey.
Rock Climbing in Joshua Tree National Park
A trip to California’s Joshua Tree National Park may be as close as many of us get to visiting another planet, with its strange plants and massive, lunar-like boulders littering the landscape.
While there are countless trails over the rocks that can be tackled with just a good pair of hiking boots, more daring travelers can use the park’s 400 climbing formations for advanced rock climbing. If you want help navigating the 8,000 trails (or you need assistance with the ropes, helmets, and footwear, get in touch with one of the local climbing schools (such as the Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School or Joshua Tree Climbing Guides).
Scuba Diving Off the Florida Keys
If you’re new to scuba diving, the Florida Keys region is a fantastic place to get started. One hot spot for divers visiting the Florida Keys is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. It bills itself as the country’s first underwater state park and—together with the adjacent Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary—spans 178 nautical square miles.
More important than its vast size, this state park is home to the only living coral reef in the continental United States. Sea life here is so rich and abundant you may want to take a little time to brush up on your marine biology before your trip. According to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), there are 40 species of living coral in the park along with some 650 varieties of fish.
Parasailing in California
If parasailing is on your bucket list, there are few more iconic places you could take to the skies than Marina Del Rey. Surrounded by places like the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, and Malibu, parasailing on this stretch of California coastline will let you float high above these iconic destinations.
Check out Marina Del Rey Parasailing, which allows up to three people at a time and flies them at either 500 or 800 feet above the ocean.