Now that things are beginning to open up again, trips and adventures are being booked, airline travel is at its highest peak since February 2020 and people are buying all the gear they need for their first post-pandemic vacation. This is good news, whether you're looking for a relaxing week away or the adventure of a lifetime. No matter what type of trip you long for, it feels like our collective sense of adventure has certainly been stymied by the pandemic.
If you fall into the latter category and the adventure of a lifetime is what you're seeking, there are a handful of websites you can check out to book that adventure vacation you've always wanted to go on. Picture yourself overlanding in a lifted Jeep Wrangler topped with a tent. Or wading in a Colorado river landing the biggest native trout you've ever caught. Or flying down the tarmac on the longest, albeit most rewarding, bike ride of your life.
Depending on what you want to spend, you can book something as straightforward as a kayaking discovery course for $30 or go as big as a week-long fly-fishing trip in Colorado for a few thousand dollars. Many of the sites below offer worldwide trips, but as we wait for the world to open back up for travel, the coming year might be the best chance you'll have to explore your own backyard. If these sound like ideal trips, regardless of the price point you're after, you've found the right place. It is time to get out there.
Types of Trips: Overlander and 4x4 Rentals, Guided Tours
Locations: Anywhere across the West (It has hubs in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas). Guided tours are in the Grand Canyon or Death Valley.
If you've long dreamt of being behind the wheel of the perfect 4x4 vehicle, leaving the asphalt behind and ripping across the American West, Pacific Overlander was made for you. It takes some of the best overlanders (including Jeep Wranglers, Toyota Tacomas and 4Runners) and decks them out with all of the features you need to get the most out of a multi-day overlanding adventure. They boast rooftop tents and all of the gear you need to get through your trip, including a fridge, camp chairs, a two-burner stove and cookware. When booking with Pacific Overlander, you can opt for a guided tour through the Grand Canyon or Death Valley, or you can rent a rig to go on your own adventure.
Types of Trips: Backpacking, Climbing, Cycling, Mountain Biking, Hiking, Kayaking
Locations: National Parks, Alaska, Tennessee, California, Utah and more
REI is more than your go-to co-op for any outdoor gear you could need. The retailer also provides access to a huge number of adventure vacations that you can take, varying from family-friendly hikes in the San Juan Islands to backpacking trips in Joshua Tree exclusively for folks under 35 years old. There are over 100 trip options in North America and many of them can be completed in just a weekend. You can also book a private trip if you're looking for a more personal experience.
Types of Trips: Saltwater Fly Fishing, Fresh Water Fishing, Wingshooting
Locations: North America, Saltwater Tropics, Patagonia, Mongolia and more
Sportsmen everywhere have relied on Orvis to outfit them for their fishing and hunting needs for decades. The retailer's shops are mainstays in popular fishing areas, offering up guidance and whether you want to toss a dry fly or a wooly bugger at the local river. It also takes things up a notch with its globe-trotting guided trips. You can hunt or fish all over the United States or venture to sporting meccas like Patagonia or Craigsanquhar in Scotland.
Types of Trips: Hiking, Biking, Sailing, Camping, Kayaking
Locations: Acadia National Park, Baxter State Park, Maine's Islands
In many ways, L.L. Bean offers more modest adventures than the rest of the options on this list. But that's a good thing if you're looking to get together with family for a quick camping or kayaking trip. Most of the adventures stick close to L.L. Bean's home in Freeport, Maine and take you to locations like Acadia National Park and the Allagash River. While some of the adventures are a bit less robust, you can still choose from a ton of different activities, including sailing, kayaking, archery or even a hunter safety course.
Types of Trips: Surfing
Locations: Encinitas, California
If you want the beach destination picked out but still want to get in a guided adventure while you're there, head to the Surfhouse Hotel in the surfing mecca of Encinitas, California. If you prefer, you can make your own itinerary, borrow a complimentary bike and take it down to the beach or to the local coffee shop. If you want something with more structure, you can sign up for surf lessons, guided surfing or yoga classes. The hotel also hosts 3-day all-inclusive experiences in collaborations with surf companies like Bing.
Types of Trips: Moto and UTV adventures
Locations: Yosemite, Bryce and Zion National Parks, Grand Canyon
The adventures you can book through Wilderness Collective require some prerequisite skill, but if you've ridden offroad previously you can do something that rarely seems accessible: moto through a national park. You can book moto or UTV trips all over the west, including trips from Zion to Bryce National Parks, through Joshua Tree or Yosemite or even an adventure moto trip in Alaska. Rentals of the moto or UTV are included in the price, plus you get everything else that is required: gear, food, drinks and shelter.
Types of Trips: Road Cycling, Hiking
Backroads specializes in cycling trips but also offers multi-discipline adventures and walking/hiking tours. You can even book active safaris or active cruises. When we say that Backroads can take you worldwide, we mean worldwide. If you want to go there, Backroads probably has a trip that will take you. You can go on a river cruise in Ecuador, bike tours in France or Italy, or explore the Caribbean by bike and on foot.