Best Outdoor Vacations: USA

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Since many of us spend the majority of our waking hours in classrooms, offices, or other indoor work zones, it’s no wonder we periodically dream of getting away from it all. That’s the beauty of a vacation, especially one that offers a perfect balance of activity, nature, fresh air, sunshine, and relaxation. Outdoor vacations are a fabulous way to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit! Ready to create your dream itinerary? These fun ideas are sure to inspire:

Whitewater rafting

When it comes to this exciting sport, the Chattooga River─which flows through the Appalachian Mountains, spanning 180,000 acres─is considered one of the wildest, most beautiful whitewater rivers in the country. You can select your adventure level, dialed all the way up to thrill ride, if you’re game: http://www.noc.com/whitewater-rafting/chattooga-river/

Windsurfing

If you’re up for some windsurfing, Oregon’s Hood River is hard to beat, thanks to winds from the Columbia River Gorge and currents from the Columbia River. In fact, the Hood River is one of the top windsurfing destinations in the United States. Beer lovers might enjoy relaxing with a tasty local microbrew afterwards! http://hoodriverwaterplay.com/

Hiking

Angel’s Landing trail at Zion National Park in Utah is considered one of the best in the entire national park system. Once you scale it, you’ll be treated to a stunning view of Utah’s Zion Canyons at an elevation of 1,488 feet. This five-mile (roundtrip) hike is great for nature lovers in relatively good shape. http://www.zionnational-park.com/zion-angels-landing-trail.htm.

Scuba diving & snorkeling

The Florida Keys─a cluster of 1,700 islands off the coast of Florida─feature the oldest living reef in the Western Hemisphere. The Keys offer calm seas and clear waters, so scuba divers and snorkelers can see more than 100 feet ahead for pristine views of spectacular sea creatures and coral formations. There are also over 500 historical shipwrecks to explore. http://www.fla-keys.com/diving/Learn.cfm

Kayaking

If you’ve never tried kayaking, you’re in for a treat, especially on the Russian River, located in Northern California’s wine country. Mild rapids make this a great outing for most fitness/skill levels. Pack a picnic to enjoy at a beach along the way. And don’t miss downtown Healdsburg, a glamorous village with fabulous cuisine and world-famous wine. http://www.russianrivertravel.com/canoeing.htm

Cycling

Love riding your bike? If so, a vacation that combines cycling with new adventures and gorgeous scenery is a winning vacation scenario. Check out this guide to six of the best cycling destinations in the United States: http://www.bicycling.com/ride-maps/featured-rides/six-best-cities-bike-vacation

Tree climbing

Did you know that Atlanta, Georgia is America’s tree climbing capitol? Imagine scaling a 100 foot tree with a rope, a helmet and a harness. You can even camp up in the branches! http://treeclimbing.com/ Or maybe you’d prefer to simply relax in a beautiful tree house Bed & Breakfast? Check out this unique Oregon resort: http://www.treehouses.com/
While these ideas are the tip of the iceberg, one (or more) is bound to pique your interest. Happy excursions!

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