5 Ways to Adventure in North America

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Prickly Pear Challenge Course at Travaasa Austin

white-water rafting out west

The northwestern part of the United States is paradise for adventure-seekers, with its rivers, canyons and gorges. Salmon River in particular is a great place for a white-water river rafting experience the entire family can enjoy, running over 50 miles in length through gorges and Native American historic sites.

ROW Adventures, rated one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure magazine, features a variety of white-water rafting trips, but its Salmon River rafting trip, Riviera of the West, stands out because of its “diverse characteristics…it’s not the cold, rainy trip some might expect from a trip to the Northwest,” says Mychal Ferger, director of public relations for the company.

The 70-degree water is tucked between white-sand beaches, and while the intermediate rapids offer rafting for children as well as adults, travelers can also take a dip in the water, since it’s a “pool and drop” river with a slow-moving area of water after each rapid. While going through Snowhole Canyon and Cougar Canyon, travelers will experience larger rapids like Bodacious Bounce and the Gobbler, and then in areas like Cottonwood Creek, travelers can swim through a rapid.

Children 5 and older can participate in the trip, but ROW offers adults-only dates for those who prefer to travel without children on the tour.

Throughout the trip, the group stops to check out historic sites along the canyon, such as Native American rock art and Chinese rock houses dating back to the late-1800s gold rush. Following a day of rafting, guests camp at night on the beaches in a set-up prepared by the guides, ready for the rafters’ arrival, complete with a gourmet dinner and breakfast each morning.

Travelers can choose between the 4- or 5-day trip, which starts and ends in Lewiston, ID. The 4-day trip starts at $1,095 for
children and $1,295 for adults.

Clients can explore U.S. national parks with Austin-Lehman Adventures

family adventures in yosemite

Planning a family vacation in the great American wilderness can seem overwhelming with the amount of adventurous options, but Austin-Lehman Adventures wraps everything up in a neat package for families on the Yosemite National Park Family trip.

The trip is the ultimate in outdoor getaways, giving family members the chance to experience a variety of adventures, such as 3- to 5-mile hikes; 1- to 14-mile bike rides; and rock climbing. Not only is the trip packed with activities, the scenery that unfolds is spectacular. Envision riding along the back roads of Yosemite down to the Rainbow Pools for a swim under the waterfalls, or hiking the Mist Trail next to Vernal and Nevada falls. Here, adventure takes place on each journey and nature goes hand-in-hand with the activities.

What’s great about this itinerary is that travelers can alter activities to their liking. For example, they can choose to take a short or long hike on different types of terrain heading to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point. The same goes for rock climbing in Curry Village, where climbers—both newbies and pros—engage in classes and a day of climbing and rappelling.

Travelers will spend the first two nights at Evergreen Lodge in cabins in the woods next to Yosemite National Park; then spend two nights at Yosemite Lodge near Yosemite Falls; and a final evening at Wawona Hotel, a Victorian-style lodge four miles from the park’s south entrance.

Rates for the 6-day trip start at $2,698 for adults and ranges from $2,158 to $2,428 for children. All meals except for one dinner are included.

vertigo-inducing rail travel

If your clients want to experience the great outdoors of both the U.S. and Canada, recommend a journey by rail with Rocky Mountaineer, such as the 10-day Western Explorer & Coastal Passage.

Guests choose whether they’d like to go east or west, starting in either Calgary or Seattle. On the Eastbound route, with tours in North Vancouver, Jasper and Banff, travelers spend three days on board the Rocky Mountaineer.

Stepping off the train, passengers will have the chance to adventure through the Canadian Rockies, riding an Ice Explorer to the middle of the Athabasca Glacier; taking a 12-minute summit helicopter tour of the mountains and glaciers; and riding via gondola in Banff to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, taking in the view of six mountain ranges.

As you can see, the trip is all about pushing the limit with heights—and your client will have plenty of opportunities to take in views from different locations in the Rockies, including Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, and Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, offering city, ocean and mountain views. Travelers will also have the opportunity to tour national parks, such as Jasper National Park and Yoho National Park, with its spiral tunnels and natural rock bridge over the Kicking Horse River.

Rates start at $6,343 pp for GoldLeaf Service, which features nine nights of accommodations in such properties as Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.

ROW Adventures offers white-water rafting trips in North America's rivers.

workouts for both the body & mind

Set in Texas Hill Country, Travaasa Austin allows its guests to choose their own adventures, depending on whether they want to work out their mind or body.

The 70-room experiential resort and spa is located next to the 210-acre Balcones Canyonlands Preserve in Austin, and embraces its natural surroundings with a menu of programs designed to explore the lay of the land. With a focus on five pillars—Adventure, Culinary, Culture, Fitness and Wellness—guests create their own itinerary choosing from activities included in the resort’s rates, such as geocaching, ziplining, mechanical bull workouts and the Prickly Pear Challenge Course.

On the challenge course, designed as if you were making your way through prickly pears navigating between the needles, guests use their physical strength and skill with vertical climbing elements, heading over Raider Bridge, through the Flying V and then on to Double Trouble. Guests can also test their skills learning archery, which not only teaches patience, it also shows participants the importance of mental awareness and breath. Meanwhile, geocaching unleashes one’s inner treasure hunter, using GPS-enabled devices searching for hidden objects on the property’s grounds. On the theme of exploring one’s mind, guests can also participate in vision boarding, which is all about visualization and taking ideas and turning them into reality.

The resort offers two packages: The inclusive Total Travaasa package, which starts at $350 pp per night, or the a la carte Your Travaasa package, starting at $200 pp per night. The packages include accommodations with private deck or patio; unlimited access to the resort’s programs and activities; complimentary in-room bottled water and organic fair-trade coffee; a welcome snack and refreshments upon arrival; gratuities; and WiFi. The Total Travaasa package also includes daily, chef-prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner; all snacks and non-alcoholic beverages; and a $125 resort credit pp per day for spa treatments and
private classes.

Poolside cabanas at Ocean Key Resort & Spa in Key West

flying over key west

Key West offers water-lovers a variety of activities below the ocean with coral caves, wrecks and reefs prime for scuba divers and snorkelers. But with the Noble Adventures package at the Noble House property Ocean Key Resort & Spa, travelers explore above the surface on three days of activities.

The 100-room resort is set in the heart of Key West on famed Duval Street, between Key West Harbor and Mallory Square, where the Sunset Celebration takes place each night. With this package, guests can explore the area further heading offshore on a full day of reef fishing at North America’s only living coral reef. Guests can expect to find jacks, cobia and mackerel on the excursion, and may even spot sharks, since the reef, which stretches 70 miles west of Key West to the Dry Tortugas, is home to thousands of species. Travelers will also experience the Dry Tortugas on a seaplane trip to the national park on the second day, where they can explore the beaches or go snorkeling at the reef.

On the third day, guests will try one of the newest “watersport” activities—flying above the water in a jetpack. During this experience, participants will learn to take off, fly, turn, hover and land a la Jetsons’ style, all while getting a seagull’s view of the beckoning waters. If your client is looking to fill their time with more water activities in Key West, the concierge at the hotel can book excursions from guided kayak eco-tours in the mangrove islands to snorkel trips.

In addition to the daily activities, the package includes luxury accommodations, daily waterfront breakfast for two, and one dinner for two at Hot Tin Roof. Rates start at $1,329 per night on weekends, and $1,168 per night mid-week. The package requires a 3-night minimum stay.

race like a pro

Adrenaline junkies can get their fix on the racetrack with The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa’s new packages, which have been created in partnership with the Sonoma Raceway, set in California’s Wine Country. The track, where races such as the Ferrari Challenge and the Fia World Touring Car Championship take place, offers a variety of options for guests to choose from, such as the Audi sportscar experience Street Drive Program, where drivers take an Audi R8 for a spin on the street driving through wine country or on the coast. The full-day course—$995 (shared vehicle) and $1,495 (private vehicle)—can start on the racetrack and then head to the road, stopping along the way with lunch included.

Accommodations at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn are separate from the package, with rates starting at $259 per night (fairmont.com/ sonoma or audidrivingexperience.com).

Archived related articles (available on recommend.com/magazine/issue-archive):
A Ride on the Rocky Mountaineer (November 2012)

contact information
Austin-Lehman Adventures:
(800) 575-1540; austinlehman.com
Ocean Key Resort & Spa: (800) 328-9815; oceankey.com
Rocky Mountaineer: (877) 460-3200; rockymountaineer.com
ROW Adventures: (800) 451-6034; rowadventures.com
Travaasa Austin: (877) 261-7792; travaasa.com/austin