7 American Vacation Ideas for Outdoor Enthusiasts

America is a beautiful country with a diverse array of environments, from the deserts of the Southwest to the lush forest of the Northeast. If you want to spend your next vacation exploring the outdoors and partaking in fun and stimulating activities, consider the destinations listed here. From snowshoeing in the winter to whitewater rafting in the summer, there's plenty to do for the whole family. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Great Destinations For Outdoorsy Travelers

Name Description
Farm Stay USA Connects visitors with farm and ranch vacations in locations across the U.S.
Spring Creek Ranch Lodging, spa treatments, and outdoor activities in Jackson, Wyoming
Ruidoso, New Mexico Small town in the Sierra Blanca mountain range that offers cycling, hiking, camping, and more
Red Mountain Resort Adventure resort in Ivins, Utah with retreat packages that include lodging, meals, and outdoor activities
County of Bath Area in the mountains of Virginia that is home to forests, historic sites, rivers, and more
Wildwater Company that offers whitewater rafting, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, jeep tours, and more in multiple locations in the Southeast U.S.
Estes Park, Colorado Area near Rocky Mountain National Park that is home to hiking trails, Longs Peak, and the famous Stanley Hotel

Benefits Of Spending Time Outdoors

  • Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D
  • In the winter, leaving the house can lessen the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Hiking is a great way to stay physically active
  • Walking in the fresh air can help with mental health
  • It's a great opportunity to learn about local plant and animal species
  • Going outside may be good for children's vision
  1. Hiking
  2. Kayaking & canoeing
  3. Camping
  4. Horseback riding
  5. Swimming
  6. Whitewater rafting
  7. Skiing
  8. Rock climbing
  9. Ice skating
  10. Zip lining

Things To Bring on Your Next Vacation

Getting Hooked On Nature

In Depth

Catching a hit musical on Broadway, trying your luck at a Las Vegas casino, or splurging on a shopping trip to Rodeo Drive are all fine vacation ideas, but some people want a bit more action on their holidays. For those who like exercise, sun, and fresh air, here, in no particular order, are seven ways you and your family can enjoy the outdoors on your next trip.

Starting off the list at #1 is Farm Stay USA, an extension of the non-profit U.S. Farm Stay Association that connects visitors with farm and ranch vacations in locations across the country. Partner organizations that are working agricultural operations are accredited to offer lodging and real immersion for guests, allowing them to take part in activities, chores, and learning experiences.

You can search for a destination by region, activity, or type of accommodation and choose from one of the many locations offered in numerous states throughout the country. You could stay in a cabin, tent, farmhouse, or even a Conestoga wagon. Kids will love the chance to feed animals, and the family can enjoy horseback riding. If you're a farmer, you can apply to have your site listed, and if not, you can take part a unique vacation experience and learn a little about ranch life.

If you're a farmer, you can apply to have your site listed, and if not, you can take part a unique vacation experience and learn a little about ranch life.

At #2 is Spring Creek Ranch, which is located on a wildlife sanctuary almost 1,000 feet above Jackson, Wyoming. Boasting spectacular views of the Teton Mountains, it offers a wealth of outdoor activities in any season. Visitors in the warmer months can enjoy fly fishing, whitewater rafting, or watch a real-life rodeo. Winter guests can take part in skiing, tubing, ice skating, snowmobiling, or even sleigh rides and dog sledding.

For those seeking a bit more comfort, the Wilderness Adventure Spa has fitness rooms, massages, facials, and an outdoor saltwater hot tub. You can stay in deluxe hotel rooms or, if bringing the whole family, rent a four-bedroom, four-bath mountain villa with a full kitchen. The resort offers vacation packages that cater to your interests, whether that's outdoor sports, seeing wildlife, or a romantic getaway.

Coming in at #3 is Ruidoso, New Mexico. A small town in the Sierra Blanca mountain range, it has a population of roughly 8,000 and is more than a mile above sea level. As such, the mountains provide plenty of thrills through cycling, hiking, off-roading, zip lining, and of course, plenty of skiing in the wintertime.

A small town in the Sierra Blanca mountain range, it has a population of roughly 8,000 and is more than a mile above sea level.

If you're not an adrenaline junkie, you can enjoy camping, fishing, golf, or horseback riding. The area is also home to gorgeous lakes with stunning views. Families can enjoy the Adventure Mountain Family Fun Center, go-karts, or a western musical show. The town offers a wealth of places to stay, and with so much history and culture, there's something for everyone, no matter your interests.

#4 is Red Mountain Resort in Ivins, Utah, about two hours from Las Vegas. Billing itself as an "Adventure resort," Red Mountain offers retreat packages for different interests, letting guests relax and enjoy themselves without having to handle things like preparing meals. There's the Essential Retreat, which involves hiking and fitness classes, the Zion Adventure Retreat, which includes a trip to Zion National Park, or a Girlfriends' Villa Getaway with healthy life classes and cooking demonstrations.

Among the outdoor activities offered are bird watching, kayaking, and a plethora of hikes. The wellness offerings include acupuncture, music healing sessions, and spa treatments. Guests taking part in retreats can enjoy three meals a day at the Canyon Breeze Restaurant in St. George. To take a little time out for yourself in comfortable accommodations, Red Mountain has a lot to offer.

The wellness offerings include acupuncture, music healing sessions, and spa treatments.

Arriving at #5 is the County of Bath, just west of the Shenandoah Valley in the mountains of Virginia. Home to the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, it boasts some breathtaking views and plenty of unspoiled nature. Travelers sick of hotels can enjoy local cabins, cottages, a bed and breakfast, or go camping.

As for recreation, there are over 160 miles of hiking trails, fishing, mountain biking and road cycling, and plenty of water sports, as well as winter offerings like snowboarding. There are lots of local historic sites and places to visit, a diversity of food options, and the warm springs are a perfect place for a relaxing spa getaway.

#6 on the list is Wildwater. Started on the Chattooga River in 1971, this company offers whitewater rafting on the Chattooga, Ocoee, Pigeon, and Nantahala rivers, taking enthusiasts throughout Tennessee, Georgia, and the Carolinas on exciting trips with expert guides.

The company also offers kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, ropes course challenges, train and jeep tours, and zip line excursions in multiple locations, some of which offer onsite lodging so you can make a full weekend of it and stay in the accommodation of your choice, whether that's a luxury house, cabin, treehouse, cottage, or yurt.

Rounding out the list at #7 is Estes Park, Colorado, right next door to Rocky Mountain National Park, which has more than 100 towering peaks. You can view the area on horseback, go hiking in the mountains, or go on a winter snowshoeing trek. More adventurous types can go rock climbing, or attempt to scale Longs Peak, which is more than 14,000 feet high.

If you'd rather sit down while viewing nature, you can try one of the many vehicle tours available in the area. Estes Park is also home to the famous Stanley Hotel, the inspiration for the Stephen King novel "The Shining." If that sounds a little too spooky, don't worry, there are plenty of cabins and campgrounds where you and your family can get away from it all and enjoy the outdoors.