28 Dec Our Favorite Outdoor Adventures of All Time
When we travel, the first thing we look for is access to outdoor adventures. It seems like we’ve been traveling through a lot of cities lately, which we thoroughly enjoy as well, but there is just something special about connecting with nature that we can’t get enough of. We recently compiled a list of our favorite urban adventures, so here is the counterpart: our favorite outdoor adventures of all time!
This list was extremely hard to narrow down–we didn’t want to make it super long, so after much thought we rounded up the best of the best. There are plenty of other experiences that just barely missed this list, but we wanted to keep room to add more of our favorite adventures as they happen. We will keep updating this list as time goes on, but here are our absolute favorite outdoor adventures as of now! And just in case you want to see what other adventures we’ve had, check out this page for all of our outdoor adventure posts.
Ice Climbing and Glacier Hiking in Iceland
The one experience that always stands out at the top of our all time favorite experiences is our glacier adventure in Iceland. We took a road trip along the south coast of Iceland and made our way to Vatnajokull National Park for ice climbing and glacier hiking with Glacier Guides. We spent the first couple hours of our hike exploring the crevices and glacial streams as we worked our way up towards the icefall region of the glacier. Then, it was time to scale some ice! We took turns climbing the 60 foot ice walls and couldn’t help but marvel at the views that surrounded us. Slamming the ice pick into the ice and wriggling our way up was addicting, and it’s one adventure that we will never forget.
Snowmobiling to the Continental Divide in Colorado
Snowmobiling through the mountains in Colorado was one of those moments where we were filled with pure joy. We were in Breckenridge, making our way to the continental divide where we were treated to gorgeous views over the sprawling mountains. After getting stuck behind a couple of slow pokes in the back of the group, our friends snowmobile stopped working. Once our guide came back to find us and got his ride started again, we all flew through the trails to catch up with the rest of the group. Speeding through the trails lined with snow drenched trees was one of those moments where all the pieces just seemed to fit perfectly together. We couldn’t stop smiling, and this moment sits high on the top of our favorite moments in travel.
Soaring in a Glider in New York
Soaring in a glider plane has been something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time, so when we had the chance to go for a ride when we were in New York, I was elated. We were road tripping through the Southern Finger Lakes area, and there was a chance that we could get up in a glider plane on our first day in town. Well, unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate and we had to stay grounded. Our luck turned around on our last day though, and we made our way back to Elmira, New York, when the wind conditions were good enough for us to fly. As I climbed into the small glider and the tow plane pulled us down the runway, my nerves were definitely kicking into gear. I was surprised to find how calm I remained throughout the flight, especially after the tow rope let us loose. The fact that we were in a plane with no engine sounded scary in theory, but it was actually super relaxing because you really are just peacefully gliding through the air and riding the wind currents. Except for when I asked the pilot if he wanted to do any tricks, and he obliged with an exhilarating nosedive—it was the perfect adrenaline rush to add even more adventure into our flight!
Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park
Moraine Lake in Banff National Park is set in one of the most beautiful landscapes we’ve ever laid eyes on, and canoeing on Moraine Lake was no exception. The vibrant aqua waters created a stark contrast to the towering, snow capped mountains in the background and thick forests lining the shore. As we set off from the dock and dipped our paddles in the water, we couldn’t believe how clear the water was, and we couldn’t stop exclaiming how mesmerizing our surroundings were. We had such a great time that we actually went out for another paddle a couple of months later on a return trip to Banff–we were happy to find this trip lived up to the first and it was just as spectacular the second time around!
River Hiking, Waterfall Rappelling and Zip Lining in Puerto Rico
When we were asked to photograph my cousins wedding in Puerto Rico, we knew we had to plan in a bit of extra time for an adventure or two. We only had time in our schedule for one extra day on the island, so we decided to head out on a full day adventure through the rainforest. Our morning started off with an upriver hike which included climbing up several waterfalls via strategically placed ropes. After hiking up the river, it was time for the reverse–we made our way over a cliff and rappelled down an 80 foot waterfall. Then we continued on our way by zip lining back and forth over the trees to our starting point. To cap off the day, we had a traditional Puerto Rican meal at “grandma’s” place. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Hiking Angels Landing in Zion National Park
We had heard bits and pieces about the hike up to Angels Landing over the years, but it wasn’t until we were clinging onto one of the few handrail chains that we realized what we were actually getting ourselves into. The last half mile or so of the hike climbs along a narrow, uneven path with no guardrails and sheer thousand foot drop offs on both sides–going down was even more terrifying than going up. Angels Landing has been ranked as one of the 20 most dangerous hikes in the world, and I can see why! Even though it was quite scary, the views from the top and the adrenaline rush definitely made the climb worth it and firmly cemented the experience in as one of our all time favorites.
Diving in Curaçao
Unfortunately we have yet to complete our diving certification, but we did have a chance to go for a dive the first time we were in Curaçao. We signed up for a “discovery dive” at our hotel’s dive shop and immersed ourselves in the underwater world, the Alice in Wonderland reef, waiting for us right offshore. Our dive took us around 45 feet below the surface along a wall filled with vibrant color and magnitudes of fish. Despite loosing (and then finding!) my wedding ring–don’t ask me why I even wore it in the first place because I couldn’t tell you–it was an exciting first introduction to the world of diving. And, it was an experience that definitely gave us the urge to get our PADI certification someday soon.
Midnight Snorkeling at Silfra in Iceland
You would think a snorkeling experience without fish would be quite boring, but our Icelandic adventure snorkeling in the freezing waters of Silfra was anything but. Yes, the water was barely above freezing and we had to squeeze into drysuits, but the nighttime dip in the icy water left us in awe. I’ve never seen such vibrant colors—every shade of bright blue, aqua and teal danced around us, black volcanic rock jutted out in every direction, and every so often we would spot neon green plants swaying in the current. Plus, along with our guide, we happened to be the only people in the water late that evening. After wriggling out of our drysuits, we sipped on hot chocolate and munched on cookies to warm up—it was a fantastic way to spend an evening under the (almost) midnight sun in Iceland!
White Water Canoeing in Iceland
We signed up for quite a few adventurous activities when we were in Iceland the first time, and one of them was white water canoeing. We thought that paddling our own small raft would be more exciting than jumping in a raft with 10 other people, so we booked the canoeing option and didn’t think much more about it. When we arrived at the starting point, the guides were a little surprised that we were the ones going in the raft—“Well, it will sure be an adventure!” they told us. With that and a little bit of instruction, we nervously set off with our guide behind the larger rafts and made our way towards the rapids in our tiny little two person canoe. Much to our surprise, we made it through all the white water without tipping. It was exhilarating! Towards the end of the ride on a calmer part of the river, Micah was too busy taking photos to steer us properly, and we ended up bumping into one of the larger rafts and flipping into the ice cold water. It was quite the shock, but we quickly got back into our raft with the help of the guides. We still can’t stop laughing about the fact that we made it through the rapids incident free, and then ended up falling out in the calm section of the river!
Camping at Voyageurs National Park
We always love camping, but most camping experiences wouldn’t necessarily rank in a list of our all time favorite adventures. Well, camping at Voyageurs National Park was not your typical camping experience. The National Park is located in northern Minnesota along the border of Canada. All of the campsites are only accessible by boat, and our site happened to be located on our very own peninsula an hour boat ride away from our starting point. After we set up camp and settled in for the evening, we realized that we forgot our matches. This meant we had no way of starting our fire and no way to cook dinner! Thankfully, one of the only two boats we saw that evening were kind enough to save the day and lend us a lighter. Once the kind souls on the boat drove away, we didn’t see a single person the rest of the night. It was amazing to be surrounded by the beautiful nature and feel so far away from civilization, even if it was only for a night.
Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia
When a video project sent us on a road trip all the way to Nova Scotia, we just had to plan in a few extra days to explore on our own, as well. The one activity that piqued our interest the most was tidal bore rafting on the Bay of Fundy. Tidal bore rafting is unlike any other rafting experience out there. The waters in the bay change directions twice a day which in turn creates the highest tides in the world, ranging from 11 feet to 53 feet. Because of the unique tides in the Bay of Fundy, raging rapids are produced on the Shubenacadie River. Our rafting adventure started just as the tides started flowing back in—we jumped in zodiac boats and flew upstream, straight into the gigantic rapids that the tide created. It was a bumpy ride and we hung on with all our might as the water poured inside the raft threatening to push us into the river. The entire experience was so strange and different from anything we had ever experienced before. We spent the entire ride laughing and thrashing around in the boat—it was so much fun!
Sandboarding and Sand Sledding in Colorado
When I was doing some research for adventure in Colorado, I came across sandboarding at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. I never expected to find sand dunes in Colorado, but there they were, snuggled right in the shadows of the nearby mountains. We rented a couple of sandboards and a sand sled from a nearby shop and set out towards the dunes. We spent the rest of the afternoon hiking up the dunes and sliding right back down. Well, actually, it was more like rolling back down, especially on the sled because it was a lot harder to stay on it than it was to fly off of it!
Hiking Mt. Christoffel in Curaçao
Another adventure we loved so much we had to do it twice was hiking up Mt. Christoffel in Curacao. It was one of our favorite activities during our first visit to the island in 2011, so when we went back to Curacao in 2015 we just had to hike it again. Mt. Christoffel is the highest point on the island, and while it’s a relatively short hike (it takes around 2-3 hours to complete), it is a more challenging hike because the trail is fairly steep throughout. Then, once you reach the last section of the hike, you have to scramble up over rocks and climb to the top. You can see the entire island from the top of the mountain, and on a clear day you can even see as far as Venezuela. To this day, this hike is still one of our favorites—it offers so much bang for your buck—it has beautiful scenery, gives you great exercise and is perfect if you are short on time!
What are some of your favorite outdoor adventures? Share with us in the comments below!