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Horseback riding, kayaking, snorkeling, mountain biking, cooking classes — these are all fun activities frequently offered at my favorite resort destinations around the world. But for ultimate bragging rights and to one-up frenemies at your next cocktail party, go big or go home with these one-of-a-kind adventure-packed activities on your next vacation.
1. Go on a Grizzly Bear Safari in British Columbia
Newsflash: you don’t need to go to Africa to go on safari. There are plenty of incredible destinations where you can spot exotic wildlife right here in North America. For instance, one of my most memorable experiences was being on an elk safari in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. For a real adrenaline rush, head to the beautifully remote Sonora Resort in British Columbia to get up close and personal with grizzly bears. Visit from late August through October for the chance to see the bears feasting on spawning salmon in the Orford River.
2. Keep Warm in Style While Ice Fishing in Quebec
Fly fishing is for amateurs. If you’re really tough, brave the cold and try reeling in a fish with numb fingers over a frozen lake. Quebec’s Manoir Hovey makes it a more luxurious pursuit than usual, drilling a hole in the ice for you and giving complimentary lessons while you sip hot beverages and chow on thin-crust seafood pizza that’s cooked in an oven on skis (seriously). You might catch perch, pike or bass, but you’ll have to release them. Not to worry though, you won’t go hungry at the Relais & Châteaux property’s Restaurant Le Hatley post-fishing trip.
3. Strap in and Become a Pro Baja Truck Racer for a Day in Colorado
Several resorts in Colorado have partnerships with luxury car brands like Porsche (Rancho Valencia) or Lexus (The Allison Inn & Spa) so guests can take a new model for a spin during their stay. But at Gateway Canyons Resort, you can top all of that by racing around a two-mile red-dirt track in a Pro Baja Truck — the same trucks used in the Baja 1000. To drive, you’ll have to go to racing school and learn the rules of the road, but anyone can ride along with a professional driver for a wicked adrenaline rush. You’ll drift around corners at 80 mph and fly five feet into the air, but the landing is unbelievably soft, as if the wheels were made of marshmallows. (I was also outfitted in a racing jumpsuit, neck brace and heavy helmet before jumping into the driver’s seat.)
4. Achieve New Heights Heli-Skiing Near Whistler
Intermediate, advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders can take their ski experience to new heights — literally — thanks to Whistler Heli-Skiing. If you’re bored skiing with the plebeians, going up in a helicopter unlocks a vast terrain 50 times the size of Whistler, composed of 173 glaciers and 475 runs. The resort averages just 50 skiers a day, so you’ll have more untracked, fresh powder than you’ll know what to do with all to yourself. Ninety percent of the world’s heli-skiing takes place in British Columbia, and Whistler Heli-Skiing has been around since 1981, so they’re your best bet for GoPro footage that will make your friends and family back home gasp.
5. Heed the Call of the Wild by Dog Sledding in the Rockies
For a less dangerous but no less fun winter adventure, try dog sledding. Krabloonik in Snowmass Village has welcomed visitors for more than 40 years with adorable and friendly Alaskan huskies, enthusiastic and skilled mushers and surprisingly delicious food. Each sled carries up to two adults and a small child, and is pulled by a team of eight to 10 dogs that’s guided by an experienced musher. There are both daytime rides and a romantic twilight tour so you can bask in the alpenglow. You’ll also get to play with the dogs when you stop halfway through for a photo and hot-chocolate break.
What’s the coolest vacation adventure you’ve ever had? Tell us about it below.
Featured image courtesy of Krabloonik’s Facebook page.
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