According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), the adventure travel market grew at the incredible rate of 65 percent yearly from 2009-2013. The global adventure tourism market was valued at $444,850 million in 2016 and projected to reach $1,335,738 million in 2023.
What experiences are high in demand in the market? Hiking, ecotourism, environmentally sustainable, culinary and cycling.
Adventure offerings: Adventure gurus can travel to Belize and experience hiking Belize’s tallest mountain, Victoria Peak; participate in snorkeling activations to preserve the world’s second largest barrier reef (removed from the UNESCO endangered list); dining at the newest restaurant Pier 366 Seafood House; biking through the lushes jungles; and diving into the world class destination – The Great Blue Hole.
Aurora, New York
Adventure Offerings: The Adventure Aurora package at the Inns of Aurora, a luxe lakeside wellness resort and Aurora’s main accommodations, offers customizable four-day itinerary incorporating wellness activities and “summer camp” style fun. Groups can select from a list of curated activities such as lakeside yoga and meditation with the Ayurveda yoga specialist-certified Director of Serenity, a lunch cruise with winery hopping on Cayuga Lake, massage and body treatments, private cooking classes, guided hikes with nature basking sessions, tarot card readings and private wine pairing dinners.
Where To Stay: Inns of Aurora
Cape Coral, FL
Adventure Offerings: With more than 400 miles of navigable canals and waterways, the under-the-radar destination sits adjacent to the prestigious Tarpon Point Marina and offers both a relaxing and adventurous tropical escape, from private fishing charters, kayaks, paddleboards and Dolphin & Sunset Cruises.
Where To Stay: Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village
Finger Lakes Region, NY
Adventure Offerings: The Finger Lakes region offers 70-plus hiking and biking trails, as well as white water rafting down the “Grand Canyon of the East,” air gliding, sea plane rides and 40-plus waterfalls to view or swim by across renowned state parks. Those looking to camp out can choose from any of the major glamping sites that offer safari tents with private porches and hiking trails to the region’s scenery. For visitors with a craving, wine, beer, cider, cheese and sweet treat trails pepper the region’s fields and rolling hills with stops at popular establishments. For those looking for an all-around more extreme adventure experience packed into one trip, the North Country Trail takes hikers across 430 miles from the eastern to western end of the Finger Lakes region, where 600-foot cliffs await them at the “Grand Canyon of the East.”
Where To Stay: Three quintessential options for the adventure seeker are the elevated glamping tents at Seneca Sol, the stately accommodations of the Glen Iris Inn (located within Letchworth State Park), and the former, 150-year-old residence at the Inn at Taughannock, located within walking distance from the 215-foot waterfall plunge at Taughannock Falls State Park.
Adventure Offerings: This hidden gem on the eastern edge of the Alps in Slovenia, a destination named the world’s first green country by Green Destinations with the highest proportion of protected land in Europe, is a perfect place to stop on the Drava Cycling Route. Aside from picturesque bike paths, Koroška boasts hiking and horseback riding through the breathtaking mountains.
Adventure Offerings: Located right off the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix racetrack, Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo offers guests the chance to get behind the wheel of an F1 racecar where they zoom from 0 to 186 mph in less than three seconds. To ensure a smooth ride around the Circuit du Luc track in Provence, guests take a workshop led by a certified Formula 1 driver and don traditional racecar gear before hitting the track.
Where To Stay: Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo
Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Adventure Offerings: A walk on the wild side with Dennis Atencio, the Crocodile Bay Resort’s full-time director of expeditions and rainforest safaris: guests can experience incredible eco-tours in Costa Rica’s off-the-grid Osa Peninsula, known as the world’s most biologically-intense region. The Jungle Night Walk showcases the amazing creatures of Corcovado National Park who come alive in the nighttime. These night hikes move at a slower pace and require participants with sharp eyes to see red-eyed tree frogs and other amphibians, exotic insects, night birds, caimans, snakes and more.
Where To Stay: Crocodile Bay Resort
Adventure Offerings: Adrenaline junkies seeking the ultimate adventure this year should consider climbing Africa’s most famous mountain: Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano in Tanzania. Original Travel, a tailor-made luxury travel company, offers “The Kilimanjaro Climb Adventure” where audacious travelers have the opportunity to ascend 19,341 feet to the glacier-clad summit of Uhuru Peak for an unforgettable experience. Following the rewarding exertion, travelers may combine the Kilimanjaro adventure with one of Original Travel’s luxury glamping experiences for the ultimate R&R.
Where To Stay: The Highlands
Los Angeles, California
Adventure Offerings: Surf’s Up at El Porto Beach: While surfing is one of the most difficult and complex sports to pick up, learning it is an adventure and an extraordinary experience. For a true surfing adventure, head to the iconic El Porto Beach which draws surfers from all over Southern California and is known as LA’s best surfing spots as the underwater canyon creates waves usually larger than its neighboring beaches.
Where To Stay: To stay close to the beach and its world-famous surfing scene, book The Westin Los Angeles’ Touch Down LAX, Surf Manhattan Beach package where guests will receive a 90-minute personalized lesson from premier surf school, Campsurf, surf gear, and access to Surf Concierge Jenny Palomo. Jenny’s South Bay’s best kept secret and on the ready to share the best hidden surfing spots, the morning surf report, and help organize surfing lessons.
Volcano National Park, Hawaii Island
Adventure Offerings: Day hike – Mauna Ulu / Pu’u Hulululu: To view lava tree molds and experience the lava landscape left from the 1969-1974 Mauna Ulu flow, hike the Mauna Ulu/ Pu’u Hululu trail, a 2.5 mile round trip hike within Volcano National Park. Dependent on wind direction, travelers might even see volcanic fumes along the trail and can also climb 210 feet to the top of a forested cinder and take in views of the park’s landscape and Pacific ocean.
Backcountry hiking: For more experienced hikers, Volcano House offers 7 backcountry hiking trails. Highlights include the Napau Trail, a 14 mile round trip hike through varied terrain ranging from recent lava flows to dense tree fern rainforests which lead to the Napau Crater where hikers can see steams emerging from vents.
Where To Stay: Book the Volcano House, managed by Aqua-Aston Hospitality, where travelers can choose from a variety of accommodations, depending on how adventurous they’re feeling. For a true camping experience, travelers can rent equipment and camp out on the Namakanipaio campground or book a Namakanipaio Camper Cabin, a one-room refurbished wooden cabin.
Key West, Florida
Adventure Offerings: For a no-passport-required Caribbean vacation, the island of Key West is an ideal destination for aquatic adventures. Casa Marina Resort, offers adventures including snorkeling amongst America’s only living coral reef; kayak eco-tours to mangrove islands teeming with stingrays and a jellyfish garden; boat charters for a deep-sea fishing excursion; a day trip to Fort Jefferson, a coastal fortress located within Dry Tortugas National Park, to explore the largest masonry structure in the Americas, and more.
Where To Stay: Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, is located on the largest private beach in Key West where guests can take off right from the resort beach on hydro-bikes, jet skis, paddleboards, and more.
Key Largo, Florida
Adventure Offerings: The city is known as the dive capital of the world and sits just a few flipper-kicks from coral reefs, the famous Christ of the Abyss underwater statue and numerous shipwrecks like the Spiegel Grove, Duane and Benwood.
Where To Stay: The new Baker’s Cay Resort partnered with Coral Restoration Foundation and can arrange snorkeling/diving outings for guests to experience the wrecks first-hand with the organization’s experts.
Adventure Offerings: As the Middle East’s most progressive city, Dubai is the epicenter of adventure filled with adrenaline-packed activities. The activity concierge at Atlantis, The Palm, the five-star resort located on the revolutionary Palm Island, can arrange helicopter tours over the city’s most famous landmarks and heritage desert safaris that will give you a glimpse into Dubai as it was 50 years ago.
Where To Stay: For adventure without leaving resort grounds, Atlantis, The Palm boasts an adventure theme park featuring everything from sea lion cuddling to water rapids and an aquarium with 65,000 marine animals. Leap of Faith, a near-vertical drop slide, propels riders nine stories in three seconds through an acrylic tunnel in a shark-filled lagoon.
Adventure Offerings: Offering prime access to the most visited national park in the Great Smoky Mountains, the famed Appalachian Trail and ancient Bristol Caverns, Bristol makes for an ideal adventure destination where thrill-seeking travelers can take part in a myriad of invigorating leisure activities including hiking, fly fishing and whitewater rafting. For an unexpected outdoor experience, travelers can head to one of the oldest and most spectacular attractions in the region, the Bristol Caverns, and tour the vaulted chambers of Bristol’s ancient Underground River, known to carve the way for the majestic caverns nearly 300 million years ago.
Where To Stay: Visitors looking to go off the grid for a bit during their visit can stay at The Bristol Hotel and utilize the property’s curated hiking maps perfect for navigating the winding paths of the nearby Appalachian Trail.
Adventure Offerings: An idyllic mountain city for daredevil travelers looking to escape into the Great Outdoors, Asheville, NC offers a multitude of adventure activities including hiking and camping in picturesque Great Smoky Mountain National Park, known to be the most visited national park in the nation. Travelers looking to take in Asheville’s picturesque scenery can cycle along America’s Favorite Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and enjoy unmatched views of the Appalachian Mountains.
Where to Stay: To complete an outdoor vacation, guests can stay at the city’s newly opened The Foundry Hotel and refresh with the Indulgent Preparation package. Complete with a hearty pre-hike breakfast at soul food on-site restaurant, Benne on Eagle, and hiking gear from premier outdoor outfitter Hunter Banks, the package will include a guided hike along a nearby trail, motivating travelers to fully go off the grid and immerse in nature.
Adventure Offerings: An adventure seekers paradise, surfers gather from around the world to travel to Los Cabos for the freshest waves in the Baja Peninsula and most consistent long rides of the summer. In addition travelers will have the chance to partake in nature walks through the pristine desert landscapes and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime camel safari along a private beach.
Where to Stay: Overlooking the Sea of Cortez, Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort offers the only swimmer-friendly beach on the tourist corridor.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Adventure Offerings: Home to breathtaking natural wonders like Mystic Mountain, Dunn’s River Falls and the Martha Brae River, adventure seekers can hike, raft, zip line and even bobsled their way through Jamaica’s stunning northeast coast. True thrill seekers can even arrange for shark encounters, swim on horseback and explore the countryside on an ATV.
Where To Stay: Home to an array of all-inclusive options, travelers can choose from the family-friendly Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa and Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, adults-only Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall or the luxury wellness oasis, Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa.