If you're the type who seeks adventure and likes to stay active when you travel, the following vacation destinations should not to be missed.
Berkeley, California-based active travel company Backroads provides details from some of their most popular U.S. trips. These locations deliver a variety of the most inspiring landscapes in which to bike, hike, kayak and climb. Enjoy.
Yellowstone and Tetons National Parks, Wyoming
For unparalleled beauty and wilderness, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks shine in scenic splendor. As two of the country's best-known parks, these glorious examples of Wyoming's varied and rugged terrain never fail to inspire.
Bike along Yellowstone's Madison and Firehole Rivers. Hop off your bike to check out legendary Old Faithful up close. Hike the magnificent Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Take a leisurely walk along canyon rims to aptly named Inspiration Point for breathtaking views into the canyon's depths. Kayak across Yellowstone Lake to Grand Teton National Park. Keep an eye out, along the way, for moose, elk, foxes and bald eagles. Grand Teton National Park is a paradise of sawtooth mountains, meadows, lakes and forests. Enjoy a white-water rafting excursion on the Snake River.
Denali National Park and the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
"To the lover of pure wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world," wrote John Muir in 1879. Alaska's vibrant frontier spirit and overwhelming natural grandeur have the power to consume the senses.
The Kenai Peninsula is a wonderland of rugged mountains, glaciers, fjords and lakes. Hike verdant trails in the Chugach National Forest. Kayak the waters of Resurrection Bay, home to orcas, porpoises, seals, sea otters and puffins. Experience the excitement of Iditarod racing on wheeled dogsleds. In Kenai Fjords National Park, explore the grandeur of Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield on foot, then explore more of the park on bike. Heading north, stop to hike or ride along Turnagain Arm. Choose from several trails to hike or bike into the park. Raft down the Nenana River through unspoiled wilderness.
Penobscot Bay and Acadia National Park, Maine
The Pine Tree State is indeed blessed with an abundance of natural splendors--rocky coastline, lakes, mountains, rivers, islands, forests and beaches. Breathe crisp clean air. Delight in weathered fishing villages where life still rings with old New England charm. Come experience the same enchanting world that charmed Thoreau so long ago.
Bike past quaint seaside cottages in Northeast Harbor and soak up views of Somes Sound, the only fjord on the Atlantic Coast. Explore Acadia National Park by bike, discovering meadows, mountains and beaches. Head over to Blue Hill for a coastal bike ride. Continue to Castine, a historic village boasting beautiful architecture, a sandy tidal beach and quaint antique shops. Kayak on Penobscot Bay, keeping an eye out for harbor seals and bald eagles. Ride into the heart of Rockland, home of the Farnsworth Homestead and the Farnsworth Museum.
Bryce, Zion and Grand Canyon, Utah & Arizona
These are three of the Southwest's most stunning national parks. With plenty of heart-pumping biking and hiking routes through awe-inspiring landscapes, this journey is sure to take your breath away.
Soak up the alpine scenery while hiking to Cedar Breaks National Monument. The next day descend from Cedar Breaks to Bryce Canyon. Hike down to the hoodoos of Queen's Garden and take in dramatic views of the vibrant rock formations along the Peek-a-Boo Trail.
Bike through Red Canyon along a smooth bike path. Revel in the vastness of the Grand Canyon. Hike along secluded Widforss Trail for wide-open vistas across the canyon. Pedal on crimson-colored roads and admire the towering cliffs of Zion. A variety of scenic routes are available in this hiker's paradise, from easy walks to the dizzying climb to Angel's Landing, which looms 2,000 feet above the valley floor. Venture into the water of the Virgin River beneath soaring rock walls on one of the park's most famous hikes, the Narrows.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Set in far northern Montana, Glacier National Park boasts a backdrop of unparalleled natural beauty in which to adventure and explore. Its stunning landscape--jagged peaks and colorful wildflowers, rushing waterfalls and crystalline lakes--is matched only by its abundant wildlife.
Embark on a hike through the surrounding area of St. Mary. Scenery here includes plunging waterfalls, enormous virgin forests, towering peaks and glacier-carved valleys. Head north to the Canadian border through ranchland and past strands of aspen. Bike over rolling hills to an overlook with spectacular vistas of Chief Mountain. Tackle a scenic climb that ends at Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park. Spend the day in Waterton Lakes National Park and choose to hike, horseback ride, fish or simply relax.
Active Vacation Tips
To get ready for an active vacation, Backroads suggests biking and/or walking regularly beforehand and hitting a few hills whenever you can. If you live in an area that's not conducive to biking, try running, riding a stationary bike or engaging in other regular aerobic activities to improve your strength and endurance.
During the trip, it's important to pace yourself throughout the day so you have the stamina to ride and walk as far and as long as you'd like. Keep your energy level constant by eating high-energy snacks and drinking fluids often--even before you're thirsty--to avoid dehydration.
Bryan Tomek is owner of the health and fitness Website www.fitstores.com. Fitstores.com carries a unique variety of health and fitness products. You can find yoga, pilates and fitness accessories as well as juicers, jogging strollers, natural personal care products and allergy products by visiting www.fitstores.com.