20 Best Outdoor Vacations For Sporty Teachers

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20 Best Outdoor Vacations For Sporty Teachers

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20 Best Outdoor Vacations For Sporty Teachers

  1. 1. 20 Best Outdoor Vacations for Sporty Teachers<br />Want to get away from it all? Does your idea of a vacation involve taking in the great outdoors, and days of heart-pounding adventure? We thought so. The Apple has compiled 20 adrenaline-inducing adventures for the tried and true outdoorsman (or woman). We’ve scoured the travel guides, combed the Internet and sought out word-of-mouth recommendations to bring you the best of the best. From hunting whitetail deer in Missouri to sand boarding in Oregon –- we’ve got something for everyone. <br />1. Camping in Big Bend, Texas<br />Load up your RV (or your pick up, or even your sedan), and head to the southernmost tip of the Lone Star State, where there really is an outdoor adventure to suit anyone’s interests and fitness level. Like roughing it in the wilderness? Pitch a tent. Prefer the amenities of a comfortable lodge? You can do that too. You can also hike, go horseback riding, rock climb and bird watch. Whatever you do, make sure to enjoy Texas’s endless night sky. <br />2. Fly Fishing the Madison River<br />Pack up your hoppers, flying ants and beetles – it’s time catch some fish. Also known as the “50 mile riffle”, this fly-fishers paradise boasts expansive, calm waters, free from boulders and fallen trees. What you get instead is a pool full of wild rainbow trout and large brown trout. And the river is novice-friendly, so even if you’re new to fly-fishing, you can come away with a cooler full of loot. What’s more, you’ll be surrounded by some of Montana’s most picturesque scenery while you cast your line. Tip: Try evening fly-fishing! The best month to do so is July, and the best time of night is 8:30-11pm. <br />3. Whitewater Rafting in the Chattooga<br />It’s one of the wildest and most beautiful whitewater rivers in the country. In fact, it’s been designated as “Wild and Scenic” by the U.S government, thus protecting it from development. It flows freely through the Appalachian Mountains, and spans 180,000 acres across three states (Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, in case you were curious). The river also caters to different adventure thresholds. If you’re looking for something wild and scenic (section III of the river), you’ll have time to swim, sun or lunch along the way. Prefer something a little more intense? Conquer section IV of the river for an equally scenic, yet heart-pounding thrill ride. Either way, this Southeastern waterway is a “must do”. <br />4. Hunting Whitetail in Missouri<br />The “Show-Me” State boasts over a million Whitetail Deer, including plenty of trophy-sized Bucks. Thanks to vast wooded areas, open fields, and large expanses of water, deer are drawn to this region. And the success rate? In the 2008 firearm season, hunters took home 238,819 deer! Missouri is also one of America’s top Turkey hunting sites, and hosts a variety of other game including Elk, Wild Boar and Quail. And whether you’re a seasoned hunter or new to the sport, consider a guided hunt to get the most out of your adventure. <br />5. Hiking through the Garden of Gods<br />Nestled within Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest, this wilderness area (and geological masterpiece) is alleged to be over 320 million years old. Come here to see the unusual rock formations — you’ll be amazed by some of the intricate designs. There are two main hiking trails: the Observation Trail and the River-to-River Trail. The first is famous for its spectacular views of the local geology. The latter — and longer — path stretches 30 miles from the Ohio River, is equally scenic, and offers a few camping stops along the way (just $5 a night). Park entrance is free. Tip: Bring a compass and a map. Trails are marked by painted wooden signs, but it’s easy to miss one if you’re not paying attention. <br />6. Kayaking the Russian River<br />Spend a full day cruising the Russian River, an 11-mile stretch around Northern California’s wine country. And you don’t have to be a skilled boatman to conquer it. The rapids are mild enough for your aunt, but the journey is anything but boring. Pack a picnic and take a break at one of the beaches along the way. When you’re done, venture into downtown Healdsburg (where the ride ends) to enjoy some of the local cuisine and world-famous wine (if there’s any room after all that beer). Tip: Don’t bring anything you don’t want to get wet –- the rapids, however mild, are enough to throw you and your belongings into the river. Carefully pack your stuff and strap it to the boat (or yourself), unless you want to watch all that unopened beer float away (and we’re pretty sure you don’t). <br />7. Whale Watching in San Diego <br />In one of nature’s great spectacles, gray whales migrate every year from the Bering Sea to Baja California. The gray whale migration (between December and March) means these awe-inspiring creatures can be spotted all along the San Diego coast. Imagine watching the world’s largest mammals blast out of the water fully and then come crashing down or catching them pop their heads out of the water vertically to have a look around. It’s an experience you won’t forget anytime soon. And, at peak season, you might just see a dozen or more traveling together. Tip: You can sometimes see them from the shore, but nothing beats the experience of spotting them up close and personal aboard a whale watching cruise. <br />8. Sandboarding in Florence<br />Who needs snow — or pavement — when you’ve got sand? If you’re a snowboard enthusiast who just can’t wait till winter, consider heading to Sandmaster Park in Florence, Oregon. It’s the world’s first sandboarding park and home to the annual Sandmaster Jam competition in July. Get your fix riding over 40 acres of soft sand dunes, rails, ramps and bowls. They’ve got beginner to advanced slopes, and the beautiful Oregon rain forest as a backdrop. <br />9. Cattle Driving in Wyoming<br />Looking for a real Western-style adventure? Spend a week on a working cattle ranch! Ride horseback on the open range and help move cattle to greener pastures. Genuine cowboys will teach you everything you need to know about horseback riding and rounding up the cattle. Take in the beautiful western scenery, frontier history and diverse wildlife. Depending on which ranch you choose, your accommodations will range from luxurious to rustic — but you’ll always be met with down home hospitality. It’s a great way to get away from the daily grind and completely immerse yourself in ranch living.<br />Tip: At $1,000+ per person for a week (depending on the ranch), this outdoor adventure is definitely on the more expensive side. <br />10. Climbing Half Dome<br />Test your strength — and courage — by climbing to the top of this California icon. It’s the most demanding day hike in Yosemite, and some consider one of the most dangerous trails nationally. With an elevation gain of 5,000 feet over 8.5 miles, exhaustion, altitude sickness and dehydration are not uncommon. Choose between the Mist Trail, lined early on with glorious waterfall views, or the slightly easier John Muir Trail. Whichever way you go, the last 200 yards are killer. So steep, in fact, that you need to pull yourself up with cables. Intimidating, to say the least, but when you do get to the top you’ll be glad you did. In addition to an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra.<br />Tip: Bring gloves. The cables to the top can be slippery.<br />11. Caving in Kentucky<br />Living up to its name, this Kentucky attraction is the largest cave in the world, stretching 350 miles long and plunging 379 feet deep. Even its runner up, Ukraine’s Optimisticeskaya cave, is just a quarter of Mammoth’s length. Take a discovery tour and explore the colorful stalactites and stalagmites, underground rivers and giant vertical shafts. And the natural wonder doesn’t end there. You’ll also get to see some of the world’s weirdest creatures, including eyeless fish, white spiders and blind beetles.<br />Tip: If you’re not claustrophobic, or afraid of the dark, try the Spelunking tour — you’ll get a more authentic experience and see parts of the cave not normally accessible to the public.<br />12. Mule Riding the Grand Canyon’s South Rim<br />This trip is not for the faint of heart, but it is the best way to experience the canyon’s geology, wildlife and beauty from the top down. Depending on your budget, time restrictions and fitness level, you can choose from one of two options. Ride 3,200 feet down the Canyon walls to Plateau Point, a 7-hour day-trip. Real thrill-seekers go all the way down to the bottom of the canyon, spending the night at Phantom Ranch, a riverside oasis. The mules like to ride on the very edge of the trail — and sometimes it seems like they’re about to walk right over the edge and take you with them. But they won’t, and you’ll be treated to some of the most spectacular Canyon views.<br />Tip: Make advanced reservations – these trips fill up quickly. Some visitors book their tours up to two years in advance.<br />13. Tree Climbing in Atlanta<br />Remember how much fun it was as a kid? Guess what — it still is! And now that you’re all grown up, you don’t have to climb back down before dark. A turn out there’s no better place to try it than Atlanta, Georgia – America’s tree climbing capitol. Unlike the free climbing you did in your youth, you’ll use a rope, a helmet and a harness to make your way to the top of 100-foot-tall trees. Your kids will love it too! With their lighter weight and lower center of gravity, they’ll be giddy as they speed past you up the trunk. Many guided tours offer the opportunity to camp way up in the branches.<br />14. Scuba Diving (or Snorkeling) the Florida Keys<br />Just off the coast of Florida lie The Florida Keys, a cluster of 1,700 islands and the longest living reef in the Western Hemisphere. The Keys offer calm seas and a kaleidoscope of bizarre shapes and colors, sea creatures from sharks to marlins, breathtaking coral formations and over 500 wrecks to explore, including Spanish galleons and remnants of the Civil War. With waters this clear, you can see up to 120 feet ahead of you, so it’s no wonder divers come from all over the world to explore this underwater paradise.<br />Tip: For a more off-the-beaten path diving experience, explore the Lower Keys’ 5.3 nautical miles of marine life and coral reef.<br />15. Hiking to the Top of Angel’s landing<br />This trail is considered one of the best in the entire national park system – and when you get to the top, you’ll be treated to a once-in-a-lifetime view of Utah’s Zion Canyons. The five-mile (round trip) hike should take about five hours, and is manageable for anyone in decent physical shape. The trail is chalk full of switchbacks, and you’ll gain an elevation of 1,488 feet. If you have kids, they’ll love Walter’s Wiggles — a section of the hike with 21 breathtaking switchbacks. Pack water and some food, and eat lunch at Scout Lookout for a break and some spectacular views.<br />Tip: The last half-mile to the summit is not for the faint of heart. If you’re afraid of heights, end your journey at Scout Lookout!<br />16. Windsurfing on the Hood River<br />If you love wind, water and spectacular scenery, try windsurfing Oregon’s Hood River. Thanks to winds from the Columbia River Gorge and currents from the Columbia River, Hood offers the perfect conditions for boardheads. In fact, it has come to be known as the windsurfing capital of the country. Surf with a breathtaking view of Mount Hood as your backdrop. And while you’re there, take a tour of the orchards. This spot is known for producing some of the best apples, pears and cherries in the world, not to mention the local microbrews.<br />Tip: Check for area restrictions before you go — windsurfing may not be safe or allowed in certain parts of the river.<br />17. Biking Alaska’s back Country <br />Alaskan scenery is hands-down some of the worlds finest. Cycling through its back country, you’ll see mountains, glaciers, salmon-filled rivers and abundant wildlife. With up to 24 hours of daylight in the summer, the riding opportunities are as endless as the Alaskan skies, and you might even spot a bear or caribou. Hunting? It’s definitely possible. Choose between a day trip and a week long expedition, depending on your schedule.<br />Tip: Try the picturesque Eklutna Lake trail. Towering 7,522-foot Bold Peak looms over the landscape of this thirteen mile ride. And the lake itself is breathtaking. The Eklutna trail offers a relatively manageable route with a huge payoff.<br />18. Rock Climbing at Unaweep Canyon<br />Welcome to the deepest canyon in Colorado, well known for its seemingly endless climbing possibilities. Located just 30 miles from the Grand Junction, the canyon is lined on both sides with 25 miles of climbing cliffs, boulders, crags and cracks. Experience granite walls stretching up to 1,000 feet, beautiful desert landscape and relatively uncrowned conditions (you want to get away from it all, right?). And whether you’re a beginner hoping to survive the climb (dignity intact), or a seasoned rock-climber looking for a challenge, you’ll find a rock to suit your needs. When you’re done for the day, you can camp for free in the nearby Piñon-Juniper forests. <br />19. Offloading in Sedona<br />Rent a quad bike or ATV and tear it up in Arizona’s “Red Rock Country.” There’s a reason why over 60 Hollywood movies have been filmed here — Sedona is a natural wonder that boasts a stunning array of red sandstone formations which become all the more brilliant when the sun is shining (which is almost always). Many local shops offer guided off road tours, or if you’re more adventures, be your own guide and explore over 40 possible trails. Don’t be surprised if you come across a plethora of wildlife, including antelope, mule deer, roadrunners and rare birds.<br />20. Hiking the Appalachian Trail<br />The Appalachian Trail is 2,175 miles of mostly wilderness, stretching from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Katahdin, Maine. It is the most celebrated footpath in North America, and hiking the full length of it can take up to six months for the truly hardcore. Should you decide to through-hike it, your strength, endurance and tolerance for bugs will be tested like never before. But you’ll also walk through a a new and beautiful place every day and at the end of it you’ll be in the best shape of your life. What? You don’t have six months to kill? There are numerous day-long and overnight hikes at points along the trail —after all, it runs through 14 states. Some noteworthy, shorter trails include Pennsylvania’s Blue Mountain and Tennessee’s Laurel Fork Gorge and fall. Find the one closest to you, pack your backpack and hit the trail.<br />

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