For those of you who spend most of your time outdoors, I’m sure there are many, many adventures you want to go on and different places you want to visit. Thankfully, the United States has plenty of outdoorsy destinations that you can venture to get your fix of outdoor adventure. There are plenty of rolling mountains, jagged peaks, river canyons, waterfalls, and plenty of forests to visit within the US. Most of these outdoorsy destinations make it so that you can spend the majority of your trip outdoors, even when you sleep, so you won’t miss any of the outdoor adventures you seek during your visit. So it’s time to gathering up your backpack, strap on your boots, and head for one of these great outdoorsy destinations for your next vacation. Here’s a list of 8 places to visit if you basically live outdoors and need even more of it while you’re on vacation.
1. Asheville, North Carolina
One of the most famous mountains that rolls down the Southeast is Asheville. This outdoorsy destination is known for being a creative hub for art and music, home to an array of craft beer, and an entryway to tons of Appalachian adventure. It is one of the most outdoorsy towns and perfect for anyone who looking for an outdoorsy vacation. Thousands of trails run through the mountain, like Art Loeb Trail and Roan Mountain, which make for great camping and backpacking. There are plenty of places perfect for mountain biking; DuPont State Forest and Bent Creek just to name a few, and there is a vast network of waterways that run through and around the town, which are perfect for whitewater paddling. Asheville is the perfect outdoorsy destination for any outdoor enthusiast.
2. Portland, Oregon
Portland is located in the Willamette River Valley and sits at the base of volcanic mountains and vast evergreen forests. If you make your way to the Pacific Northwest, Portland is a well-known outdoorsy destination that any outdoors person needs to visit. Forest Park is the place to be in Portland – it is home to 5,000 acres of green space with well-known moss-covered forest. There’s also the 11,250 foot Mount Hood that has a ton of trails perfect for hiking in the spring and summer and perfect for skiing in the winter. You can even find some of the most beautiful waterfalls when you make it out to the Columbia River Gorge. Portland is your one-stop outdoorsy destination because there’s literally so much for any outdoors enthusiast to do.
3. Aspen, Colorado
If you’re an outdoorsy person you’ve probably been told multiple times that you need to visit Aspen, and with good reason. Aspen is at the heart of the best that the Rocky Mountains has to offer, which makes it one of the best outdoorsy destinations. You can visit Aspen at any time of the year and be able to find great food, the most laid-back vibe, and all the adventure you could want. In the winter there are three mountains to choose from for skiing – Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, and Aspen Highlands. Most of these slopes end right in downtown Aspen, which is full of shops and hotels. And in the warmer months, you have to make your way to Maroon Bells because these twin summits offer one of the most breathtaking views in Colorado. Backpacking, hiking, camping, and skiing are what you’ll get at this outdoorsy destination and it will fulfill every one of your adventure needs.
4. Bellingham, Washington
If you make your way to Bellingham you will encounter Mount Baker, which is the utility mountain of all mountains. Mount Baker is a volcano that is perfect for all sports; skiing in the winter, hiking, climbing, and mountain biking during all the other months, making Bellingham one of the most perfect outdoorsy destinations. The town’s famous Ski to Sea race is a rigorous trek from the slopes of Mount Baker to the Bellingham Bay and is great for anyone who wants to take on skiing, biking, running, and canoeing and kayaking. It’s no easy feat, but it’s perfect for those outdoor enthusiasts who want to take a trip with all their outdoorsy friends. After you’ve spent the day fulfilling all your needs, you can stop at one of the town’s many microbreweries for a locally-brewed beer to wrap up the adventurous day.
5. Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara is the northernmost gate of the Southern California Kingdom and one of the outdoorsy destinations you might not consider when you think of California. The Mediterranean climate that the town gets to experience year-round makes it perfect for surfing during the day then enjoying mountainside hot spring soaks afterward. You can take on the surf at Campus Point, take a hike along Cold Spring Trail, then stop in for food and drink at Cold Spring Tavern. It is the perfect outdoorsy destination for those who also inhabit the “working to live rather than living to work” lifestyle of Santa Barbara culture. Santa Barbara has become a hub for outdoor adventure travelers and should be one of your nest destinations.
6. Moab, Utah
Moab is located in the red rock desert of eastern Utah, which alone makes it one of the best outdoorsy destinations in the US. It sits at the backdoor of two national parks – Arches and Canyonlands – which are perfect for backpacking, camping, and mountain biking making it a place full of outdoor activities and adventures to embark on. Moab is famous for being one of the best places for mountain biking and their trails have the coolest names. Hit up Whole Enchilada, Slickrock, and Magnificent 7 for some of the best mountain biking you’ve ever experienced in your life. There are plenty of places for hiking and backpacking as well and then you can round out the day by hitting Miguel’s Baja Grill for margaritas and tacos. Any outdoor enthusiasts dream, right?
7. Burlington, Vermont
Burlington sits along Lake Champlain, which is enough to make it a great outdoorsy destination. The lake is perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding, and even just taking a nice leisurely swim. Then you throw in the Green Mountains and you get miles of open forests that you can explore and see the entire wilderness of the Northeast Kingdom. Hikers, mountain bikers, and backpackers have access to Vermont’s finest: Mount Mansfield, Camel’s Hump, and the Long Trail. These are the perfect places to get lost in an outdoor adventure. Burlington is another outdoorsy destination and hub for those who are most fulfilled by spending the majority of their time getting acquainted with nature.
8. Austin, Texas
Austin might not be on the sea or high in the mountains, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t one of the best outdoorsy destinations that the US has to offer. Its location in the Hill Country of Central Texas provides tree-covered limestone ridges, creek-filled valleys, ancient 500-year old cypress groves, and underground springs that feed a number of watering holes and underground and undiscovered caves. Outdoors fans can mountain bike Reveille Peak Ranch, hike Balcones Canyonlands, and climb along the Barton Creek Greenbelt. There’s even the Krause Springs which are perfect for swimming. While Austin looks like it would just be another place to enjoy city life, if you know where to look, there are various outdoorsy adventures to be had in the Texas city. You’ll get a mix of both on your trip to Austin.