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Adventure Travel


Planning your next ski getaway? Whether you’re an avid skier or you prefer the après-ski lifestyle, a luxe hot tub is the perfect amenity for every mountain vacation. To make planning easy, FlipKey has rounded up nine chalets in top ski destinations around the world with stunning hot tubs. From a hot tub in a French cave to one set outside a 16,000 square foot castle in Park City, these relaxing spots are perfect for your next group ski trip.

Lake Vista | Jackson Hole, Wyoming


5 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, sleeps 11

Check out the Lake Vista chalet on FlipKey!

Soak in the hot tub under the stars at this stunning Jackson Hole home. With mountain and lake views, Lake Vista is the perfect place to relax after a long day on the slopes. Inside, guests will find multiple fireplaces, including fireplaces in the master suites, game room, theater room, gym and wine cellar. Glass walls and massive picture windows throughout the house allow for plenty of sunlight during the day, and spectacular views around the clock.

See all rentals in Jackson Hole!

Top of the Line 6 Bedroom | Vail, Colorado


6 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, sleeps 10

Check out this Vail rental on FipKey!

This Vail home is the definition of mountain luxury, located at the top of Forest Road for some of the best views of Vail Valley. Guests will love the A-lister experience, including an elevator and 20-foot windows for plenty of sunlight and stunning sunset views. Relax in the state-of-the-art media room, or arrange for a massage with the professional massage table inside. Outside, the driveway and patio are heated, so no need to worry about ice and snow removal, and the hot tub and outdoor sound system are both operated by a touch screen for easy adjustments. The home offers ski-in/ski-out access to the Born Free catwalk, and features personal ski lockers and glove and boot warmers for the ultimate ski experience.

See all rentals in Vail!

Mont Tremblant Chalet | Mont Tremblant, Quebec


6 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, sleeps 15

Check out Mont Tremblant Chalet on FlipKey!

Enjoy all of Mont Tremblant’s charm from this luxury waterfront cottage. Guests will love the home’s rustic architecture, stunning views, beach access and relaxing atmosphere. After a long day of skiing, settle into the hot tub with breathtaking panoramic views of the mountains and valley. While Mont Tremblant is best-known for its skiing, this home is a favorite year-round. Head out for a hike in the spring, hit the beach in the summer, or watch the leaves change from the hot tub in the fall.

See all rentals in Mont Tremblant!

Chalet Devlin | Lech, Austria



5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, sleeps 14

Check out Chalet Devlin on FlipKey!

Chalet Devlin in Lech, Austria offers a premier chalet experience in a world class ski destination. The home can sleep 10 adults and 4 children over four luxurious floors. The house is ski in/ski out above the Schlosskopf lift, and offers easy access to the exclusive enclave of Oberlech. The elevated location offers unbeatable views of the surrounding mountains, which guests can enjoy from the cozy outdoor hottub. In addition to the spectacular location and beautiful outdoor space, the home includes a cinema room, wine cave, sauna, hammam, fitness area, bar, library, ski room, dining room, luxe sitting area, and fully-equipped kitchen.

See all rentals in Lech, Austria!

Cascade Ridge | Big Sky, Montana


4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, sleeps 10

Check out the Cascade Ridge rental on FlipKey!

Plan your Big Sky escape in style at this striking private home, which includes access to the resort’s fully staffed private lodge with ski-in/ski-out access. The lodge offers equipment lockers and glove and boot dryers, so guests can leave their gear and relax at home. After a long day of skiing, relax in the indoor-outdoor pool or the luxe hot tub at this hilltop escape. The location allows guests to enjoy views of three different mountain ranges in the Big Sky valley. Love your ski trip? Return in the summer for plenty more outdoor activities, like mountain biking and hiking, and enjoy the proximity to Yellowstone National Park, which is under an hour away.

See all rentals in Big Sky!

Chalet Valentina | Zermatt, Switzerland


5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, sleeps 10

Check out Chalet Valentina on FlipKey!

Contemporary isn’t usually the first adjective to come to mind when you think of chalets—but it will be after a stay at Chalet Valentina. Designed by acclaimed Swiss designer and architect Heinz Julen, this cutting edge home will make you rethink chalets with its use of clear glass walls, a glass-enclosed hot tub with spectacular views, and custom made furnishings. The most amazing feature? A unique architectural system in the open plan dining room allows guests to raise the table up to the ceiling to create more space for pre-dinner drinks or dancing! Guests will also have access to a professional chef, concierge, ski instructor, and hosting staff during their stay.

See all rentals in Zermatt!

Chalet Anchorage | Courchevel, France


5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, sleeps 10

Check out Chalet Anchorage on FlipKey!

For an authentic Alpine experience, head to Chalet Anchorage in Courchevel. Guests are greeted with champagne and fresh flowers, and will immediately feel welcome and cozy in the great room, made from old wood and local materials, and centered around a corner fireplace. The most picturesuqe area of the home, however, is the wellness area in the lower level, with a stone plunge pool, shower, hammam, and sauna. Added bonus: if your group is larger than ten, consider booking its companion chalet, Chalet Alaska, for additional space.

See all rentals in Courchevel!

The Villa | Whistler, British Columbia


6 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, sleeps 15

Check out the Whistler villa on FlipKey!

Whistler is consistently ranked as one of the top ski resorts in North America, making it the perfect place for your next ski getaway. The Villa is perched on the side of Whistler Mountain with ski-in/ski-out access, and offers unparalleled southwest views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. The Villa offers guests a top notch experience, with a billiards room, steam room, exercise space, indoor resistance pool with waterfall, in-floor heating, and of course an outdoor hot tub with mountain views.

This contemporary, single floor home was remodeled in 2014, and offers the perfect homebase for an Aspen getaway. The home’s original wood-burning fireplaces are perfect for après-ski plans, and floor-to-ceiling windows make it easy to enjoy 180-degree mountain views of Aspen and Snowmass. The living, dining and kitchen areas are open plan, and extend out onto a private patio that runs the length of the home. Outside, guests will find a built-in barbeque, fire pit and a private hot tub, perfect for soaking in the beautiful surroundings.

See all rentals in Whistler!

Park City Castle | Park City, Utah


6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, sleeps 22

Check out the Park City Castle on FlipKey!

This rental is truly fit for royalty. Styled as a grand chateau and set in a gated community, guests will be greeted by a luxe porte cochere and an arched entry hall with carved limestone fireplace and marble floors. The home sits on 5.8 acres and offers ski-in, ski-out access to the Quicksilver Gondola, six bedrooms, and 16,000 square feet of space that sleeps up to 22 guests. The home features about every amenity guests could imagine (pool table, steam shower, wine room, fireplace, boot warmers, three laundry rooms, fully-equipped kitchen plus prep kitchen, library, media room) but after long days of skiing, the luxe private hot tub on the home’s lower deck will be the most appealing.

See all rentals in Park City!


It can be sad to say goodbye to summer. But dry your eyes, because we know you’re secretly excited about what the next season has in store. A kaleidoscope of natural color. Cool, crisp air that marks a fresh beginning. And all the plaid and wool you’ve been dying to fish out of the closet. Admit it. Fall’s fantastic.

Best Fall Vacations For Small-Town Color

Rugged peaks, glistening lakes, tumbling falls, and woodland hideaways that make the daily grind seem a million miles away. That’s what we look for in the ultimate fall vacation. Tiny mountain towns don’t generally provide a lot of hotel accommodation, so a rental is often the best option. And what avid leaf peeper wouldn’t want to stay in a cozy log cabin in the woods, anyway?

We’ve rounded up some of the best fall vacations this season in America’s most charming small towns, each offering a range of vacation rentals to book from FlipKey. Choose a spacious home for friends and family, or an intimate retreat for a couples getaway. You’ll enjoy a fully stocked kitchen and peaceful surroundings that’ll have you destressed and refreshed in no time—not to mention an incredible display of fall foliage right out your window.

Now layer up, grab a hot drink, and read about these 15 best fall vacations in Small Town, USA.

Sugar Hill, New Hampshire


“The cabin was immaculate, with plenty of space for the whole family. The view from the balcony is truly breathtaking—we got some awesome pictures of the moon between the trees! ” — FlipKey Reviewer

Sugar Hill is one of the best fall vacations in New England: a teeny tiny town with front-row views of the White Mountain National Forest. It’s small, it’s off the beaten path, and its fall foliage really is a sight to be seen. Quaint Sugar Hill offers one of the most picture-perfect backdrops for ushering in the new season.

See all FlipKey rentals in the Sugar Hill/White Mountain area!

Dawsonville, Georgia


Dawsonville is situated right by the magnificent Amicalola Falls State Park, a terrific leaf peeping spot known for its thundering 729-foot waterfall. This is also great birdwatching territory and you’ve got the Etowa and Amicalola Rivers to paddle about in. While you’re here, you might as well try a tour and a tasting at the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery, too.

See all FlipKey rentals near Dawsonville!

Estes Park, Colorado


“This cabin was absolutely charming and everything we were hoping for in a mountain retreat. The location was spectacular, yet easy to get into town or up to the park.” — FlipKey Reviewer

Estes Park is a great place for a cabin vacation, and one of the best fall vacations out West. It’s a traveler-preferred starting point for exploring the stunning Rocky Mountain National Park. Tackle early-morning hikes to get breathtaking sunsets over rocky peaks as your reward. Breathe in the crisp mountain air, watching bighorn sheep and elks roam free, and see the golden leaves do their thing as far as the eyes can see.

See all FlipKey rentals in Estes Park!

Blowing Rock & Banner Elk, North Carolina


Blowing Rock is known as the ‘Crown of the Blue Ridge’, and attracts hikers, skiers, spelunkers, and spa fans alike. It has cozy cabins galore with views to die for. If you’re planning a fall vacation to this area, there’s also nearby Banner Elk, where the splendid reds and golds are vivid enough to render spectators speechless.

See all FlipKey rentals in the Blowing Rock/Banner Elk area!

June Lake, California


This is a small, friendly community in the eastern Sierra Nevada region, where you can enjoy the peace of sparkling June Lake and its smaller neighbor, Gull Lake. People come here for the excellent watersports facilities, the hiking trails, the inspiring mountain views—and, of course, the spectacular fall colors. June Lake might be the best fall vacation you don’t know about.

See all FlipKey rentals near June Lake!

Hunter, New York


You can see why New Yorkers love having Hunter within easy reach. This charming mountain resort in the Northern Catskills has plenty of small-town appeal, and draws cyclists and zip-lining fans to enjoy the scenery in its autumnal glory. A tour on the Scenic Skyride Chairlift provides thrills and unforgettable views of the fall foliage.

See all FlipKey rentals in Hunter!

East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania


East Stroudsburg has some historic buildings and a thriving arts and crafts scene, providing plenty of mementoes to take home. It’s also a handy base for viewing the forested peaks of the Pocono Mountains, walking the rugged hiking trails of Worthington State Forest, and watching the rushing waters of Bushkill Falls, also known as the “Niagara of Pennsylvania.” To see the beautiful colors from above, opt for a thrilling skydive…if you dare.

See all FlipKey rentals in East Stroudsburg!

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

“Breathtaking sights, beautiful cabin, relaxation to the fullest. Our first time to stay in the mountains. Amazing views! The cabin was awesome with everything you needed to set up house!” — FlipKey Reviewer

Strap on your hiking boots and don your woolen hat. You’re going leaf-crunching in the Great Smoky Mountains. Driving tours are particularly recommended here and there are some excellent routes for taking in the seasonal colors and the odd glimpse of the local wildlife. Hmm, but what else makes Pigeon Forge one of the best fall vacations? Dollywood, of course! It just wouldn’t be right to come here without visiting the theme park masterminded by the country-singing icon who grew up in a tiny cabin in nearby Locust Ridge.

See all FlipKey rentals in Pigeon Forge!

Luray, Virginia


Luray sits in the Shenandoah Valley between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Massanutten Mountains. The best way to appreciate the fall foliage here is to take the Skyline Drive, a 105-mile stretch of road through this scenic area. You can also tour the famous Luray Caverns, which shelter a jaw-dropping array of huge rock formations.

See all FlipKey rentals in Luray!

Hendersonville, North Carolina



“So quiet and secluded, which is what we love. Made s’mores out in the fire pit, barbecued on the grill, and ate outside on the deck, felt like we were in a tree house.” — FlipKey Reviewer

Hospitable Hendersonville is another picturesque mountain town where people can leave the rest of the world behind. It’s not far from here to Dupont State Recreational Forest, where you can follow scenic trails and see tumbling waterfalls. This stunning natural landscape is so beautiful and vast it was chosen as a backdrop for The Last of the Mohicans and the 2012 Hunger Games movie.

See all FlipKey rentals in Hendersonville!

Lake Almanor Area, California


The Lake Almanor reservoir in Plumas County is a peaceful spot, perfect for those who want to be by the water to fish, hike, and sail. Enjoy serene forest walks or explore the welcoming little towns dotted around the lake’s shore, where there’s always something fun going on.

See all FlipKey rentals near Lake Almanor!

Blue Ridge, Georgia


The mountain town of Blue Ridge is rich in cozy hideaways offering gorgeous vistas. You’ll love the relaxed pace of this gentle town, where you can ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, try a bit of trout fishing, or shop for antiques and artworks to take home.

See all FlipKey rentals in Blue Ridge!

Cleveland, South Carolina


“Perfect retreat for a cozy getaway… This cabin was the perfect getaway where we could turn down the noise of the city and listen to the peaceful sounds of country life. The cabin is beautifully and thoughtfully built with every amenity.” — FlipKey Reviewer

Maybe not your first guess of the best fall vacations in America, but Cleveland is a great base for some truly breathtaking fall scenery. Follow the steep road to the top of Caesars Head State Park for the best views of the changing colors and the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. There are some excellent hiking trails around here too, some of them pretty challenging, so do your research before you set off.

See all FlipKey rentals near Cleveland!

Stowe, Vermont


Who likes their leaf peeping with a side of adrenaline? If you’re in Stowe, sign up for a Ziptour Adventure and see the local fall foliage from above, whizzing high above all the reds, browns, and golds. If you prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground, try the hiking trails and take in that mountain scenery in a more sedate fashion. While Stowe is renowned for its winter skiing, this Green Mountain State gem is also one of the best fall vacations you can take.

See all FlipKey rentals in Stowe!

Mystic, Connecticut


Some say Connecticut looks its most beautiful in the fall. There’s no better place to find out for yourself than this little destination on the banks of the Mystic River. Explore the town with Mystic Bike Rentals, take to the trees (in a safety harness) at the Fields of Fire Adventure Park, go walking at Haley Farm State Park, and see all colors of fall at Pequot Woods.

See all FlipKey rentals in Mystic!

by Jenn & Hanna

Traditionally, April Fool’s Day has been a day to act out wildly, prank your friends, or play practical jokes on your classmates. Remember replacing the contents of a sugar bowl with salt as a small child, or jamming a dye tablet behind the faucet screen so the water ran red? One year I carefully crafted ice cream cones out of mashed potatoes, complete with chocolate syrup for an April Fool’s Day joke the kids have never forgotten.

In our family, April Fool’s Day has become synonymous with major change. We’ve sold one house and bought another, taken off on round the world trips, switched continents and made other major life changes on April first. Some would call these a “fool’s errand,” but to us, it’s a tradition that we hold dear and every year we consider what our “next big thing” could be as April 1 approaches. Even if you don’t take off on April 1, you could make a shocking announcement of big changes to come and the joke will be on your friends when they find that you’re not fooling at all! Here are a few ideas to set you dreaming:

Snorkeling in Hawaii

Mention snorkeling, and most folks immediately think of the visual aspects – brightly colored fish and fantastic coral formations – yet I think the most surprising part of snorkeling is the sound that fills your ears. Face down in the water, floating gently on the turquoise salt water, most of the sounds we’re used to hearing are totally muffled: wind, voices, birds. It’s completely quiet… until you notice the persistent chatter crackling in the background, like a chip bag crumpling non-stop. In fact, snorklers soon learn to hear a whole new range of sounds in a coral reef: parrot fish nibbling on coral, shrimp and other crustaceans clacking and snapping their claws, plus the whoosh of water moving with the tides. It’s a whole percussion section down there!

A few years ago my family traveled to Maui and we snorkeled off Kaanapali Beach near Black rock. I drifted along with my son, Gabe, as the waves nudged us beyond the coral til we were floating over a meadow of sea grass. As I was about to turn back to the more dramatic reef, Gabe pointed down, his eyes round in excitement through his mask. Ten feet below us, a green-gray sea turtle meandered through the blades of grass, nibbling here and there like a cow grazing in an Iowa hayfield. He (or she?) was beautiful.

Snorkeling offers a perfect multi-generational adventure: the excitement level is high, but the skills required are minimal. If you are comfortable in water, and a decent swimmer, you can snorkel. Some general tips for beginners:

  • Put your gear on while standing on the beach, not while you are in the water.
  • Back into the water to avoid stumbling over your flippers.
  • Stay in pairs, both for safety and to share the experience!
  • Wear a rash guard or really slather on the sunscreen on your back, which is exposed to the sun for extended periods as you float.

Sometimes the underwater sights include more than what Mother Nature created. Snorkelers in Cozumel’s Chankanaab National Park look down on more than sealife—a fourteen foot statue of Jesus gazes back at them, head back and arms spread wide (it’s a bit of a shock to see if you’re not expecting it!) Chankanaab is a popular destination for the cruise ships that bring passengers through, unleashing hordes of folks clad in orange life vests for a few hours of too-crowded snorkeling. Avoid sharing the water with the crowds by planning your own excursion earlier in the day, before the cruise ships are scheduled to disembark.

Once you’ve been bitten by the snorkeling bug and you find yourself dreaming of angel fish and skates, start planning a trip to St John in the US Virgin Islands – the snorkeler’s Mecca. Trunk Bay, Hawk’s Nest Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Rondezvous Bay… it’s tough to work them all in during one visit! But no worries..if you don’t make it to all the bays and reefs, you can always come back the next year.

Suzanne Johnson lives, writes and plays in the Cascade mountains of Oregon with her family of adventure-prone boys. More of her writing can be found a SuzanneMyhreJohnson.com.

FlipKey's Wayne Dang, enjoying the Costa Rican CanopyLast summer we spent some time in Whistler, British Columbia. We hiked, we biked, we swam in the River of Golden Dreams. I thought we’d done it all… until I looked up. There, soaring through the treetops, squealing in delight, came a teenage girl on a zipline. Shortly after, and squealing just as loudly, came her grandmother. I’ve never been a fan of heights, but if they could do it, so could I! It didn’t work out to zipline on that trip, but I resolved to make it happen on an upcoming vacation, and since then have found what I think are a the top options for zipline adventures. Now I just need to choose one, and plan the rest of my vacation around it!

For those unfamiliar with ziplines, they are cables strung high between two platforms, spanning forest canopies, raging rivers, or dramatic canyons. Riders harness in and clip onto the cable, and with a little help from gravity, they zip from the high end of the cable to a platform at the lower end, at speeds determined by the change in elevation. Ziplining requires little coordination or skill – but plenty of nerve.

Best zipline to be surrounded by adrenaline: Whistler, British Columbia

Ziplines may be extreme adventure, but it seems downright sane when compared to other Whistler sports: all summer, downhill bikers hurl themselves down the trails and off six-foot drops, and all winter the best skiers and snowboarders push the limits of riding the snow. So it’s no coincidence that Whistler’s zipline tours have gone massive as well, with all-day tours down ten ziplines that span from mountain to mountain.

Best zipline to get eye-to-eye with a poisonous tree frog: Costa Rica

British Columbia’s forests are impressive, no doubt, but even the Pacific Northwest cannot compare to the biodiversity of a Costa Rican rainforest. Ziplining in Costa Rica is about more than just adrenaline – it’s a chance to experience the canopy ecosystem first-hand.

Best transportation to get to a zipline: Durango, Colorado

There’s only one way to get to the zipline in Durango—you’ve got to climb aboard the Durango-Silverton steam engine train, and ride the narrow-guage rails that haven’t changed in over a century. A huge variety of zipline tours and packages are available. Riding every zipline crossing this old Ponderosa forest would take days! Their latest addition has set up two parallel cables for zipline racing.

Best zipline to get sprayed by waterfall mist: Kauai, Hawaii

I know, I know… when on vacation in Hawaii it is really difficult to pull yourself away from the ocean! This zipline tour, however, is worth the effort of leaving the white sand behind for a day. Zipliners glide over tropical canopies broken up by misty waterfalls. Or, leave the harness behind to explore suspension bridges over natural swimming pools.

Costa Rica Treehouse

On your next vacation, do you want to be as close to nature as possible? Have a totally private experience, tucked away where no one can find you? Rekindle your adventurous spirit by living out your childhood dream? Or give your kids the most memorable vacation of their lives? Any of those fantasies could become reality by booking your stay in a treehouse.

Yes, there are real tree houses for rent on FlipKey! Here are a few that, complete with modern comforts, are even cooler than your childhood perches (real or imagined):

In Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica, Lapa’s Nest Treehouse is a six-level tree house in the middle of the rainforest that boasts a “Modern Swiss Family Robinson” experience. An entire family (up to eight people) can live 55 feet up in the canopy, surrounded by tropical birds and monkeys. Other fun features include an elevated shower with a glass bottom, and a private pool fed by a natural spring.

Entrance to a romantic Hawaii treehouseOn the Big Island in Hawaii, two different tree house rentals await. One is a secret, romantic spot fit for two that was built at mid-canopy level. It offers rustic amenities like an outdoor shower and a composting toilet for the eco-conscious. The other is a slightly more spacious house (sleeps up to four) that was built into five living trees. It includes modern amenities like a DVD player and a full bathroom. Both tree houses are close to the famous Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as well as the artsy hub of Volcano Village.

Some other FlipKey-listed “treehouses” are not literally built around the trunks of trees, but their locations and architectural styles provide a similar sense of adventure. For example, these rental homes in Breckinridge, Colorado and Auckland, New Zealand, are perched among trees, offering complete privacy and panoramic views.

A number of other vacation rentals, while not attempting to balance on branches, do offer backyard treehouses for children to play in. So, if you’re too terrified of heights to sleep in the canopy, you can still give your daredevil kids the ultimate play space while you relax safely at ground level. For ideas, check out these homes in Canada, Italy, and Greece.

Joanna Eng is a New York-based writer and editor who covers travel, green living, food, careers, entrepreneurship, and more. Her travel experiences have ranged from hostel hopping in Mexico to staying with distant relatives in China to renting a beach apartment in New Jersey.

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Some folks seek serenity on their vacations. Others plan around Broadway shows, museum exhibits, or concerts. And then there are those of us who yearn to escape the day-to-day by throwing a little adrenaline into the vacation mix. If you fall into this category, we’ve put together a list of our top ten favorite adventure-inspiring destinations from every region of the United States to help jumpstart your vacation planning.

Snorkel off Sanibel Island, Florida

The string of islands ringing the harbor into Fort Myers resounds with wildlife, both above and below the ocean surface. Snorkelers and scuba divers head to Cayo Costa State Park to dive in right from the beach, or take a guide boat out to the artificial reefs and sunken vessels scattered on the ocean floor around the islands. After a full day under the water, break out the binoculars and explore the surface at the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, home to over 230 species of migratory birds.

Surf in Newport Beach, California

Surfers don’t flock to Newport Beach to escape the crowds – it’s a hugely popular spot. Newport Beach is a magnet for its surf culture, easy access, and variety of beach spots with surf action that ranges from novice-sized waves to full-on curling tubes of water. Experienced surfers should head to the beach as early as possible to beat the crowds; beginners would be well-advised to sign on for lessons rather than learn on their own.

Fly-fish Hood River, Oregon

Look up from any point in the Hood River area and you’ll see the glacier fields of Mt. Hood seeming to float in the distance. Most fly-fishers, however, spend their time looking down into the clear, bubbling waters of the dozens of rivers and creeks that flow through the area, including the mighty Columbia, the lower Deschutes, the Clackamas and the Sandy rivers. A vacation rental in Hood River makes a perfect base camp for the fly-fishers who crave full days of landing steelheads and trout, followed by evenings in a town of brewpubs and excellent casual dining.

Hike in Stowe, Vermont

Stowe may be better known for its winter sports, but don’t miss the chance to experience Vermont in the fall when the hiking trails meander through blazing fields of autumn leaves. Nicely situated between the White Mountains to the east, the Adirondack Park to the west, and the Green Mountains to the south, Stowe is just the place for a fall hiking vacation. For a real challenge, summit Mt. Mansfield, the highest point in Vermont!

Soar above the Outer Banks, North Carolina

Those who’ve experienced the Outer Banks know the incredible spectrum of beach adventures available here, from boogie boarding to kite flying. In the spirit of the Wright Brothers, who tested their Flyer on these beaches in 1903, let’s focus on getting airborne. The inner sound of the islands create a wind channel the supports phenomenal kiteboarding; those of us who may be less athletic, but still yearn to soar above the water, try parasailing, where the boat does all the work! Either way offers a bird’s eye view like no other.

Nordic Skiing in Winter Park, Colorado

Think about a ski vacation in Winter Park, and the first picture that comes to mind probably involves shredding down the slopes in alpine gear. Fewer people are aware that Winter Park offers some of the best cross-country trails in the country, and is a mecca for nordic skiers of all abilities. Nordic skiing has several advantages: the trail passes are far cheaper, the cardio workout level is much greater, and there’s no line to the chairlift! Grand Lake Nordic Center and Snow Mountain Nordic Center are both terrific resources and within an easy drive from most vacation homes.

Canoe out of Grand Marais, Minnesota

When people call Minnesota the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” they’re not exaggerating – they’ve just lost count. The lush ruggedness of the northern woods is truly best experienced from a canoe. Where else can you round a rocky shore and spot a long-legged moose ambling through the reeds? Grand Marais hugs the shore of Lake Superior and provides the last bastion of civilization before the legendary Boundary Waters stretches off into Canada, and many visitors spend a few days in the local vacation homes either before or after a Boundary Waters canoe camping expedition.

Shred it up at Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Really, forty-six feet of snow is just too much to fathom! That is, however, the official measurement for the 2011 season at Jackson Hole. If it’s steep and deep you’re seeking, start planning your trip to Jackson Hole. The variety of runs, groomed and ungroomed, plus terrain park features for the freestyle crowd, make Jackson Hole appeal to every sort of snow rider, whether on skis or on a board.

Mountaineering at Yosemite National Park, California

It may have been the incredible biodiversity that inspired UNESCO to designate much of this area a World Heritage Site, but it’s really the awe-inspiring granite cliffs that draw mountain climbers from all around the world. Yosemite is considered the heart of mountaineering in America, with legendary features like El Capitan and the Merced River Canyon. A successful trip to Yosemite requires knowing the ropes, both literally and figuratively! Guide services and lessons are a great idea, and as with all outdoor recreation, leave no trace behind when you go.

Sea Kayak the San Juan Islands, Washington

Sitting right at the ocean surface, surging forward by the force of your own paddle, waiting for that unmistkable black and white Orca nose to poke through the water… this is an experience that should be on every adventure enthusiast’s bucket list. The San Juan Islands, north of Seattle, are accessed by ferry or by seaplane, and offer the ultimate Pacific Northwest adventure. Whale-watching by kayak is fantastic, but even paddling close to shore along the tidal zones gives views of smaller wildlife that can’t be beat.

Suzanne Johnson lives, writes and plays in the Cascade mountains of Oregon with her family of adventure-prone boys. More of her writing can be found a SuzanneMyhreJohnson.com.