10 Activities to Fuel Your Sense of Adventure!
For many travel nurses, the thrill of being a travel nurse is the sense of adventure you get when you try new activities, and have new life experiences. It can be quite exhilarating to try something new and succeed, especially if you’re a bit apprehensive at the beginning. Whether you want to try extreme sports like skiing or surfing, or just go for a casual hike in the wilderness, we’ve got an array of activities to keep you busy all summer and into the winter! Here are 10 activities that are guaranteed to fuel your adventurous spirit!
Okay, this one might be a no-brainer, but hit the trails! Hiking is a great way to see the most beautiful places the U.S. has to offer, and get some good exercise as well. It’s the perfect activity to really get in touch with nature, and escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. The possibilities for hiking are endless, and you can hike in virtually any setting you choose: mountains, forests, deserts, beaches – the list goes on!
National parks and forests are great starting points to find good hikes. Some popular hiking spots include The Grand Canyon, Mt. Rainier, The Pacific Crest Trail, The Appalachian Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Great Smoky Mountains! Before you hike, make sure you have the proper equipment, and be sure to pack your hiking essentials like extra water, snacks, and a map or compass.
Kayaking is a fun way to not only explore different bodies of water, but also offers a different vantage point to some of the most popular destinations. Hundreds, if not thousands, of hikers visit Horseshoe Bend, but have you ever considered kayaking down Lake Powell to see the canyon up close? You don’t need to own your own kayak either, as numerous recreation sites across the country offer rentals and lessons.
If you feel claustrophobic in a kayak, Paddleboarding is a great alternative that allows you to stand or sit while you paddle. Popular kayaking destinations include The Great Lakes, Lake Tahoe, and the U.S. Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, but the possibilities for adventure are infinite. Start by doing some research about where the best kayaking spots are in your area!
For a real thrill, try your hand at rock climbing and mountaineering. You can find climbing gear at outdoor retailers like REI, and they also offer lessons and guided excursions for beginners. For your safety, find a climbing gym with a rock wall, first, to practice on before you start climbing with ropes. Premier climbing locations include Yosemite National Park, Smith Rock in Oregon, and Moab in Utah.
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Ice climbing and mountaineering are also quite adventurous, and nothing compares to the views from the summit of a mountain. You can summit some mountains without technical skills or gear, like several of the Fourteeners of Colorado. Other mountains, like the peaks of the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest, require more specialized gear and training. REI also has beginning mountaineering courses for anyone interested.
4. Mountain Biking
Mountain biking takes regular biking to the extreme, and it’s definitely a more exhilarating way to see the landscape. Any mountain that has skiing in the winter will typically have mountain biking in the summer. You can rent mountain bikes at most ski towns, and use the gondolas to get you easily to the top, so all you have to do is ride down.
Lots of ski areas have established mountain bike runs, ranging from beginner to expert, and they’re perfect for honing your skills. Once you feel confident, you can take your mountain bike anywhere that has rugged off-road trails. Some ideal spots for mountain biking include Park City, Utah, Brevard, North Carolina, and Sedona, Arizona!
One of the most popular ways to feed your sense of adventure in the wintertime is by skiing/snowboarding. Downhill skiing seems daunting, especially for someone who is afraid of heights like me. Although, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hooked!
If you’re new to skiing or snowboarding, start by taking a lesson. It’s imperative to learn the fundamentals before you start shredding the expert terrain. Find a friend who’s good at skiing or snowboarding to help teach you, or consider a lesson from a professional ski instructor at any ski resort. Colorado is the mecca for skiing in the U.S, with several world class resorts within a short drive from each other. Other amazing ski destinations include, California, Taos, New Mexico, Vermont, and the Pacific Northwest!
6. Water Skiing/Wakeboarding
Water skiing and wakeboarding are fun summer lake activities, but you have to either own a boat, or know somebody who owns a boat to try it out. You can rent boats and gear for waterskiing and wakeboarding, but they can get expensive, often hundreds of dollars for the day. Your best bet is to find somebody who has a ski boat and make friends with them.
No matter where you are, if there is a lake nearby, chances are you’ll see water skiiers and wakeboarders out on the water. Hotspots for these water sports are mostly found in Southern states like California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida.
If you’re looking for some adventure when you head to the beach, this is the activity for you! You can surf anywhere that has waves, but the best surfing is definitely found on the West Coast and Hawaii. Places like the North Shore of Oahu, and Southern California are known for their giant waves and totally tubular surf. Countless beach towns along the West Coast have surfboard rentals, and even offer lessons for beginners. Don’t forget your wetsuit!
For those who might be intimidated by surfing, skimboarding is another extreme activity you can try. With skimboarding, you don’t necessarily need waves, you just need some shallow water that you can “skim” across. It’s a fun alternative to surfing with less risk involved.
Parasailing is a combination of boating and hang gliding that allows you to glide through the air while being towed by boat. It’s a fun resort activity that can be found anywhere there’s a large body of water, but warmer climates are generally better for parasailing.
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You can reach heights of up to 300 feet, and you get some pretty amazing views while you’re gliding. Ocean Watersports in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina labels themselves as the most experienced parasailing outfit on the East Coast, and would be a great launching point for your first parasailing adventure.
9. Snorkeling/Scuba Diving
Snorkeling and scuba diving are the best ways to explore the depths of our oceans. Snorkeling is where you swim close to the surface, using a breathing tube and goggles, and scuba diving involves diving deeper into the water, using an oxygen tank. Snorkeling requires less gear and skill, but is still a great method for marine wildlife viewing.
There are many opportunities for snorkeling along Pacific and Atlantic coasts, as well as the Gulf Coast. In Florida, you can actually snorkel with real live manatees! Scuba diving requires more training, but there are lots of diving companies around to teach you the necessary skills, and take you on guided dives.
The formal term for exploring caves, spelunking is a great hobby that allows you to explore some of the most unique and remote terrain in the country. Cave ecosystems are unlike anything else in the world, and are home to several endemic species of plants and animals. Stalagmites and Stalactites can form incredible rock formations that can’t be seen anywhere else.
Famous caves in the U.S. include Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, and Luray Caverns in Virginia. Before you go spelunking, make sure you’ve got all the essentials, such as your headlamp, and spelunking with a partner is always better than going alone.
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