My idea of a vacation doesn’t mean all-inclusive cruises and hours wiled away eating and lounging. I like all-day adventures complete with heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping activities. Of course, this kind of trip is always best in a beautiful locale.
Some of my favorites include a morning run through the towering redwoods followed by a terrifying yet invigorating bike ride along narrow, winding Highway 1, or a kayaking adventure through hidden coves before a stroll along a sea-glass covered beach. Others entail treks into dormant volcanoes and snorkeling adventures. All of them are near the ocean, encompassing the perfect beach adventure vacation.
Volcanoes, rainforest, beaches and a rich, exciting urban center. What doesn’t Oahu have? For those starting small with the adventurous aspect of travel, rest assured you can get everything you need here. From a large selection of dining, shopping, Waikiki hotels and resorts to easily accessible outdoor activities, Oahu is perfect for an active beach vacation. Must-dos include snorkeling, hiking and surfing, all well within reach of many Oahu hotels. Hanauma Bay is one of the best places to snorkel, where hundreds of species of fish swim amid calm waters. Kuilima Cove is the most sheltered and serene spots for beginners to try their hand at snorkeling, with a white sand beach quiet atmosphere.
Hiking opportunities abound in Oahu. Whether you are looking for an easier trek or something bordering on extreme, every type of hike can be found. Diamond Head, just a short drive from Waikiki, is one of the most popular hikes in Oahu. The .8-mile trail is short and strenuous, gaining 560 feet of elevation from the valley floor, and offers an amazing 360 degree-view of the entire Island. On the complete other end of the spectrum is Oahu’s Olomana Trail. The 2.5-mile hike is steep, narrow and scary at times, but the 1,000-foot elevation gain rewards you with bragging rights and an awesome view. See for yourself!
Olomana Hike by kevin1024 on February 23, 2008 on Flickr via Creative Commons
The Big Island, Hawaii
Home to two of the most active volcanoes in the world, Hawaii’s Big Island is commonly assumed to be a barren land of deadened rock and Lava Rivers. However, this island offers a remarkable display of geodiversity. The rolling hills of Waimea are perfect for calm bike rides or horseback adventures. The jungle of the Hamakua Coast proves for awesome hiking, and the calm, inviting sand of the Kohala Coast offers a quiet beach refuge.
Big Sur, California
Where the Santa Lucia Mountains abruptly hit the Pacific, the wilderness of Big Sur is one of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous places in the world. Rolling green plateaus, dramatic towering cliffs and waterfalls on the beach complete this region as a gem of California. I like to start my day at Sand Dollar Beach with a peaceful stroll before embarking on a serious hike through the Ventana Wilderness. Nearly 170,000 acres strong, the unique area of rugged coastal mountains is characterized by steep-sided, sharp-crested ridges the range from 600 feet to 5,750. The quiet of the woods provides the perfect backdrop to truly connect with this extraordinary locale.
Humboldt Redwoods, California
The biggest, oldest trees in the world are right here in the lush-fern filled rainforest. Colder and foggier than the Central Coast, the North Coast of California offers raw wilderness in a more rugged form. Agate Beach in Patrick’s Point State Park may be cold, rocky and a decidedly unsafe place to swim, but it is absolutely beautiful. Giant cliffs with the famous redwoods plunge into a wild surf, serving as the inspiration to get you moving up the steep trails into the forest.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park By jjandames on April 10, 2011 Flickr via Creative Commons
Don’t settle for just one of two extremes, i.e. a lounging beach vacation vs. an adventure filled trek through wilderness. Do a little extra research and surely, you can have the best of both worlds when you travel.
|Meet the Author: Leslie
Leslie is a young travel writer who is obsessed with new adventures in new places, great food and good company. She describes herself as a simple girl from a big city looking to assert her imaginative vision against the creatures of the common place, in hopes of finding something extraordinary in the process.
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