20 Epic Experiences for Your Adventure Bucket List

Sometimes my husband plans our family travel adventures, and I just have to try really hard not to think about them before they happen—adventure bucket list moments like paragliding, cliff jumping, swimming with black tip sharks, or kayaking in the ocean.

HELLO! Whales and sharks people!!!

There are even times when I am moderately okay with the activity and then all of a sudden a huge curveball comes at me. That was the case when we ziplined through the jungles of Chiang Mai, Thailand. I hadn’t planned on rapelling to the jungle floor!

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20 Experiences for Your Adventure Bucket List

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Zipline Tours for Around the World Adventure

1. Zipline Tour in the Jungle of Chiang Mai, Thailand

Young girl ziplining in Chiang Mai Thailand

Our guide began this tour by asking if we knew what the forked-shaped bamboo sticks were that hang from our gear. We shook our heads and with a very serious face he says they are for killing snakes in the jungle. 

Say what! 

“Just kidding,” he smirked, “they are meant to be used as a break on the zipline. As you near the platform after a long run, you hold the bamboo stick against the line and it will slow you down.” Whew.

We had about ten runs on the ziplines, some crazy rope bridges to cross, a 40-foot vertical drop by rope, and then a 120-foot drop!

Christopher!!! (That’s what I call him sometimes when I am freaked out. It comes out kind of like a swear word maybe.)

When we first got to the 40-foot drop, I calmed myself by thinking positive thoughts, “Ok, I can do this,” as the employees attached my harness to ropes and let me drop. I remembered to bend my knees as I landed. Then we came to the 120-foot drop. Seriously? This was NOT in the brochure! Pretty sure I just closed my eyes and plunged.

If you want to experience this world adventure: Zipline Tour in Chiang Mai

2. Zipline Tour in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

On a recent excursion to Costa Rica, Chris and I had the opportunity to have a zipline adventure outdoor at Diamanté Adventure Park.

When it was our turn, we got suited up and began the first of five runs.

The Superman run was especially exciting. As I was waiting my turn though, a bee must have landed on my leg and crawled under my pant leg. Not sure how I didn’t feel it sooner, but I didn’t realize it was there until it stung me. Yeouch. I pulled a huge stinger out of my leg. 

Hmmm, the bee sting was the worst part of this world adventure!

If you want to experience this adventure: Zipline Canopy Tour in Costa Rica

Animal Adventure Activities

3. Elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chris researched a lot to find this particular elephant training center in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It offered a cruelty-free opportunity to interact with the elephants in a more natural habitat.

Our guide taught us a few commands. I thought I memorized them pretty well, but once I was on the elephant I quickly forgot everything but “me long”. It meant sit down, and I was pretty sure I didn’t want the elephant to sit down so soon.

We rode up the hill for about a half an hour. My spunky elephant, Kumoon, was rather hungry and kept going off the path to find more food or grab at a tree limb and snap it off.

At the end of our tour, the elephants were guided to an arena where we dismounted for the final time. I was pretty happy to say, “me long” at this point.

If you want to experience this world adventure: Ran-Tong Elephant Center

4. Snorkeling with Black Tip Sharks in Tahiti

Chris and I loved this half day tour with Captain Leo that included:

  • Round trip transfer from your Moorea hotel
  • Snorkeling gear
  • Fruit, tropical juice and cocktails

Our group stopped first at an area that is popular for snorkeling with black tip sharks and stingrays. Surprisingly (and thankfully) the sharks didn’t bother us at all. From there, we snorkeled at a coral garden between two small islands off of Moorea to discover all kinds of colorful, tropical fish.

If you want to experience this epic adventure: Moorea Snorkeling & Sailing on a Catamaran named Taboo”

Adventure Outdoor with White Water Rafting

5. White Water Rafting on the Rangitikei River, New Zealand

Interested in Class V river rafting? Chris discovered River Valley Adventure Lodge in New Zealand as he planned for our trip.

For our wet suit attire, I was outfitted in a long-sleeved shirt, a fleece long sleeve, a wet suit, booties, a helmet, and then another jacket before a thirty-minute bus ride to the drop off point.

Our guides gave instructions before we climbed into our rafts and started down the river.

Throughout our tour, we rode through Class III to Class V rapids for 2.5 hours. Except for getting dumped in the river a few times, the ride was pretty epic.

If you want to experience this world adventure: Rafting the Rangitikei River

6. White Water Rafting in Buena Vista, Colorado

Rafting in Buena Vista Colorado

If you are looking an exciting adventure outdoor, you can’t go wrong with white water rafting on the Arkansas River in Buena Vista, Colorado.

Whether you are looking for a gentle beginner float through Class I & II white water or a more advanced Class IV technical experience, you can find some of the best white water rafting adventure outdoor in the US along the Arkansas River.

Chris booked our “advanced” white water rafting adventure on the Numbers—a Class IV section along the Arkansas. When we arrived, we found that we were the only two that had signed up for this trip. Score!

We enjoyed a private adventure outdoor with our guide, Rye.

If you want to experience this adventure outdoor: Rafting the Numbers in Buena Vista

Jeep and Boat Tours for the Adventure Seeker

7. Jeep Ride in Sedona, Arizona

Chris and I surprised the girls with a jeep tour while visiting Sedona, Arizona. They thought it was a very welcome break from all the hikes we were “making” them do.

Our driver helped us get settled in the open-air 4×4 for a one-of-a-kind jeep adventure. Our youngest was six at the time and loved the experience.

We all loved the jostling of the jeep interspersed with the history and lore of the area. We bounced around so much that my children dubbed me the “bobblehead”.

If you want to experience this adventure: Sedona 4×4 Jeep Tour

8. Jet Boat Tour of the Rogue River, Oregon

jet boat tour along the Rogue River in Oregon

Even with our jet boat tour beginning at 11:30 am, the weather along the ocean at Gold Beach was still pretty chilly. As we skimmed upstream on the boat the weather warmed up dramatically. You may need jackets and blankets to start, but will want to peel off your layers for later in the day. Be sure to wear sunscreen.

The jet boat zoomed up the Rogue River with our tour guide/driver. He shared info about the wildlife, the history, and the bridges along the river.

We stopped at Agnes on the north side of the river for our first pit stop then made a second stop for “lunch” at 4:00 pm on the south side of the river.

If you want to add this to your adventure bucket list: Rogue Jet Boat Adventures

9. Jungle Jeep Tour in Papeete, Tahiti

Travel to the heart of Tahiti Nui into the crater of the island’s inactive volcano on a 4×4 jungle safari. Guides share local lore and legends, discoveries of native trees and flowers, waterfalls, and a swimming hole where you’ll stop for lunch and a dip in the water.

This tour features off-roading on trails that are sketchy at times. Our guide classified the tour as “bumpy” and “more bumpy”! Chris and I had the bruises to prove it.

As you leave the busyness of the city, stand up, hang on to the bars in the back of the truck, and enjoy the ride.

My review on TripAdvisor

If you want to experience this world adventure: Jungle Jeep Tour in Tahiti

10. Boat Tour of the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Homes along the hillside in Positano

Our skipper, Flavio, did his best to navigate the choppy waters of the peninsula so that we were experiencing the least amount of rocking. One of his coworkers purposely drove close to our boat creating a lot more choppiness with his wake.

Flavio scoffed, “He isa stupida skipper.”

As we reached the end of the peninsula and headed to the Amalfi Coast, Flavio pulled the boat into a quiet cove and announced it was time to swim. He brought out pool noodles, snorkels, and snacks. He also offered a variety of drinks and snacks throughout the day.

Our next stop was Amalfi for about 60 minutes. It wasn’t a lot of time and we needed to get some lunch. We found a small takeaway place called Fior di Pizza for a delicious Margherita pizza.

From Amalfi we headed to Positano where we had a little more time to either shop and explore or enjoy the beach. Kristen swam at the beach while Chris kept an eye on her. Misha and I explored Positano and discovered lots of instagrammable places.

If you want to experience this world adventure: Small Boat Tour of Amalfi Coast

Hiking Excursions for Your Adventure Bucket List

11. Hiking into the Mt. Pinatubo Volcano, Philippines

Crate Lake in the Philippines

We arrived at the starting point for our trek to Mt. Pinatubo (an inactive volcano). After signing waivers, we were ready to go by 6:30 am as we packed into a 4×4 jeep with our driver and guide and were off.

Early morning was a perfect time to set off as it was not yet too hot. We forded streams, passed caribou, and bounced around for a short while until a breakfast stop.

We continued on our way and spent the next couple of hours hanging on jostling around in the jeep. For the final portion of the trek, we set off on a 30-minute hike along a lush mountain path toward the crater of the volcano with our guide, Audi.

We arrived at the crater and climbed stones steps that opened up the vista of the volcano. A large lake glistened before us surrounded by the volcano.

Later in the afternoon, we started our hike back up the stone steps for our return.

If you want to experience this adventure: Mt. Pinatubo Trek

12. Hike to Sky Pond, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Chris picked a doozy of a hike for us. It was just under 10 miles round trip with almost 2,000 feet of elevation gain.

Start from the Glacier Gulch Trailhead along the Bear Lake Corridor of RMNP, hike past Alberta Falls, and then take the path at the junction to The Loch.

Traverse around The Loch toward the Lake of Glass, Timberline Falls, and then Sky Pond.

Let’s just say, this is NOT a hike I will want to do ever again. After hiking beyond the Loch, the trail evolved into a lot of steps.

I had no idea that I would have to scramble up the side of the waterfall, search for handholds and pray that I wouldn’t slip.

If you want to experience this adventure outdoor: RMNP from Denver or Boulder

13. Hike to Vernal and Nevada Falls in Yosemite National Park, California

Are you planning to hike the Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park? It takes you first to Vernal Fall and then on to Nevada Fall.

Pace yourself on the Mist Trail. This outdoor adventure to two waterfalls at Yosemite has an eventual elevation gain of 2000 feet!

The first part of the path is a paved incline with very few flat sections until you near Vernal Fall. It is a moderately difficult climb of 1.5 miles (3 miles round trip) with 1000 feet of elevation gain.

The pathway becomes misty with spray from the waterfall as you get close.

The path to Nevada Fall continues on from Vernal Fall. You’ve still got another 1000 feet of elevation to climb! Getting to Nevada Fall and back again to the valley floor is 5.4 miles.

If you want to experience this adventure tour: Vernal and Nevada Falls Tour

14. Hike from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza in Cinque Terre, Italy

Hiking from Monterosso to Vernazza is one of the things to do in Cinque Terre

If you plan to hike during your visit to Cinque Terre, I recommend planning for an early start, especially in the summer months. You’ll find fewer crowds, cooler temperatures, and less humidity.

The narrow path is not easy with steps going up from the very start. There are many fitness levels, ages and agility levels of tourists who hike this trail. The hike is 2.2 miles with an elevation gain of 705 feet.

Take time to enjoy the journey. Stop every so often to take a few pictures and selfies. The views are amazing and as you get closer to Vernazza, you see the brightly colored iconic village. The hike takes about a1.5-2 hours for the average hiker.

If you want to experience this epic world adventure: Private Cinque Terre Hiking Tours

15. Hike to Hanging Lake in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

This is one of the can’t miss adventures and hikes near Glenwood Springs. You will need to plan ahead with a reservation.

Be prepared to climb steps and boulders up and up and up through the canyon for 3.1 miles (round trip) and 1,200 feet of elevation gain. There are only a few flat sections along the way—and seven or eight bridges to cross.

Once you get close to the lake, a railing had been installed to help hikers up the last bit of the trail. And you will need it.

I recommend hiking first to the source of Hanging Lake—Sprouting Rock Falls. As you can imagine from the name, the waterfall springs right out of the side of the mountain. You can walk behind the falls and explore the area and take pictures.

After taking some pictures, climb a short way back down to Hanging Lake which is skirted by Bridal Veil Falls.

If you want to experience this adventure outdoors: Hanging Lake Hike Reservations

Water Adventure Activities

16. Cliff Jumping at Blue Hole, Jamaica

Swimming at the blue hole in Jamaica

Each group coming to the Blue Hole has a guide, so after paying our entrance fee, our guide directed us down to the water. I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but I thought maybe a nice swimming hole.

It was a series of jumps into cascading pools of water.

Now, let’s just say, I am not a fan of swimming and surely not jumping from heights. But I did it. In fact, the thought went through my head, “I rode an elephant. I can do this.”

If you are brave enough, you can also walk down the side of a waterfall while holding onto a rope.

The last jump of the day was from a cliff 15-feet above the water. Kristen, my youngest, was brave and tried it twice. Some of us declined.

If you want to experience this travel adventure: Blue Hole Tour in Jamaica

17. Kayaking in the Ocean at La Jolla, California

You have the option of renting a one, two, or three-seat kayak.

We had two hours on the ocean (I think one hour would be adequate).

We saw a seal that kept popping above the water. Cool!

We went in a little early because Misha wanted to ride the surf in the kayak a couple of times. I don’t believe she counted on being dumped in the ocean on their ride in.

Because Misha wanted to ride the surf back in again, Chris dropped Kristen off (sh was five at the time) on the beach and went back out again with Misha. It was a decision he would come to rue. In fact, I happened to snap a photo the exact moment he and Misha resurfaced from being dumped over a second time with Chris frantically reaching for his hat, the locker key from the kayak shop, AND his prescription sunglasses. He managed to only salvage the hat.

We looked for twenty minutes without any success. The loss of the key cost us another $15; the glasses were gone.

If you want to experience this adventure, but not lose your expensive glasses!: La Jolla Sea Caves Kayak Tour

18. Whale Watching Tour in Anacortes, WA

Chris and I planned a whale watching excursion from Anacortes, Washington! One of the many fall activities for your adventure bucket list.

Due to the calm winds and waters of the San Juan islands, this area is an ideal place to view orcas, humpback whales, minke whales, and gray whales as well as a myriad of other wildlife.

Did you know that all of the whales are documented and named and can be identified by their features and fin? “Split Fin”, a humpback whale, likes to swim close to the island and puts on a good show once spotted.

If you want to experience this adventure: Anacortes Whale Watching

Mountain Adventure Activities

19. Mountain Biking

mountain biking in the rocky mountains

Chris has loved mountain biking from the first time he tried it. Me? I won’t try it. There’s something about careening down the face of a mountain face first that just isn’t my thing.

Some of the fun places Chris loves to ride in the summer include:

  • Keystone, Winter Park, Vail, and Breckenridge Ski Resorts
  • Arches National Park
  • Poison Spider Trail in Moab
  • Palisade Plunge atop Grand Mesa in Colorado

in Colorado where you can buy a pass to ride the ski lift up the mountain and then experience body-jarring, life threatening turns and twists all the way down the mountain. 

These trails are not for the faint of heart, but if you love body-jarring, life threatening turns and twists all the way down the mountain, give it a try. Doesn’t sound fun to me, but Chris loves it. 

If you want to experience this world adventure: Mountain Biking Tour in Colorado

20. Paragliding from Mt. Pilatus, Switzerland

Paragliding from Mt. Pilatus

A couple of months before our trip to Switzerland, I told Chris that I would consider paragliding with him from Mount Pilatus. He promptly did some research, found a reputable company, and made reservations for the both of us. I did not allow myself to think it.

As time came for our scheduled tandem paragliding session, we met up with Marcel in the lobby of the Hotel Bellevue on Mt. Pilatus, close to the reception desk, and followed him outside to the paragliding staging area. Marcel and Werner would be our tandem paragliding guides today to give us a bird’s eye view of the Swiss Alps.

Chris soared off the mountain first and then it was my turn. Though nervous, I did it and it was epic.

You might say that paragliding is the proper way to see Switzerland!

If you want to experience this adventure outdoor: Paraglide from Mt. Pilatus

World Adventure Bucket List Gear

I highly recommend being an adventure seeker and seeking world adventure along your travels. I also highly recommend being prepared for all of the adventure activities on your bucket list with the Ten Essentials for your best day hikes and excursions.

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Pack a backpack

My favorite backpack to take when I adventure outdoor, travel to Europe, and hike in the Rocky Mountains is the North Face Recon backpack for women.

Chris’ North Face Recon backpack, designed for his manly man body, has a padded laptop section. It is perfect for an adventure seeker day hike pack which we fill with our lunch, snacks, the Camelbak bladder, and extra water bottles.

Bring plenty of water

Be sure to bring plenty of water. Pack your Camelbak reservoir into your backpack. We also fill our vacuum-sealed water bottles with water, and even add in a few extra bottles for the hikes on our adventure bucket list.

We add electrolytesZipfizz, or Crystal Lite single serve packs to the water bottles for a little extra energy or flavor boost.

Pack snacks

We love the Built protein bars, protein puffs, and granola bars for our world adventure pursuits.

Don’t forget your sunglasses

My optometrist brothers recommend wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes—I like my Ray Bans. Invest in a sunglass strap for more adventurous outdoor activities.

Wear sunscreen

Over the years, I have encouraged my family to wear sunscreen everyday, but especially when they are in the sun for extended periods of time on our hikes. I even buy them their own tube of the more expensive PCA Skin Active Broad Spectrum SPF 45 sunscreen. You only have one chance to take care of your skin.

Download maps

Be sure to download the map of your chosen hike or outdoor adventure to your phone while you have cell service so you can stay on track. If you are hiking in the mountains you may not always have a cell signal.

Bring a portable charger

Make sure that you bring a FULLY CHARGED phone and portable charger to ensure that your phone has enough power to get you back to your vehicle. It just so happens that the INIU portable charger is one of our genius gear and gadgets for travel.

Wear appropriate clothing, footwear, and hats

You will want to consider appropriate footwear and sun-protective clothing for your adventure activities and travels.

As a melasma sufferer, most of my adventure travel and hiking pictures are accented with a hat or visor. Whatever you choose, buy something cute (or masculine) and be proactive about protecting your skin on your adventure activities.

Don’t forget your phone

Most of us don’t leave home without our phones, but just in case YOU have a tendency to forget it and need a reminder, this is for YOU!

Bring a camera

Check out the convenience of the Canon Powershot G1X. It is lightweight, has a zoom lens, and is a perfect digital camera for taking pictures on the go.

Of course, there are great options for a beginners DSLR, mid-range DSLR, underwater cameras and great lenses.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best adventure bucket list options?

You may wish to add these additional adventure activities to your bucket list:
* Raft the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA
* Cruise to Antarctica
* Hike one of the Great Walks in New Zealand
* Make the trek to Petra, Jordan
* Climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

What is a world adventure trip?

A trip that often pushes you outside your comfort zone. These adventure activities may include: bungee jumping, cycling, canoeing, scuba diving, exploring and canyoneering, sandboarding, caving and rock climbing.

Why is world adventure travel so popular?

Many adventure seekers love to try new things, enjoy the thrill of daring pursuits, gain new perspectives, surprise themselves with being able to do hard things, and employ creative thinking along the way.

What are the responsibilities of adventure travelers?

All adventure seekers should employ strategies to “Leave No Trace”, avoid pollution and littering, and avoid damaging natural habitats.

What are some of the world adventure risks to consider?

* Facing extreme terrain and weather
* Limited communication at times
* Remote destinations
* Physical exertion
* Safety risks
* Unexpected complications—flight delays and cancellations, vehicle breakdowns, weather delays, etc.

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Final Thoughts on 20 Epic Experiences for Your Adventure Bucket List

While I know that the world adventure pursuits with Chris will never end, knowing that I have ridden an elephant or ziplined through the jungle helps me to believe that I can do hard things.

No doubt, you can too!

If you are an adventure seeker at heart, you’ll love to add these ideas to your adventure bucket list. The goal is to embark on a few adventures of your own.

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29 Comments

  1. What a great checklist. After being holed up at home because of the covid. It’s time to enjoy life again, to get out and enjoy natures simple pleasures.

  2. I haven’t tried all of these, but Amalfi coast is on the top of my list. Would like to visit Jamaica and try cliff jumping! Great article, thanks for sharing! ❤️

  3. I’d be game for any one of these adventures. The jeep tour in Sedona is high on my bucketlist. I would skip the cliff jumping in Jamaica, but you are brave. I had the same fear of snakes when ziplining. And what did I come across? A boa!

  4. Love your curated list of the 10 best adventures from around the world! I would love to try a couple of them…especially that boat cruise on the Almafi Coast!

  5. Enjoyed your blog post! You are adventurous! The only truly adventurous thing I did was to do Tandem sky dive when I was over 50. I wanted to do it and it went really well. It was interesting to read about “me long” and the elephant! Bookmarking your blog as a wish list for more adventurous things to do in future! 🙂

  6. Your adventure bucket list is fantastic! It’s packed with such exciting and diverse experiences. I live near Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines and I haven’t done it myself. You inspired me to do it soon!

  7. So many adventures, so little time! I thought my hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon was a big adventure, but that was a walk through the park compared to some of these adventures! Fun list!

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