Do you and your S.O. prefer adventure to luxury? Would you rather hike in the mountains or surf the ocean waves than order a poolside mojito at some exclusive resort? If natural, rustic scenery and outdoor thrill-seeking is your idea of a vacation well spent, these off-the-beaten-path destinations across the United States belong on your and any outdoorsy couple’s U.S. travel bucket list.
Manteo, North Carolina
This coastal retreat, located on Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks, has a rich history dating back to the origins of British colonization in America. Thought to be where the “Lost Colony of Roanoke” once settled, Manteo boasts a vibrant downtown oceanfront where outdoor enthusiasts can ride horseback on the beach, paddleboard, and kayak through the marshes. This barrier island town combines old-world charm with invigorating action for the couple who appreciates a little bit of both.
Bar Harbor, Maine
This hidden New England gem is bordered by Acadia National Park on one side and the craggy Atlantic seashore on the other. What’s more, it’s not inundated with tourists and travelers, making it the ultimate under-the-radar locale for your adventurous vacation.
With more than 50 miles of hiking, biking and riding trails throughout the national park, you’ll be moving from sun up to sun down. And if you don’t want to camp, stay in the cute town of Bar Harbor instead. Thanks to its proximity to the park, it’s the perfect place to hunker down when your hiking boots are off.
While there are many places to see in Acadia, we recommend taking a blanket to the top of Cadillac Mountain for a great hike and romantic sunrise or sunset.
Sedona, located just two hours outside Grand Canyon National Park, is known for its dramatic landscape of sandstone buttes that glow fiery red in the sunlight. The park itself is filled with 1.8 million acres of pristine conservation lands, where you can enjoy a wide range of thrill-seeker sports, like whitewater rafting, mountain biking, and rock climbing.
This desert oasis, steeped in Native American history, creates an energetic vortex that makes the whole region seem irresistible. For for the couple who can’t get enough adrenaline—this is a can’t-miss vacation spot.
Destin is situated on the Gulf of Mexico, surrounded by turquoise waters and sugar-sand beaches, making this adventurous vacation spot unforgettable in many ways. Tucked away in the Florida panhandle, Destin has been a unique spot for water adventurers for more than a century:
“Destin was coined the ‘world’s Luckiest Fishing Village’ in the 19th century, and the port continues to thrive with the same bountiful success that put Destin on the map as a top deep sea fishing destination”, according to locals at Charter Fishing Destin. If you’ve never tried deep sea fishing, now’s your chance. You can sign up to go out with a group or have a personal lesson. Either way, you’ll spend the day in the sun, surrounded by crystal clear waters.
When you’re not fishing, you can relax and enjoy the slow, quiet pace of living, and maybe even enjoy a few rounds of golf at one of Destin’s championship golf courses. With a little bit of everything, this is a must-visit vacation spot.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole’s rugged terrain makes it the quintessential stomping ground for the couple who never turns down a chance to get outside their comfort zone. Nestled between the Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges, it’s a year-round mecca for extreme sports aficionados. Jackson Hole is home to world-famous skiing, snowboarding and ice skating in the winter and kayaking, rafting and hang-gliding in the summer.
To turn up the romance head to Granite Hot Springs: “It’s an otherworldly experience to share: soaking in 104-degree spring water in a pool below 11,000-foot mountains. Hike up one of the nearby trails and chances are you’ll have that to yourselves,” suggests Travel and Leisure.
Whether you’re hitting the slopes in Teton Village or careening through rapids on the Snake River, this “Wild West” frontier delivers hang-onto-your-cowboy-hats fun.
Plan Your Getaway
If you’re planning a romantic getaway soon, think outside the overhyped tourist traps like South Beach or Las Vegas and whisk your S.O. off to one of these more adventurous (and more intimate!) places instead. Unplug from modern conveniences, reconnect with nature, and grow closer against a backdrop that neither of you will forget.