50 Adventures to Have in Your Lifetime

Walk on the Great Wall of China, swim with sharks, chase the northern lights…what’s on your travel bucket list? We picked out 50 unforgettable adventures that we plan to have in our lifetime. We hope this list inspires you, as well.

Tim and I spent months, years even, brainstorming this list. We wanted to come up with 50 travel-related adventures that not only sounded exciting to us, but are also doable for many people.

We know what it is like to have limited time to travel (Tim works a full-time job and we have two kids in school). So we wanted to include a good mix of life-changing multi-day adventures with spine-tingling, adrenaline rushes that can be done in a day or less.

There are hundreds of activities we could have added to this list. It was very difficult narrowing it down to just 50…but here they are. 50 adventures we plan to do in our lifetime…want to join us?

Our 50 Adventures

COMPLETED  |  IN THE WORKS

#1  Hike the Zion Narrows
#2  Tour du Mont Blanc
#3  Bolivia Salt Flats
#4  Raft the Colorado River
#5  Conquer the GR20
#6  Swim with Jellyfish in Palau
#7  Svalbard
#8  Gorilla Trekking
#9  Hike Half Dome
#10  Drive the Karakoram Highway
#11  Hike the Dolomites
#12  Stand on Kjeragbolten
#13  Hike to Machu Picchu
#14  Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
#15  Great Barrier Reef
#16  Tajikistan & Kyrgyzstan
#17  Hot Air Balloon Flight

#18  Tongariro Alpine Crossing
#19  Havasu Falls
#20  Camel Safari
#21  Galapagos Islands
#22  Nile River Cruise
#23  Annapurna Circuit
#24  Zip-Lining
#25  Dog Sledding
#26  Torres del Paine
#27  Aurora Borealis
#28  Tramping in New Zealand
#29  The Amazon
#30  Angels Landing
#31  Walk on a Glacier
#32  Petra
#33  Komodo Dragons in the Wild
#34  Hike Grand Canyon Rim to Rim

#35  Blackwater Rafting
#36  See the Wildebeest Migration
#37  Huayhuash Circuit
#38  Hike to Tiger’s Nest
#39  Antarctica
#40  Rock Climbing
#41  Swim with Sharks
#42  Hike the Great Wall of China
#43  Drive a Racecar
#44  Everest Base Camp Trek
#45  Bungy Jumping
#46  Kalalau Trail
#47  Trolltunga
#48  Camino de Santiago
#49  All-American Road Trip
#50  Hike the Julian Alps

The hike through the Zion Narrows is one that should be on every hiker’s bucket list. This is the quintessential slot canyon hike, with towering canyon walls, turquoise water, and gorgeous views every step of the way.

On our list for 2018.

This is one of the world’s premiere trekking routes. For 7 to 10 days, you hike around Mont Blanc through the Alps in Italy, France, and Switzerland. It’s a challenging route, with a total of 10,000 meters of ascent and descent, but you are rewarded with stunning mountain scenery and visits to quaint, alpine towns.

The Bolivia Salt Flats, also called Salar de Uyuni, is the world’s largest salt flat. It’s also one of the most surreal landscapes in the world. In March and April, the salt flats are covered with a few inches of standing water, creating an extraordinary, reflective landscape. During the remaining months, you can witness a vast, white landscape as far as the eye can see.

The Colorado River twists and turns through five national parks and a handful of state parks and national monuments. Take your pick from one-day adventures to multi-day excursions. Enjoy the experience as you drift through desert canyons and past some of the best scenery in the US.
The GR20 has been touted as one of the toughest trekking routes in Europe. This trail spans the spine of the island of Corsica, France. It is not technically challenging but those who plan to hike this need to be very physically fit and ready to hike along rugged, uneven trails.

Float in the emerald water of a lake in Palau, completely surrounded by millions of jellyfish. It sounds crazy, right? Palau’s Jellyfish Lake is home to a population of jellyfish with a sting so mild you barely feel it (so I have read). But wouldn’t that be wild, swimming among these soft, golden jellyfish in the tropical paradise of Palau?

Svalbard is a Norwegian island that sits on the northernmost region of the globe, not far from the North Pole. You can’t find penguins here, but if you’re lucky, you can see polar bears and walrus. Travel here if you want to kayak among glaciers, go hiking, sled dogging, or snowmobiling.

You’ll see us here this summer.

Trek through the steamy jungles in Rwanda or Uganda for an up close look at gorillas. It’s expensive and your time with the gorillas is short (you only get one hour on most excursions) but many people walk away from the experience awestruck.

Half Dome is one of Yosemite’s most challenging and most memorable hikes. The best part is the final climb on the Half Dome cables. Not only do you get the thrill of clinging to the side of Half Dome, you also get to enjoy one of the best views of Yosemite from the top of the dome.

Read more: Hiking Half Dome in Yosemite, a Step-By-Step Guide

Do you want to take on the most dangerous road trip on the planet? The Karakoram Highway (KKH) is the world’s highest paved highway, connecting China to Pakistan through the Himalayas. Not only is this journey dangerous but the landscape is spectacular.

The Dolomites, located in Italy, are one of our favorite places in the world to go hiking. The landscapes are simply breathtaking, the trails are a blast, and some hikes add in a Via Ferrata or gondolas to really keep things interesting.

Hiking to Kjeragbolten, this giant boulder wedged between two cliffs, is our favorite hike of all time. Why? It’s not just because you get the chance to do something absolutely crazy, stepping out onto the boulder, it’s also because this hike is just downright fun. Do you dare?

Read More:  The Complete Guide to Kjeragbolten

It’s one thing to arrive in Machu Picchu by bus or train, but it’s quite another to get there on your own two feet. You have multiple options to do this, including the classic 4 day Inca trail trek, the one day hike along the Inca trail, the Salkantay trek, and the Lares trek.

Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. Getting to Uhuru Peak, the summit of Kilimanjaro (5,888 meters, 19,318 feet) is a popular bucket list item for many travelers and adventurers. This climb is popular since little technical experience is required and the experience is amazing. Do you want to stand on top of Mount Kilimanjaro?

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the Natural Wonders of the World, joining the list with sites like Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon, and the Aurora Borealis (all of which also make our top 50 adventures list). This 2,300 kilometer long reef supports a wide range of wildlife, including fish, birds, sea turtles, and sharks. Swimming among the colorful, tropical fish and coral is an unforgettable experience.
The mountainous landscapes of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan look breathtaking in their beauty. Both are a trekker’s paradise and we can’t decide which one we should visit first.
Soar over gorgeous landscapes, get a bird’s eye view of the world, and enjoy the peaceful journey by hot air balloon. It’s something worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime and it can easily be worked into many travel itineraries, especially if you are in the right spot.

Labeled as the best single day hike in New Zealand, some people even consider this hike to be the best single day hike in the world. Here is your chance to hike in the shadow of Mt. Doom, walk through an almost lunar landscape, and watch as semi-dormant volcanoes smoke just a short distance from the trail.

Read more: The Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand’s Best Single Day Hike

Havasu Falls is a gorgeous oasis in the desert. The turquoise waters, roaring waterfalls, and orange and red sandstone cliffs are what make Havasu Falls simply fabulous. To get here, it’s a 10-mile hike one way, but your reward, and the whole reason for going on this adventure, is to spend a day, or two (or three!) exploring the waterfalls, swimming, and enjoying this awesome spot in the American southwest.

Cross wind swept sand dunes, see stunning desert scenery, and journey away from the city lights into the desert, all while perched atop a camel. For a unique experience, book a multi-day camel trek, where you sleep under the stars or in tents in the desert.
Journey to the Galapagos Islands to see Giant Tortoises, marine iguanas, albatross, penguins, and Blue-footed boobies. What is the best way to see these animals? Get up close by snorkeling, kayaking, and diving or by volunteering with habitat restoration. You can even hike around Sierra Negra, the world’s second largest volcanic crater. It’s a trip of a lifetime.

This is another experience of a lifetime. Journey back in time as you sail on the Nile River and visit King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple, and other ancient Egyptian sites.

This is often voted as the best long distance trekking route in the world. This trek takes you from warm, tropical Nepal up into the Himalayas on a trade route. As you ascend higher, the landscapes are simply breathtaking in their beauty. Getting to Thorong La Pass, at 5,416 meters (17, 770 feet), is the most difficult but most spectacular part of the journey.
Tons of fun and with no technical experience required, zip-lining is perfect for almost all ages. Soar among the treetops and feel like you are flying over canyons, rivers, and stunning landscapes. It’s an exhilarating experience and the perfect activity to add into your travel itinerary if you are looking for pure fun.
Wouldn’t it be cool (literally!) to drive a team of dogs across a snowy landscape? You don’t have to race the entire Iditarod for this experience, there are companies that let you experience mushing for several hours. But if you want a real adventure, how about a multi-day journey camping or staying in lodges along the way.
Patagonia is a hiker’s paradise. The Cordillera del Paine is the diamond in the crown of Patagonia. In Torres del Paine National Park, there are numerous day hikes to choose from. Take your pick from the 5 day “W” trek or the longer “O” trek where you also get to hike around the backside of the Cordillera del Paine (and leave the crowds behind).
The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is something that makes the bucket list of many travelers. Getting to see these lights requires traveling to the Arctic Circle during the right time of year and keeping your fingers crossed for clear skies and favorable conditions.
New Zealand is home to some amazing multi-day treks. You can hike along mountain ridges, through forests and beaches, and through some of the most stunning scenery in the world. These long distance treks are called “Great Walks” for very good reason…which one do you want to do?
The Amazon rainforest is one of most biodiverse regions in the world. It spans over 5 million square kilometers in 9 countries in South America. You can cruise down the Amazon River, visit the small towns in the Amazon basin, or stay in a reserve within the rainforest.

Angels Landing is the most popular hike in Zion National Park. The final climb of the hike involves scaling a narrow ridge high above the valley floor. With chain-assisted rock scrambling sections, stunning views, and vertigo-inducing heights, this really is a thrilling hike.

Read more: Angels Landing Survival Guide: Things to Know Before You Go

Strap on some crampons, grab an ice pick, and set off on a very cool adventure. This is like hiking, only now you are walking over crunchy blue ice through frozen landscapes, another unique experience to add to the bucket list!
That first glimpse of the Treasury from the Siq is a thrill. And there’s a lot more to do in Petra that just stare up at the Treasury (although that’s pretty awesome!). Hike up to the Monastery, climb up to the High Place of Sacrifice, or explore the hiking trails that take you away from the more touristy parts of Petra.

Read more: The Best Things to See in Petra

Komodo Dragons are giant lizards that roam several islands in Indonesia. Komodo National Park, which is located in between Bali and Flores Island, is the place that these prehistoric lizards call home. Strap on your hiking shoes and go trekking into the jungle in search of these miniature dinosaurs.

Sure, it’s an awesome experience to see panoramic views of the Grand Canyon from an overlook. But if you really want an adventure, how about hiking from the rim, down to the Colorado River, and then back up to the rim? This is another long, challenging hike but it is an epic journey through one of the world’s most famous landscapes.

On our list for 2018.

What is black water rafting, you ask? It’s a bit of a misnomer, but black water rafting is tubing down underground rivers in the semi-darkness. Sometimes, rappelling, climbing, and zip-lining is combined into the experience. It’s very unique and there are only a few spots in the world where you can do this.

Watching the wildebeest migration is one of nature’s most raw and dramatic events. Every year, the wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti to Masaai Mara in search of water and food. The highlight of the journey are the river crossings, where crocodiles patiently wait, submerged underwater, ready to bring down the wildebeest as they enter the water.
If you want to hike among one of the most spectacular mountain landscapes in the world, put the Huayhuash Circuit high on your list. This 8 to 12 day trek takes you through stunning alpine landscapes in Peru, where you will hike past mountain lakes, snow-capped mountains, and some of the highest peaks in South America. It’s strenuous and difficult, but sometimes the best experiences are also the most challenging.
The Tiger’s Nest is a Buddhist monastery perched on the side of a cliff, 900 meters off of the ground. It is a long climb to get here, but oh, what a view. Prayer flags are waving in the air and you can smell the incense and hear the Buddhist monks in prayer.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Hiking to the Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan

Antarctica…the last great wilderness. This is the land of icebergs, penguins, and raw, arctic landscapes. It’s one of the best destinations in the world if you seek adventure. Kayak among icebergs, visit penguin colonies, go whale watching, hiking, and mountaineering, and even take a plunge into the icy waters…if you dare!
Defy gravity and scale a rocky cliff. Not only is it a thrill, and a sense of accomplishment to get to the top of the climb, but you are rewarded with unique views from the top of the climb.
Swimming in shark infested waters…this is another “do you dare?” type of adventure. Hotspots include Beqa Lagoon, Fiji (for tiger sharks), Isla Mujeres, Cancun (for whale sharks), Cocos Island, Costa Rica (hammerheads and white tip sharks), and Gansbaai, South Africa (for great white shark cage diving).

The Great Wall of China makes it onto many traveler’s bucket lists, but to add some adventure to the visit, hike or camp on an unrestored section of the wall. You can do this as a day trip from Beijing or you can spend several days camping and trekking along the Great Wall.

Read more: Hiking Jiankou to Mutianyu on the Great Wall of China

Wouldn’t it be really cool to drive a race car? Well, you can! For the ultimate adrenaline rush, drive a dragster at 130 mph or drive a NASCAR race car on a premier raceway.
The Everest Base Camp Trek takes those willing to do it through some of the most gorgeous terrain in the world.  Hike among the Himalayas, spin the prayer wheels, and visit Buddhist monasteries on the way. This is the trip of a lifetime.

Read more: Trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal

Attach yourself to a giant rubberband and throw yourself off of a bridge. Sounds like fun, right? Bungy jumping is five seconds of terror, exhilaration, and pure craziness. If you want the biggest adrenaline rush ever, add bungy jumping to your adventure bucket list.

Read more: A Tale of Four Bungy Jumps

Maybe this is just a reason to add Hawaii to the list, but the Kalalau Trail is labeled as one of the most beautiful and most dangerous hikes in the world. Located on the island of Kauai, hike along the gorgeous coastal landscape of the Napali Coast.
Trolltunga is one of Norway’s most popular hikes for good reason. It is an incredibly scenic hike, ending at the Troll’s tongue, a thin sliver of rock perfect for creative photographs. This is definitely a hike to add to your bucket list.

Read more: Hiking to Trolltunga: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Best Experience

The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. There are numerous routes to get here, however, the most popular is the French Way (Camino Frances), starting in St Jean Pied de Port and ending 790km (490 miles) later in Santiago de Compostela. The Camino Frances takes you through quaint villages and the more lively cities of Pamplona, Logrono (the capital city of the Rioja wine region), and Leon. As you immerse yourself in the culture of northern Spain and make friends with other pilgrims along the way, this no doubt is an experience of a lifetime.
The American southwest is one of the USA’s best road trip destinations. There are the breathtaking vistas of the Grand Canyon, thrilling hiking trails in Zion National Park, and millions of hoodoos to photograph in Bryce Canyon. Are you getting excited yet? The list keeps going, with the sweeping views of Monument Valley, dusty, off-road adventures in Grand Staircase-Escalante, and numerous slot canyons to scramble through.

Read more: 10 Days in the American Southwest: The Ultimate Road Trip

Triglav National Park, with it’s rugged, rocky mountain range, glacial lakes, and river gorges, is a playground for hikers and outdoor adventurers. Climbing to the top of Mt. Triglav, the centerpiece of the Julian Alps, takes two days and requires the use of rock climbing gear. For those with less time, take you pick from one of many stunning day hikes in the Julian Alps.

On our list for 2018.

 
 
 

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