For now, we can be armchair travelers.
We can dream, imagine and plan. Here are five places where beautiful scenery, wide open spaces and compelling adventures await.
One of the least populated countries in the world, Namibia begs to be explored. From the capital city of Windhoek to the stark Skeleton Coast, you’ll find a timeless landscape where desert-adapted wildlife – elephants, lions and the rare, black rhino – share the vast landscape with birds, antelopes, cape foxes and brown hyenas. Drive through barren moonscapes and search for small herds of Hartmann’s zebras or find pink flamingos and other migratory birds in a coastal wetland. Hike up Namibia’s highest ochre-colored sand dune and watch the sunset before slip-sliding down. Few people and sparse development translate into a magnificent display of stars. Don’t forget to look up.
Discover the Wonders of Palau
This Pacific archipelago, made up of 500 islands is one of the richest ecosystems on the planet, and home to more than 1,300 species of fish and 700 species of coral. During your visit to this aquatic wonderland you can paddle and snorkel amid the multi-colored brain coral of the Rock Islands, which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Hike to waterfalls, dive amid sharks, giant manta rays, turtles and bright blue starfish, and kayak in caves, through mangroves and to hidden lagoons. History lovers will find the WWII heritage compelling.
Adventure in Alaska.
Our sparsely populated and endlessly captivating 49th state lures those who yearn for epic scenery, spouting whales and glaciers the size of small countries. Experience family travel in rugged Alaska by road and rail, via boutique yachts and expedition ships that set sail for adventure beginning each Spring.
Aboard smaller vessels you’ll have meaningful cultural experiences, find your way to natural nooks and crannies, opt for hiking and kayaking and discover rarely visited wilderness areas, increasing the chance for up-close wildlife viewing. Those who venture to America’s last frontier will be rewarded with Mother Nature in all her glory. In the short term, visit the state’s inspirational website to order your free travel planning guide.
Saddle up at the Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, Mont.
Just a stone’s throw from Yellowstone National Park’s northwest border, in the shadow of Lone Peak, you’ll find a cluster of hand-built cabins. Authentic and luxurious, the historic accommodations, tucked creekside, in the pine trees or in meadows, help visitors conjure the days when the property was a working cattle ranch, operating in untamed country. Then, like now, the region is home to stunning vistas, and abundant wildlife including grizzlies, black bears, bison and wolves. In the company of guides or on your own, adventurers have the chance to fish Blue Ribbon trout streams and explore the last best place via horseback, Nordic and downhill skis, snowshoes and on the many hiking trails in the area.
Explore the North Shore from Grand Marais, Minn.
Located on the shores of Lake Superior, this friendly, harborside village blends an artistic, creative vibe with an adventurous spirit. Home to nationally renowned artist schools and galleries, Grand Marais also serves as the gateway to the Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Hike Pincushion Mountain, set sail on Superior or bike along the shoreline. Plan a side trip down the 57-mile, historic Gunflint Trail, from which you’ll have the option to paddle across glacier-carved lakes, hike through ancient forests, fish for Walleye and sample Northwoods hospitality.
If you are looking for adventure and comfort on your next vacation consider a “luxpedition.”
Cycle through Europe or Asia and rest your legs in luxury hotels. Reach the trails of the Alps by river cruise and train. Or explore the wilds of South America while enjoying fine dining. Here are 11 trips that bring together some of the best active experiences and accommodations in the world
Visit the Awasi Patagonia Lodge with Surtrek and explore in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park with a personal guide, selecting from excursions such as hiking to panoramic views, horseback riding beneath the towering spires or taking in the icebergs from Grey Glacier.
On Sojourn Bicycling & Active Vacations’ new tour in France, explore the dramatic landscape of the Alps by bike and stay in luxury accommodations. Start at the picturesque lake in Annecy, ride a Tour de France climb and finish at the foot of Mont Blanc in Chamonix, resting at a Relais & Chateau hotel.
Camp in style on a classic Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu in Peru. After acclimatizing in luxury accommodations in Cusco, enjoy hot showers, fine cuisine in a portable dining tent, a cot to sleep on and excellent service during the guided trek through spectacular Andean scenery to the Inca ruins.
Ride nearly 1,800 miles across South Korea and Japan on TDA Global Cycling’s newest hotel-to-hotel tour, the Journey to the East. Pedal through modern cities and over lonely mountain roads, past temples, volcanoes, hot springs and heritage sites.
At Wyoming’s 25,000-acre Red Reflet Ranch, spend the day riding horses, shooting, herding cattle and learning the ropes. Once the work is done, sit down to a gourmet meal made of beef from the ranch’s butcher shop and produce grown in its garden before retiring to a luxury chalet.
On a new itinerary from Riviera River Cruises, cruise through the Rhine Gorge to Switzerland, then travel by train into the Alps, climbing over jaw-dropping precipices aboard the famed Glacier Express. In Zermatt, explore the trails on foot or ride a cog railway to 10,000 feet.
Cast for big brown and feisty rainbow trout in Argentine Patagonia with Frontiers and stay in the new Alumine River Lodge, which offers comfort and unparalleled access to the Pilolil Canyon and numerous tributary rivers and spring creeks.
: On a new trip with Tourissimo and Ride & Seek, cycle the hallowed gravel strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany through rolling hills covered with vineyards and quaint medieval villages, and enjoy the food and wines of one of Italy’s finest culinary regions.
Rent a luxurious mountain home in Montana’s exclusive Moonlight Basin community and ski Big Sky Resort’s 5,800 acres of steep and deep terrain. A stay at Moonlight Basin also provides access to the private Moonlight Lodge, and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking on snowy trails.
Cycle from Bangkok to Phuket, Thailand, with Grasshopper Adventures and take in the Gulf of Thailand, Khao Sok National Park and the Andaman Coast from the saddle, then rest at a four-star hotel, a golf resort and a beachside resort.
Explore wild and wooded Siberia on a MIR Corporation trip in winter, when Lake Baikal freezes hard enough to travel over its surface. Dash through the taiga on a traditional troika ride, race teams of sled dogs and sweep across the frozen lake by hovercraft to sacred Olkhon Island.