14 Beautiful Destinations to Visit if Adventure Is Your Top Priority

by Colleen Stinchcombe
Feb 10, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Vacation days are limited, and while we could probably all use the time to relax, some of us crave something even more strongly: adventure. It’s not enough for us to hit up the local tourist hot spots or lounge in a Jacuzzi. We want to push our bodies to their limits, see places few have dared to venture and meet the natural world as an equal player.

Sometimes, it feels like our list of must-do activities only grows longer, not shorter, and there won’t be enough time to take on all the stunning travel opportunities there are in the world. Well, we’re sorry to say we're adding a few more to the list anyway. We searched for the most awe-inspiring, Instagram-worthy, adventure-filled destinations (and activities) on the planet.

We hope you have some mileage points. These trips are going to make your PTO disappear in a snap.

1 /14: Cage Diving In Gansbaai, South Africa

1/14 :Cage Diving In Gansbaai, South Africa

Get up close and personal with wild great white sharks in an epic cage-diving excursion in South Africa. When you’re not in the cage, watch for sharks feeding on a colony of more than 50,000 Cape fur seals.

2 /14: Hike the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal

2/14 :Hike the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal

Perfect for the long-distance backpacker, this trek is between 100 and 145 miles through some of the best trails in the Annapurna mountain range. But be ready for some altitude: It reaches its highest point at more than 17,000 feet elevation.

3 /14: Snorkel or Dive in a Cenote in Tulum, Mexico

3/14 :Snorkel or Dive in a Cenote in Tulum, Mexico

Cenotes, or natural sinkholes filled with fresh water from underground rivers, were sacred places to the Mayans, one of the few areas to get fresh water in salt-soaked waterways. They’re also known for their crystal-clear views for dozens of feet, meaning they’re great snorkeling and diving opportunities.

4 /14: Rafting the Franklin River in Tasmania

4/14 :Rafting the Franklin River in Tasmania

The Franklin River, which runs through Tasmania’s World Heritage Area, is one of the most stunning rafting areas in the world. Camp, whitewater raft and hike to the 4,700-foot-tall Frenchmans Cap on a 10-day excursion.

5 /14: Heli-Skiing in Iceland

5/14 :Heli-Skiing in Iceland

Go to incredible mountaintop heights and experience previously untouched powder by taking on heli-skiing in Iceland. Then return to a warm cabin with a geothermal water Jacuzzi to rest your weary legs.

6 /14: Kayak New Zealand’s Fiordland

6/14 :Kayak New Zealand’s Fiordland

The Fiordland in New Zealand is known for its stunning beauty, and one way to see it and also fill your sense of adventure is to kayak around the Milford Sound.

7 /14: Hike the Pu'u Manamana Trail in Oahu

7/14 :Hike the Pu'u Manamana Trail in Oahu

Known as the most dangerous hike on Oahu, this trail goes straight up and then along a narrow ridge. It’s only four miles, but most take several hours to complete it due to its intensity. But if you can put aside your fear of heights — and have the experience to stay safe — the views from the top are incredible.

8 /14: Hike to Angel Falls in Venezuela

8/14 :Hike to Angel Falls in Venezuela

See the world’s highest waterfall on an epic hike to 3,212-foot-high Angel Falls. You have several options for a trek, from a short three-day, two-night trek to a 10-day, nine-night trek that is part swimming, part hiking and part river travel.

9 /14: Snowmobile in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

9/14 :Snowmobile in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Bring yourself to the middle of nowhere via snowmobile for the most unpolluted view of the northern lights in Sweden. The famous Icehotel has tours that leave from its front door, and the tour stops along the way at a cabin so you can warm up and eat dinner.

10 /14: Go Sailing in Greece

10/14 :Go Sailing in Greece

Get the best of both worlds by partying (or relaxing) on a sailboat tour among the stunning Greek islands of Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Koufonisia and Santorini.

11 /14: Hike Mount Stromboli in the Aeolian Islands

11/14 :Hike Mount Stromboli in the Aeolian Islands

Come face to face with this active volcano in Italy, and stick around to see the lava sparks light up the sky. Be sure to plan in advance, though. Only a few guided tours are allowed every day.

12 /14: Go Dog Sledding in Finland

12/14 :Go Dog Sledding in Finland

Bundle up and lead your own dog team through an overnight snowy wonderland in Lapland, Finland. Keep an eye out for local wildlife and you might even get a glimpse of aurora borealis.

13 /14: Swim With Jellyfish in the Socorro Islands

13/14 :Swim With Jellyfish in the Socorro Islands

If you’re a fan of gorgeous jellyfish but not a fan of their sting, take a trip to Tojoman Lagoon, where the spotted jelly have lost their sting over time, making them harmless enough to swim with.

14 /14: Witness the Great Bat Migration in Zambia

14/14 :Witness the Great Bat Migration in Zambia

Witness the world’s largest mammal migration by taking an epic safari in Zambia to watch 8 million bats migrate from the Congo to Kasanka National Park.