America's 6 Top Adventure Resorts

These retreats are perfect for families seeking a healthy blend of adventure and relaxation.

U.S. News & World Report

America's 6 Top Adventure Resorts

Terranea Resort Lighthouse
Credit

(Courtesy of Terranea Resort)

Embrace exhilarating outdoor pursuits and spectacular scenery in these rugged getaways.

More and more families don't just want to just relax on vacation together. They want to share boundary-pushing experiences that forge long-lasting memories. And to cater to adventurers, these resorts offer paddling, zip lining and other active, adrenaline-pumping activities that both raise and lower heart rates in style. Whether you want to brave white-water rapids or enjoy challenging hikes before relaxing poolside, these six resorts provide ample opportunity to bond as a family while snapping epic Instagram-worthy vacation photos.
aerial view of Terranea Resort
Credit

(Courtesy of Terranea Resort)

Terranea Resort

Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Kayak among California gray whales, sea lions and dolphins at Terranea Resort, located on a rounded bluff 45 minutes south of Los Angeles International Airport in Palos Verdes. Terranea offers a variety of adventures, including kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, horseback riding and even falconry demonstrations on its 102 oceanside acres. Hike the resort's coastal Discovery Trail past tide pools to the Point Vicente Interpretive Center, where volunteers scan the ocean for whale activity and a museum details the area's natural history. Afterward, enjoy the heated pools or a spa treatment and savor meals at one of Terranea's four acclaimed gourmet restaurants that use produce harvested on-site.
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Embrace exhilarating outdoor pursuits and spectacular scenery in these rugged getaways.

More and more families don't just want to just relax on vacation together. They want to share boundary-pushing experiences that forge long-lasting memories. And to cater to adventurers, these resorts offer paddling, zip lining and other active, adrenaline-pumping activities that both raise and lower heart rates in style. Whether you want to brave white-water rapids or enjoy challenging hikes before relaxing poolside, these six resorts provide ample opportunity to bond as a family while snapping epic Instagram-worthy vacation photos.

Terranea Resort

Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Kayak among California gray whales, sea lions and dolphins at Terranea Resort, located on a rounded bluff 45 minutes south of Los Angeles International Airport in Palos Verdes. Terranea offers a variety of adventures, including kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, horseback riding and even falconry demonstrations on its 102 oceanside acres. Hike the resort's coastal Discovery Trail past tide pools to the Point Vicente Interpretive Center, where volunteers scan the ocean for whale activity and a museum details the area's natural history. Afterward, enjoy the heated pools or a spa treatment and savor meals at one of Terranea's four acclaimed gourmet restaurants that use produce harvested on-site.

Adventures on the Gorge: The Adventure Resort

Lansing, West Virginia

Take on some of the best fall season white-water rafting on the planet when Adventures on the Gorge Adventure Resort tackles the Gauley River. Every September, water is released from Summersville Dam into the Gauley River, creating 26 miles of churning rapids including many Class V category rapids. Overnight trips, complete with a chuck wagon-style dinner, are offered. Enjoy a range of other rafting trips throughout the year, as well as rock climbing and paddleboarding on Summerville Lake. The TreeTops Canopy zip line tour and Timbertrek Adventure Park add more thrills. Afterward, retire to your well-appointed cabin or grab dinner at one of the on-site restaurants.

Echo Canyon River Expeditions

Cañon City, Colorado

Stay in style in a luxury cabin or go glamping in a tent by night and shoot the Colorado's Arkansas River rapid by day at Echo Canyon River Expeditions near Cañon City. Half-, full- and multiday rafting adventures range from family-friendly float trips for children ages 4 and older to rougher water in the 1,000-foot-deep Royal Gorge for rafters ages 14 and up. What's more, the vacation rental, located on Echo Canyon Campground, offers three beds and can sleep six guests. Prices start at $295 per night for two guests.

Angel Fire Resort

Angel Fire, New Mexico

Nestled in northern New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Angel Fire Resort is a premiere winter ski destination. But come summer, ski runs transform into a 60-mile mountain bike course with flow trails. Bike riders are transported to the top of runs via chairlifts and descend more than 2,000 vertical feet to the base. Banks, jumps, man-made ramps and other big features cater to expert thrill-seekers, and beginners have plenty of mellow, long switchbacks to enjoy. The on-site bike shop rents bikes, and Angel Fire's other amenities, including its indoor pool and golf course, along with its abundant opportunities for hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities, keep visitors or all ages happy.

South Seas Island Resort

Captiva, Florida

Learn to sail or improve your sailing skills on Captiva Island with OffShore Sailing School at South Seas Island Resort. Choose from the three-day course, half-day course over five days or enjoy an intro sailing lesson with a two- or six-hour cruise. Beginners to experienced sailors interested in advancing their skills or racing are welcome. Aside from learning to sail, you can enjoy collecting seashells along the resort's beaches, go for nature walks with Sanibel Sea School staff and soak in striking ocean views from one of several restaurants and your hotel room or suite.

Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

Mount Carmel, Utah

Located just outside of Zion National Park, Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort offers plenty of activities for those who love the great outdoors, including canyoneering, horseback riding, ATV tours, rafting, rock climbing wall, zip lining and other family-friendly adventure activities – and that's just on its property. Shuttles take guests to trailheads within the national park, and accommodations range from upscale vacation homes to covered wagons to tent areas with access to resort facilities. Even better, the on-site Ray's Restaurant and chuck wagon Dutch-oven dinners (accompanied by a wagon ride in the summertime) will keep you fueled.
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Steve Larese, Contributor

Steve Larese is a New Mexico-based travel journalist whose features and photos are found in ...  Read more

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