A romantic vacation with your partner in the lavender fields of France or the crystal waters of an all-inclusive Caribbean resort sounds delightful to a great many travelers. However, for some of us, that sounds like boredom personified. Some of us need adrenaline! We need adventure in the great unknown, an itinerary full of mountain biking, hiking active volcanoes, and chasing northern lights. Adventure is out there, and we have found it. In this list, we have gathered all the best vacations for active couples, sure to deliver that adrenaline high! Let’s go!
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The Best Active Vacation For Couples
1. The Camino de Santiago
“The Way of Saint James” is one of the most famous historic pilgrimages on earth. However, movies like The Way have exposed this once Catholic religious journey to the wider world. No pilgrims of all faiths, and for all reasons, choose to hike The Camino each year.
The famous hike has several routes, but the most well-known starts in Southern France, and traverses Northern Spain, to finish at the glorious chapel of Santiago de Compostela. It’s a 500-mile journey, and it will take most people 30-40 days to complete. There are much shorter routes that can be done on a week-long vacation though!
The trek is for any couple who wants to spend time together in immense natural beauty. You will stay in hostels and share beers with other trekkers along the way. The relationship aspect is a huge part of the lure of The Camino. It is both social and romantic, all at the same time. Plus, you will have some killer calves by the end of your holiday! The best time to take on The Camino is between April and September.
2. Olympic National Park
One of the most majestic landscapes in North America is Olympic National Park in Northern Washington State. The enormous park spans over one million acres, and 95% percent of that is declared wilderness. It is a land of snow-covered peaks, sweeping vistas, and towering pines.
Olympic is an adventurer’s dream. It is home to the HOH Rainforest, one of the most magical hikes ever! It is the only rainforest in the Continental United States, and it is dripping in every shade of green, as moss-covered trees for a natural cathedral all around you. The rugged coastline is dotted with outstanding beaches for tidepool exploring, and then there is the hiking.
For a glorious and romantic trail, pack up your daypack and hit the Klahhane Trail. You and your boo will get past the crowds of Hurricane Ridge pretty quickly and head into the peaks. You‘ll cross deep pine forests and wide-open wildflower fields, enjoying panoramic views of both the Olympic mountains and neighboring Canada. The hike will likely take you 4-5 hours, but it is totally worth it. For a less romantic, but more exciting hike, take on the ropes and tight walks of The Storm King.
Olympic really has it all—gorgeous beaches, incredible mountain hikes, and wildlife spotting. Plus, the town of Port Angeles is really cute and a relaxing place to spend a week. If exploring in the wilderness if your idea of a romantic date, then Olympic National Park is your place!
Southwest Turkey is the ultimate travel destination for active couples. Fly into Istanbul and explore the major attractions for a few days, then rent a car and take to the road! You can hit amazing spots like the ancient city of Ephesus and Troy. You can paraglide over the mountains and the beautiful beach of Oludeniz. It’s one of the most popular places in the world for paragliding.
Next, hit up the white peaks and blue pools of Pammukale, and then trek the waterway of Saklikent Gorge. The latter is a stunning hike, similar to The Narrows at Zion National Park. End your trip with a hot air balloon ride over the magical fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. Cappadocia should take up a few of your days. You can ride ATVs or horses through Rose Valley. Giggle together at the giant phallic monuments of Love Valley, and explore the smaller villages outside of Goreme. You will marvel at the ingenuity of the ancients, eat some of the best food in the world, and experience a culture that is rich and welcoming. It’s one of the best road trips on the planet!
Iceland is full of natural wonders. It’s an incredible landscape of unique waterfalls, flowing lava, ice caves, painted mountains, and hot springs. There is something fabulous and new around every corner of this incredible Icelandic road trip!
Land in Reykjavik and take a quick tour. Then, snap up an SUV or campervan. Drive the Ring Road, taking a day at the beginning or end to explore the Golden Circle (an area of some of the most visited tourist attractions near Reykjavik). Give yourself about ten days to do the entire route.
While there is a lifetime of exploration to be done on this little island, some of the highlights are Thingvellir National Park, Scuba Diving the Continental Divide at Silfra, and snorkeling with whales at Strytan Divecenter near Akureyri. You’ll visit glass beaches, natural hot springs, and hike over glaciers. If you visit in winter, you can enter the ice caves. If you visit in summer, you can take a 4×4 into the interior of the island and visit Landmannalauger‘s colored mountains.
5. Glacier National Park
You have no doubt seen those towering peaks of Glacier National Park, covered in mountain goats and wildflowers, filling your social media feed. If you have never visited this Montana beauty, now is the time! Glacier is nothing short of glorious. There are challenging trails, intact glaciers, and tons of wildlife. The top thing to do is to drive the Going To The Sun road. However, Glacier has so much more than that!
Our favorite trail is the Highline to Grinnell Glacier Trail. It is long, and the last few hundred meters are brutal…but oh the ending! The Grinnel Glacier Trail ends with a panoramic view of the glacier and several glacial lakes. It’s not a technically difficult trail at all, but it will take you most of the day.
If that sounds like too much for you and your boo, then take on one of the shorter hiking trails in the park. There are over 700 miles of them. You can also enjoy a white water rafting adventure or fly fishing with Glacier Raft Company! If Glacier sounds perfect to you, we have gathered all the important info for you!
Warning: Glacier is extremely busy. The parking lots will be full by 8 am. Get there early!
6. Antigua, Guatemala
We will probably never write an adventure article and not include Antigua, Guatemala. This little gem in Central America is romantic, budget-friendly, and full of adventure! Stroll hand in hand on the cute cobblestone streets. Peruse the markets. Marvel at the fallen and earthquake-damaged cathedrals. Shop in the local markets full of handmade textiles and basketry. Learn to make chocolate in the town square, and get your fill of authentic food in adorable cafés.
After a couple of days of that, it’s time for adventure! Lake Atitlan is your neighbor, and it is gorgeous. Kayaking and Canoeing are popular on the lake, and scoring a rental is easy for the day. ATV and horseback riding in the surrounding mountains is a great way to spend the day. Local guides will help you identify useful plants, tell stories of Mayan history, and introduce you to local villages.
Perhaps, the biggest thrill in the area is the hike to the top of the Acatenango Volcano. Acatenango is dormant, but its neighbor, Volcán de Fuego is certainly not! Guided tours take brave travelers on a camping trip you will never forget. The hike is a bit tough, but it‘s doable by most people. Once you reach basecamp, you will set up for the night and get ready.
When darkness falls, Fuego puts on a show, and you are right in front of it to see every spark fly! It is an incredible experience. The tour is topped off by a peak summit the next morning for the most incredible sunrise you have ever seen, rising over the multiple volcanic peaks surrounding you.
Tours leave from Antigua daily. There are numerous companies in the city that will provide you with your own guide and everything you need to take on the challenge. If you want a true adventure in a totally underrated location, book your tickets to Antigua now!
7. The Grand Tetons
Perhaps the most picturesque mountains on earth, The Grand Tetons are amazing. Plus, you can easily combine them with Yellowstone National Park for one epic Wyoming road trip! We think the Tetons are a pretty spot-on vacation destination for an active couple. First of all, Jackson Hole is an adorable little town, nestled at the base of the mountains. It features antique markets, cute diners, and a rustic theme that is quaint and inviting.
The Snow King Mountain Resort is a treasure trove of adventure with an alpine slide, rocking climbing, a roller coaster, and bungee trampolines. The Via Ferrata mirrors the famous hikes of the same name in the Italian Dolomites, and consists of a series of cables, iron rungs, suspension bridges, and ladders to tackle!
For hiking lovers, take on the trail from String Lakes to Paintbrush Canyon and Cascade Canyon. Not only will you see some of the most beautiful portions of the park, but you will also likely encounter elk, moose, and bison on your trek.
Kruger National Park in South Africa is probably the most popular safari in the world. There are amazing ones in Botswana too, but our favorite African wildlife spot is Tanzania. Tanzania is a paradise year-round. Intrepid mountaineers come from all over the world to tackle the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Instagrammers roll around on the perfect white sand beaches, and animal lovers load up in jeeps to catch of glimpse of Africa’s favorite residents.
If seeing a lion in the wild is on your bucket list, then the numerous wildlife conservation sites of Tanzania will be right up your alley. Start with Ngorongoro Crater. It is the largest intact volcanic crater in the world, and the area is loaded with wildlife. You will get up close and personal with zebra, cheetahs, rhino, and elephants! Oh yeah, Tanzania is also home to another little wildlife reserve you might have heard of… Serengeti National Park.
Once you have had your fill of the African Plains, head for the beach town of Dar es Salaam, or take a little boat ride over to the stunning island of Zanzibar. Here, you will find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, luxury hotels, and crystal blue waters. Adding a trip to Zanzibar makes this adventure the perfect romantic getaway for an active duo!
9. Page, Arizona
Arizona is a landscape like no other, and the entire state is gorgeous! If you have time, we recommend a full road trip, with stops in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Sedona, and Page. If you only have a few days, then Page is an incredible weekend getaway. It sits just on the border of Arizona and Utah, allowing you to explore both states.
The red rock wonder is loaded with hikes and outdoor adventures. You can see the major tourist site of Horseshoe Bend. You can take a hike along the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry. Rent a boat or do some watersports on gorgeous Lake Powell. Page is less than two hours from the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. You can easily explore the famous Antelope Canyon and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park too! It’s a stunning location with plenty to keep you busy for days.
10. Rovaniemi, Finland
There is no adventure trip in the world quite like Finnish Lapland. It’s a sprawling region of towering pines, massive snowbanks, and herds of wild reindeer. The farther north you go, the higher the reindeer to people ratio gets, and the scenery only gets more beautiful. If an escape from the busyness of life to an arctic wonderland sounds like the prescription to what ails you, then book a trip to Rovaniemi.
Rovaniemi Finland is loaded with outdoor adventures. You can go dogsledding, take a snowmobile tour, visit Santa’s village, camp on a frozen lake, go ice fishing, have a cookout under the Northern Lights, or stay in an ice cabin! There are so many bucket list items you can check off in this one little town!
We recommend a stay at Apukka Resort. They have several different types of accommodations ranging from a vintage camper near the frozen lake to luxury glass-roofed igloos. They also have an ice-cabin experience for the truly brave! You can book all your tours on sight, and they are all fantastic. Plus, the lodge is comfy, and the food is wonderful.
Don’t forget to include a few Finnish saunas during your trip. The Finns love a sauna, and you will see them absolutely everywhere. Just hop in. Get all sweaty, then run and jump in the nearest snowbank or body of water. It’s a truly exhilarating experience!
11. The Last Continent
Take a true voyage to one of the earth’s last great wilderness areas, while it is still relatively wild. For years, Antarctica was a journey for scientists and map makers. However, there are now hundreds of tourist cruises taking passengers to icy mass at the end of the earth every year.
Most visitors choose to hire a cruise leaving from Ushuaia, Argentina. The trip is difficult, and the ships can be expensive (though there are options all over the price spectrum). The journey through Drake’s Passage is an adrenaline rush on its own. The notorious little passage routinely produces 40-foot swells and lots of vomiting tourists.
Once you arrive, your itinerary is based on what type of cruise you booked and what excursions you choose. Most cruises will explore several of the islands, but bear in mind that larger cruise ships do not do as many expeditions, as they are not allowed to come into some of the areas. Smaller cruise ships will have excursions like polar plunges, zodiac cruises to uninhabited islands, sea kayaking, summit hikes, and even overnight camping.
Wanna know more about alluring Antarctica? We give you all the important history and travel deets in our guide “Do People Live in Antarctica?”.
12. Costa Rica
Exotic animals, lush jungles, towering waterfalls, and coastlines on two oceans…what is not to love? Costa Rica is an eco-wonderland, and it has some of the best tourist infrastructures in Central America. You can spend your week in a jungle treehouse, a beach cottage, or an ecovillage. Maybe, try them all!
The Pacific Coast beaches are stunning and draw surfers and animal lovers from all over the world. Visits to Manual Antonio National Park, Drake’s Bay, and Uvita are mandatory. The Caribbean coastline is less touristy and more local. It is a great place to volunteer with a sea turtle rehab mission or explore the giant eco-reserve Tortuga National Park.
The beaches are great, but the true jewel in Costa Rica’s crown is the interior jungles. Explore the sky bridges of Monteverde Rainforest. The incredible waterfalls of Catarata del Toro and the Blue Falls near the town of Grecia are truly spectacular. You can visit the hot springs near Arenal Volcano. There are several adventure parks built into the jungle featuring world-class zip lines, waterfall rappelling, and river tubing.
Costa Rica is adventure travel at its finest, with all the modern amenities you are accustomed to. Warning: You will not be able to explore this vast playground all in one trip. There is just way too much to see and do. Pick an area and explore it thoroughly. Costa Rica will always call you back!
13. New Zealand
Australia’s little eastern neighbor is packed with scenic vistas, glacier-covered peaks, and the greenest rolling hills you have ever seen. In short, New Zealand is pure magic. There really is no adventure activity that isn’t available here. The North Island features kayak tours of Rangitoto Island where you gaze on NZ’s newest volcano. You can enjoy some of the country’s best wineries on Waiheke Island. Abel Tasman National Park and Milford Sound are full of penguins and fur seals. You can even try your hand at sandboarding on the dunes at 90-Mile Beach.
The South Island features white water rafting on the Waiau Uwha River. Bungee jumpers can plummet from the platform at Nevis Bungy, the tallest in the country. Hikers can take on the Mount Cook Summit challenge. The Waitomo Glow Worm Caves are world-famous, and Lord of the Rings fans will definitely want to plan a visit to Hobbiton. Make sure to save a day or two for Auckland. She is a lovely city to explore!
14. Scottish Highlands
The entire country of Scotland is a nature lover’s delight. Plus, Scotland is one of the few countries in Europe that allows for wild camping. Yep, as long as there is no sign restricting it, you can just pop a tent and stay the night. Just use good manners. If you think it might be private property, or you are close to a building, ask the owner’s permission first, and always leave the place cleaner than you found it.
While camping your way through Scotland, make sure to visit the mountainous Isle of Skye. You will get lost in its stunning coastal cliff, mirror lakes, and Fairy Pools. The Highlands Games take place all summer and include bag-pipe bands and all sorts of traditional shenanigans. They occur all over Scotland and are a blast to attend!
“Munro Bagging“ is one of the top things to do in Scotland. A Munro is any mountain over 3,000 feet, and “bagging“ just means collecting peaks. See how many you can summit on your trip! Make sure to spend a few days exploring the historic city of Edinburgh.
Malta is a gorgeous country, no doubt, but for adventure travelers, Malta is a mecca for scuba diving! Some of the best shipwreck dives in the world are in the waters surrounding this little island nation. There are cliffs, reefs, and wrecks galore to explore. The Gozo Wrecks are probably the most famous. Here you can explore a sunken passenger ferry and Volkswagon Beetle, and they are diveable from the shore.
The Blue Hole Dive is popular with beginners, as it is only a 33-foot plunge. Swim through the arch leading to the open sea and peruse coral gardens filled with octopi, eels, and parrotfish. Then, follow The Chimney, a vertical cliff crack that leads back to the surface. These are just a couple of options, but Malta is a diver’s paradise. There are more dives than you can complete in any one trip, ranging from 20-80m and spanning all levels of expertise.
History buffs will love Malta as well. The island boasts temples that are older than the Great Pyramid, over 7,000 years of human history, and some of the most famous artworks in the world. Make sure to explore the nearby islands of Gozo and Comino too!
16. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
No surprise here, Lauterbrunnen Valley has long been touted as one of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth! A stunning green valley flanked by towering Swiss-Alp peaks and tumbling waterfalls. The half-timber homes are adorable. The windows are all lined with blooming flowers in every shade of pink. It’s just perfect!
Skiing, hiking, and waterfall chasing are just some of the adventures that this area has to offer. The adjacent valley is another one of the best places in the world to go paragliding. Airtime Paragliding will take you soaring over this incredible landscape on a tandem that gives you a bird’s eye view of one of the deepest U-valleys in the world. You will sail over 72 waterfalls and past the famous Schilthorn. It is an experience you will not soon forget!
Base jumpers and wingsuit flyers will also find plenty to do here. Lauterbrunnen has fast become a mecca for these incredibly adrenalized sports. So, if you guys want a real thrill, and you are willing to go out together, then this is your place!
A road trip through California is a treat! It may sound cliche to Americans. We get a bit jaded when it comes to the awesomeness of this state, but the truth is California rivals New York for the nation’s best cities. Its deserts are as captivating as Arizona’s, and its beaches are almost as beautiful as Hawaii’s. For one state, that’s pretty epic. All-in-all, California really is the ultimate adventure vacation!
You can explore the weird and wonderful landscape of Joshua Tree National Park. Experience the hottest place on Earth in Death Valley. Refresh in the hot waters of Palm Springs. Then, there is Redwoods National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Sequoia National Park. You could spend years exploring these three, wandering the largest trees on earth, and tackling some of America’s most epic hiking trails. Those are just the national parks, the state parks are equally as impressive, with Humboldt Redwoods State Park rivaling all the beauty of its more famous neighbor.
We haven’t even talked about the surfing! California’s coastline is dotted with impeccable surf spots like Swami’s Beach and Rincon Point. Florida may be ”The Sunshine State,” but California gives it a run for its money. The weather is almost always perfect, and the Pacific waters are always cool! California is calling people. You should answer!
Pack your bags!
Holy moly, the world is an awesome place, packed with insane adventures! This amazing list of active destinations for couples is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many awesome places to explore on a big green and blue ball. So, get out there! Take your favorite human with you, and let us know in the comments which of these epic adventures you decide to take.
Don’t forget to pack your copy of Adventures From Scratch! You’ll never run out of things to do, even if you’re “suffering through” a rainy day at the resort. It’s the perfect travel companion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Couples looking for a thrill should consider paragliding in Oludeniz, Turkey, or base jumping over the beautiful valleys of Lauterbrunnen Switzerland!
Couple travel doesn’t have to be beaches and vineyards. You can explore all kinds of fascinating adventures together like hiking an active volcano in Guatemala, or scuba diving shipwrecks in Malta!
Hiking, parasailing, and scuba diving are popular couple activities, but if you are struggling with date ideas, grab a scratch-off adventure dating book. They’re filled with awesome ideas for fun and memory-making!