A diver with flippers up swims to the bottom of the ocean.
Scuba diving allows you to get up close and personal with incredible marine life as well as explore old shipwrecks.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

8 Incredible Adventure Travel Experiences You Can Have Without Leaving the USA

Scuba Diving

Although there’s nothing quite like experiencing the Great Barrier Reef, you don’t need to travel to Australia to experience some truly amazing dive sites. Some of the best scuba diving in the world is found right in the United States: off the coast of North Carolina, in the Gulf of Mexico, and amid the Pacific Ocean near both California and Hawaii.

Aside from natural kelp forests and coral reefs, there are plenty of unique experiences exploring shipwrecks, enormous aquariums and even a flooded abandoned mine in Missouri. Scuba tours in the United States will take you up close and personal to tiger, leopard and nurse sharks along with hundreds of fish species and other sea life.

In addition to multi-day tours, many travel companies also team up with local resorts to provide an all-inclusive experience.

Two hikers with poles traverse rocky ground with a mountain peak in the distance.Mount Rainier is the perfect place for some multi day hiking and camping.Photo Credit: Getty Images


Both rock climbing and mountain trekking fall under the mountaineering umbrella. Multi-day climbing trips are organized by specialized tour companies, providing mountain guides and much of the necessary equipment.

REI and RMI organize treks on Mount Shasta, Mount Rainier and Mount Denali alternating upward hikes of several miles a day with rest days at predesignated camping locations. Glacier hiking, ice climbing and ski mountaineering are also popular adventure travel activities during the winter in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

In general, mountaineering requires much more experience, fitness and thorough understanding of equipment and safety than a lot of other adventure travel experiences.

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An underground cave with stalactites hanging from the ceiling and reflecting in a shallow pool of water.Explore caverns and underground tunnels at the Luray Caves.Photo Credit: Getty Images


If you have a strong spirit for exploration, caving, or “spelunking” as it’s sometimes called in the United States, provides an unrivaled adventure among uniquely challenging spaces. Many of these natural caves were created by ancient volcanic lava tubes that formed underground tunnels.

While some caves are accessible without any equipment (providing lighting and railings in large open areas), most caving experiences are sought for the thrill of venturing into unexplored territory with alien-like landscapes and fascinating geological qualities.

You’ll find underground lakes, waterfalls and cavernous rooms on half-day or even overnight tours. If the thought of navigating small crawl spaces with only a headlamp or getting lowered into a wide open abyss excites you, you’ll love spelunking through U.S. caves.

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