Extreme Outdoors

Sitting on a beach. Walking tours. Visiting Museums.

Did simply reading that first line nearly put you to sleep? I nearly feel asleep writing it. Let’s try this again.

Helicopter rides. White water rafting. Off-roading.

If reading that line spiked your heart rate, I’d reckon you’re longing for a good old fashioned outdoor adventure. But not just any romp in the wilderness, you fancy something a little more extreme. Well my thrill-seeking friend, you are far from alone.

In fact, more travelers than ever before are ditching their Mai Tais, walking shoes and audio guides for water bottles, hiking boots and helmets as they seek out the thrills of adventure travel. This thirst for heart-pounding activities has turned adventure travel into a $263 billion a year industry (that doesn’t include the $82 billion spent on related adventure gear, apparel and accessories) and the fastest growing segment of the leisure travel industry according to a 2013 study conducted by George Washington University.

While extreme outdoor adventure can, in some cases, be found near traditional hotels, why would you just dip your toe into the great outdoors when you could jump all the way in? Why drive into nature for only a few hours when you could stay, eat, sleep, and play in nature 24-hours a day?

That’s where glamping comes in. With glamping, you can experience the comforts of a hotel, all while being within the epicenter of the outdoor adventures you’re seeking. And the sounds of crickets, babbling brooks and crackling campfires, those won’t be coming from a sound machine.

So to get you thinking about your wild escape, here are just a few epic outdoor activities and a sampling of properties that’ll let you release your inner adrenaline junky like never before.

Helicopter Adventures

PHOTO 1 Image Credit “Nimmo Bay Website”

For the ultimate in helicopter adventures, look no further than Nimmo Bay, a tiny, family-owned wilderness resort located in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. Here, you can heli fly fish, heli kayak, heli stand up paddle board, heli hike or just heli picnic. What exactly does that mean? It means you and your provided gear will be picked up by a chopper and flown to remote and pristine locations to fly fish, kayak, paddle board, hike or dine. Now that’s extreme!


PHOTO 2 Image Credit “The Resort at Paws Up Website”

Picture this: you’re standing on the edge of a 170 foot cliff, the Blackfoot River tumbles by below and beyond that, a picture perfect Montana valley-scape. This is the scene for your rappelling adventure at The Resort at Paws Up. With harness and ropes secure, you turn around, back facing the 170 drop below, and take your first step off and down the cliff. A few leaps and bounds later, you’ll be at the bottom smiling from ear to ear ready to do it again.

Hot Air Ballooning

PHOTO 3 Image Credit “Mahali Mzuri Website”

The views on the ground at Sir Richard Branson’s safari camp, Mahali Mzuri, in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve are legendary (from the comfort of your tent’s balcony you’ll see giraffes, zebras, wildebeests and more). But gently and quietly float hundreds of feet above the ground in a hot air balloon at sunrise, and this landscape, one of the world’s most awe-inspiring, will truly get your heart racing like never before.


PHOTO 4 Image Credit “ Brush Creek Ranch Website”

If your idea of a extreme outdoor adventure calls for a little more firepower, then hunting at Wyoming’s The Lodge and Spa at Brush Creek Ranch is for you. Amidst massages and fine dining, you can head out into the 30,000 acre property with expert guides to hunt for ducks, deer, antelope, elk and more. The trill of the hunt never felt this good.

River & Ocean Kayaking

PHOTO 5 Image Credit:Credit “Clayoquot Wilderness Resort Website”

While Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, located on west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, has it all (from heli adventures, to rock climbing, to fishing and horseback riding), don’t pass up the opportunity to hone your kayaking skills under the supervision of expert guides. Whether you want to learn to navigate small rapids or paddle in search of bears, whales and eagles, you’ll end your day feeling even more confident for tomorrow’s extreme adventures.

Main Image Credit:“ Brush Creek Ranch Website”

How Millennials Relate to Adventure and The Outdoors

As a Millennial, one of roughly 80 million Americans born between the early 1980’s and the early 2000’s, I know that understanding my diverse generation can be challenging.

While ample research and media coverage has focused on our addictions to cell phones, laptops and social media, more could be understood about how Millennials relate to adventure and the great outdoors.

For insight into this topic, let’s look at the shifting marketing practices of outdoor retailers — those responsible for “selling” nature.

Speaking at an Outdoor Industry Association trade event, Jill Levinsohn, who lead a research project on the future of outdoor retail conducted by design and innovation firm, IDEO, found that “many young people view the outdoors as something that starts at their front door, is part of everyday life and is best experienced with friends and family.” Levinsohn added that to reach Millennials, retailers must “think of it as going from ‘Outdoorsy’ to ‘Outsidesy.’

If you look at the marketing messages of outdoor and adventure retailers, you may notice a shift away from high-octane images, like a solo kayaker traversing a waterfall, to images of groups experiencing a picture-perfect nature scene in a more leisurely fashion. This is the idea of adventure and the outdoors that Millennials are drawn to. Here’s why:


Millennials want to be together

 Millennials are highly social creatures who, according to research conducted by HVS, a travel and hospitality consulting firm, “are more likely [than any other group] to travel socially with friends and family.” HVS also notes that more than any other generation, Millennials will travel to pursue their personal and shared group interests, such as food, entertainment, shopping and outdoor activities.


Millennials want unique and special experiences (that they can share online)

There’s an old Millennial saying, “If you hike to the top of a beautiful mountain and don’t take a selfie, did it really even happen?” Alright, I’ll admit I made that up, but nonetheless, it holds truth.

According to a survey conducted by Chase Card Services, “Three in four Millennial travelers post to social networks at least once a day while traveling.” HVS add that when it comes to accommodations, Millennials search for “something extra” and the “cool factor,” as “they do not wish to Instagram a photo of a boring room to share that with their friends.”


Millennials want the finer things 

Millennials don’t like being too far from creature comforts. Leading travel and hospitality public relations firm, Turner PR, says, “Millennials are adventure seekers. [They] want to be immersed in the local culture while still maintaining the conveniences of home while on the road.”

Findings from the Chase Card Services also note that “Millennials are a tech savvy generation that values social connections, convenience and opportunities to indulge in luxuries.” The survey also found that more than any other group, Millennials are willing to indulge in luxury services while traveling.

What does this mean for Millennials and the outdoors?

When it comes to adventure and the outdoors, Millennials appear to natural born glampers. Here’s why:

  • Millennials want to be together – Like camping, glamping (glamorous camping) is an activity made better with the addition of friends or a significant other.  Simply put, sitting around a campfire alone is no fun.
  • Millennials want unique and special experiences (that they can share online) – With friends in tow, Millennials crave unique experiences that reflect who they are. Glamping experiences like sleeping in a safari tent on the beach in Fiji at Maquai Beach Surf Resort or in a treehouse in Costa Rica at Finca Bella Vista certainly fit the bill. Plus, glamping is guaranteed to produce a social media worthy photo.
  • Millennials want the finer things – The word ‘glamping’ can be misleading. It just sounds expensive. While you can indulge in splurge-worthy $1,000 per night accommodations, there are plenty of affordable ways to glamp that provide luxuries far beyond a tent with a sleeping bag on the ground — like staying in a cabin at Dale Farm Holidays in the United Kingdom, a yurt in Canada at Wya Point Resort, or an Airstream trailer at Santa Barbara Auto Camp in California.

Speaking from experience, I know that Millennials enjoy the great outdoors in different ways. No matter whether you like to get dirty or prefer a more refined experience, as long as you get outside and put down your cell phone (fine, just a few photos for Facebook) you’ll be on the right track.