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”

Glamping Gone Overland

The word “safari” conjures images of adventurous sun-drenched days on the African savanna followed by warm evenings spent telling tall tales over fine food and wine by torchlight. It’s the original glamping, and a safari at its imagined best is an expedition that advances to a new location each evening, making the journey and destination one. Today the discerning glamper can take advantage of this style of travel in Africa and beyond, all part of a growing trend commonly referred to as overlanding.

Ciquibul Forest BZE

One company that offers the overlanding travel experience is No Limit Expeditions. Operated by James and Angela Brown of Colorado (now based in Guatemala), No Limit offers several exotic glamping expeditions that employ the classic safari vehicle, the Land Rover Defender, taking glampers to far flung destinations otherwise unreachable, and spare no effort in providing all the trappings of glamorous camping.


Expeditions typically begin in a luxury lodge (such as one of Coppola’s fine Central American resorts like La Lancha, Blancaneaux, or Turtle Inn), then take clients deep into the jungle on trips such as “Rainforests & Ruins,” where No Limit sets the scene at a gloriously secluded Maya ruin, where travelers imbibe on exquisite wines and dine on gourmet victuals. James is both a trained chef and sommelier, and after clients enjoy their feast amid the ruins, they may play the role of raconteur while enjoying a hand rolled cigar (personally blended by James himself). “It’s fantastic to sit in the jungle drinking this really nice aged rum while smoking a premium hand rolled cigar,” Angela relates. When slumber calls, travelers retire to a South African safari tent replete with the comforts afforded a British nobleman gone far afield.

Campmore tent

The Browns have seen their business expand with the outfitting of additional Land Rovers, and the addition of Lesotho-native Graham Jackson as a guide.  They’ve branched out to include new destinations (Baja California and Expedition Africa), and a new excursion to stretch the imagination of the glamper- an amazing island-hopping sailing voyage, “Rainforest and Reef,” blending land and sea exploration. “Glamping goes with our travel philosophy,” says Angela. “We like to go to these far, out of the way places, but we want to be able to do it in a nice style. Not roughing it- we want to bring the finer aspects with us along the journey.”

Deck @ La Lancha 2

Its expedition companies like this that get you to places that you could otherwise not reach, and treat you like royalty when you get there. Having an amazing Maya ruin or Caribbean island all to yourself? Now that’s adventure and luxury. Now that’s glamping.

PHOTO CREDITS: All photos courtesy of Ben Edmonson except  “Deck @ La Lancha” photo, courtesy Kerry Devine.