Adventure Travel in New England: Something Stimulating in All Six States

hot air balloon ride vermont

If you find the idea of snoozing on a beach to be a yawn-inducing waste of precious summer vacation days, keep reading. We’ve ferreted out exhilarating activities that will get your heart pumping.

In Massachusetts

Some people may be content to queue up for a Honda Civic at the Budget kiosk at Logan Airport. You are not “some people.” Make your car rental part of your vacation experience, rather than just a means of transportation, by upgrading – big time – to a Ferrari 458 Italia Spider from Gotham Dream Cars. Put the top down, head for the Mass Pike and just drive. Should you prefer to take in the sights from above, Boston Helicopter Charters lets you soar above the city with a private flight. And if you favor heart-pounding excitement au natural (we mean without motors, not without clothes), off you go to Crab Apple Whitewater rafting in Charlemont.

adventure travel in new england
The Ferrari 458 Italia Spider available for rent through Gotham Dream Cars; photo via website.

In Rhode Island

Rhode Island may be miniscule in size, but when it comes to offering anything-but-boring things to do, they bring it. Newport Helicopter Tours will give you a bird’s eye view of the Newport Bridge and neighboring mansions with a private fly-by. When visiting the Ocean State, it only makes sense that you’ll want to experience the beaches, but you’re looking for action, not snoozing. No problem. C and L Stables in Warwick offers horseback rides on the beach, and Peter Pan Surfing Academy in Narragansett will hook you up with a board and a private lesson. Still not feeling the thrill? Shake things up with a tandem jump at Skydive Newport.

newport ri helicopter rides
Taking in Newport’s famed sailing community aboard a helicopter. Photo via Newport Helicopter Tours.

In Maine

When in Maine, do as the Maineiacs do. Given the plethora of options offered by Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School in Bar Harbor, it’s safe to say Maineiacs dig rock climbing. Newbies can opt for a guided experience; seasoned pros can grab gear and go. In the western part of the state, less than an hour from the Canadian border, the Kennebec River provides thrill-a-minute action with Class III and IV rapids. Three Rivers Whitewater provides the gear and the guides. On the more sedate side of the scary spectrum, Scenic Flights of Acadia, in Trenton, offers tours over Bar Harbor, and lets you take in lighthouses, Acadia National Park, Cadillac Mountain and Somes Sound from the air.

white water rafting in Maine
Shooting the Kennebec with Three Rivers Whitewater; photo via website.

In New Hampshire

There are zip-line tours that allow you to glide from tree to tree. And then there are the canopy tours at Bretton Woods. Their three-hour excursion takes you into the tops of ancient hemlock trees and over the slopes of Bretton Woods. Alpine Adventures in Lincoln has a tamer take on zip-lining that may be a better fit for the kinda/sorta adventure traveler.  If being tethered to the earth in any capacity feels too tame, a tandem hang-gliding trip over the Connecticut River Valley with Fly Morningside, in Charlestown, will unleash your inner adventurer spirit.

zip lining in new hampshire
Zipping over the slopes at Bretton Valley; photo via website.

In Vermont

Given the lack of, well, anything in Eden Mills, an outpost of St. Albans which is an hour away, Eden Dog Sledding is pretty much a stand-alone attraction in town. But given the amount of info on their website devoted to the ethical treatment of its precious huskies, and their stellar rating on Google, it would seem they’re worth the trip. Go for the excitement of sledding; stay for a husky hug. Down in Essex, a more on-the-beaten-track town, Above Reality hot air balloon rides deliver a singular experience that will get your heart thumping as you take in the views of the Vermont countryside, Lake Champlain, and the Adirondacks.

hot air balloon ride vermont
A fall tour aboard a hot air balloon with Above Reality; photo via website.

In Connecticut

Unlike the other New England states, where you need to devote a lot of travel time to partake in more than one adrenaline-fueled activity, Connecticut lets you hit several within the same neighborhood (-ish). You might not think of casino as a place to soar on zip lines, but HighFlyer Zipline at Foxwoods Resort Casino lets you do just that. This zip-line trip is a quickie that starts on the rooftop deck at their basecamp and ends just a minute later at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center. But you’ll travel at 45 miles an hour and start at 350 feet above ground. You can go gamble with any extra time. For a lengthier experience that relies on physical strength, rather than gravity, to explore new heights, Fields of Fire Aerial Adventure Park in Mystic offers a three-hour tour of the treetops.

Flying through the air with the greatest of ease with HighFlyer Zipline; photo via Facebook.
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