18 One-of-a-Kind Adventures to Add to Your Bucket List
From high-flying balloon rides to walking with elephants, you’ll want to experience these unique adventures
Take photos where Ansel Adams once did
For photography fans, there’s nothing better than learning from the legends who inspired your hobby. Hotel Jackson in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, offers an immersive option that lets you receive private instruction from a local photographer, all while exploring the famous scenes once captured by Ansel Adams, David Brookover, Williams Henry Jackson, and other great photographers. Read about 19 top hotel bucket-list experiences around the world.
Tour an underwater museum
You’ve been to plenty of museums—but have you ever toured through one … under the water? Now you can at America’s first fully underwater permanent sculpture exhibit, the Underwater Museum of Art, in South Walton, Florida. Learn more about the world’s strangest museums.
Help baby sea turtles make it to the sea
The Fort Lauderdale area in Florida has one of the most diverse landscapes and ecosystems in the country, giving you ample opportunity to have one-of-a-kind experiences with wildlife. From March to October during sea turtle nesting season, you can help many of the conservancy programs assist these tiny reptiles as they try to make their way safely to sea.
Walk with and bathe elephants
Though you’ll likely see plenty of Instagrammers taking an elephant ride, activists throughout the world ask that you not get atop these gentle giants but, rather, walk beside them or wash them instead. Because these animals have to be beaten to be tame enough to have passengers, it’s a better experience to help them adjust back to life after captivity through sanctuaries. One of the most recommended experiences is the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where you can walk with, feed, and wash elephants for a full day or even a weekend.
Drive like a race-car driver
Courtesy National Corvette Museum
Zoom, zoom—go! For those who can’t get enough of life in the fast lane, you can take your chances behind the wheel of a race car. At the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, you can get behind the wheel of a 2017 Corvette Stingray Z51 for laps around a 3.15-mile road course. Included in the experience is classroom and in-car instruction, 20 minutes of driving, lunch, and more. Check out 15 of the world’s most luxurious train rides.
Take an Alaskan cruise
Even if you’ve been all along the Caribbean, there’s nothing quite as eye-opening or beautiful as a cruise through the colder climate of Alaska. On a Princess Cruise Lines sailing, you’ll tour the Great Land’s glaciers, wildlife, national parks, and more. Just make sure you pack a solid camera—you’re not going to want to forget this! Find out the 12 amazing cruises you’ll want to add to your bucket list ASAP.
Go air gliding over wine country
Not sure what air gliding is? This form of flight doesn’t use an engine; instead it relies on the dynamic reaction of the air against the wings lifting the surface. This makes for a quiet, peaceful … and beautiful bird’s-eye view of an area. One option offering vistas of serene lakes and wine country is available via the Finger Lakes Soaring Club in New York, where you’ll reach a mile above sea level.
Go ice skating at the world’s largest “rink”
You don’t have to be Olympic level to test your chops at the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa, Canada, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Spanning 202 kilometers (that’s 126 miles) from Kingston to the St. Lawrence River, this skateway claims the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest naturally frozen ice-skating rink, fitting 90 Olympic-sized rinks in its diameter. Each year, more than one million visitors skate their way here to be part of the history. Take this advice for trading the to-do list for a bucket list.
Go swimming with whale sharks
When you stay at Marquis Los Cabos, an all-inclusive luxury resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, time it right so you can test your swimming skills … alongside sharks! From September to May, the property partners with Cabo Adventures to give travelers the experience of a lifetime as they see what underwater life is like next to the largest fish in the sea. After coming face-to-face with 20 to 30 of the gentle giants, you might also catch a glimpse of dolphins, stingrays, and other sea creatures, before recovering from the swim with Baja-style lunch. Check out these 11 amazing bucket-list beach vacations.
Go on a safari
Although there are plenty of ways to experience wildlife in South Africa, consider staying at a game lodge and take a guided tour from locals at the expansive and renowned Kruger National Park. You’ll embark on a sunrise-through-sunset safari that offers glimpses of various species, including zebras, giraffes, and elephants, as they stop by watering holes or go on walks. For a luxury experience, Leopard Hills Lodge is a popular choice, with lodging options ranging from tents to suites.