For some, summer vacations are a relaxing time of beaches, bikinis, and margaritas. For the more daring traveler, summer vacation is an opportunity for adventure. It’s a chance to get the blood pumping, and have experiences that they will be able to tell their grandchildren about.
Then there are the thrill-seekers. As far as they're concerned, snorkeling is for kids and scuba diving has lost its thrill. Intense mountain climbing is still rewarding but not nearly as exhilarating as it was the first 20 times. Riding on an elephant's back is, well, kind of boring.
Are you aching for some spine-tingling excursions for your next summer adventure? Check out these thrills that are sure to get the adrenaline pumping.
1. The Most Extreme Shark Encounter
Want to come face to face with one of our world's deadliest predators? Now's your chance! Shark cage excursions are in tropical areas all around the world, but only along South Africa's coast can you "hang out" in Great White-infested waters. With only a steel cage separating you from the jaws of this underwater mammoth, you're likely to hear your heart pound from your chest.
2. Car Racing At Its Finest
Have you ever thought about racing a high-performance sports car on vacation? If the idea of driving 200 miles per hour in a Ferrari sounds like an absolute blast, then check out the Las Vegas Motor Speedway next time you're in the desert city.
After some lessons in stopping distances and corner speeds, you'll sit in as a passenger for a few laps with your instructor. Then, you'll be ready to take a powerful "pleasure ride" with your own hands behind the wheel. Let your inner speed demon consume you!
3. A Bone-Chilling Free Fall
Was skydiving exciting the first couple of times but now it feels like child's play? If so, it's time to head to Queenstown, New Zealand where you can jump from a 350-foot cliff with only a contraption made of ropes and a body harness.
After free falling for 200 feet at speeds over 90 miles per hour, you'll have two minutes of recovery time where you can enjoy swinging over the lazy rapids below. Surrounded by natural beauty, the only thing you'll notice is nerve-induced sweat dripping from your brow.
4. A Biking Expedition For the Brave
If you're someone who wants to experience full survivor mode, then a Sahara biking trip has your name written all over it. With a little water and only the dream-like sights of golden sand and blue skies for miles, you'd think this is an impossible mission.
But with a GPS system and convenient hydration packs, your journey across the famous barren region can be a reality. You’d better start training now because this experience puts an Iron Man triathlon to shame. Oh, and bring plenty of sunscreen.
5. A River-Riding Double Dare
You've hurtled over thrashing rapids in Colorado and North Carolina. You walked away with some scratches, bruises, and a broken finger. You brushed your shoulders off and wanted more.
Well, now you have it: Allow me to introduce you to the Zambezi River. Classified as an "extreme Grade V" with ferocious rapids, steep gradients, and enormous drops, you will be screaming from start to finish.
One of the rapids you'll encounter, called Oblivion, has flipped more canoes than any other rapids in the world. Be sure to get your muscles and courage in check for this one.
6. A Race That's Full Of Bull
Your spouse probably has other vacation ideas in mind. This one's for the lunatics. Why on earth you'd want to run the risk of getting speared by a bull's horn is beyond all logic!
Yet, year after year, people do it. Dashing down the streets of Pamplona, Spain, you'll be chased by a huge pack of rampaging bulls. Expect to leave Spain with a new personal best for this mile run.
7. Some Like It Hot and Sandy
You've snowboarded in Aspen and Lake Tahoe. And with each slope you’ve conquered, you keep begging for more. You want more speed and different experiences.
Welcome your feet to the land of sandboarding. Yes, you read correctly. Fly to Cerro Blanco, Peru and board through the largest sand dune in the world.
These steaming hot slopes of sand offer powerful speeds along with a climate your board has never seen. Once you come down the slope, you've got a three hour hike until you can feel the rush all over again. The 800-meter slope and bright sun might convince you snowboarding is a sport of your past.
8. Soaring High in Sunny California
Did you ever dream of what it may be like to pilot a plane? Do you wonder what it'd take to fly a legitimate fighter jet? Now is your chance.
Take a trip to Southern California and you'll get the opportunity of a lifetime when you sit in the cockpit of an L-39 Russian trainer jet. You'll get a birds' eye view of the Hollywood sign and Venice Beach as you climb 4,000 feet per minute. After some in-flight training you'll soar through the sky, taking control over the jet. Don't worry — if you make one wrong move, the professional will be standing by to take back control of the plane.
9. Crashing the Vicious Waves of "Jaws"
If you've grown up surfing the Pacific and feel like a master of this extreme water sport, then you must get to Hawaii. Though the Hawaiian Islands boast numerous famed surfing spots that could give any pro a run for his board, there is only one "Jaws."
Jaws is a big-wave surfing reef break on Maui known for tow-in surfing, which allows surfers to get towed into breaking waves by jet skis. This reef break boasts 33-foot waves which crash down at 30 miles per hour. No one has ever died attempting this water demon, but locals are worried about the inexperienced surfers trying to conquer it each year. Daredevils: That is your first and only warning.
Your vacations will never be the same after you've experienced any of these adrenaline-pumping outings. Not for the weak of souls, it takes guts to accomplish any one of these risky adventures. Vacation at your own risk!