For many people, adventures mean big expeditions that often take months or even years to plan and a lot of time and money to execute. Examples include multi-day mountain hikes or trips to foreign countries.
However, adventures don’t have to be big to be fulfilling. In fact, there are lots of different types of adventures, many of which you can enjoy close to home and in less than a day.
Today, we explore adventures big and small so that, no matter your personal circumstances, you can inject your life with a bit of excitement.
- What is an adventure?
- 12 types of adventures
- A couple of personal adventure examples
- Types of adventure to go on – closing thoughts
What is an adventure?
According to one definition, an adventure is “an unusual and exciting or daring experience,” which is pretty apt. And yet, a lot of people think that adventures must be big to be worthwhile or that they need to involve dangerous or challenging activities.
That simply isn’t true. In fact, if you keep an open mind, there are opportunities for adventure everywhere.
Maybe a better definition of an adventure is an activity that’s out of the ordinary and that creates long-lasting memories.
That could be a full-on adventure trip, like kayaking down the river Nile, or something you can do closer to home, like camping in your back garden. The good news is that adventures can be big or small, and they’re all rewarding.
Types of adventure
Do you want more adventure in your life? Here are 12 types of adventures to try:
Miroadventures are exactly what they sound like – adventure activities that take little time, few resources, and require little or no planning. However, they also provide a break from your regular day-to-day routine.
Microadventures only take a couple of hours or less to complete. However, they are a great way to get your adventure fix when your schedule doesn’t allow for anything more time-consuming.
Good examples of mini-adventures include:
Walking home from work instead of driving or taking the bus
- Cooking your dinner on a camp stove or campfire
- Going for a moonlit walk
- Go stargazing
- Getting up early to see the sunrise
- A swim in a local river or lake
Pack a lunch, and let’s head out for the day! A day adventure takes a little more effort than a mini or microadventure, but the rewards can be massive. You can do a lot in a day.
Day adventures can be as challenging or as easy as you want to make them, depending on how hard you want to push yourself. However, the best day adventures can be found relatively close to home, so you don’t need to spend your valuable free time travelling.
Day adventure examples include:
Hiking around a local park
- Going (or trying) surfing
- Mountain biking
- A trip to an adventure park
- Try a new adventurous activity, such as rock climbing, abseiling, or horse riding
Weekend adventures are perfect for anyone who takes their adventuring a little more seriously. Two days means you’ve got plenty of time to travel further afield and will need to stay away from home overnight.
Adventurous activities that are ideal for weekends include:
Overnight hikes, kayak, and mountain bike trips
- Two-day skills courses, such as mountain navigation, foraging, winter survival, or sailing
- A skiing weekend
- Two-day adventure races
- Paddleboard camping
- A weekend of surfing or paddleboarding lessons
- Wild camping
Whether it’s a four-day weekend or a week or more, multi-day adventures require some planning and organisation. However, the extra time means you can travel further and do things that may be otherwise impractical closer to home. A multi-day adventure may even take the form of adventure travel or a vacation.
A few multi-day adventure examples include:
- Hiking a long-distance footpath
- A safari
- An organised multi-activity adventure holiday
- A skiing or snowboarding trip
For any landlubbers, spending time on the water can be a real change of pace. Even nearby rivers can be a source of adventure. There are lots of adventurous activities you can do on the water, ranging from things you can do in a day to week-long water-based adventures.
- Water skiing
- Kayaking and canoeing
- Wild swimming
- White water rafting
- Scuba diving and snorkelling
- Raft building
- Jet skiing
Not such a fan of getting wet? We hear you. The mountains could be the place for you. Mountain adventures range from relatively tame to extreme, and there are plenty of different options to choose from. One thing is for sure, in terms of sheer majesty and stunning views, mountain adventures are very hard to beat, so don’t forget to take your camera.
Exciting mountain adventures include:
- Mountain hikes and treks
- Extreme mountain biking
- Rock climbing
- Ice climbing
- Skiing and snowboarding
Snow and ice can turn even simple activities into adventure challenges. For example, well-known hiking or biking paths take on a completely different personality when submerged in a couple of feet of snow. What was an easy jaunt in the summer can become arduous and exciting in the winter.
Many people are put off by inclement weather, but providing you dress for the elements, have the right equipment and are well prepared, even extreme cold needn’t derail your adventures.
Winter adventure options include:
- Ice skating
- Winter hiking and mountain biking
- Ice climbing
- Cold-water swimming
- Cross-country skiing
- Sledging and tobogganing
Got a bike? Then you’ve got the perfect vehicle for a wide range of human-powered adventures. Cycling adventures can take many forms, from riding out into the countryside for a pub lunch with friends to a long-distance ride with overnight camping. Biking means you can travel further faster, making excellent use of your time and energy.
Cycling adventures include:
- Summer downhill mountain biking at ski resorts
- Bike camping / bike touring
- Weekend bike races
- Going to see a big bike race event, like the Tour de France
Extreme adventures often involve pushing yourself to your physical and mental limits. While extreme adventures aren’t for everyone, there are plenty of people who love to live on the edge. Needless to say, extreme adventures are often dangerous and are best left to more experienced people or done with qualified supervision.
If extreme or dangerous adventures appeal to you, consider the following:
- Solo sailing and rowing
- Caving and potholing
- Exploratory expeditions
- Bungee jumping
- Parachuting and skydiving
- Long-distance hiking and biking, e.g., Land’s End to John O’Groats or the Pacific Coast Trail
10Adventures for groups and families
Family and group adventures are one of the best ways to create lifelong memories and strong interpersonal bonds. Solo adventures are fun, but that fun is multiplied many times when it’s shared.
If you are new to group adventures, consider doing something relatively tame at first so that none of the participants is put under too much pressure. Also, consider the abilities of the weakest member of your group for much the same reason. This is probably not the time to attempt an endurance adventure.
Organised adventures, such as those led by professional guides and designed for groups, are the perfect place to start, and you can go on to create your own adventures as you gain experience.
Adventure types that are ideal for groups and families include:
- City centre “ghost” tours
- Wine and gastronomy walking tours
- Nature walks
Adventure tourism can be expensive and invariably time-consuming. Still, if you want a fully immersive experience that takes you far from home, this type of grand adventure is bound to appeal to you. For many people, this type of adventure is a bucket list item and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so aim big!
Adventure tours provide a great way to do and see things that would be far less accessible if you tried to do them on your own. After all, the organisation is all done for you.
Popular adventure tours include:
Trek to Everest base camp
- Climb Kilimanjaro
- Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
- Dive along the Great Barrier Reef
- Walk the Great Wall of China
- Go on a safari in Kruger Park
- Go dog sledging in Norway
Eco-adventures are good for you AND good for the planet. This type of purposeful adventure can often be done close to home. However, there are plenty of eco-adventures that will also satisfy your wanderlust.
Good examples of eco-adventures include:
Plogging – a combination of jogging and picking up litter
- Beach clean-ups
- Hiking trail maintenance and restoration
- Oversees building projects, e.g., digging wells, building schools, etc.
- Volunteering, e.g., teaching English in foreign schools
A couple of personal adventure examples
Now, it’s fair to say I love an adventure and also enjoy a challenge. However, despite having done a few big expeditions, it’s the everyday adventures that are usually the most enjoyable. They require little or no organisation and can be done on a whim.
Here are a few recent examples of the things I like to get up to:
Paddleboard and hike
For this adventure, I hiked five miles along the coast near my home while my wife paddled nearby on one of our paddleboards. On reaching the halfway point, we swapped over, and she hiked while I paddled back to where we had left our car. This mixed-modality adventure provided unique views of the coastline and some great photo opportunities.
This hiking adventure involved walking a well-known mountain trail in the midst of winter. The path was covered in deep snow, and what was usually a leisurely two-hour walk took almost three times as long and involved crossing frozen streams and traversing icy slopes. Needless to say, the views from the mountain were unforgettable.
White water swimming
For this spontaneous adventure, a friend and decided it would be a good idea to swim down a section of the River Dart in Devon after a massive rainstorm. This area is well-known for white water kayaking. We wore not only thick winter wetsuits but canoeing helmets, buoyancy aids, and elbow and knee pads. It was still a rough ride, and bruises were unavoidable, but I don’t think I have ever laughed so much during an adventure or been so cold!
Types of adventure to go on – closing thoughts
Many people think that adventures have to be grand to be worthwhile. And while big adventures can be incredibly rewarding, smaller, everyday adventures are often just as much fun.
Spending the night in a hammock in your garden, making cowboy coffee during a day hike, or foraging for edible plants are great ways to break out of your routine. Or, you could go big and plan something like a trip to Italy to climb the Vie Ferrate.
Big or small, all types of adventure are enriching and will provide you with unique experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.