So you’ve always wanted to rock climb, battle white-water rapids, or cycle through the mountains. This is your year, and you don’t have to break the bank to cross these off your bucket list. We’ve rounded up some road-trip worthy spots to get your feet wet. It’s time to grab ’18 by the horns.
New England boasts some outstanding outdoor rocking climbing spots, whether you’re looking to boulder or top-rope. Lincoln Woods in Lincoln, R.I., offers bouldering on every level — from first-timers to experienced rock jockeys. About an hour from Boston, the 600-acre park is a doable spring or fall day trip. (Winter is generally too cold to climb; summer generally too hot.) You might book a private guide through Rock Spot Climbing in Lincoln, (401-727-1704, rockspotclimbing.com).
More experienced climbers might try Pawtuckaway State Park (128 Mountain Road, Nottingham, N.H.), which offers various level of bouldering on glacial rock. Newcomers might try Bretton Woods Resort’s springtime guided rock climbing excursion — previous climbing experience not required. You’ll climb the southwest face of Mount Oscar in the White Mountain National Forest to take in the stunning view of the Pemigewasset Wilderness and Zealand Valley. 99 Ski Area Road, Carroll, N.H., 603-278-3320, brettonwoods.com.
If you do head to Bretton Woods, you might check two items off your list and fly through the sky on a zip line canopy tour. See the mountains from a bird’s eye view as you zip across a series of treetop lines on the resort’s three-hour tour. Rates vary.
Rafting, climbing, and kayaking
At Zoar Outdoor (413-339-4010, 7 Main St., Charlemont, www.zoaroutdoor.com), an outdoor adventure mecca in Charlemont, you can learn to rock climb or zip line, take a guided kayak, canoe, or standup paddleboard river tour, or try white-water rafting. Zoar leads rafting trips to half a dozen spots around New England, including Vermont’s West River, the Deerfield River and the Concord River, which boasts class III-IV rapids just 30 minutes from Boston. Rafting seasons starts in spring.
Cycle the Green Mountains
If you’ve always wanted a taste of those Tour de France alps, cycle Vermont’s Green Mountains. Thanks to GPS, cycling apps — such as Strava, MapMyRide, Garmin Connect — and online bike maps, it’s easier than ever to take a relatively cheap trip on your own. You might head to the Burlington Bike Path (enjoyburlington.com/venue/burlington-bike-path) or try some — or all — of the 93-mile Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (www.lvrt.org), which slices through Northern Vermont, spanning the breadth of the Connecticut River to Lake Champlain. A good resource to find more Vermont bike trails can be found at www.vermontvacation.com/landing-pages/recreation/biking/paths-and-rail-trails.
For a multi-day trip, you might book a guided tour through Backroads (800-462-2848, www.backroads.com) or Discovery Bicycle Tours (800-257-2226, discoverybicycletours.com). Guides can take you through Vermont, among other New England states — or around the world. You might spend a week cycling Ireland, Scotland, Spain or Italy, to name a few — or perhaps a tour de France.
Hit the trails
Hiking is much more doable than many think. All you need are a pair of comfortable shoes, long socks (those darn ticks), and a daypack for water and snacks. There are so many gorgeous trails in New England, you don’t have to travel far to feel a million miles away from it all. Apps like Map My Hike or AllTrails give helpful and instant feedback on where you are via GPS coordinates, mileage, pace, distance, and more. Never been before? Try Diana’s Baths, a gentle 1.2-mile out-and-back with huge payoff in a series of breathtaking waterfalls in Bartlett, N.H. (3725 West Side Road). About an hour south of Boston, Weetamoo Woods, flanked by Pardon Gray Preserve, in Tiverton, R.I., combine for some 9 miles of gentle, well-marked, color-coded trails that slice through forest, meadow, and farmland. Various trailheads: East Road, Lake Road, Lafayette Road, Tiverton, R.I., www.exploreri.org. Or this could be your year for, at least a few miles, on the Appalachian Trail, the northern portion of which runs from Connecticut to Maine. www.nps.gov/appa/index.htm
Paddleboarding or sea kayaking
On the banks of the Westport River, Osprey Sea and Surf Adventures (489 Old County Road, Westport, 508-636-0300, ospreyseakayak.com) offers sea and river kayak, canoe and standup paddleboard classes for beginners, as well as tours for the more seasoned paddler. You might take a peaceful sunset SUP tour of the river — home to egrets, heron, and ospreys — or kayak out to open ocean to feel the salt spray on your face. And if you fall in love with sea kayaking, you might join Osprey’s guided trip this autumn to Croatia. In the Sibenik archipelago, you’ll slice through Adriatic waters, scattered with hundreds of ancient islands, rocks, and reef. Call for trip details.Lauren Daley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.
Correction: Because of a reporting error, an earlier version of this article mistakenly said the northern portion of the Appalachian Trail runs between Connecticut and Vermont.