With an incredible variety of accessible terrain from mountain ranges to tropical seas, you’re sure to find a dreamworthy destination somewhere in the US. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
STORM CHASING, TORNADO ALLEY
Tornado-chasing tours have been described as hours of anticipation punctuated by moments of sheer exhilarating terror.
With more than 1,000 tornadoes touching down every year, these tours generally manage to get you up close and personal with one of the planet’s most intense thunderstorms in Tornado Alley, the area located in the Midwest between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains. Join a six-day tornado- chasing tour where you’ll travel across several states in vehicles equipped with cutting-edge technology to help locate big storms. The only downside is long days and the need for a lot of patience before the hit of adrenaline arrives!
SURFING THE LAST FRONTIER, ALASKA
Imagine catching a six- to 10-foot wave that lasts around five hours as it travels 40 to 50 miles. That’s why extreme surfers risk hypothermia in 40-degree water temperatures to surf the bore tide at Turnagain Arm, southeast of Anchorage. What’s a bore tide? It’s simply a natural phenomenon that occurs when an incoming high tide collides with the outgoing tide in a narrow channel in which there’s also a 20-foot plus tidal differentiation.
Although a daily occurrence, the adrenaline junkies look for the largest bore tides around the full or new moon cycles when extreme minus tides (-2.0 to -5.5 feet) occur. When the wind direction is right and the planets align, surfable six- to 10-foot-high waves that speed up to 15 mph make this one hell of a long, thrilling ride. Forget crowded line-ups, Alaska’s “surf city” attracts diehard surfers that come for the best waves from mid-April to mid-June and mid-August through to September. For ocean surfing, head to Yakutat at the northern end of the Inside Passage.
BUNGY JUMP THE RIO GRANDE BRIDGE, NEW MEXICO
Who says you have to go to New Zealand to bungy jump? At 680 feet, the fall from the Rio Grande Bridge near Taos is mind- blowingly scary and is the highest bungy jump in the US. What makes this even more thrilling is that the opportunity only comes but once a year, usually in the fall. So be one of a very few to have conquered this baby!
SHARK ENCOUNTERS, HAWAII
They may not be the fearsome great whites of Jaws fame, but a shark is a shark, right? For non-divers and those with an inclination to avoid all contact with marine life, a shark dive with Galapagos and Sandbar sharks is a heart-stopper, even if you’re dunked in the tropical waters off Oahu’s North Shore in a cage with clear Polyglass windows. The Galapagos sharks are regarded as potentially dangerous to humans and grow up to nearly 10 feet.
SKYJUMP, LAS VEGAS
You might think of casinos, but Las Vegas has a surprising number of adrenaline activities. The Stratosphere Las Vegas Hotel Casino has the terrifying SkyJump, in which you leap off the ledge and fall the equivalent of 108 stories while attached to a cable to keep you on track. If you’re looking for a massive shot of adrenaline, the SkyJump would have to be the most bang-for-your-buck activity you can engage in without leaving the confines of a city.
EL CAPITAN ROCK CLIMB, YOSEMITE
The El Capitan climb is probably the most terrifying adrenaline activity of all, able to be performed by only a few people with exceptional rock climbing ability and nerves of titanium. Around 3,000 feet high, El Capitan in California’s Yosemite Valley is widely regarded as the most challenging rock climb in the US if not the world. That’s because it’s simply one long vertical continual wall, dominating the north side of the picturesque Yosemite Valley. The most widely known and exhilarating route to the top is the Nose, which is a physically strenuous and psychologically intense climb that will defeat anyone except the very best climbers. Hauling food along, those who conquer it can take anything from three to five days to complete the steep and exposed 31-pitch ascent.