Dream vacations aren’t always about finding the ultimate way to relax. Sometimes you want to do fun activities that’ll make you feel alive. Here are eight extreme adventures you can try around North America. If you dare, of course.
1. Tilt! – Chicago, Illinois
Chicago has one heck of a skyline, but Tilt! gives it a whole new perspective. Situated 94 floors above the Magnificent Mile – that’s 1,000 feet up – is an eight-person platform that tilts out 30 degrees to give you a downward facing view of the Windy City’s famous skyline. Clear days allow you to see around 50 miles out. All you have to do is work up the nerve to step up to the plate.
2. Louisville Mega Cavern Mega Zips – Louisville, Kentucky
Strolling through caves throughout the United States is always cool. But do you have what it takes to zip line through a cave? This man-made cave in Louisville tests your mettle with six underground zip lines in an area that has over 17 miles of passageways. If you want something a little more family friendly, they have the Mega Tram that takes guests of all ages on a one-hour tour of the area.
3. EdgeWalk at the CN Tower – Toronto, Ontario
Thrilling might be too tame a word when describing the EdgeWalk at the CN Tower. Freaking insane works, but in a good way. This Canadian Signature Experience takes brave souls for a 30-minute walk around a five-foot wide platform on top of the tower’s main pod, which is 1,168 feet above Toronto. In 2011, it was put into the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Highest External Walk on a Building.”
4. New River, Gauley River white water rafting – Lansing, West Virginia
Enjoying the great outdoors reaches another level when you drive out to Lansing, West Virginia, to experience some white water rafting. What’s great about braving these rapids is there’s something for everyone, including the kids. Head to the Upper New River for families with kids 6 and older, while the Upper Gauley River in the fall is one of the world’s best spots to face class-V rapids.
5. Machine Guns Vegas – Las Vegas
Want to feel like an action movie star? Machine Guns Vegas has your covered. This gem is just off the Vegas Strip with experiences to fire guns like you’re in Seal Team VI or the SAS. There’s even some guns for the kids to fire off a round or two. Don’t worry – all of the shooting is done with experienced staff within arm’s reach. There’s also a minigun (talk about a misnomer) to channel your inner Rambo and a posh lounge area to relax in while waiting for your turn in the firing range.
6. Shark Valley Trails – Everglades National Park, Florida
Bike rides are usually just something some do to relax and keep fit. Take a bike ride on the Shark Valley Trails in the Florida Everglades during your Miami vacation and you’ll see it in a whole new light. This trail used for tram tours also gives people a chance to take a bike ride (rent one at the visitor’s center) on a slab of pavement where it’s not uncommon to see alligators laying around to do a little sunbathing. Just be sure not to roll over their tails.
7. Screaming Gator Zip Lines – Orlando, Florida
If you don’t want to ride a bike through gators, then maybe you’d like to zip above them. Orlando institution Gatorland hooks you into a zip line that propels riders at speeds nearing 30 miles per hour over crocodiles and alligators as you reach platforms nestled among the treetops. Nothing tame about this experience, my friends.
8. Richard Petty Driving Experience – Various locations
Your adrenaline will be pumping when you get into an authentic NASCAR race car for a couple of laps that can reach 165 MPH! “The King” Richard Petty gives gearheads a chance to get behind the wheel of an actual stock car at various tracks around the country, including Daytona and Indianapolis, and put the pedal to the metal. While it’s great to drive yourself, consider having one of the pros behind the wheel. They’ve got loads of experience and it’s just as exhilarating.