Skip navigation
woman climbing a mountain face
Outdoor Getaways

20 Extreme Sports Vacation Ideas

Looking to take things to the next level on your next vacation? Read on for the top 20 extreme sports destinations in the world.  

What are extreme sports?

Extreme sports are sports that involve a higher degree of risk. Regular sports include things like soccer, basketball, and hockey. These are really fun activities but if you are looking for an adrenaline rush you need to look for something more extreme.

 Extreme sports are not for the faint of heart. Some require you to be in tip-top shape (workout routine while traveling) and have years of experience to participate. Others require months of training and perfect weather conditions.

 Whatever it is you are looking for, you may have to plan a vacation around that activity. Let’s jump into how you can best prepare for an extreme sports vacation and then uncover the top 20 best extreme sports vacations around the world.

How to prepare for an extreme sports vacation?


Many extreme sports cost a lot more than your average activity. Make sure you have the money saved up ahead of time so you can actually go and enjoy your extreme sports vacation with your friends. Check out a related article on adventure vacations on a budget.


Some extreme sports require perfect weather conditions. Having a small window to go means you risk not being able to try it at all. Plan far in advance and book ahead.


Insurance should always be considered when participating in extreme sports. Check out World Nomads to see if they will cover you. Be sure to highlight exactly what you’re participating in before paying as some activities might not be covered.


Understand the risks of your chosen sport. If you’re mountain climbing, avalanches are a real risk. Downhill mountain biking can be very dangerous. Be sure to get a lot of practice and always have the right gear.

Extreme sport gear


Plan ahead and make sure you have all the gear you need. You don’t want to end up on top of a hill for a ski trip and forget your gloves. It’s advisable to bring multiple pairs of certain items in case you lose something or need to lend it to a friend.

20 Extreme sports vacations ideas not to be missed

1. Heli-Skiing in Alaska

Alaska Heli Skiing is reserved for the very best skiers in the world. Spend several days with your closest, most extreme friends while taking in incredible views. Read more about Alaska Heli Skiing here.


 2. Base Jumping, Angel Falls, Venezuela

Angel Falls is the highest waterfall in the world however it’s very remote and hard to get to. If you’re looking to add your name to the list of people who have done it, it’s an 8-hour hike out there. Keep in mind this is deep in the jungle. If injured, help is not close by, and the landing space is precarious!


3. Skydiving in Dubai

Dubai is a world-renowned city with the world’s tallest buildings. Skydiving in Dubai is unique because it gives you a bird’s eye view of the man-made islands and the whole city. Skydive Dubai is a company worth checking out with over 5,100 reviews on google (4.7 stars).


4. Mountain Climbing in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

2 people climbing in the mountains

Kilimanjaro is the world’s tallest free-standing mountain and climbing it can take 5-9 days. While it’s not the most challenging mountain to climb, be prepared for altitude sickness and extremely cold conditions as you near the summit. January through February or August through September are ideal dates.  


5. Mountain Biking down The Ridge in Scotland

The Ridge in Scotland is famous amongst downhill biking enthusiasts for its jagged trails descending the mountain. The Scottish Highlands offer a breathtaking backdrop for your adventure. There is no better way to experience this country for an extreme sports fan.


6. Caving in Phong Nha, Vietnam

Phong Nha might be one of the best-kept secrets in the world. Phong Nha cave is nearly 30 miles (45 km) deep and parts of it are only accessible by boat. There are trips you can take that include overnight camping. Be aware that the main cave can be very pricey so plan ahead.


7. Kayaking the Royal Gorge in California

Kayaking is a great extreme sports vacation and there’s nowhere better than the Royal Gorge in California. Tours are offered by different companies for a 10-mile (16 km) Kayaking trip down intense stretches of river with tons of rapids. It takes about 2 hours which will probably feel more like 5 minutes. 


8. Bungee Jumping at Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa

The Bloukrans Bridge stands a whopping 216 meters (709 feet) off the ground. This makes it one of the highest bungee jumps in the world. If you are looking for an extreme sports vacation, you found it. South Africa has a ton to offer outside of this attraction but everything else pales in comparison.


9. White Water Rafting the Futaleufu River in Chile

White Water Rafting

Northern Patagonia has some of the world’s most breathtaking natural scenery. Unfortunately, you won’t have much time to see it when white water rafting down the Futaleufu River, it’s probably better to focus on not being swept overboard. At a distance of 27 miles (44 Kilometers), you will get your money’s worth.


10. Hang Gliding in the Interlaken District, Switzerland

The Swiss Alps offer a ton of attractions and none more extreme than hang gliding while visiting the Interlaken district. When it comes to safety (and extreme fun) this is the place to do it. The only disappointment you will feel is when it’s over and you have to go back to normal life.


11. Ziplining at Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica

Arenal is an active Volcano in Costa Rica and a great place for any extreme travel enthusiast. The zip lining here is second to none in the world. It offers some of the longest and highest zip lines there are. If that doesn’t get the blood pumping then we don’t know what will!


12. Canyoneering in Zion National Park, Utah

Canyoneering involves exploring a canyon along a trail but doesn’t go alone (see the film 127 hours). Going as part of a tour is advisable. Canyoneering is fun and involves a variety of activities including rappelling, hiking, climbing, and more. Zion National park is consistently ranked highest for this activity. 


13. Walking the Wooden Planks in Mount Huashan, China

Many of the photos from the wooden planks on Mount Huashan have gone viral. Essentially you’re tied to a rope walking along a precariously built bridge along a sheer cliff face. Nerve-wracking doesn’t even begin to describe how you will feel about this. Be aware that it can be quite crowded so try to visit during less busy times.


14. Night Scuba diving in Roatan

Night Scuba diving

Roatan is a small island off the coast of Honduras that sits snugly on the second largest barrier reef in the world. Roatan is a hot destination for scuba divers. The reefs are amongst the most beautiful in the world. Scuba diving at night adds a whole new element to the excitement of scuba diving as you never know what sea creatures may pop out of the dark at any moment.


15. Ice Climbing in Banff, Canada

Ice climbing is not something you can just pick up in a few tries. It requires weeks of preparation and training. If you’re someone who loves climbing and looking for a new challenge then head to Banff. Many tour operators are available and provide all the necessary equipment.


16. Waterfall rappelling Victoria Falls in Costa Rica

Waterfall rappelling and canyoneering are actually very similar and often interchangeable. Victoria Falls in Costa Rica is a scenic place to try this. After you rappel down the waterfall be sure to take a dip in the pool at the bottom. You earned it!


17. Freshwater Cave diving in Cenote Angelita, Mexico

Mexico is known for its Cenotes and cave systems as well as white sandy beaches. If you’re looking for a unique diving adventure, then cave diving is a great place to start. Dive down 120 feet through a cave network and explore a new place you’ve never been before. If you’re bringing your phone this underwater iPhone case would be handy.


18. Zorbing in Germany

Zorbing in Germany

Zorbing has grown in popularity in recent years with lots of viral videos on YouTube. Germany is great for zorbing so check out Zorbinganlange. The zorb run takes roughly 60 seconds but it could be the best 60 seconds of your life.


19. Slacklining in the French Alps

Slacklining in the French Alps

You may see people at the local park tie a rope between two trees and walk across. This is slacklining and pretty safe at the park. For those of you who want to take things up a notch, there is a great option. Find your way to the French Alps and test your skills with slacklines up to 200 meters long and very high up.


20. Cheese Rolling in England

Let’s finish this list off with a silly one. In England, there is a tradition called Cheese Rolling. A group of people will gather at the top of a hill and chase a wheel of cheese down it. The hill is pretty steep so you can expect to fall face first and roll down. Videos of this activity have gone viral so if you’re in England and looking for an extreme sport, give it a shot!