5 Adventurous Festivals Worth Traveling For

Base Camp Festival

Over the past few years festivals of all kinds have continued to grow in popularity. So much so that there are now options for music lovers, art aficionados, film buffs, and so much more. But did you also know that there are a number of great festivals designed for the adventurous outdoor enthusiasts too? Here are five such gatherings that are definitely worth traveling for. 

  • 01 of 05


    Outessa Outdoor Festival
    Christin Healey

    Sponsored by gear retailer REI, Outessa is an outdoor festival designed by — and geared specifically towards — women. The concept behind the project was to create an accommodating, inclusive, and fun space for adventurous ladies to get together, share some amazing experiences, and connect with the outdoors in a more personal way.

    Attendees create their own custom schedule that includes everything from yoga and kayaking to trail running and rock climbing. Professional guides and trainers are on hand to not only impart their years of wisdom on attendees, but also to ensure that everything is handled in a safe and secure manner.

    And after a long day of fun in the outdoors, travelers can wrap things up with fine meals, good wine, and great company, with no boys allowed.

    Locations: Kirkwood, CA; Mt. Hood, WA, and Waterville Valley, NH

  • 02 of 05

    Camelbak Pursuit Series

    New for 2017, the Camelbak Pursuit Series is a three-day festival designed to give adventurous travelers a chance to not only hone their skills at their favorite outdoor activities, but discover some new ones too. Options include hiking, mountain biking, stand-up paddleboarding, rock climbing and more. Qualified instructors are on hand to teach classes on everything from backpacking basics to navigation to backcountry survival. And at the end of the day, attendees can choose to camp on the premises or stay in a comfy hotel instead.

    Of course, part of the fun of any festival is connecting with other like-minded attendees. The Pursuit Series caps each of the days with live music, great food, drinks, and plenty of time to socialize as well. Not only will you come away with some new outdoor passions, but you just might make some great friends along the way. 

    Locations: Salt Lake City, UT and San Francisco, CA

  • 03 of 05


    Cotopaxi Questival

    Conceived and organized by travel and outdoor gear manufacturer Cotopaxi, Questival is a 24-hour adventure race designed to help participants get the most out of a destination, while having all kinds of fun along the way.

    Assemble a team of two to six of your favorite friends and compete in a host of activities that range from simply finding checkpoints throughout a city and the surrounding area, to more difficult outdoor challenges like paddling and trail running. An app for iOS and Android helps attendees plan their strategy and discover the options of the challenges to compete in, and over the course of the day they can select which ones they want to try. Winners can even take home free gear and win adventurous trips too. Live music and a post-race party round out the festivities. 

    Locations: Dozens of destinations across the U.S. and Canada

  • 04 of 05

    Indiana Dunes Outdoor Festival

    Indiana dunes sunset
    Daniel A. Leifheit/Getty Images

    Most outdoor festivals take place in or near urban settings, helping to make them more accessible to those who want to attend. But, the Indiana Dunes Outdoor Fest is actually located on the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which is a 15-mile long stretch of shoreline on the southern edge of Lake Michigan. 

    As you would expect, the festival includes options for hiking, paddling, and biking along the shore, with geocaching, photography, orienteering, and birding activities also on the schedule. There is even an opportunity to go on an overnight backpacking excursion that is not only beginner friendly, but gives participants the chance to rent any gear that they might need too. 

    Location: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, IN 

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Base Camp Festival

    Base Camp Festival
    Base Camp Festival

    Adventurous travelers living in the U.K. or planning on visiting the country, may want to add the Base Camp Festival to their list of things to see and do. Over the past couple of years the event has grown into a top draw for outdoor lovers not just for all of the activities that it offers, but because it attracts some stellar guest speakers as well. If hiking, trail running, climbing, and biking aren't enough to get you inspired, attendees also get the chance to meet and talk shop with some truly groundbreaking explorers too. Those men and women will share tales of their daring adventures to remote corners of the globe, while offering advice on how to launch into a career of exploration as well. 

    The festival is also well known for offering a number of free workshops to introduce participants to new sports, including bouldering, slacklining, and stand-up paddleboarding. Other seminars include options on learning wilderness first aid, getting fit for adventure, and how to plan an expedition. 

    Locations: Held in the Peak District of the U.K. 

Was this page helpful?