5 Adventurous Vacations Couples Will Love

  • 01 of 05

    Romantic Vacation Ideas

    Halawa Valley and Waterfall
    ••• Ed Freeman/Getty Images

    Adventurous vacations can provide the perfect combination of an adrenaline, excitement,  and exercise—which can also be the perfect formula for falling love. Studies show that both exercise and fear mimic the signs of arousal (heart pumping fast, shortness of breath), which increases attraction in your date's eyes. Our suggestion? Test those theories on one (or all!) of these amazing adventure trips.

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  • 02 of 05

    Ride a Mule down a Cliff (Molokai, Hawaii)

    Mule ride down the almost vertical cliff to Kalaupapa on Molokai, Hawaii
    ••• Taking the guided mule ride down the nearly 1,800-foot almost vertical cliff to Kalaupapa on Molokai, Hawaii. (c) L Friedland

    Molokai, Hawaii, is still an unspoiled treasure, with no buildings higher than three stories and a population of less than 7,500 people. It's rife with activities, too: Hike to a waterfall-fed spring, relax on a quiet beach, or hit the trail on an exhilarating mountain bike ride. The truly adventurous can test their nerves on a mule ride down a nearly 1,800-foot-high cliff to Kalaupapa National Park. In the 19th century, Hawaiian King Kamehameha V banished all residents with Hansen's disease – aka leprosy – to this peninsula; today, it's a tightly-knit community for former patients, National Park Service employees, and Department of Health workers. It is a quiet corner of the island free from movie theaters, restaurant, and shopping malls, where residents stop to soak in the scenery in this island paradise. 

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  • 03 of 05

    Float in a Hot Air Balloon (Cappadocia, Turkey)

    Hot air balloons flying over cappadocia
    ••• Nutexzles/Getty Images

    Drifting in a hot air balloon over the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, Turkey; sleeping in an intimate cave room or a suite in an old, hillside mansion—it's hard to get more romantic, or thrilling, than that. Make Nevishir your home base as you head outside for hikes and mountain bike rides around Pigeon Valley. The trails thread through this otherworldly landscape that was created by erupting volcanoes some three million years ago. As the ash settled, it formed a layer of tufa in places covered with basalt lava. Centuries of wind, rain, and hot and cold weather extremes eroded the tufa, creating fantastical shapes that are called fairy chimneys today. The view from above via hot air balloon – or from the ground on foot –  is simply mind-blowing. 

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  • 04 of 05

    Swim in a Cave (Rivera Maya, Mexico)

    Xcalacoop cenote (cave), Valladolid, Yucatan, Mexico, Mayan civilization
    ••• De Agostini / Archivio J. Lange / Getty Images

    You could easily spend your whole vacation sunbathing and snorkeling on the Yucatan Peninsula's striking beaches, but you'd miss an entire underground world just waiting to be explored. The asteroid that hit this region 65 million years ago created a unique topography that is essentially a mega-sized slab of limestone that allows moisture to easily pass through. This has led to the creating of thousands of  cenotes, the Mayan word for "sacred well." These mineral-rich pools are essentially sinkholes, formed when the limestone top of a cave broke and opened up the pool to the sky. Many are now open to the public for swimming and snorkeling, and each have their own charms. Gran Cenote, located about two hours from Tulum, claims crystal clear waters and lush jungle surroundings, while Dos Ojos ("Two Eyes") contrasts one crystal-clear pool with another dark and cavernous well. Either will provide an experience that will create memories for a lifetime, especially for couples. 

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  • 05 of 05

    Cozy Up at a Dude Ranch (The American Southwest)

    A snowy horseback ride at Vista Verde ranch in Colorado.
    ••• Courtesy of Vista Verde Ranch

    Picture the two of you in a cozy room or a private cabin surrounded by a spectacular wilderness. Is that a curious deer pushing its nose against the window? Was that the howl of a wolf you heard in the distance? Guest and dude ranches can be a wonderful choice for romantic getaways in the winter. Go horseback riding in the snow or cross country skiing on remote trails. Afterward, soak in a private hot tub, or arrange for a couple's massage before heading off for dinner. Enjoy a quiet table for two in the main lodge or join new friends you've made on your latest adventure.

    Not all guest ranches are open in the winter, but many of the best in the American West court winter visitors with special rates and interesting packages. Devil's Thumb Ranch and Vista Verde Ranch, both in Colorado, and Hidden Meadow Ranch in Arizona, are open during the winter to lure adventurous visitors who enjoy playing in the snow. Not sure how to choose a ranch? Let us help you out with our tips on...MORE how to plan for a ranch vacation.