11 Adventurous Vacation Ideas for Thrill-Seekers

 You'll get the ultimate adrenaline rush from any of these bucket list experiences.

01 of 11

Swim With Whales

Scuba diver approaches humpback whales
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It is possible for travelers to actually go swimming with whales –– under highly regulated conditions –– in the Sanctuary of the Marine Mammals in the Dominican Republic. The humpbacks migrate to the Silver Bank from December through mid-April, and Conscious Breath Adventures takes travelers out to meet them on a regular basis during that time. Hearing their haunting song as they glide through the water next to you makes for an unforgettable experience that wills tay with you long after you've gone back home.

You can also swim with humpback whales in Vava'u, located in the nation of Tonga. These South Pacific whales migrate from feeding grounds in the Antarctic to the northern islands of Tonga each year. Whale Swim runs tours from early July to late October.

02 of 11

Sky Dive From 30,000 Feet

HALO skydiving
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If you have an interest in jumping out of an airplane flying 30,000-feet above the Earth, HALO (High-Altitude, Low-Opening) skydiving just might be for you. At that altitude the air is so thin that you'll probably need to wear an oxygen tank and mask. But the view is also incredibly spectacular, making this a once-in-a-lifetime rush. Go to Incredible Adventures for the details about this extreme experience that will almost certainly get your heart pumping.

03 of 11

Surf Down a Volcano in Nicaragua

Volcano Surfing in Nicaragua
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As you can probably imagine, surfing down the side of a volcano on a wooden plank isn't quite the same as surfing on the ocean. Expect to get dirty, and maybe even pick up a few cuts, bruises, and abrasions if you fall off the board. That said, you can also expect a true adrenaline rush that blends speed and skill as you hurdle down the side of an active volcano.

Learn more about this sport, which is sometimes called "ash boarding", and book your own mountain-surfing itinerary, at Bigfoot Boarding in Nicaragua.

04 of 11

Bungee Jump Off the Macau Tower

Macau Tower
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Adrenaline junkies always seem to get a rush from t bungee jumping, but not everyone has done it from one of the tallest building in the world. At 764 feet in height, the jump from the Macau Tower in China is said to be amongst the most terrifying and exhilarating on the planet. The experience begins on a platform located high up on the tower itself, with the city of Macau sprawled out below. While plummeting downward travelers get an amazing view of that bustling and busy city, not to mention the open water beyond. During the leap, they'll be in free fall at extreme speeds for nearly five seconds, eventually landing on an airbag that has been specially designed to break their fall. The entire jump feels surreal and wild, right up until you plant your feet back down on solid ground.

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05 of 11

Go Storm Chasing

storm chasers tornado
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If storms and tornadoes fascinate you, why not sign up for a storm-chasing tour? On one of these exhilarating excursions you'll hop in a van that head out in search of the most powerful storms imaginable. Expert drivers will even take you so close to a tornado that you'll be able to hear the wind howling by all around you. 

Because of the inherent danger that comes along with this kind of activity, you'll want to choose a company that has a proven track record in the field. Storm Chasing has offered tours in Tornado Alley (the midwest region of the U.S.) for more than a decade, making them one of the leaders in this type of experience. Excursions are offered roughly from May through August, depending on weather conditions.

06 of 11

Scuba Dive in a Cenote in Mexico

Divers enter cenote in the area of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
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For a true underwater adventure unlike any other, give scuba diving in a cenote on the Riviera Maya of Mexico a go. You'll drop into a limestone cave that has been carved out of the rock by running water over thousands of years. As you swim through this strange and intriguing underworld, you'll witness a place that few have the opportunity to see, providing an experience that most divers can only dream of. Devoid of light, but certainly not life, these underground caverns are equal parts terrifying and alluring.

07 of 11

Go Canyoneering in Utah

A hiker in a slot canyon in Utah, USA.
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Canyoneering is an activity that sends travelers into narrow, twisty canyons and gorges that often require rappelling, swimming, hiking, and climbing to pass through. Moab, Utah has plenty of opportunities to drop into sandstone gorges and explore these hidden realms, making it one of the best places to give the sport a try. If you're an adrenaline junkie, be prepared to spend days hiking and rappelling in these slot canyons, getting the chance to explore remote areas that few people ever get to see.

08 of 11

Take a Mule Ride in Hawaii

Kalaupapa, Molokai
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The narrow trail that carries visitors down to Kalaupapa on the island of Moloka'i, Hawaii is a single-file affair at best. As you drop down the side of the 1,800-foot cliff, you'll be glad you're on the back of a sure-footed mule who can do most of the work for you. The adrenaline rush comes when you peer over the edge to see the ocean far below, but the real pay off comes when you arrive at the former leper colony for a tour of that historic place. You'll also find some outstanding views of the spectacular beach, the Pacific Ocean, and the surrounding countryside, making this a mule ride to paradise.

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09 of 11

Cage Dive With Great White Sharks

A shark swimming towards the camera with a ton of fish around the shark

TripSavvy / Jess Macdonald

Your adrenaline will definitely be pumping as you peer through a metal cage at the fearsome predators found on the other side. There is no better –– and safer –– way to get such a close encounter with a great white shark, which are fearsome in both size and reputation.

The most well-known cage diving operations (Shark Cage Diving) are off the coast of South Africa, making it a popular destination for those who want to experience this activity. If you're closer to the U.S., you can submerge in the waters off the Farallon Islands, 26 miles west of San Francisco, or take a multi-day adventure to Isla Guadalupe, located 160 miles off the coast of Baja California with Great White Adventures.

10 of 11

Go Whitewater Rafting

whitewater rafting, Idaho

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Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular adventure activities in the world, with opportunities to experience the exhilarating fun in just about every corner of the globe. There is nothing quite like battling the raging rapids of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon for instance or roaring through the jungle along the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe. And just when you think you've started to get the hang of it, a massive wave crashes over the boat, sending you into the rushing waters yourself. That's when things really start to get interesting.

11 of 11

Ride an Olympic Bobsled in Utah

Bobsled Park City Utah
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Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and many of the facilities and vestiges of that event still linger throughout the area. For instance, if you travel to the Olympic Park in Park City you'll have the opportunity to go zooming down the Olympic bobsled run. Along the way, you'll rip through 15 turns and hit speeds of nearly 80 mph. Rides are available in both the summer and winter. For details visit Olympic Park Bobsled.