Hilton Grand Vacations is sponsoring this look at combining outdoor travel with vacation club ownership.
Outdoor experiences are a must for any trip that Alan and I take. We love the freedom and exhilaration that comes after a day filled with fun activities in the fresh air.
Outdoor travel is even more important during times when traveling safely becomes a priority. Being outside in wide-open spaces reduces exposure to other people. More importantly, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, or whatever the activity might be is good for your physical health, mental well-being and immune system.
How to prepare for outdoor travel and adventures
Outdoor adventures require planning. It’s not a simple matter of deciding which clothes to pack. Depending on the activity, getting your body ready, including building endurance, is an important part of that planning.
How do I accomplish this? If I’m going to be hiking in higher elevations, I find the highest hill in the neighborhood to walk up and down repeatedly. My goal is to build up lung function and leg strength. Spending extra time in the gym stretching and weightlifting focused on areas of the body pertinent to the activity you plan to do is another way to prepare.
It’s also important to be realistic about physical limitations. Trying an activity that’s slightly challenging is fine but going beyond your capabilities is the easiest way I know to ruin an active trip.
As someone afraid of heights, I can attest to those times when I’ve tried a trail that’s too scary for me. Even with Alan’s hand-holding help, I end up grinding through the experience rather than enjoying it.
Research is part of the preparation, too. Finding outdoor activities to include in the itinerary adds depth to travel. Don’t overlook nature walks and less adventurous experiences like fishing. The point is to get outside, no matter how you choose to do so.
Outdoor travel and adventure guide for Hilton Grand Vacations
When Alan and I turned 50, staying active became an important part of our travels. That old saying, “use it or lose it,” is absolutely true. So, we started looking for ways to add outdoor activities to the itinerary. Two decades later, we still look for active things to do.
So how would I add outdoor experiences to vacation ownership with Hilton Grand Vacations? Let me show you.
Hiking in Hawaii
Most people go to Hawaii to lounge on a beautiful beach. But Alan and I always add hiking to the itinerary. The Big Island offers trails—both easy and hard—with rewarding views. A stay at Kohala Suites by Hilton Grand Vacations puts you close to beautiful beaches and fun hiking opportunities.
For an enjoyable half-day of exploring, take the drive (about 1 hour 35 minutes on Hawaii Belt Road) to Akaka Falls State Park. The quarter mile paved trail loops through dense rainforest, making it more of a nature walk than a hike.
You won’t be alone—this trail is popular—while admiring Akaka Falls plunging 422 ft. into a tropical gorge. You’ll also see the smaller Kahuna Falls.
If you’re looking for a longer trail, hiking the Pololu Valley Lookout is 2.5 miles round trip. Bring a picnic lunch as the trail travels down to a black sand beach. However, save some water for the trek back up the lush cliffs to your car. This lovely hike is located an hour north of Kohala Suites on the Akoni Pule Highway.
Scotland biking adventures
Do you enjoy cycling? It’s a great way to experience nature. If you haven’t ridden a bicycle in a while, I recommend cycling at home, first, to make sure that this experience is still for you.
Why not combine a cycling adventure with a trip to Scotland? Aviemore sits in the heart of the Scottish Highlands with biking trails that range from easy to hard. Aviemore is also within the boundaries of Cairngorms National Park.
While staying nearby at Hilton Grand Vacations at Coylumbridge, you can pedal to your heart’s content. Or hike. Or fish. Cyclists will want to head into Cairngorms National Park on a mountain bike to explore the beauty of the Scottish Highlands.
Cold weather fun in Colorado
A ski vacation takes you outside and into the fresh air. Valdoro Mountain Lodge, Hilton Grand Vacations’ Rocky Mountain property, is a comfortable destination for cold-weather fun. Located in Breckenridge, Colorado, the lodge is within walking distance of town—always nice to park the car and forget it.
But you’re here for the winter fun. Downhill skiers choose from 2,908 skiable acres on five peaks. That equals days and days of skiing.
Not a downhill skier? Enjoy cross-country skiing on the trails that wind through the town of Breckenridge.
But that’s not the end of outdoor fun. Snowshoe, ride in a dogsled, go snowmobiling, enjoy a sleigh ride or join the grandkids on the snow-tube run. Whichever adventure you choose, you’ll be outside breathing in the fresh air and soaking up a winter dose of vitamin D.
Snorkeling in Cabo
Now we’re getting to one of my favorite outdoor activities: snorkeling!
Cabo San Lucas in Baja Mexico offers plenty of fun in the sun. And flights from the U.S. are a convenient alternative instead of long, international flights to tropical destinations.
Staying at La Pacifica Los Cabos by Hilton Club, where you can travel as early as April 1, 2021, offers comfortable suites with access to plenty of outdoor options. You’ll appreciate the warm weather, including 11.3 beachfront acres for snorkeling and swimming.
Floating in tropical waters admiring colorful fish is my idea of an outdoor experience. After you’ve had your fill of snorkeling at the resort, ask the concierge to book a tour to prime snorkeling destinations like Santa Marina Bay, Chileno Beach or Land’s End. You won’t regret it!
No matter how over 50 folks choose to spend time outside on a trip, it’s still possible to enjoy an active lifestyle while traveling safely. And it’s oh so healthy for you!
All photos courtesy Hilton Grand Vacations