If the thought of lounging poolside makes you feel restless, you’re probably not the type of traveler to kick-start your summer with a long weekend of R&R. Instead of keeping your vacation schedule clear for catching ZZZs, visit one of these top Memorial Day Weekend destinations that offer the perfect outdoor playgrounds to keep you on your feet. From Canadian glaciers and Tennessee mountains to Lowcountry marshes, you’ll spend your days outside exploring nature’s best attractions.
Multi-Sport Days in Whistler, British Columbia
May in Whistler is for multi-sport days – skiing, biking, running, golfing and paddling, to name a few. Whether you’re ziplining through old-growth trees or bungee jumping above glacial-fed rivers, you can take in British Columbia’s breathtaking scenery while feeding your adrenaline. If you want to admire the outdoors at a lower intensity, take a floatplane sightseeing tour in Whistler and enjoy a picnic lunch on a crystal clear alpine lake. Or hop on a gondola and just admire the ride.
Wildflowers in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains
Visit the Smoky Mountains in May and walk amid the wildflowers – over 1,500 kinds to be exact. The spring beauties sweep the forest floor in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including orchids, irises and violets. The park is famous for its displays of mountain laurel, rhododendron and flame azaleas, which you can admire on a wildflower walk or a loop around Cades Cove. The weather also welcomes outdoor activities in Smoky Mountains like whitewater rafting, ziplining, horseback riding and more.
Kayaking in Telluride, Colorado
Late spring in Telluride is a great time to try your hand at tackling the rivers, or perfecting your skills if you’re more experienced. The remote San Juan Mountains offer a gorgeous backdrop, and the San Miguel River is a destination in itself for kayakers and whitewater rafters with over 30 miles of continuous class III rapids. For a lower key experience, rent a kayak and trek up to a nearby high-alpine lake for some fly fishing, or paddle around on a standup paddleboard.
Olympic Park in Park City, Utah
Head to Park City after the rush of ski season and find fewer crowds to contend with as you explore. The Utah Olympic Park, which was built for the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games, is a nearly 400-acre venue housing a variety of adventure activities in Park City. Muster up the courage for extreme ziplining or tackle one of the park’s courses, which include tests like log traverses, swinging elements and free falls all in view of the mountains.
Salt Marshes in Kiawah Island, South Carolina
The South Carolina Lowcountry offers plenty of outdoor recreation aside from its pristine beaches. Kiawah Island, part of Charleston’s Islands, is one of nature’s treasures with its salt marshes, tidal creeks and diverse wildlife. Paddle a canoe or kayak down the marshes and cast off for some fishing. To get a closer look at your surroundings, join a paddling or walking tour with a local naturalist who can point you to nature’s hot spots and tell you more about the Island’s ecosystem. Visiting a wildlife viewing spot might catch you a glimpse at inhabitants like sea turtles, bobcats, river otters, ospreys and more.
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