Classic destinations to celebrate a soon-to-be marriage all have their merit, but perhaps sometimes something a little more outdoors-orientated can fit the style of the future bride or groom. For those that look towards hiking trails for a good time, or that prefer whiskey served in a flask from the bottom of a backpack, and who consider any shoes at all to be formal wear—go ahead and skip the Vegas Strip and Bourbon Street and head somewhere a little more wild with these adventurous bachelor/bachelorette party destinations.
1. Port Angeles, Washington
On the Olympic Peninsula overlooking the ocean, Port Angeles features seaside hotels, plenty of AirBnb’s and one very affordable hostel—but the real reason to visit is the immediate access to Olympic National Park. With dense rainforests, snow-capped peaks and a rugged coastline, backpacking, and hiking in Olympic are equivalent to the feeling of a kid being in Disneyland (with no lines or adult supervision). For bonus adventure travel, the scenic Victoria, British Columbia is only a short ferry ride away from Port Angeles.
2. Asheville, North Carolina
Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, a bachelor or bachelorette party in Asheville could easily consist of backpacking, mountain biking, river rafting, fly fishing and campfire storytelling (all on a long weekend). Throw in the growing number of breweries and local eateries in Asheville, and you’ll wish the weekend was longer. For a real party to remember, Asheville is one of many great locations to hop on the Appalachian Trail for a few-day-stint away from the usual routine.
3. Bend, Oregon
With the Bend Whitewater Park running right through the center of the town, adventure and recreation are literally infused into this scenic city east of the Cascade Mountains. The Deschutes National Forest buts up to Bend, including the likes of Mount Bachelor, the Three Sisters Wilderness, and the long-distance Pacific Crest Trail. If that isn’t enough to work with, the high desert lies to the south of Bend, with spots like Newberry Volcanic Monument inviting opportunities to explore hot springs and lava tubes.
4. Santa Barbara, California
Surf’s up for you and your crew in Santa Barbara. Who cares when you visit, because this southern California hotspot enjoys the sun throughout the year (though summer is pretty fun if you don’t mind sharing the abundant beach.) With plenty of surfside attraction and oceanfront things to do, Santa Barbara is also blessed with the Los Padres National Forest directly inland. Surfing waves, climbing mountains and witnessing perhaps the most epic sunset in your life, it can all be done in a day in Santa Barbara.
5. Portland, Maine
Extending into Casco Bay, Portland is a charming city by the sea surrounded by great hiking, cycling, and lobster-eating activities. Endeavors like hiking, golfing and visiting islands are popular in the immediate vicinity of Portland, and world-renowned parks like Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park are under three hours away. A great basecamp or place to stay for an entire week, scoring a spot in the Old Port district will treat you right.
6. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
It’s hard to say whether Jackson Hole is more fun to visit in the winter or summer. The overall experience of skiing or snowboarding at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is what powder dreams are made of. Exploring the grandeur of Grand Teton National Park during the summer will take your breath away, especially when hiking up into the backcountry. For a great backpacking bonding trip with great views, the 40 miles of the Teton Crest Trail is a great route for bachelor/bachelorette parties (permit required).
7. Telluride, Colorado
Colorado has a plethora of adventurous destinations worth checking out, and Telluride is near the top of that list. Home to the state’s largest free-falling waterfall, a vibrant mountain village and, oh yeah, thousands of acres of the stunning Uncompahgre National Forest. The world-famous Telluride Ski Resort within the Uncompahgre has hundreds of miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. To have the place to yourself, cabin and lodge rentals give you and the crew private access to it all.
8. Whitefish, Montana
In northern Montana near the Canadian border, the resort city of Whitefish provides adventure throughout the year. Glacier National Park is a year-round reason to visit Whitefish, the aptly named National Park less than thirty miles away. For winter season fun, Whitefish Mountain Resort, also known as Big Mountain, features multi-day terrain, plenty of cabin rentals, and ski-apres opportunities for some hot poutine.
9. Moab, Utah
Perhaps one of the first destinations that come to mind for outdoor excursions, Moab is synonymous with adventure for a reason. Numerous outfitters can get you and your crew mountain biking the slickrock in no time, and commercial canyoneering companies are ready to show you a good time. White water rafting is also easily facilitated in Moab, and no visit is complete without checking out the nearby license plate feature, Delicate Arch, in Arches National Park.