The Adrenalist

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DO:MORE This Weekend



The call of the wild rings in every Adrenalist’s ears from time to time, but you don’t necessarily need to plan a trip to the Amazon or Arctic circle to DO:MORE.

Sometimes, all you need is the perfect weekend trip away from crowds and noise, and we’re here to give you the perfect weekend trip ideas. Here are four road-less-traveled destinations that are great options for weekend trips and excursions, as well as the ideal places to stay and the best ideas for how you can DO:MORE once you get there.

Minneapolis: Isle Royale National Park

Moose, wolves and countless bird species abound in the only park that the National Park Service completely shuts down for the wintertime. Isle Royale National Park is a secluded island preserve on Lake Superior that consists of Isle Royale, as well as dozens of smaller surrounding islands and the waters that connect them. The park sees very few visitors every year and is a playground for those willing to go the extra mile for its fishing, hiking and canoeing. Weekend trip warriors can take in the inland lakes, rugged trails and sheltered harbors that provide an intimate look at one of the country’s most isolated ecosystems.

How to Get There

Drive five hours from Minneapolis to Grand Portage, MN and take a 90-minute ferry to the park, or hit up Houghton, MI to take the Motor Vessel Ranger III. If you’re flying in, there are closer airports, and you can also catch a floatplane from Houghton if you want to pony up and take in the views. When you touch down, try out the Magnuson Hotel Franklin Square.

How to DO:MORE

Bring your scuba gear. Lake Superior has a number of well-preserved shipwrecks for underwater exploring. This is for experienced divers only, though, as Superior’s waters are notoriously cold.

Seattle: North Cascades National Park

Washington state’s North Cascades National Park sits north of Seattle and is ample evidence of how the surrounding region received the nickname, “The American Alps.” Waterfalls, dense forests and dramatic peaks are a welcome departure from the hustle and bustle of city life. This mountainous wonderland sees less than 20,000 visitors a year.

How to Get There

North Cascades National Park is an easy two hour drive northeast from Seattle, or two and a half hours southeast from Vancouver. Stay at the Sun Mountain Lodge just east of the park in Winthrop, where you can rent a bike and access a number of trail systems.

How to DO:MORE

Climbers and mountaineers rejoice: North Cascades has countless backcountry climbs and hundreds of glaciers. Check out some more info about permits and preparation.

Salt Lake City: Great Basin National Park

Utah has no shortage of parks and playgrounds, but just across the Nevada border lies a small park rife with ancient mystery and plenty of weekend trip ideas. Great Basin National Park is home to hundreds of species of trees, including the Bristlecone Pine – the oldest organism on the planet. Known for stargazing opportunities, hikes to glacial lakes and the second and third-tallest peaks in Nevada, the park gives cross-country skiers and snowshoers opportunities for extreme solitude during the winter. Lexington Arch is a geological marvel and worth the weekend trip alone.

How to Get There

Great Basin is in Nevada, but the closest large city is Salt Lake City, UT. The park is about a five hour drive southwest of Salt Lake. Try a stay at the La Quinta Inn & Suites Ely.

How to DO:MORE

The park has over 40 wild caves within its boundaries, but all are closed to exploration except one. Experienced cavers can apply for a permit to explore Little Muddy Cave. If you’re traveling in January, check out the White Pine Fire and Ice Show nearby Cave Lake State Park.

Charleston: Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park is the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States, and makes for some killer canoeing and kayaking. Hikers can enjoy moderate brief to day-long hikes through the floodplain and take in the towering trees and wildlife that the Congaree River has fed for thousands of years. Overnight canoe trips allow for deep access into the forest.

How to Get There

Congaree National Park is located two hours northwest of Charleston, not far from Columbia, SC. Day hikers can stay at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Columbia-Fort Jackson, just 18 miles from the park entrance.

How to DO:MORE

To add an extra kick to your weekend adventure, bring your mountain bike and cruise past Columbia to Sumter National Forest to take in some of the most epic waterfalls in the Southeast and miles and miles of bike trails.

Cover Photo Credit: Ben + Sam – flickr

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