Jump to main content
British Airways logoHigh Life logoHigh Life logo

The best destinations for an active holiday in America

New adventures are front of mind as we move towards a post-pandemic world of international travel, and some of the most exciting experiences are waiting just across the pond. They don’t require any special skills so, if you’re keen to feel the wind in your hair at speed, with minimal stress or preparation, you’ve come to the right place. Jonathan Thompson reveals the best zero-effort adrenaline hits in America


Ride a jet boat in Miami

Locals live large and loud by the sun-kissed waterfront in Miami, with the ever-present ocean a major part of daily life here (even the city’s name means ‘big water’). So what better way to get to know this fast-paced subtropical Avalon than via a jet boat tour? The aptly named Adrenaline Jet Boat Ride will see you roaring, spinning and twisting around the famous beaches, taking in all the famous sights as you hang on for dear life. The boat itself has no propellor – it sucks in water then forces it out at speed, creating a propulsive thrust that makes twists and tricks that much easier at full throttle.

Take off to Miami


Jump off a Las Vegas hotel

There are plenty of ways to get an adrenaline rush in Las Vegas – but one of the biggest hits of all is the Sky Jump at The Strat Hotel. Somewhere between skydiving, bungee jumping and ziplining, it involves launching yourself off a platform from the hotel’s 108th floor, before a cable controls your 850ft plunge back down to terra firma. During the heart-pounding 17-second descent, you’ll be able to soak in some incredible views of the famous Las Vegas Strip, before claiming eternal bragging rights over your friends at the bottom.  

Take off to Las Vegas


Toast Oregon's best wines, by helicopter

Cycling winery tours are so 2019. Instead, maximise the style and minimise the effort of vineyard hopping by taking a helicopter. Tour DeVine specialises in heli-tours of the famed Willamette Valley, a short drive from Portland. Trips typically begin with a Champagne breakfast, before you’re off over the rolling hills of the Pacific Northwest, on a flying visit to taste the best of Oregon’s famous Pinot Noirs – plus many other delicious reds and whites, interspersed with gourmet food and spectacular views. 


Cruise across Manhattan in a motorbike sidecar

Even if you’re a regular visitor to New York, there’s one way to see the city from an entirely different perspective: a motorcycle sidecar. Dapper Tours, which describes itself as the ‘non-touristy tour guide company that will show you the New York real New Yorkers know’, will whisk you from Dumbo to downtown, across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, as your guide explains what you’re passing via Bluetooth headset. Tours typically take 90 minutes, packing in sizeable slices of the Big Apple in the shortest time possible.    

Take off to New York


Soar over Orlando in a hot air balloon

Orlando is famed for its epic, fast-paced theme parks, but the best way to see the Floridian city in all its glory isn’t from the top of a rollercoaster – it’s from a hot air balloon at dawn. Aerostat Adventures will take you up and over the main attractions in one of its famous multicoloured balloons, so you can enjoy breath-taking views of Disney World, Epcot Center and Hollywood Studios as the sun rises – and plan which rides to take once you finally land.

Take off to Orlando


Zip across San Francisco on an electric scooter

One of the most fun-filled ways to dive into the City by the Bay, the Wharf to Bridge scooter tour sees you zipping from San Francisco’s picturesque Fisherman’s Wharf to the legendary Golden Gate Bridge, taking in amazing views of the harbour, the city skyline and Alcatraz en route. These aren’t just any old scooters either – the Imax S1+ has larger tyres, a more spacious deck and a more powerful motor than standard rentals, giving you the thrust you need to get up San Francisco’s famous hills, as your tour guide fills you in on what you’re seeing via an earbud. You’ll cover more of the Golden City in three hours than you’d manage on foot in three days.

Take off to San Francisco