6 American Epic Adventures

Don't let the daily grind stop you from unwinding. A relaxing state of mind is just a few states away.

6 American Epic Adventures

Don't let the daily grind stop you from unwinding. A relaxing state of mind is just a few states away.

Being a weekend warrior doesn’t need to feel like going to war. In fact, shorter breaks, and a perfectly planned trip, can be powerfully restorative if done right. For example, hikers who spent just four days on a wilderness trip—without electronic devices—boosted their creative problem-solving skills by 50 percent, a University of Utah study found. And lawyers in a Canadian study who took cycling and swimming breaks were significantly happier than those who participated in less-active pursuits.

Here, then, from the experts at Best Life, are six mind-clearing, action-packed adventures you can experience in a week (or less) to work your body, siphon off stress, and even make your job more bearable—should you decide to go back to work, that is. And to live your life to the absolute fullest, grab your bucket list and check off these absolutely essential 40 Things You Must Do in Your 40s!

South Carolina water falls

Spin Through South Carolina

WHY THERE?
In fall, the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Greenville are ideal for cycling: crisp weather, rolling twisters that slice through vineyards, and endless opportunities to test your climbing legs.

STAY WHERE?
Hotel Domestique. This small boutique hotel, co-owned by former pro cyclist George Hincapie, has its own bicycle shop and fleet of BMC bikes. From $335, hoteldomestique.com

DO IT BETTER
Be conservative at the start of a climb, says Hincapie. “If you stay in the saddle and spin smoothly in an easy gear, it will pay off greatly near the top.”

Arizona landscape

Train for a Tri in Arizona

WHY THERE?
With dry air, clear skies, and 70- to 80-degree autumn temperatures, the Sonoran Desert is a prime training ground for triathletes.

STAY WHERE?
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. Olympian Misty Hyman and the fitness staff at this Paradise Valley resort can create a tri-training plan tailored to your needs. $1,797 (three-day package), sanctuary oncamelback.com

DO IT BETTER?
Gaze toward the bottom of the pool and keep the waterline at the crown of your head so your neck aligns with your spine. You’ll raise your hips and swim faster, says Hyman.

To make the most of every day, start checking off these incredible 50 Things You Must Do Before You Die!

Four seasons in Maui

Stand-Up Paddle off Maui

WHY THERE?
The weather forecast here is monotonously awesome, and ocean temperatures — in the comfortable high 70s — are just as inviting.

STAY WHERE?
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. The bay’s gentle waves and soft-sand beaches are perfect for practicing. The folks at Maui Sports Adventures can meet you at the hotel for a lesson or tour. From $495, fourseasons.com

DO IT BETTER
“Power up your stroke by reaching forward and bending at the waist,” says pro boarder Sean Poynter. “Stretch forward to set the blade in the water while kicking your butt back.”

Malibu sunset

Take a Hike in Malibu

WHY THERE?
Undulating hills to the north and rolling waves to the south ensure that your hiking hours zoom by in a blue-green blur. On this 21-mile strip of Pacific coast, finding your center (and toning it) is second nature.

STAY WHERE?
The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu. As hard-core as it is tranquil, this mind-body vegetarian retreat offers daily hikes and ab sessions. $6,200 (all-inclusive, seven days), theranchmalibu.com

DO IT BETTER?
“When hiking, shorten your stride length,” says Marc Alabanza, the ranch’s program director. This reduces stress on your joints and extends endurance.

So why not book a trip now — having more time to seek out adventure is one of the 40 Best Things About Being in Your 40s!

Rockies landscape

Gallop into the Rockies

WHY THERE?
Dolores, Colorado, is set in a remote valley in the Rockies’ San Juan Range. It offers an all-you-can-conquer menu of thrilling terrain and pursuits — climbing, mountain biking, river rafting, fly-fishing, and horseback riding.

STAY WHERE?
Dunton Hot Springs. An experienced staff will help you satisfy your appetite for adventure, whatever you’re in the mood to try. From $600, duntonhotsprings.com

DO IT BETTER
“When your horse starts heading uphill, stand in the stirrups and lean forward to get off its back and help it climb,” says Dunton horsewoman Alison Eddy.

Golf course in St. George Utah

Tee Off in St
George, Utah

WHY THERE?
Mild, dry fall weather, Mars-like terrain, and great golf courses, says Golf Digest editor Ron Kaspriske.

STAY WHERE?
The Inn at Entrada. When you rent one of the member-owned Anasazi-inspired casitas, you gain access to Snow Canyon Country Club’s 7,085-yard Johnny Miller Signature Design course. Plus, it’s a short drive to many other courses. From $179, innatentrada.com

DO IT BETTER?
Stay on the fairway, says Kaspriske. “Off the tee, use a fairway wood or hybrid to keep it in play and you’ll save your clubs from scuff marks off the rocky terrain.”

Whatever trip you choose, live in the moment — it’s just one of these 25 Ways to be Happier Now!