When you take off for a dream trip, chances are you’re likely thinking about how to spend your days. You might even hope to maximize all the hours of the day even if it just means taking time out to relax. However, there are many destinations that offer so many amazing outdoor activities that take place at night. Whether you want to keep your blood pumping with adrenaline or exertion or you’re looking to get a closer look at local flora and fauna, these top destinations have after-dark adventures you just can’t pass up.
Tons of people are fascinated by bioluminescence of the tiny organisms and microorganisms in the ocean that emit light when disturbed. It’s easiest to see them on very dark nights, though some places have an abundance of this activity. The Cayman Islands are home to what’s known as Bioluminescence Bay or “BioBay,” which is one of those few destinations with high activity. Those who wish to see it up close can take tours ranging from night kayaking to swimming in the glowing waters.
Cayman Sea Elements offers a wonderful tour that disembarks from the Cayman Islands Yacht Club. Guests will enjoy a sunset cruise to the bay before strapping on their snorkeling gear and diving in. The staff has all of the gear you might need to feel comfortable and relaxed, from flotation devices and aids to wet suits. You can even bring your own snacks and alcoholic beverages for the return trip to the dock.
Another bucket list outdoor adventure is getting an amazing, unimpeded view for stargazing. Fortunately, Alberta, Canada has the world’s second-largest dark sky preserve, Jasper National Park. The dark sky preserve spans some 4,247 square miles and there are wonderful resources like the Jasper Planetarium at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. There, a staff of scientists teaches guests about the First Nations legends as well as set up telescopes to take a closer look at the most interesting appearances in the night sky each night. There are even refreshments to enjoy while you stargaze the night away.
Yosemite National Park has tons of highlights and many spend quite some time planning to ensure a permit to reach some of those natural landmarks. But if you are patient and do not mind forgoing to hike, then a moonlight tour of the park is one of the best and most impressive ways to see places like Half Dome, El Capitan and even the Sentinel Dome. Not to mention, this unusual means of exploring the park is a highly memorable way to enjoy and make the most of your time there.
The first outfitter, Travel Yosemite, offers a two-hour tour on an open-air tram that exposes guests to stunning views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, El Capitan and much more. Another outfitter, Discover Yosemite, takes guests to Sentinel Dome under the full moon. Though the walk itself is short and easy, you can hike up the dome, too, which is a more strenuous task. Regardless of which you choose, you’ll definitely want to take your camera.
Read more: Best National Parks for RV Camping
Though Jackson Hole, Wyoming has become one of the most luxurious outdoor destinations in the West during both winter and summer, there’s one winter activity that is worth keeping in mind as you plan your vacation. Night skiing is the best way to add on as many runs are you can truly get in during a day, and if you’re not ready to stop, there’s no need to. There’s something so exhilarating about flying down the slopes after dark, too, with glittering snow falling all around.
In Jackson, there’s actually only one resort that offers night skiing, which is why Snow King resort should be on your list of places to go. The resort keeps their slopes open from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. so you can get two and a half hours’ more ski time in. Then you’ll already be in the center of town where you can go out for an aprés ski to round out the day.
Any trip to Kona, Hawaii will be special thanks to the amazing landscape, stunning water, and incredible cuisine, not to mention the legendary coffee they grow and harvest there. But, for an incredible night following a day of lounging on the beaches, just book a night snorkeling tour.
Kona Honu Divers offers a once-in-a-lifetime tour that takes visitors out at night to snorkel to see manta rays feasting on plankton. The responsible wildlife tour operator shines lights through the waters at designated feeding sites. The plankton are drawn to the light with the manta rays not far behind. The light also illuminates the manta rays so you can get a great look at the massive creatures effortlessly flying through the water. They can grow to be up to 12 feet across, so be prepared before you dive in. Though they are virtually harmless, anything that large can be intimidating.
Read more: Best Places to Snorkel in America
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