Adventure Travel: Catering to Both the Thrill-Seekers and the Leisure-Lovers

Adventure travel has long captivated the hearts of thrill-seekers, drawing them to the world’s most exhilarating destinations.

However, not every traveler shares the same appetite for high-octane activities. Often, adventurous souls embark on their journeys accompanied by companions who prefer a more relaxed pace.

Fortunately, the travel industry has evolved to accommodate both ends of the spectrum, offering a plethora of destinations and experiences that cater to both the active adventurer and the leisure-loving traveler.

Adventure travel is experiencing a significant rise in popularity, driven by a growing desire for unique and immersive experiences. According to a recent report by Grand View Research, the adventure tourism market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.2% from 2022 to 2030. This surge is largely due to an increased interest in both soft and hard adventure activities, such as trekking, scuba diving, and extreme sports​.

In particular, “soft adventure” activities, which include less risky pursuits like hiking and camping, dominate the market, accounting for around 65% of the segment in 2021. This trend is especially popular among older age groups and those seeking exciting yet safe experiences​. On the other hand, “hard adventure” activities are gaining traction among younger, more thrill-seeking travelers, contributing significantly to the market’s growth​.

These are some of the top resorts and destinations catering to all travel styles.

Barnsley Resort | Adairsville, GA

Nestled in the foothills of Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Barnsley Resort, is the ultimate off the beaten path destination catering to every traveler’s passions. Mild adventurers can spend the day practicing their swing at the 18-hole Jim Fazio golf course, saddling up for a horseback ride through the scenic mountains, exploring the Manor House Ruins and boxwood gardens that date back to the 1840s, or indulging in well-deserved rest and relaxation with a blissful massage, rejuvenating facial or beauty treatment at The Spa at Barnsley Resort.

Meanwhile, those looking for extra outdoor thrill can participate in archery, axe throwing, UTV tours and air rifles. Adventurers are also encouraged to scope out the on-site Beretta Shooting Grounds by High Adventure Company for sporting clays on two, 14-station courses as well as seasonal wing shooting. For more information or to book, visit www.barnsleyresort.com.

Caerula Mar Club | South Andros, Bahamas

Caerula Mar Club is a boutique resort on The Bahamas’ sleepy island of South Andros and the island’s first-ever luxury property. Helmed by a couple of HGTV stars, Sarah and Bryan Baeumler of Renovation Island who discovered the abandoned hotel while on vacation, the resort is home to five private villas and 18 gorgeous suites steps from the shoreline that exude barefoot luxury with open concept living.

However, while relaxation is key when visiting, there is also plenty of opportunity for exploration at any level. For the slightly less adventurous or active, there’s boating excursions, hiking trails, snorkeling around the nearby barrier reef…

And for adrenaline-seeks, there’s Blue Hole diving. South Andros is home to more than 200 Blue Hole ocean caves (the most in the world), which are a must see for adventure junkies exploring the island. Known for their insane depths—so deep they have yet to be recorded—and unique cave formations, these underwater cave systems are a one-of-a-kind adventure, with plenty to do for less-adventurous counterparts.

St. Maarten 

The charismatic Caribbean island nation of St. Maarten welcomes families with one of the region’s most diverse menu of experiences where every traveler— from the snorkeler to the shopper, the surfer to the foodie, or the thrill seeker to the history enthusiast—can find an activity they love.

For the ultimate thrill seekers, St. Maarten’s Rockland Estate is home to the world’s steepest zipline, The Flying Dutchman. Take a 20-minute ride up Sentry Hill on the Soualiga Sky Explorer chairlift and fly all the way back down. For the water lovers, venture to one of the island’s most exciting new attractions this year, the underwater sculpture museum, Under SXM. The attraction has over 300 artificial reef sculptures modeled after local moments and figures, from the work of renowned street artist Lily Hinckfoot to the Carnival scene featuring local icons such as King Beau Beau and DJ Outkast, located in a designated trail under the water in Little Bay. 

Want to island hop? This is the perfect place to cross some travel goals off the bucket list. Due to its central location, SXM is considered a Carribean hub and homebase for easy access to its neighboring islands. Take a 15-minute ferry to Anguilla, 45-minute ferry to St. Barths, or a 90-minute ferry to Saba. 


Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino offers the perfect balance for travelers seeking endless escapades from outdoors to wellness. Sunseekers who desire lowkey options can enjoy a relaxing beach day in the tranquil ocean waters, followed by a wellness journey after dark, via the new Full Moon Dinner experience.

The once-a-month dinner includes crystals, a five-course, moon-inspired menu, mood rings, and a host to guide attendees along the way. Want to up the ante, non-motorized watersports are available including snorkeling and paddleboarding. In addition, local activities include catamaran trips to see two of Aruba’s best snorkeling sites and Jeep Tours where visitors can see the island through the eyes of a local.

Nassau, Bahamas

British Colonial Nassau, one of Nassau’s most historic hotel properties is ideal for soft adventure lovers and history buffs looking for a convenient escape. Non-motorized water sports are available from water bikes to canoes, with two freshwater oceanfront pools that overlook a 300-foot beach.

The hotel, steeped in 100+ years of rich history, has undergone a massive transformation, following a $50 million investment. The boutique property has been immaculately restored to feature 288 guest rooms and suites, with original artwork, early 20th-century design touches throughout and seven dining outlets. Not to mention, a prime location on Bay Street just steps from Nassau’s colorful cruise port, famed straw market, beaches and more.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Wanderlusters looking for water adventures without compromising on a modern and sleek stay, the newest luxury property in Cabo San Lucas, Corazón Cabo Resort & Spa, is the perfect place. Aside from being nestled in the best swimmable white-sand beach in Cabo with three on-property infinity pools overlooking El Arco, Cabo’s most famous landmark, the resort offers experiences for everyone, whether it be extreme or soft adventure.

Guests can enjoy a sunset sail, dive into the area’s legendary sports fishing scene, or try electric surfing (eFOIL) and SNUBA (a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving) offered by Cabolectric, Corazón Cabo’s tour operator partner.

Yogis can also try something new with the resort’s AquaYoga class held at Rooftop 360 where guests can try yoga on a floating mat in the pool with an unobstructed view of Cabo’s epic ocean meets desert views. 

Todos Santos, Baja California

Embark on an exhilarating journey at Kimpton Mas Olas in Todos Santos, Baja California, where adventure and wellness unite. Travelers can dive into a world of heady activities that will ignite the spirit and energize the body.

From thrilling surf lessons to invigorating biking and hiking trails, refreshing swims, and more, Mas Olas offers a diverse range of indoor and outdoor experiences to suit every level of adventure. For those looking to cater to their physical wellbeing, Mas Olas offers a variety of activities for both beginners and fitness enthusiasts alike including paddleboarding tours through Balandra and aqua yoga.

Guests can also immerse themselves in nature and forge a deeper connection with Baja’s natural wonders through guided experiences like whale watching, turtle releases, backcountry horseback tours, and more. 

Cancun, Mexico:

An easy flight from most major U.S. cities, Cancun lies at the heart of the Mexican Caribbean and is the perfect destination for travelers with all interests with easy access to the Yucatan’s most amazing sights, gorgeous turquoise beaches, and more.

Book your stay at JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, a sprawling resort with 447 ocean-view guest rooms. The resort team is there to ensure that both travelers have a memorable getaway with ease. For the more adventurous of the pair, opt to experience a once-in-a-lifetime snorkel with the ocean’s gentle giants, whale sharks as they migrate through the waters of Cancun during the summer months.

If getting up close and personal with giant creatures isn’t your style, no need to fret. Set up shop at a beachfront Bali-style day bed and venture out into the Caribbean Sea to snorkel and experience the marine life right off the property’s shores.

And after a day of adventure, shake things up with the Lobby Bar’s 150 Margarita Menu inspired by the rich culture of Mexico and featuring 150 different kinds of tequila.


Tucked away in the Caribbean Sea, the five-square-mile island of Saba is a small but mighty destination that’s brimming with adventure both big and small. Thrill seekers will delight to learn that the adventure begins from the seat of the twin-otter plane that carries travelers the 12-minute flight to Saba from St. Maarten, as when they look through the cockpit they will come face-to-face with the shortest commercial runway in the world—which landing on isn’t for the faint of heart, but a feat that comes with epic bragging rights.

For the traveler looking to dip their toe in the Gatorade water, the Makenna Ferry is a 90-minute ride to Saba that offers smooth sailing. Once on the island travelers have their choice of nature immersive activities.

The extreme adventurers will want to dive right in, literally, as the Saba’s waters are home to bucketlist dive sites amongst the advanced diving community. Divers will delight in diving through pinnacles, and caves, formed by past volcanic activity, and swimming with their diverse marine life from sea turtles, to nurse and tiger sharks.

For anyone who doesn’t wish to swim with sharks, the island offers snorkeling experiences, as their waters have amazing visibility and snorkelers can spot marine life from the safety of the water’s surface. Above the sea, hikers can enjoy any of the island’s 20 trails—the ambitious ones may even try to complete them all (which takes 48 hours to do so).

The trails range in level of difficulty from 30-minute tranquil jaunts, to 2-hour steep hikes. The bold are encouraged to hike to the peak of Mt. Scenery.

Jessica Bayley

Jessica Bayley is an international author and journalist. She covers global affairs, hard news, lifestyle, politics, technology and is also the author of "The Ladies of Belgium."