7 Best Adventure Travel Experiences for First-time Group Travelers

By: Michelle Peters

From her home in Seattle, Michelle writes for a variety of internationally based travel companies. When not writing, she’s hiking, skiing, reading, or (in actuality) working her other job as “mom taxi.”

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February 3, 2023 | Adventure Experts

When was the last time you truly felt exhilarated? Perhaps it was walking a distance longer than your normal neighborhood route. Perhaps it was trying a new food or meeting people from another area of the world. Or, perhaps it was simply hearing the hoot of an owl in the wild for the first time.

Exhilaration needn’t mean extreme. In fact, at MT Sobek, we think of exhilaration as enlightenment, setting a wider aperture on our world in whatever way is most comfortable to you. 

For those of us in adventure travel, our goal is to meet you at your comfort level. We want to provide the chance for you to have that fluttery feeling in your stomach when you’re on the cusp of a challenge, yet provide all the stability and comfort one needs to enjoy an adventure … and to keep coming back for more. 

Whether adventure to you means new cultures or cuisine, seeing wildlife in its natural habitat, or trying a new outdoor activity, we have ample choices. Each of these hand-selected options offers the chance to explore the outdoors in a fresh way, get in shape, and make new friends along the way. We hope these suggestions inspire some wanderlust! 


  1. Croatia, Slovenia & Italy Hiking Tour
  2. Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho
  3. Private Yacht Cruise Adventure in the Galapagos
  4. A Walking Tour in the English Countryside
  5. Glaciers & Wildlife of Alaska
  6. Adventures in Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks
  7. Discover New Cultures in Southeast Asia  

1. Croatia, Slovenia & Italy Hiking Tour

For new hikers, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as getting to new heights and viewpoints, while also indulging in hearty, well-deserved, local cuisine at day’s end. Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula, Slovenia’s Julian Alps, and Italy’s Friuli-Venezia-Giulia will tempt your tastebuds with new flavors, from truffles to olive oil, while revealing the region’s historical sites and gorgeous natural setting. 

Beautiful view of Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula surrounded by water and yellow flowers in Europe

Adventures you’ll have:

  • Meet a local family in their home in historic Bale, Croatia, to sample top-quality virgin olive oil. 
  • Take a ferry out to the scenic Brijuni Islands. 
  • Hike along a truffle route to learn the art of “hunting” for this precious mushroom, then hike to Groznjan, a walled Renaissance town. 
  • Descend into Slovenia’s karst region – the Skocjan Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to take a subterranean walk.
  • Trek to the top of Italy’s Montemaggiore for its famous views of the blue Adriatic, Julian Alps, and Dolomites (followed by local wine tasting, of course!).

Total Days: 9 / Activity Level 2

2. Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho

If you’ve always wanted to try whitewater rafting, this is the trip for you. Frequently cited as the world’s best river trip, this ideal beginner adventure crests more than 75 rapids as you make your way down 75 miles of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. Actively participate on a guide-led boat or sit back and take in the scenery on an oar boat! 

group of rafters rafting 75 miles of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River on a multi day trip in Idaho, North America

Adventures you’ll have: 

  • Take an optional hike to stunning views of the canyon through which you’re rafting, or to Veil Falls. 
  • Try your hand at fly-fishing in the calm waters that follow Marble Falls and Ski Jump rapids. 
  • Swim in the bracing waters of the river, or cool off under the cascade of a waterfall. 
  • Relax in a natural hot spring at Sunflower or Loon Creek (look for mountain goats and bighorn sheep!). 
  • Kick things up a notch and try paddling through the rapids on your own in an inflatable “ducky” kayak. 

Total Days: 7 / Activity Level 2 

3. Private Yacht Cruise Adventure in the Galapagos

If the Galapagos have long been on your bucket list, but you thought you weren’t up for the adventure, think again. Our journey along the classic Western Loop takes you to the iconic islands of Isabela, Fernandina, Santiago, and others aboard an intimate, 16-passenger yacht, while also allowing for gentle, naturalist-led hiking, snorkeling and kayaking to more closely examine the landscape and wildlife of Darwin’s playground. 

Endemic private yacht cruising in the Galapagos Islands in Central America

Adventures you’ll have: 

  • Explore colonial Quito with an MT Sobek guide, including the UNESCO-listed old town, before setting off to the islands. 
  • Get to know giant tortoises in their wild and natural habitat on Santa Cruz Island. 
  • Marvel at penguins at Elizabeth Bay, then search for spotted eagle rays and sea lions at Red Mangrove Cove.
  • Hike along Fernandina Island’s volcanic landscape, close to hundreds of marine iguanas. 
  • Snorkel with angelfish, rays, sea turtles, and white-tipped reef sharks at Buccaneer Cove. 

Total Days: 11 / Activity Level 2 

4. A Walking Tour in the English Countryside

If you fancy yourself an avid walker, there’s no more dreamy setting in which to stretch your legs than England’s Cotswolds. Keep an eye out for hedgehogs scuttling through hedgerow-lined fields, have a spot of tea in a picture-perfect hamlet, with its idyllic thatched cottages, and wander along meandering rivers. This adventure includes a classic steam train ride!

Sheep with church in background near Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire

Adventures You’ll Have:

  • Hike through delightful English countryside villages with such whimsical names as Chipping Camden, Stow-in-the-Wold, and Bourton-on-the-Water. 
  • Venture into the world of William Shakespeare at his 16th-century birthplace, the medieval market town of Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • Climb to the site of an Iron Age hill fort, then descend to the ruins of Hailes Abbey, founded in 1246.
  • Ascend the trail to the top of Cleeve Hill, which, at 1,040 feet, is the highest point in the Cotswolds. 
  • Follow the relaxed trail along the banks of the scenic River Coln, past the villages of Quenington and Coln St. Aldwyns. 

Total Days: 8 / Activity Level 2 

5. Glaciers & Wildlife of Alaska

Can’t decide what type of adventure to take? Our multi-adventure trips take the guesswork out of the equation – for example, this Alaska Glaciers and Wildlife that reveals some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife and nature. You can even add on an invigorating heli-hiking experience at Mendenhall Glacier, walking on the ice field while peering into deep crevasses and marveling at blue ice flows.

Tandem kayakers on river in Alaska near glaciers

Adventures You’ll Have:

  • Paddle a tandem kayak in Bartlett Cove or hike the meandering Bartlett River trail to spot bald eagles, sea lions, seals, black bears, and sea birds. 
  • Take a boat trip to Point Adolphus to watch for the endangered humpback whale. 
  • Sail along the north shore of Chichagof Island, seeking marine mammals, bears, and bald eagles. 
  • Trek in Tongass National Forest, from Juneau along the Perseverance Trail down into a spectacular canyon, then to the old mine shafts of the Gold Creek valley. 
  • Whiz through Glacier Bay National Park on a high-speed catamaran boat, stopping for wildlife viewing along the way. 

Total Days: 7 / Activity Level 2 

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6. Adventures in Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks

Make all those photos you’ve seen of Yellowstone National Park leap off the page and become a stunning reality on this week-long immersion in two of the country’s most celebrated national parks. You’ll watch Old Faithful blow off steam in Yellowstone and learn about the geologic wonders behind it, then hike, kayak, and raft the Snake River in the Grand Tetons. From herds of bison to kaleidoscopic hot springs, this is an iconic adventure through a wild, yet easily accessible, region. 

Hot springs in Yellowstone National Park

Adventures You’ll Have:

  • Walk through the steaming terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs, keeping an eye out for elk and bison nearby. 
  • Hike the rim of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone to gape at the Upper and Lower Falls. 
  • Kayak on Yellowstone Lake to the West Thumb Geyser Basin, where you can even see geothermal features underwater. 
  • Enjoy an optional wildlife safari at dawn in Grand Teton National Park, looking for black bears, elk, moose, wolves, trumpeter swans, and more. 
  • Raft the Class I, II, and III whitewater rapids of the Snake River through Snake River Canyon. 

Total Days: 7 / Activity Level 2 

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7. Discover New Cultures in Southeast Asia  

For some, it’s a cultural immersion in a brand-new place that awakens the spirit of adventure. Our unique Southeast Asia tour combines Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam’s most exceptional destinations into one two-week journey. Not only will you visit all the major UNESCO World Heritage Sites of these engaging countries, but you’ll gain a new perspective on local cultures through genuine encounters in remote, tribal villages.  

Ride a junk, a wooden Chinese sailing ship, in the beautiful Halong Bay islands in Southeast Asia

Adventures You’ll Have:

  • Fly to mountain-encircled Luang Prabang, located on the Mekong River, to visit its historic Buddhist temples and climb Mount Phousi for a panoramic view.
  • Cruise along the Mekong River in a private longtail boat to the Pak Ou Caves, filled with thousands of Buddhist statues. 
  • Boat out to the islands of Don Det and Don Khon and visit the Li phi Waterfalls, perhaps spotting an endangered Irrawaddy dolphin along the way. 
  • Take a cyclo (three-wheel bicycle taxi) ride through the old city of Hue, Vietnam, to the Imperial Palace. 
  • Spend the night on Halong Bay on a junk (a wooden Chinese sailing ship), taking time for kayaking, swimming, and a traditional cooking class aboard the boat.

Total Days: 15 / Activity Level 2

How to “Adventure” (So That You’ll Want to Do It Again)

While this topic is worthy of an entire post of its own, we offer these few tips to get you in the right frame of mind for a beginner adventure.

  1. Have a good understanding of adventure travel. Remember that adventure/active travel means something different for everyone. Basically what you can expect is a group of like-minded travelers, led by an expert, locally knowledgeable guide, engaging in activities on foot, by jeep, on a boat, on trails, in kayaks, in a seaplane – you get the picture. 
  2. Know your physical limits. Choose your adventure humbly; only you know what physical challenges you’re ready to tackle. If you exercise every day, you can likely go on a more demanding trip, whereas an easy trip may offer more optional activities, with the opportunity to just come along for the ride if that’s what the day calls for. 
  3. Get geared up. We love to chat about outdoor gear, so once you’ve decided on a trip, pepper us with questions and ask for recommendations. The most important tip: Once you’ve chosen your new hiking or walking shoes for your trip, break them in. Wear them everywhere you can before departure, up and down hills, on pavement and trail, to get your feet and your shoes in shape for your upcoming adventures. 
  4. Pack as light as possible. Sure, we like our gear, but we also value packing light. Keep things simple so that you can be fully engaged in your new experiences. There’s no need for fashionable clothing when you’re crouching along the shoreline in Alaska, peering through binoculars at a brown bear. Stick to the trip’s packing list. 
  5. Be friendly and open. Your adventure will probably include new-to-you destinations and cultures. Break down language barriers and get people talking as you attempt a few words in a new language, share food with a local family, or learn the names of village schoolchildren. 

We love to adventure, and we hope we’ve piqued your interest, too. Find out about all of our Level 2 trips here. Whether the wildlife you seek is bunnies in the Cotswolds or grizzly bears in Alaska, and whether the mode of travel you prefer is a sea kayak or a traditional steam train, adventure is for everyone. Find yours with us.

Ask an Expert

We want you to have the best adventure, so don’t hesitate to call our expert team of adventure specialists at 800-974-0300 to learn more. Or click the button to use our online contact form.