5 Experiential Vacations That Will Teach You New Outdoor Skills

1 Min. Read

If you’re the type of person who likes to be an active participant in your vacation, than these hands-on, experiential adventures are right up your alley. Whether you want to learn how to row, or take your fly fishing knowledge to the next level, these outdoor adventure courses offer up the chance to develop new skills from experts, while spending time in the wilderness and away from the daily grind.

1) Upper & Lower Green River Rowing Clinics with OARS, Utah 

5 Experiential Vacations That Will Teach You New Outdoor Skills

Held on two strikingly beautiful stretches of Utah’s Green River—the Upper stretch through Dinosaur National Monument or the Lower stretch through Desolation and Gray Canyons—these 6- to 7-day beginner whitewater rowing clinics offer aspiring private boaters the opportunity to learn to navigate an oar raft from a crew of experienced river guides. In addition to essential boating techniques, you’ll develop a greater understanding about gear, rigging boats, food planning and preparation, rescue tactics and other basic outdoor skills that are part of the multi-day river trip experience. Learn more about OARS Rowing Clinics: https://www.oars.com/guide-school/

2) Orvis Trout School at West Branch Angler, New York

Experiential vacations | Fly fishing school

Head to New York’s famed Catskills region and learn to fly fish on the Upper Delaware River System. This scenic region is where the sport got its start and its extensive streams and rivers are teeming with brown and rainbow trout. On this 5-day fly fishing trip, you’ll acquire new skills like rigging for trout, different types of casting and flies, and how to read water before going out on guided fishing excursions to put your skills to the test. At night, you’ll return to your log cabin accommodations at the West Branch Angler Resort. Learn more about Orvis Fly Fishing Schools: https://www.orvis.com/fly-fishing-schools 

3) Brooks Range Backpacking with NOLS, Alaska

Backpacking in Alaska with NOLS

If you’ve always wanted to head out on a backcountry hiking trip, but don’t feel confident to do it on your own, this challenging 14-day expedition in Alaska’s Talkeetna Mountains will give you the essential skills you need. Don’t expect a guided trip, however, the two-week hike is trial by fire at its most extreme. As you travel through this rugged and remote wilderness, you’ll learn how to properly pack a backpack, cook backcountry meals on a camp stove, navigate off trail with a map, wilderness first-aid and more. Learn more about NOLS Expeditions: https://www.nols.edu/en/expeditions/

4) Rock Climbing Camp with Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides, California

SYMG Rock Camp

What better place to learn how to climb than the mecca of rock climbing—Yosemite National Park? Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate climber, this 5-day rock climbing camp in Yosemite’s less-crowded southern high country will help you improve your technique and technical skills like rope handling, anchor building, gear placement and efficiency with individualized instruction on well-known routes within the park. Everything you need to camp and climb will be provided. At night, enjoy “backcountry gourmet” meals and unwind around a campfire under the stars. Learn more about SYMG rock climbing trips: https://www.symg.com/trips/rockclimbing/

5) Boulder Outdoor Survival School 7-day Primitive Skills Course, Utah

Boulder Outdoor Survival School

If you really want to go beyond your comfort zone, this week-long wilderness survival course will test your limits while you learn critical skills to thrive in the outdoors on your own. Taught at one of two wilderness basecamp locations outside of Boulder, Utah, this experience is for the person who has always wanted to learn how to make a basic shelter in the wild, identify edible plants, cordage methods and basic trapping/hunting techniques. You’ll leave this course with important knowledge that can come in handy when you least expect it. Learn more about Boulder Outdoor Survival School programs: https://www.boss-inc.com/

Photos: Rowing clinic in Dinosaur National Monument – OARS/Josh Miller; Fly fishing in the Catskills – ORVIS; Backpacking the Alaskan terrain – Jake Ward/NOLS; Rock Camp in Yosemite – Andrew Metz /SYMG; Wilderness survival courses – Boulder Outdoor Survival School

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