By Kim Knox Beckius
May 02 2023
Fly fishing is one of the more serene adventures at the Preserve Sporting Club: New England’s most luxurious adventure resort.Photo Credit : The Preserve Sporting Club
New England’s varied terrain makes it an ideal vacation spot for travelers seeking adventure at every level, from tame to extreme. If you want to feel that sense of accomplishment that comes with trying something new, these New England getaway destinations make it their mission to help you abandon your comfort zone. Each is a year-round resort for the adventurous, with an array of sporting and athletic pursuits.
Known chiefly as a whitewater rafting outfitter, New England Outdoor Center is, in fact, your partner in adventure in the freezing season, too. Their eco-friendly lodges and cozy cabins place you at the threshold of miles of snowmobiling trails. Other winter activities that will challenge and excite you include ice fishing, snowshoeing, fat tire biking, and cross-country skiing across backcountry expanses or on 16 miles of groomed trails. In the summer, guided whitewater adventures on the Penobscot River are wild and wet, and guided Mount Katahdin climbs are strenuous, but NEOC will also lead you on a memorable Katahdin region fishing trip to chase brook trout or rare landlocked salmon. This can be your summer or fall home base for mountain biking on the Katahdin Area Trails (KAT), too. For an even softer adventure, book one of two daily moose and wildlife tours, offered May through October, and keep your camera ready and steady as you play a real-world game of “I Spy” from a pontoon boat or air-conditioned van.
Inland Rhode Island will surprise you if you’ve only frequented the Ocean State’s beaches. And one of the most startling discoveries of all is this sporting resort, which is on par with luxury lodges out west. The Preserve occupies 3,500 wooded acres and has a variety of upscale accommodations that includes everything from hotel suites to tiny houses to larger cabin and home rentals. You may have seen images of their most magical dining venues—the Maker’s Mark Hobbit Houses—splashed online, and the newest culinary option, Double Barrel Steak by David Burke, will satisfy the heartiest appetite. With a multitude of on-property activities, you can be sure you’ll be ravenous by suppertime. Fishing, paddling, golfing, shooting sports, tennis, swimming, biking, rock wall climbing, ziplining… that’s just the start. The Preserve is home to the loveliest equestrian center in southern New England, with both an indoor arena and direct access to riding trails on state lands. Kids love painting ponies—literally. And horse-drawn carriage rides are available, too. Many outdoor sports continue through the winter, or head inside for yoga, strength training, and shooting practice at the longest indoor range in the country.
This 1902 grand hotel’s 903-foot-long wraparound veranda—the longest porch in New England—is a workout for walkers. With so many other adventures on tap, though, you may find yourself sinking into a wicker chair on the veranda at the end of an active day instead: cocktail in hand as sunset silhouettes the Presidential Range. Fine accommodations and dining have always been key to the Omni Mount Washington’s allure. Classic sports, like downhill and cross-country skiing in the winter and golfing, fly fishing, and horseback riding are exceedingly popular spring through fall. There are more extreme enticements here, too, including a zipline canopy tour that’s the thrill of a lifetime for many guests. Summer’s softer adventures include disc golf and mountain-climbing gondola rides. Don’t worry about equipment: You can rent a tennis racquet or a gravel or cross-country bike. They’ve got you covered for winter gear, too, whether you want to ski or snowboard, enjoy a hike on snowshoes, or experience the exhilaration of tubing, which is fun for the whole family.
For more than 110 years, adventure seekers have made the natural landscape their playground at this resort, which is ideally situated between New Hampshire’s White Mountains and its Lakes Region. You’ll stay in an inn room—there are even ski-in/ski-out options with direct access to King Pine—or in a family-friendly condo or cottage. But, honestly… you’ll spend most of your time outdoors, just as vacationers did a century-plus ago. In the summer, take to the lake for paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, waterskiing, and swimming. There’s an indoor pool, too, for year-round splashing. Back outside, you’ll find tennis, pickleball, basketball, and volleyball courts; a six-hole disc golf course; and hiking trails, where you can spy on loons and other birds. Like Purity Spring, neighboring King Pine Ski Area is owned by the Hoyt family, which makes it a rarity in this age of conglomerate-owned ski areas. Head there on frosty days to ski, snowboard, ice skate, snowshoe, or maximize your sledding time at the lift-serviced Pine Meadows Tubing Park.
When the skiing and riding season comes to a close—and there’s no more white fluff for snowshoeing, snow tubing, cross-country skiing, or riding a bike-like Sno-Go—Loon Mountain Resort does not slumber for long. Once the worst of mud season ends, this is a mountain biker’s dream destination with lift-serviced trails including exhilarating downhill runs. New Hampshire’s longest gondola skyride is an all-ages adventure summer through fall, and you can time your journey to the summit to coincide with a mountaintop yoga class that will leave you breathing more deeply even when you return to less lofty locales. Your adventurous kids will talk non-stop about their time exploring glacial caves, and you’ll want to play a family round of disc golf, too. Loon doesn’t offer accommodations, but there are ample places to stay in the White Mountains region.