The Girlfriend Getaway Guide
One great way to bond? Get your adrenaline pumping on an action-packed vacation.
For Rita Pilger, 61, doing something as wild as zip lining through an Alaskan rain forest was inconceivable. But two years ago she and her daughter, Beth Blair, 37, embraced their adventurous sides by signing up for Princess Cruises' Denali Explorer cruise tour. The trip started in Fairbanks and included a tour of Denali National Park (and its main attraction, Mt. McKinley), a train journey to Anchorage and a seven-day cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver. Along the way they took some exciting side trips that included dogsledding, a plane ride around Denali and a helicopter ride to a glacier. The verdict? "We've got to plan more mom?daughter getaways," says Blair. "My mom still talks about the trip like it was yesterday." 800-774-6237; princess.com.
Off the rails The passengers in the front of the train between Fairbanks and Anchorage see the most wildlife, but Pilger and Blair opted for the glass-ceilinged car in the middle, which gave them sweeping views of the mountains, cliffs, waterfalls and even river rafters. But their favorite part was sitting back and relaxing together. "We had Bloody Marys for the ride and we took a ton of pictures," says Pilger. "We really wanted to document our trip. It's very rare that we have time for just the two of us."
Riding high Zip lining sounds terrifying—you're sliding about 35 miles per hour on a high wire through Ketchikan's forest canopy— but Pilger and Blair decided to just go for it. "Together, we'll try anything," says Pilger, who loved seeing the lush forest from the treetops. "It was an adrenaline rush like you wouldn't believe. I was so proud of myself !"
Into the wild From Juneau the pair went on a smaller boat to get an intimate look at the humpback whales that migrate from warm waters to Alaska. "They were flipping right in front of us," says Blair. "It was a rainy day, perfect for spotting wildlife," says Pilger. "We got sopping wet, but so what? It was thrilling."
White sights Neither Pilger nor Blair had been in a helicopter before they took one to see their first glacier. "We started screaming like little girls when we stepped out because we'd never seen anything like it," says Blair. "It was huge, with all these little blue pools amid the whiteness. It was absolutely amazing."
More Adventure Escapes
- On a bank of the Colorado River 14 miles east of Moab, Utah, Red Cliffs Lodge can arrange canyoneering, hiking and rafting guides. 435-259-2002; redcliffslodge.com
- The Highland Center Lodge at Crawford Notch in New Hampshire offers packages that include meals, rock climbing classes and a hiker shuttle to nearby trailheads. 603-278-4453; outdoors.org/highland
- Rent a cabin at the Ace Adventure Resort in Minden, West Virginia, then choose from whitewater rafting, zip lining, horseback riding or just sitting by the lake. 800-787-3982; aceraft.com