It’s a scientifically proven fact that strong friendships are key to living a longer, happier life. Travel, meanwhile, is a fantastic way to stimulate your mind and broaden your horizons – both of which are fun and mentally beneficial as we age.
So, it makes sense that friends and travel are a combination to rival peanut butter and chocolate. How long has it been since you and your crew hit the road for some fun and adventure? If you’re overdue, get something on the calendar for 2018. And maybe think outside the usual golf trip box.
Here are 10 great ways get away and bond with the boys.
1. BBQ University – Head to the spectacular Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs, CO this summer for a 3-day barbeque course taught by Planet Barbeque! author Steven Raichlen. You’ll learn grill techniques from around the world, making everything you toss on the barbie –including desserts -taste better. Armed with these skills, you and your friends will dominate tailgates and backyard cookouts for years to come.
2. Porsche Sports Driving School – Head to the Porsche training facility at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL for an intensive two-day course in performance driving. After a brief stint in the classroom, you’ll get behind the wheel with current and former race car drivers to master the arts of shifting, cornering, skidding, passing. There’s even a bit of off-road training.
During the course of the program, you will drive several different Porsche models, including the Carrera GTS and 911 Turbo S.
3. The Ranch at Rock Creek – This all-inclusive guest ranch in southwestern Montana is heaven on Earth for fly fishermen. Polish your technique with tips from the pros, pull on your waders and get after the area’s abundant wild rainbow, brown, bull, and cutthroat trout. Grilling your catch creek side will be the perfect capper to a memory-packed day.
4. Sonoma County Grape Camp – Take your knowledge of wine up a notch by getting your hands dirty. Every September, the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, and Sonoma County Vintners join with Relish Culinary Adventures to sponsor the 3-day Sonoma County Grape Camp. You’ll learn the entire winemaking process, from picking to crushing to blending and go on tastings throughout the region. Oh, that scar? I cut myself harvesting grapes over by the Russian River.
5. Paddle the Grand Canyon – Travel the Grand Canyon like the first explorers did – in a wooden boat. This 13-to-18-day whitewater adventure will stimulate both mind and body as you navigate some of the craziest water in the world, and glide past billions of years of geology. It ain’t cheap, but the memories will be priceless.
6. Zipline Through the Redwoods – The 1,500-year-old Redwood trees in Northern California soar to 300 feet. Have you been a tree climber since you were a kid? The only way to cap your career with a redwood is by joining an organized and recognized canopy tour. Mount Hermon sends you on a course with 2 sky bridges and 6 zip lines amongst the redwood trees. It’s a ton of educational fun that may also change your perspective on our place on Earth.
7. Ride the Range – Live the Western life you’ve come to “know” from movies and TV. Spirit Trails offers the chance to spend 14 days riding on horseback across the grasslands of South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho with a Lakota Sioux horseman. The natural and human history sights to be seen include herds of bison, a wolf refuge, the site of Custer’s Last Stand, and the Crazy Horse memorial. This is a cross-cultural and historical journey that could prove transformative for you and your friends.
For a different taste of the West, consider a few days at Paradise Guest Ranch in Wyoming. Horseback riding is a major draw at the Paradise, but you and the crew can also spend your days fishing, hiking, or even basking by the swimming pool.
8. Brewers Retreat – Does your gang love craft beer? If so, head for Austin, Texas April 8-11 to make suds with some of the Lone Star State’s top brewmasters. Even if your interest in beer is limited to drinking it, this guarantees to be an enlightening experience. Your ticket includes brewing seminars, two days of hands-on beer-making, all your supplies, lunches and dinners (including beer, of course), and evening events. You know what they say: Give a man a beer and he’ll drink for one day. Teach him to make good beer and he will be the most popular guy in the neighborhood.
9. Surf Camp – Now, here’s a real challenge for mind and body. Endless Summer Surf Camps offers adults-only surfing programs in three beautiful locations, San Onofre, CA, The North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii, and Costa Rica. The 5-day camp (Monday-Friday) is open to surfers of all abilities, including first-timers. Endless Summer provides all the gear and expert instruction you need to be hanging ten and shooting the tube by Friday afternoon. Well, maybe not. But you’ll still have a blast while mastering a new sport.
10. Bike Across Italy – Do you and your guys cruise around town in a peloton? If you don’t know what that means, this one probably isn’t for you. A peloton is a pack of bicyclists. Trek Travel offers some amazing bike tours of Italy, most of which require participants to be committed riders.
The six-day Ride Across Italy, for example, would take you and your buddies from coast to coast in central Italy. You would climb mountains and mesas and cross stretches of wine country dotted by medieval villages. Each day’s effort would be rewarded with an excellent meal, unsurpassed wine, and luxury accommodations.
In the spirit of the New Year, here’s a bonus idea to help you and your buddies keep a very common resolution…
Fitness Boot Camp in Hawaii – This trip to the beach is no, well, day at the beach. But a week of training under international fitness champion Sonki Hong can kick-start habits that will serve you well for the rest of your life. The 7-day program includes plyometrics, beach running and martial arts, along with kayaking, swimming, surfing, and snorkeling. Just another week in paradise, right?