Miles to go before you sleep - Hawaii

While some people are adrenaline junkies, others love to meander around and take their time to smell the roses. Still others want to be taken back in time during their vacations, and then there are those who like getting close to nature and forgetting about big city life. But one thing that most people would never say no to is a vacation by the seaside. There are thousands of incredibly beautiful beaches in the world, with golden sands, crystal waters, the whole deal. The place to go to for a beach vacation, obviously, is Hawaii, but when you are there, there’s a different kind of beach that you must take some time out to visit; Punalu’u, the most famous black sand beach in Hawaii.

It might not be the first image that pops into your head when you think of a beach, but the famous Black Sand Beach of Hawaii is stunningly beautiful, once you wrap your head around the fact that it is black, rather than golden. It’s also remarkable for the fact that there’re freshwater springs within the ocean, which you can see on a clear day. Legend even has it that earlier, in times of drought, Hawaiians used to dive underwater to access this unexpected source of freshwater! If you enjoy the wonders of nature as you bask in the sun, don’t forget to look around; you might spot a hawksbill or a green turtle on the black sands not too far away. Even though this beach is quite famous, it’s not as crowded as many of Hawaii’s beaches.

However, water sports are not generally encouraged at Punalu’u. The seabed here is quite rocky, so swimming fairly close to the shore and enjoying the sun are the two main activities for you here. If you’re bored with that, there is a scenic golf course that could keep you quite occupied for several hours. Of course, if you do go to Hawaii, you’re going to spend time at some of the more typical beaches. But, it would be a real shame to miss out on something extraordinary and rare in the middle of all that. Punalu’u is right on the route from Kona to Volcanoes National Park, so you won’t even have to go out of your way for a piece of this unique experience.

But perhaps lazing around on the beach is not your idea of rejuvenation; if you’re an adrenaline junkie, the only way to relax is to push yourself to the limit! There are plenty of vacation destinations for you to choose from, too. New Zealand is considered the place to be if you’re into jumping from great heights. But we’re going to go with Canada this time – Whistler, British Columbia, to be precise. Summer or winter, this is one of the best places as far as adventure sports are concerned. If snow is what you’re going for, we’d recommend that for the first couple of days, you acclimatise yourself and just relax. But don’t get us wrong; by relax, we mean going for the regular skiing and snowboarding. Once you get used to the idea of being out on the slopes, you can step things up a notch by trying out a heli-skiing adventure. Next, you could schedule some ziplining, a year-round activity that will definitely get your blood pumping – zooming on a zipline from one platform to the next, with nothing but the gorgeous valley below you – much, much below you.

It’s a good place to go with the entire family, too, because it’s not just about defying death. Kids are bound to love the Tube Park, with ‘1,000 feet of sliding fun’, in their own words. Dog sledding, sleigh rides and ice skating are also fun ways to spend a vacation in Whistler. But are things getting a bit ho-hum and pedestrian now? Well then, it’s time for some snowmobiling and bungee jumping. Conquering Whistler Bungee means a 160-foot drop off a bridge over the rushing Cheakamus River. Is that enough of an adrenaline rush for you? No? Go ahead and crank it up a notch – do it at night. But they also boast an impeccable safety record, so this is a great way of packing in a lot of thrills and still being fairly certain about coming home in one piece, with some serious bragging rights in your pocket. If you go in the summer, ziplining and bungee jumping are still open to you, in addition to mountain biking, white water rafting and bear-spotting.