Blog post by Sophie Nicholson

Secret Summer : 5 Of The Best Hidden Gems

We believe there’s no better way to spend your summer holiday than by exploring inspirational landscapes by bike, foot or water, experiencing new activities with people that make you smile, and watching the sun go down at the end of the day really feeling that you’ve earned your glass of something cold.

The following handpicked active summer holiday destinations have been chosen because they have a unique and very special point of difference. Whether it’s an exclusive lake-based log cabin in the wilderness, a cruise on a beautiful wooden boat with 5-star quality food, a magical Mediterranean hideaway or the ultimate activity basecamp in the mountains, the S&B Summer Hidden Gems are guaranteed smile-makers for folks wanting to duck under the mainstream radar and indulge in full outdoor immersion.

Escape the crowds this summer and dive in to a whole new world of adventure.

West of USA – The Great All-American Family Adventure

There is so much to see and do in the USA that sometimes it might feel like you have to take a gazillion trips if you want to see it all. Not anymore! Our brand-new Great American Family Adventure itinerary combines the best of the West into one incredible, life-affirming trip guaranteed to expand your family’s horizons. Hang out in San Fran under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and lap up the cosmopolitan west coast city vibe before heading to big sky country and Jackson Hole, the original cowboy town in the Teton Range of the Rocky Mountains. Here you can get up close and personal with cowboys, buffalos, and elk in the incredible Yellowstone National Park, and go fly fishing, hiking and rafting in this outdoor adventure paradise. And at the end of the day, kick back in your own private cabin under the stars at the luxurious Teton Springs Lodge.

S&B Tip – Be sure to visit the iconic Million Dollar Cowboy Bar – located right in the heart of Jackson Hole. Packed full of Wild West memorabilia and real-life cowboys, it’s a Jackson institution famous for its western dancing and live entertainment.

Dolomites, Italy – Multi-Activity Mountain Adventure

If you only ever visit the mountains in winter for skiing then seriously, you need to think again. When it comes to multi-adventure potential, the summer season in the Dolomites wins hands down due to the mind-blowing scenery, beautiful alpine flowers, endless hiking and climbing, stunning mountain refuges with delicious local Italian food, flowing MTB singletrack, epic road cycling, etc etc. The rest of the Alps may have similarly impressive mountains but nowhere does family-friendly service, cappuccino, gelato, pizza and prosecco like the Italians!

S&B Tip : This is the home of Via Ferrata (iron path) – a series of cables, ladders and wires that allow you to move around the mountains on a protected route. It’s a truly exhilarating experience that’s open to anyone with a head for heights!

Suunmore Alps, Norway – A Family Adventure in the Fjords

Imagine cruising around the spectacular Norwegian Fjords on board an elegant, wooden boat with spacious and high quality accommodation for just 10 guests.

Each day of your family adventure aboard the HMS Gassten takes you to a different destination, a new panoramic vista and a multitude of possible activities.  Swim, dive or snorkel off the boat in to the deep, cool waters of the fjords; looking out for orca and minke whale as you do.

Fish for cod or drop your own lobster pots, checking in the evening to see what you’ve caught that can be cooked for dinner by the onboard chef!

Try out the boat’s own stand-up paddle boards, wake boards and doughnut rings or venture further afield and explore more of Norway by road or mountain bike, kayak or maybe even on a rock climbing, abseiling or canyoning expedition.  And at the end of a truly memorable day of adventure, snuggle up under a cosy reindeer skin on deck with a beer and bask in the dusky twilight of the Midnight Sun.

S&B Tip – The food on board the HMS Gassten is out of this world and has even been known to reduce a hardy mountain biker to tears on numerous occasions!

Nimmo Bay, British Colombia – The Ultimate Canadian Wilderness Retreat

Accessible only by helicopter, float plane or boat, Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort offers a luxurious opportunity to escape from the noise and constant chatter of daily life. The family-owned and run adventure resort is made up of 9 cabins that overlook the water and come with outdoor cedar hot tubs. Days are spent in total outdoor immersion. Whether you opt for heli-accessed fly fishing, bear watching, paddle boarding with dolphins, hiking, rock climbing, or boat-based whale watching, the untouched wilderness of British Columbia will blow you away.

S&B Tip – Rinse off the day’s activities in the outdoor rain shower located next to the spectacular waterfall that supplies most of the electrical power to the resort.

Martinhal, Portugal – Active Summer Escape

Think the Mediterranean is all about row upon row of sunbeds, overcrowded beaches and all-you-can-eat buffets? That might be the case in some places but not in Martinhal. A rugged and unspoilt part of the Western Algarve, Martinhal is the perfect place for a beach-based active holiday. From surfing to cycling, stand up paddleboarding to fishing, kitesurfing to golf, the choice of activities here is as good as anywhere we’ve visited and crucially, it’s all set within a protected natural park. The fact that you can be there within 1.5 hours from Faro makes this the ideal destination for those looking to max out on adventure and minimize time spent in transit.

S&B Tip – The kids club is excellent and has a variety of facilities and groups to cater for mini people between the ages of 6 months and 8 years old. Happy kids, happy parents – simple!

If you’d like to find out more about these or any other off-the-beaten-track summer activity destinations the give us a call. We love nothing more than uncovering special places and sharing them with our friends and customers so feel free to set us a challenge!