MIDTOWN — It’s the season for outdoor adventure, but most of us don’t have the time or expertise to organize logistics like equipment rentals and transportation.
Fortunately, there are companies that will do the work for you. When you sign up for one of the many daytrips available from these local businesses, much of the tough prep work is covered.
All that's left for you to do is pay the ticket price, dress appropriately and show up on time.
Surfing and Yoga on Rockaway Beach with Sourced Adventures
Other Sourced Adventure Activities: Whitewater rafting, skiing and snowboarding
Destinations: The Rockaways, Lehigh River, Hunter Mountain and more
Sourced Adventures is the new company behind a unique daytrip package that combines surfing lessons and yoga on Rockaway Beach for $85. Cliff Skudin, pro-surfer and owner of Skudin Surf, says that even though 80 percent of the folks who come to Rockaway Beach for this combo class are newbies, everyone rides the waves while standing up on a board before the 90-minute lesson ends. Afterwards, participants reconnect to terra firma with an hour of yoga on the beach, led by a certified yoga instructor.
"It's great to see people utilizing these beautiful beaches right outside Manhattan, where the water is warm and clean," says Skudin, who also offers full-day surf camps for $100.
Sourced Adventures opened last October, with more than 5,000 adventurers participating in their first season of ski and snowboard trips. Kyle Davidson, CEO and founder of Sourced Adventures said its mission is to "make it easier for NYC folks to enjoy the outdoors without having to spend the week planning an activity."
The company provides all necessary equipment on all trips, and round-trip transportation on every trip except the surf and yoga at Rockaway, which is actually easiest to get to by subway. You’ll find lot of first-timers on all their trips, from white water rafting in the summer to ski and snowboard in the winter, at which they also offer deeply-discounted $20 lessons at the mountain. In the fall, Sourced Adventures will debut two new day trips: a paintball excursion and a 25-mile bike ride, both in the Poconos.
Hiking in the Shawangunks with Discover Outdoors
Other Discover Outdoors Packages: Daytrips include kayaking, wine/beer tasting, rock wall climbing, ski and snowboard, ice climbing, waterfall canyoneering, hang gliding, horseback riding, surfing, whitewater rafting and hiking with adoptable hounds. Also available: "in the city" classes, multi-day trips and international adventure travel.
Destinations: Harriman State Park, Shawangunks near New Paltz, Hudson Valley, Catskills, German Valley of Central New Jersey, Delaware Water Gap and more.
Discover Outdoors has been offering a wide variety of outdoor NYC day trips since 1982 and is unique because of its 2-year-old nonprofit arm. A portion of every trip fee paid to Discover Outdoors goes to a foundation that teams up with public schools to provide outdoor experiences to inner city kids and families that otherwise wouldn’t be able to get out and enjoy nature.
My husband and I recently tagged along on a hike from a glacial lake, Lake Minnewaska, near New Paltz, up Millbrook Mountain in the Shawangunks.
Carrying our lunch, water and snacks, we met our guide, an expert hiker, outdoorswoman and spin instructor named Lauren, on the Upper West Side at 7:30 a.m. sharp. Lauren drove a van while we relaxed and chatted with the other hikers, most of whom had some previous hiking experience.
The hike — a level five out of 10 in difficulty rating — covered 9.3 miles of rough terrain and 700 feet of elevation changes in about five hours. While I found the pace challenging, my reward was jaw-dropping views of the Hudson Valley and passing through blueberry fields and fern forests along the way.
“All of the trips have a skill-level that we update regularly according to feedback,” said Kennedy Reynolds, Kirk’s wife and co-founder.
Even with a stop on the way home at a farmers market for homemade ice cream, we were back on the Upper West Side by 6 p.m.
Adventures with Outdoor Connections
Offers: hiking, yoga, beer/wine tasting, biking, whitewater rafting, tubing, kayaking, rock climbing, zip line, ski and snowboard, snow tubing, snow-shoeing, cross country skiing, ice climbing and golf
Destinations: Harriman State Park, Storm King, Hudson Highlands State Parks, Shawangunks, Minnewaska State Park and the Mohonk Preserve. The Delaware and Lehigh rivers, and the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains and more.
Pricing: $79-$229. The company's members' program offers 40- to 50-percent discounts in exchange for a one-time fee of $100, but membership is not required to take a trip.
Outdoor Connections has been offering a wide variety of NYC guided outdoor adventure day trips since 2009. Outdoor Connections allows you to travel on your own and meet up with the group at the adventure site if you prefer. The adventures are all inclusive, usually providing breakfast en route to the site and lunch along the way. Pricing levels vary widely based on whether you are a member and whether you choose to travel with them or on your own.