6 adventure-fueled vacations — no experience required

WASHINGTON There are those vacations where you veg, and those where you venture.

If you’re looking for the type of getaway that gets you out of the hotel room and off the beach blanket, Darley Newman, host and producer of PBS’ “Travels with Darley” and “Equitrekking,” has some ideas.

After all, there’s no better way to explore a new place than through a new experience.

Downhill mountain biking Even if you’ve never steered your bike out of a suburban cul-de-sac, you can master mountain biking — at least a beginner’s guided lesson. Newman suggests visiting West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain after ski season for the resort’s downhill mountain biking season, which kicks off right around Memorial Day. Snowshoe offers bike trails, lessons and rentals for everyone from the experts to the inexperienced. (Photo courtesy Darley Newman) (Darley Newman)
Yoga on horseback These days, doing yoga with animals is a popular (aka: Instagram-worthy) pastime, so why not go one step farther? Newman recommends doing yoga on animals, specifically horses, at Middleburg, Virginia’s Salamander resort. Worried you’ll mess up your down dog on horseback? Newman said the resort’s riding center provides spotters for safety. “So you’ll kind of feel relaxed by the end of it,” she added.   (Photo courtesy Darley Newman) (Darley Newman)
Visitors ride horses at the Dixie Dude Ranch near Bandera, Texas, Friday, Oct. 24, 2008.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Dude ranch riding If riding piques your interest and you want to master more than a few poses, head to a dude ranch. (There’s no need to travel out West if you prefer to stay close. Check out options in Virginia.) “And you don’t have to be an expert because a lot of the horses are so well trained that by the end of your time in the saddle, I think you’ll feel a bit more comfortable. And if you stay for a week, you’ll definitely learn lots,” Newman said. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (AP/Eric Gay)
Jeff Warren of Auburn, Maine glides across Lower Range Pond on his paddleboard, Thursday, March 17, 2016, in Poland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Stand-up paddleboarding Paddleboarding requires some balance, and a great place to get your bearings is on New York’s Keuka Lake. The calm Finger Lake water provides the perfect place to practice. Plus, Newman said, if you go in the fall, you can admire the changing leaves. “They’ll give you lessons, they’ll rent you a paddle board and you’ll be set,” she said. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) (AP/Robert F. Bukaty)
Surfing The other stand-up experience, surfing, provides a fun way to stay active at the beach. But why just stick to any beach? Newman recommends taking a surfing lesson (or booking a full surf vacation) in Northern Ireland’s Donegal region one of Europe’s biggest surfing destinations. “You can probably get up a few times, even if you’re not that good. You may fall a lot, which I did, but it’s a really fun place to learn surfing — and you’re in Ireland. How cool is that?” Newman said. Just remember to pack your wet suit. The water is especially chilly. (Photo courtesy Darley Newman)   (Darley Newman)
Whitewater rafting Whitewater rafting is another way to take in some scenery and get the adrenaline pumping. Those looking for a challenge can head to West Virginia for some more intense rapids, but if a calmer ride is more your scene, Newman suggests New Mexico’s Rio Chama. “It will be just like a nice little float trip for you,” she said. (Photo courtesy Darley Newman) (Darley Newman)
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Visitors ride horses at the Dixie Dude Ranch near Bandera, Texas, Friday, Oct. 24, 2008.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Jeff Warren of Auburn, Maine glides across Lower Range Pond on his paddleboard, Thursday, March 17, 2016, in Poland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)


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