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Embrace the outdoors with the best adventure tour companies

10Best logo 10Best 8/28/2020 10Best Editors, Special to USA TODAY 10Best

In a year where social distancing has become the norm, outdoor adventure travel has exploded in popularity. 10Best set out to find the best adventure tours – boats, helicopters, rafting trips, hot air balloons, trains, kayaking and cycling excursions – and adventure travel companies to help you plan your ultimate trip. After four weeks of voting, we have our winners.

Click on each category below to see the full list of winners:

Best Adventure Travel Company: MT Sobek

a man standing in front of a large rock: MT Sobek leads adventure tours around the globe © MT Sobek MT Sobek leads adventure tours around the globe

MT Sobek have been leaders in the adventure travel industry for more than half a century. Today, travelers can choose from some 200 journeys designed to inspire and exhilarate, with interest categories like Family Adventure, Women’s Adventure, Cruising, Wellness, Hiking & Trekking or Rafting & Kayaking.

Full list of winners: Adventure Travel Company »

Best Boat Tour: Waco Tours in Waco, Texas

a boat floating along a river next to a body of water: This is the second win for Waco Tours © Waco Tours This is the second win for Waco Tours

A river cruise with Waco Tours takes you on a 2.5-hour ride along the serene Brazos River in the heart of Texas. Learn about the history and people of Waco as you see the city from the water and spot local wildlife on the riverbanks.

Full list of winners: Best Boat Tour »

Best Kayaking Tour: Rising Tide Explorers in Naples, Florida

a group of people rowing a boat in the water: Explore Naples and Marco Island with this winning tour company © Rising Tide Explorers Explore Naples and Marco Island with this winning tour company

Certified local biologists lead every tour of Naples and Marco Island with Rising Tide Explorers. Paddle through mangrove tunnels and past mudflats in search of Southwest Florida wildlife, or glide through the waters of Rookery Bay Reserve for some spectacular birdwatching.

Full list of winners: Best Kayaking Tour »

Best Cycling Tour: Pure Adventures


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a man riding a bike down a dirt road: Winning company offers self-guided and small-group adventures by bike © Pure Adventures Winning company offers self-guided and small-group adventures by bike

Every trip with Pure Adventures is private and tailored with custom experiences, whether you’re cycling the Cabot Trail of Nova Scotia, taking a self-guided rails-to-trails ride through the South Dakota Black Hills or exploring the desert scenery of Arizona.

Full list of winners: Best Cycling Tour »

Best Helicopter Tour: Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

a canyon with a mountain in the background: See the Grand Canyon from a whole new perspective © Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters See the Grand Canyon from a whole new perspective

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters has been flying visitors to the Grand Canyon since 1965. The fleet includes oversized windows for better views, and the company enjoys access to three exclusive landing sites on the canyon floor.

Full list of winners: Best Helicopter Tour »

Best Hot Air Balloon Ride: Rocky Mountain Hot Air

a large balloon in the sky: Winning company flies high above Colorado © Rocky Mountain Hot Air Winning company flies high above Colorado

Hot air balloon flights with Rocky Mountain Hot Air typically include an hour of air time above the Chatfield State Recreation Area in Colorado. Each flight culminates in a celebration with a certificate of ascension and a balloon pin.

Full list of winners: Best Hot Air Balloon Ride »

Best Scenic Train Ride: Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

a steam engine train traveling down train tracks near a forest: Winning train travels between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado © Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Winning train travels between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado

One of the most authentic steam-operated railroads in existence, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad runs for 64 miles between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado, passing through the San Juan Mountains and the scenic Conejos Valley along the way. This moving National Historic Landmark represents one of New Mexico's most spectacular day trips.

Full list of winners: Best Scenic Train Ride »

Best Rafting Tour: Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours

a group of people on a boat in the water: Explore the rivers of Colorado, Utah and Arizona © Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours Explore the rivers of Colorado, Utah and Arizona

Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours leads trips in Colorado, Utah and Arizona, with a river for just about any thrill level and lasting anywhere from two hours to five days.

Full list of winners: Best Rafting Tour »

Congratulations to all of our adventure tour winners. Remember to visit 10Best.com daily to vote in other Readers' Choice categories.

10Best is a part of the USA TODAY Network, providing an authentically local point of view on destinations around the world, in addition to travel and lifestyle advice.

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