By the time your calendar reads January 1, you’ll be feeling the effects of your cookie binge and eyeing the treadmill that’s been mocking you from the corner for the last few months. There is no better way to procrastinate your way out of workout goals or overdue emails than planning your epic adventures for 2017. There are plenty of reasons to get out there and explore this great big world of ours, and no shortage of exciting things happening next year that should lure you off the couch and into the greatest adventure of your life. Here are a few things to add to the ultimate 2017 bucket list.
Hop a flight to Cuba for the first time
Flight service to Cuba is officially underway, and you’ve probably been waiting a lifetime to check out the white-sand beaches and vibrant culture of this island. Since 2017 will be the first full year in recent memory that Americans can travel freely to Cuba, put a visit on your travel bucket list and book your tickets today. Once you’re there, spend your mornings traipsing through Old Havana and lazy afternoons lounging on Varadero Beach. Tour the Morro Castle and sink your teeth into street food like pork hamburgers and coconut pies.
Visit Banff National Park for free
In celebration of their 150th birthday, Canucks are letting everyone into their national parks for free during all of 2017. If a trip to Banff has been on your radar, this is the year to pull the trigger on a wilderness adventure north of the border. Put on some hiking shoes and tackle the trails, or take a breathtaking gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain. Visit the Cave and Basin National Historic Site where natural hot springs mark the spot considered the birthplace of Canada’s national park system.
Viewfinder Tip: Head to Hamburg’s Fischmarkt on Sunday morning to pick up fresh fruit and other snacks from the waterfront stalls.
See a show in Hamburg’s brand new concert hall
Even if you weren’t creating an epic bucket list, things to do in Hamburg could easily convince you to get a stamp from Deutschland on your passport. But aside from the routine appeal of St. Pauli Piers and the Reeperbahn, there is a special reason to visit Hamburg in 2017. The much-awaited official opening of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall is scheduled for January, accompanied by a 3-week festival. Make history by seeing a show at the spectacular venue in its first year, then take a helicopter ride above the skyline to see the feat of architecture from the sky.
Support Honolulu’s newest art festival
We don’t have to twist your arm to get you to go to Hawaii. There are lots of bucket list ideas here, from surfing for the first time to attending an authentic luau. But this year there is another reason to book a trip to Hawaii’s capital city. The destination will host the Honolulu Biennial 2017, a first-time contemporary art festival that celebrates all kinds of visual art from the Pacific region. Taking place between March 8 and May 8, the festival will exhibit work at venues like Honolulu Hale and the Foster Botanical Garden. While you’re in this water sport capital, sign up for an outrigger canoe surfing experience or try stand up paddle boarding.
Watch the total solar eclipse in Great Smoky National Park
There may not be a total eclipse of your heart this year, but the moon has an appointment with the sun on August 21, 2017. The ideal viewing spots for this total solar eclipse are in a ribbon of terrain about 70 miles wide that runs from Oregon to South Carolina. The western half of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee is prime territory to see the event, and the park is organizing official viewing parties at places like Clingmans Dome and Cades Cover. While you’re visiting, check off a few other things on your adventure bucket list, such as hiking the Laurel Falls Trail and biking the Gatlinburg Trail.
What’s at the top of your 2017 bucket list?