There's more to the Outdoors than just a tent and some rocks. Going on an Expedition is about doing something you don't normally do, and seeing the sites that you don't usually see. It's the spirit to really explore and enjoy the world you live in. Here are some of the various ways you can chart your own Expedition's course.
The quintessential part of any expedition. Here is where we would evoke great images of braving the great outdoors and whatnot. Whether sleeping at a campsite or in the backwoods, there isn't anything as envigorating as waking up to sounds of animals nipping at the opening of your tent.
~~Prime Example: Arches National Park, UT: The Devil's Garden is one of the better campsites around, and provides an excellent staging point to begin exploring. Also, there is some prestine backcountry camping opportunities as well.
You can huff and puff on some strenuous trails, or you can set out for a leisurely ride on a paved path, but either way, cycling is a good way to explore the natural treasures and cover greater distances in the process.
~~Prime Example: Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, KY/TN: You can go mountain biking on bike trails, horse trails and/or 4-wheel drive roads. And bonus scenic overlooks are located in both the Tennessee and Kentucky portions of the park.
Get soaked! Paddle your craft over the ocean, down the river, or across the lake and become one with the water. Enjoy the solitude of kayaking on the Pacific, or enjoy the thrills of dropping to your deaths with your crew on a raft over some steep rapids. Paddle on!
~~Prime Example: Colorado River, CO/UT/AZ/NV/CA: with the stretch from Lake Powell through the Grand Canyon to Lake Mead being some of the best water around.
See rock. Climb rock. That's pretty much the essence of climbing. In these types of expeditions, you are exploring, but in a vertical direction.
~~Prime Example: Yosemite National Park, CA: Learn the ropes (literally) with the Yosemite Mountaineering School or tackle an array of climbs including the sheer face of El Capitan.
=Cross Country Auto Touring
There is where we would say something to the effect of the journey being just as important as the destination. Blah, blah, blah. But really, a lot of neat things can be found along the way to your getaway destination. And sometimes, the vistas aren't that bad either.
~~Prime Example: Interstate 40: follows the path along old U.S. Route 66 from Illinois to California. A lot of history along this road, and on occassion, a pretty decent BLT.
You + comfy shoes + scenic area = hike. Hiking is the easiest thing to do. Just find some open space and start walking. You go do a leisurely hike with the family near town, or a challenging hike in the backcountry, but either way, you'll be in for a treat.
~~Prime Example: The Appalachian Trail: This National Scenic Trail is the king of long distance trails. It stretchs from Maine to Georgia and 11 states in between, and provides for wonderful hiking as it hugs the crests of the Appalachian Mountains.
Away from the city lights, the fun begins when the sun goes down. Out in the deserts and up in the mountains are the best place to do some constellation hunting. Bring a flashlight and a jacket, but try not to get a crick in your neck looking up at the night sky.
~~Prime Example: Death Valley National Park, CA: Huge, flat expanse of land in middle of nowhere is where you'll get the best views of the stars.
Who would have thought that surfing could be classified as an expedition type? Surfing safari jokes aside, it would amaze you to know that a decent number of surfers live in states that have no oceanfront. Also, surfers who do have an ocean in their backyard will travel to various locales in search of some choice waves.
~~Prime Example: Point Reyes National Seashore, CA: Decent waves, no crowds. One of the favorite spots for northern California surfers. Bring a wetsuit, waters can be cold.
Sometimes, some of the best sites around are within City Limits. Architectual wonders, historic sites, and cultural treasures checker nearly every city in the country. So why not pack a light jacket and head into downtown or to the historic district and explore some "human" marvels (in other words, be a "tourist").
~~Prime Example: San Francisco, CA: Home to various sites to see, including Fort Point National Historic Site, a Civil War fort directly below the Golden Gate Bridge.
How often do you get to see bison, bears, deer, elk, coyotes, cougars and other woodland creatures? And how 'bout the hundreds of wild and exotic birds not related to the pigeon? So connect with nature, but remember, if you make it move, you're too close.
~~Prime Example: Yellowstone National Park, WY/MT/ID: The nation's oldest national park has an abundant and diverse wildlife as famous as its geysers. Just remember, the types of animals and birds you see, if any, are largely a matter of luck and coincidence.