Bachelor parties are about guys getting together, sharing old stories, and maybe creating some new ones. They are a chance for the best man to send the groom off in style, in appreciation for years of friendship. Traditionally, this has involved drinking one's fair share of alcohol, heading off to a gentlemen's club, and waking up the next morning in a strange place with a new tattoo. Recently, a new trend has emerged. Guys are now spending weekends immersed in outdoor adventures: leaping out of airplanes, roping cattle, reeling in trophy fish, and riding wild whitewater.
Picture it: 10 buddies sitting in a rubber raft, getting tossed back and forth, and paddling like crazy through a menacing drop-off the guides call, "The Meat Grinder." Besides whitewater rafting, parties can perform airborne ballets after leaping from planes at 10,000 feet, reel in fish ranging from 30 lb king salmon to 300 lb sharks, or drive hundreds of cattle alongside real-life cowboys. As an added bonus, guys return from the adventure, with pictures, mementoes, and memories that will always remain special.
Although these adventures bring a fresh, new idea to the bachelor party concept, groups are given many opportunities to do some old-school partying. Typically, the extreme adventure locations are located off the beaten path, requiring a couple-days excursion. Everyone usually congregates in a major city near the adventure site and spends the first night enjoying the urban nightlife. Day Two kicks off with an early morning rise, followed by a trip out into the wild for the adventure activity.
Some detailed examples of adventure-based bachelor parties paint a clear picture of exactly how extreme adventure combines with traditional fun to produce an unforgettable experience.
Whitewater rafting is an adventure that can take place in multiple locations across the country. As long as there is a flowing river, someone will put a boat in it. The trick is finding the rivers that will take you to the edge, without throwing you over it. Under the guidance of an adventure expert, guys paddle, dodge, and hold on through class IV and V rapids, all while taking in spectacular views of the scenic beauty and wildlife. To compliment the adventure, the group spends the first night at an upscale hotel in a bustling downtown area and the second night in more rustic accommodations surrounded by nature. This combination creates a solid mix of fun and adventure.
Imagine living out the movie, City Slickers. Saddle-up the crew, ride the open range like old-time cowboys, and drive longhorn cattle through rugged mountain terrain. In the morning, work alongside real cowboys to move the thundering herd to greener pastures. Enjoy the sights and sounds of rolling rivers, towering mountain ranges, and native wildlife while attempting to control the wild herd. After the drive, see if anyone lasts eight seconds on the mechanical bull before taking aim at the skeet shooting range. Recount the day's highlights during a Texas-style-barbeque dinner including steaks, potatoes, and plenty of beer. Before you dive headfirst into the cowboy lifestyle, enjoy a night with upscale hotel accommodations, fine dining, and outstanding nightlife characteristic of the adjacent downtown area.
In groups of four to six people, the guys board separate charter boats and compete in a private fishing tournament. Someone not only has the satisfaction of wrestling a trophy fish into the boat, but also the sweet taste of victory in catching the winning fish to beat the rest of the bunch in the tournament. While everybody breathes in the fresh air and takes in picturesque views, the expert captains and crew guide the team to the hot spots and teach the boys how to reel in the big one. After a full day of fishing, camaraderie, and competition, a chef "cooks the catch" at a restaurant overlooking the water. Since most fishing trips are located in beach side towns, nights will be spent at Buffet-like bars sipping Margaritas, watching the fade over the horizon.
What's better than jumping out of a plane, free-falling for over a minute at 120 mph, and seeing for miles in every direction? Doing it all with some of your closest friends. After some basic training, everyone flies to 13,000+ feet and prepares for the jump. Hearts pound, men begin to fade to the back of the line, and adrenaline pumps as everybody peels out of the plane into the open sky. Once everyone has returned safely to Earth, the party begins. The boys enjoy beers in the hanger, a bonfire on the grounds, a delicious catered dinner, and a viewing of the days skydive video. To enhance this exceptional skydiving experience, upscale accommodations, fine dining, and locally distinct nightlife in a lively downtown setting complete the package.
Regardless of the adventure theme you choose, it will be important to make the outing an "experience" rather than just a trip. Answer these questions when planning your weekend to remember:
What adventure activity is the group interested in?
What areas of the country offer this type of activity during the group's seasonal timeframe?
Is there a major city near the event where people can fly to at a reasonable price?
What hotels offer high-class accommodations and fit the group's price range?
Is there a restaurant with a private banquet facility near the hotel, where champagne toasts and words of encouragement can be uttered without upsetting the other patrons?
What are the best bars?
How will the group get from the hotel to the adventure outfitter?
If the adventure is outside of the city, where will the group stay the second night?
These are just some of the questions that will come up as the event planning takes shape. The most important part of the trip is making sure the groom has a great time. So, if you are the best man, make sure to have his best interests in mind at all times. If all goes as planned, you will have successfully orchestrated a weekend filled with memories to last a lifetime and maybe even overcome some fears along the way.