Posts Tagged ‘Swim With Manatees’

8 Great (Affordable) Gift Ideas

December 9, 2008

It’s time for’s first-annual holiday gift guide.  And, if you’re a regular follower of this space, you probably already know how I feel about giving and getting more stuff that, let’s face it, none of us really needs.  But giving someone an extraordinary experience? Ah, well, that’s a different story altogether.

So with a nod to the dark clouds that seem to be hanging over the global economy in general and many folks personal finances in particular right now, I thought I’d focus on extraordinary experiences you can give that will blow the recipient’s socks off without breaking the bank (herein defined as under $200).

In no particular order then, here are my Eight Great Extraordinary Gift Ideas:

For The Jaded: Paragliding Above The Pacific

If you give this gift to someone and they’re not completely wowed, well, I suggest you immediately check them for signs of a pulse.  And even though the idea of running off the edge of a 300-foot cliff may sound a little daunting, you can rest assured knowing that paragliding is actually one of the safest and most serene forms of flight. 

For The Athletic: Wild Cave Tour

If you’ve got someone on your list who’s in good shape and likes a challenge, six hours of climbing, crawling, and squeezing through impossibly tight cracks in the depths of Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave will give them a spelunking experience they won’t soon forget.

 For The Nature Lover: Swim With Manatees

From personal experience I can tell you there’s no more moving interspecies encounter than coming face-to-face—literally—with these gentle creatures in the crystal-clear waters off Florida’s west coast.

 For The Speed Freak: Joining The 130 MPH Club

Know someone with a lead foot? Here’s your chance to feed their need for speed by allowing them to set their own personal land speed record on the world-famous Bonneville Salt Flats.

 For The Big Kid:  Sleeping In A Treehouse

C’mon now, what kid (of any age) wouldn’t like to spend the night in a really cool treehouse?  Add the fact that most of the over-the-top “rooms” at this arboreal bed-and-breakfast have a long list of grown-up creature comforts and your gift-givee may not want to come down.

 For The History Buff:  Civil War Adventure Camp

I like historical attractions as much as the next guy. But, let’s face it, some can be a little dull.  Petersburg, Virginia’s Pamplin Historical Park changes all that with a 24-hour program that gives participants the chance to live the life of a civil war soldier right down to firing actual muzzleloaders!

 For The Sailor: Command An America’s Cup Yacht

To a sailing aficionado, being allowed to take the wheel of an 80-foot America’s Cup contender is like being handed the keys to a Ferrari.  Add the warm sunshine, cool breezes, and stunning scenery of San Diego Bay and you have a great way to spend the day. 

 For The Cash-Strapped: Panning For Gold

When it comes right down to it, who couldn’t use a little extra walking around money right now?  Which is why we love the idea of spending the day panning for gold—which is still going for around $800 an ounce—in the creeks of California’s gold country. 

 If none of these tickle your fancy, you’ll find lots more ideas on our Xperiences page.