Extreme sightseeing - the top sites

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The Independent Online

Whilst most holidaymakers are perfectly content to lay on a beach for a week to catch a few rays, some people just aren't content with sun, sea and sand.

The editorial team at SmarterTravel, an online travel magazine, have picked their top adrenaline-inducing getaways for the traveler who's not afraid to live on the edge.

"Not everyone's idea of the perfect vacation is lying on a beach and soaking in the sun," said Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel.com. "Some people want to experience nature in its most raw form and we have pulled together some incredibly enticing vacations for even the most intense thrill seekers."

Among them are storm watching, volcano explorations and tornado chasing, which has been gaining in popularity in recent years, primarily in the US. TORRO, the Tornado and Storm research organization, estimates that the US experiences around 800 tornadoes a year, which has given rise to several tour companies that offer storm-chasing holidays.

SmarterTravel's "Thrillcation" Picks

Tornado Chasing

Storm chasing tour companies dot the Tornado Belt of the Midwestern United States so there are plenty of deals to be had.

Storm Watching

Crashing 30-foot (9 m) waves, driving rain, and cold wind don't sound like much of a vacation, unless you're in Tofino, a small town on the west shore of Vancouver Island, Canada which dubs itself "a force of nature".

Lighting up the Sky

Lightning is a very dangerous spectacle, but at The Lightning Field in New Mexico, you can witness its terrifying beauty up close and in relative safety. The field includes 400 stainless steel poles to help with the best view, and cabins adjoining the field go for $150 (€112) per night in May.

Brrrrr

Mt. Washington holds the all-time surface wind speed from a gust recorded at 231 miles per hour (372 km/h) in 1931, and thanks to its position on the convergence of several storm tracks, holds the world's "Worst Weather" title. Travelers can sign up for day or overnight EduTrips in the subarctic climate.

Volcanoes

The Caribbean island of Montserrat's Soufriere Hills volcano plays host to viewing tours to observe the volcano which awoke from dormancy in 1995 and has been spewing pyroclastic gas ever since (most recently in February). Tours from nearby Antigua start at $230 (€172), including flight from Antigua, tour, and lunch.

Locations picks from SmarterTravel - more information and deals online at http://www.smartertravel.com

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