TRAVELING FELLOWSHIPS: Five getaways for bonding with your buddies

You may have done the honeymoon, the babymoon, the school vacation and the weekend staycation. Isn’t it time you and your buddies reaped the rewards of bonding on the road? You won’t have to sacrifice modern comforts to enjoy these five group-friendly adventures across the globe; instead, you’ll gain some great stories, and perhaps even sharpen some skills, along the way.

Hit the decks 

The sun shines over Hole 16 at Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel Valley, part of a recently enhanced 18-hole course originally designed by Robert Muir Graves in 1964.

Skip the big party boats in the Caribbean to cruise in style to some of the coolest places on earth, literally and figuratively. The three ultra-luxury Silversea Expeditions ships carry just 144 to 254 passengers to remote regions of Alaska, Antarctica, the Arctic and Greenland, as well as the newly trending destination of the Russian Far East, including the Kamchatka Peninsula and volcanic islands (12 days, from $12,000). Zodiacs allow intrepid passengers to approach even closer to pristine habitats of impressive wildlife — bears, fur seals, sea lions, peregrine falcons and more. On board, all-suite cabins with butler service, fine dining venues and clubby lounges offer indulgent opportunities to regroup. silversea.com

Driver’s seat

The Land Rover Experience at Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley offers individual and group driving lessons on rugged terrain in current-model and vintage vehicles. Photo by Jaguar Land Rover

Test your hand-eye coordination behind the wheel as well as on the links with a golf getaway to Quail Lodge, an 850-acre resort in Central California’s verdant Carmel Valley. After 18 holes on the recently enhanced, par-71 course ($110 for guests), sign up for driving lessons at the on-site Land Rover Experience. You can choose between the original Land Rover Defender 90 (from $1,200 half-day) or current-model vehicles (from $275 an hour) to navigate the challenging wooded terrain, with special options for groups of six or more. Quail Lodge (doubles from $445) also hosts a special “Motorsports Gathering” during the annual Pebble Beach Automotive Week in late August. quaillodge.com  

Gorillas in your midst

It takes a few greenbacks to see silverbacks and other endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda, but the bragging rights are priceless. Guided treks bring groups of up to eight people ($1,500 each) to spend an hour among one of the 12 habituated packs in Volcanoes National Park, where hold-your-breath encounters are common. The six sumptuous suites of Wilderness Safaris’ all-inclusive Bisate Lodge (from $1,155 per person) offer easy access to gorilla treks, guided hikes and other excursions in the Afro-alpine region, also home to the rare golden monkey, elephants, jackals, buffalo and 178 species of birds. Safari planners Next Adventure will deftly handle logistics. wilderness-safaris.com, nextadventure.com

Guided treks in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park offer the opportunity to encounter endangered mountain gorillas.
The six luxurious villas of the year-old Bisate Lodge in Rwanda echo the country’s traditional thatched roofs. Photo by David Crookes / Wilderness Safaris

Go fish

Tofino Resort + Marina offers fishing trips in the teeming waters of Vancouver Island’s Clayoquot Sound. Left: Photo by Jeremy Koreski

Celebrate the ones that got away while savoring the ones that didn’t: Therein lies the appeal of a unique boat-to-table excursion from Tofino, a surfers’ oasis with an artisan food scene on the wild west side of Vancouver Island. Plying his native waters of Clayoquot Sound, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Joel Nikiforuk of Tofino 1st Class Fishing leads expeditions from six hours to three days for up to six anglers ($787-$3,085). Chef Nick Nutting at Tofino’s award-winning Wolf in the Fog then turns the bounty — salmon, lingcod and spot prawns are among the possibilities — into a multicourse feast with optional wine and cocktails ($115-$162 per person). tofino1stclassfishing.com, tourismtofino.com 

Whisky business

Whether you prefer your whisky neat or on the rocks, sampling a wee dram at its source in Scotland always comes with a chaser of spectacular scenery. Among other sites, the official Malt Whisky Trail through the Highlands region of Speyside includes stops at single-malt distilleries Glenlivet and Glenfiddich; Strathisla, which produces single malts and Chivas Regal blends; and Cardhu, best known for its Johnnie Walker blends. Learn even more lore at Balvenie, where visitors can bottle their own whisky, and the Macallan, which debuted its stunning new modern distillery and interactive experiences in June. Absolute Escapes will arrange self-driving itineraries or designated driver-guides with stays at exclusive retreats. maltwhiskytrail.com, absoluteescapes.com

Glenfiddich offers tours of its renowned, family-owned distillery of single malt Scotch whisky in Dufftown, Scotland.