Trips with a taste of adventure are not only for the young. While not every older traveler is willing or able to go white-water rafting or camp in rugged terrain, many still enjoy out-of-the-ordinary vacations in out-of-the-way places. Organizations and tour operators often offer unusual packages -- designed for comfort and convenience -- for those who seek more than the hotel-to-hotel bus tour. Here are a few:
* Grand Canyon river trip. A 32-foot inflatable boat leaves Lees Ferry near Page, Ariz., every other week through Sept. 7 for a low-key eight-day, 225-mile voyage on the Colorado River. Carrying about 16 passengers and two crew members, the vessel rides through calm water and rapids, but a 25-horsepower engine makes rowing unnecessary. Each day the boat pulls over into a side canyon to permit short hikes and occasional fishing. Passengers make camp in the early evening, allowing time to relax while the boatmen cook dinner. Cost: $900 per person, including transport from Flagstaff to Lees Ferry and return, all food and equipment except sleeping bag. Arizona Raft Adventures, P.O. Box 697, Flagstaff, Ariz. 86002, (602) 526-8200.
* Alpine Caraventure. A caravan of mini-motorhomes will wind its way through Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Sept. 12 through Oct. 9. The wagonmaster meets your flight in Frankfurt and escorts you to your hotel. The next day, in a separate mini-motorhome for two, you are guided into the heartland of Europe. There will be visits to the Oktoberfest in Munich, to Salzburg and Liechtenstein, and a Rhine crossing into Switzerland. The group will stop in campgrounds along the way, eating and sleeping in the rented vehicles. Cost: $2,625, per person double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from New York; the vehicle; and all expenses. Good SamTours, 29901 Agoura Rd., Suite C, Agoura Hills, Calif. 91301, (800) 423-5300, ext. 313.
* Andean Odyssey, a nine-day package with weekly departures from Miami, is an outdoor-oriented program covering the main archeological centers of highland Peru: Lima, Cuzco, the Urubamba Valley and Machu Picchu. It combines day treks tailored to each individual's interests and capability with stops at country inns every night. The groups range from two to 16 participants. Cost: $999 to $1,199 per person double occupancy (depending on season), including air fare, accommodations, most meals, all fees and transport in Peru. Sobek Expeditions, Angels Camp, Calif. 95222, (209) 736-4524.
* Wagon West offers a four-day, three-night trip into the American past aboard a Conestoga wagon in the Grand Teton area of Wyoming. Twice a week through Aug. 28, the outfitter picks up participants (maximum about 40) from their Jackson Hole motel and takes them to the wagons. Then horses or mules pull the modernized Conestogas (tires made of rubber and foam-padded seats that convert to bunks) and a chuckwagon along back roads and trails. There are enough saddle horses to permit you to ride half the time; there's also a chance to fish. Each wagon sleeps four in two separate compartments, or you can choose a tent. Cost: $325 for adults, $260 children (16 and under), including everything except sleeping bag and transportation to Jackson Hole. L.D. Frome, Outfitter, Box G, Afton, Wyo. 83110, (307) 886-5240.