The Half-Baked Plan
Calgary Stampede, July 4–13
Arrive ($400; united.com). Ten-gallon white hat ($60; realcowboys.com). Watch chuck-wagon race, ladies' barrel racing, steer wrestling (event tickets from $23; cs.calgarystampede.com). Avoid miniature-donkey showcase. Sleep ($190; Stampeder Inn, 403-243-5531).
As canoe regions go, Ontario's Quetico Provincial Park and its American neighbor, Boundary Waters, get all the love—and most of the hordes. Skip the mob scene and head to Temagami, a 925-square-mile expanse of interconnected lakes and rivers on the Canadian Shield that, despite being just five hours north of Toronto, feels much more remote. The region's paddling tradition dates back thousands of years, to the Temagami First Nations people, who plied the waters in birch-bark canoes. These days, Temagami Clearwater Expeditions outfits its private trips with wood-and-canvas boats, introduced by Hudson Bay traders in the early 20th century. A five-day, 100-mile trip ($545; camptemagami.com) takes guests north via floatplane from Clearwater's Lake Temagami headquarters to a put-in at Florence Lake, in Lady Evelyn–Smoothwater Provincial Park. From there, descend the Lady Evelyn River—if you don't want to paddle the Class II rapids, there are plenty of well-marked portages. In backcountry this big, you'll see plenty of wildlife and few other people. Wake up early to spot moose along the banks, and factor in extra time for climbing 2,106-foot Maple Mountain and cooling off in swimming holes. Clearwater's home base hosts a children's camp until August 1, but you can choose your own dates throughout August.