Ultimate Summer


Oct 11, 2006
Outside Magazine
summer trips

SOLAR EXPRESS: The Coast Starlight skirts the Pacific   

Miami, Florida
"Salsa is better than sex," says professional dancer Edie the Salsa Freak. "You can have 20 love affairs in one night." At Edie's salsa boot camps, held on weekends throughout the summer, you'll learn the underarm turn and the copa. Then hit Bongos Cuban Café after dark for the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Lessons from $55; 305-588-9130, www.salsafreak.com

Portland, Oregon
You're not seeing double: There really are 50,000 people gulping grog at the Oregon Brewers Festival. From July 27 to 30, Portland's libation congregation will top up at the Oregon Craft Beer Week, showcasing more than 20 styles of suds from 72 breweries. 503-778-5917, www.oregonbrewfest.com

Imperial Beach, California
Building sandcastles is no longer child's play: 300,000 spectators are expected to turn out for the 26th annual U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition, July 21–23, when 40 teams will compete for $21,000 in cash prizes. 619-424-6663, www.usopensandcastle.com

Vancouver Island
British Columbia
With 25 miles of empty and sometimes world-class surf on Nootka Island, just off Vancouver Island, the only territorial locals you'll have to worry about are the black bears. Pioneer a new break during the day; at night, dream of uncharted barrels in Tatchu Adventures' Ewok-village-style tree house. Seven-day packages from $1,645; 888-895-2011, www.tatchuadventures.com

Dawson City, Yukon
What better day to stay up late than the summer solstice? And what better place to do it than sleepy Dawson City, where the summer sun almost never sets? From the top of 2,953-foot Midnight Dome, savor the rugged mountain vista and a late-night picnic before the sun briefly dips below the horizon at around midnight. 867-993-5575, www.dawsoncity.ca

Coast Starlight
Los Angeles to Seattle
Explore the West Coast on Amtrak's L.A.-to-Seattle Coast Starlight. The two-dayone-night, 1,389-mile train trip passes snow-covered mountains, dense forests, and long stretches of Pacific coastline. $89–$1,011 each way; 800-872-7245, www.amtrak.com

. . . And stick with it from Memorial Day to Labor Day. May we suggest the Shoalfinder, served first at Foxy's restaurant, in upstate New York. Don't operate your boat after knocking back a few of these—many a crapulous mariner has bottomed out on the St. Lawrence River's myriad shoals. The recipe, courtesy of resident mixologist Nicole Claudia:
• One shot vodka
• One shot rum
• One shot peach schnapps
• Equal parts orange, cranberry, and pineapple juices
• Quick stir

Continental Divide, Colorado
There was a time when an American road trip meant traveling into the unknown—your only guide was the ribbon of dirt winding around the next bend. To relive the experience, try wheeling across Colorado along the spine of the Rockies. The best road is the doubletrack along, of all things, Adventure Cycling's Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, which meanders back and forth across the Continental Divide for 500-odd miles between Wyoming—just north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado—and Chama, New Mexico. The route uses rarely traveled, unpaved county, state, BLM, and Forest Service roads that will lead you over 11,000-foot-high passes into remote alpine valleys filled with aspen groves and crystal-clear streams. Granted, you'll hit some pavement along the way—roughly 200 miles of it—but these patches are quick exceptions to the rule. Best time to go: late June—after the snow has melted off the passes—to early September. Sections 3 and 4 of Adventure Cycling's Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, which are updated yearly, list mileage, road surfaces, road grades, campsites, and services. $22 for both; www.adventurecycling.org

Hot Springs, South Dakota
Twenty-six thousand years ago, a hungry mammoth fell into a sinkhole and died; later, others accidentally followed suit. Fast-forward to 2006, when the Earthwatch Institute spends summers excavating these mammoths. With the help of volunteers, the group has found 53 of the goliaths over 23 seasons. During July's two-week course you'll dig out ten-foot mammoth tusks, as well as the remains of Ice Age wolves and giant short-faced bears trapped in the pits. If only mousetraps worked so well. $2,395; 800-776-0188, www.earthwatch.org

Lake Shuswap
British Columbia
You don't have to play for the Minnesota Vikings to have a good time on a boat. On Lake Shuswap, you'll spenda week swimming in 70-degree water, fishing for salmon and rainbow trout, and exploring more than 600 milesof shoreline. Waterway Houseboat Vacations' 75-foot floating villa, the Genesis 75, sleeps 20 and comes equipped with king-size beds, two barbecues, wireless Internet, and a hot tub and fireplace. Stripper pole not included. From $8,257; 877-928-3792, www.waterwayhouseboats.com

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