Ultimate Summer

The heart-pumping, cliff-jumping, sun-baked, waterlogged guide to warm-weather diversions. From midnight picnics to placid lake getaways, 50 things you must accomplish before Labor Day.

Oct 11, 2006
Outside Magazine

Hanalei Bay
Kauai, Hawaii
Head for Kauai's Hanalei Bay for a healthy dose of languid living and the ultimate summer vibe—year-round. Big-wave king Titus Kinimaka owns and teaches at the island's first surf institution, the Hawaiian School of Surfing, and no matter your skill level, there's always something to learn from wave-riding royalty. When you're sun-fried, head for shore and grab some kind grind at the Bar Acuda tapas bar, opened last October, then crash in luxury at one of the Princeville Hotel's opulent ocean-view rooms. Titus Kinimaka's Hawaiian School of Surfing: 90-minute lesson, $65; 808-652-1116. Bar Acuda: 808-826-7081. Princeville Resort: doubles from $495; 808-826-9644, www.princeville.com.

Memphis, Tennessee
From May 18 to 20, Memphis goes hog wild for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. 901-525-4611, www.memphisinmay.org

U.S. National Whitewater Center Charlotte, North Carolina
Ten-time U.S. national champion kayaker and mechanical engineer Scott Shipley wants to introduce America's whitewater community to the Gong Show. Not the seventies series that made American Idol look like the Metropolitan Opera, but the U.S. National Whitewater Center's version: a new adjustable wave that, with the flick of a switch, can flush wavehogs into flatwater by morphing a one-foot soft curl into a nearly vertical six-foot beast. Charlotte's $35 million course—the world's largest man-made water feature—is set to open in June and will serve as the Olympic training center for the U.S. Canoe and Kayak Team, though there are plenty of pools for beginners to learn to roll, too. www.usnwc.org

Wind River Range
Lander, Wyoming
This summer, skip Yosemite Valley's queued-up classics and standing-room-only campsites and savor isolated sweeps of granite in central Wyoming's Wind River Range. The Cirque of the Towers, a valley of sharp, toothy, high-altitude spires, offers a host of climbing options, including the northeast face of Pingora, a moderate route of granite cracks and dihedrals. For real seclusion, head east of the Cirque to the Haystack area, with inspiring routes up Haystack and Steeple peaks and lakeside campsites with nary a human in sight. www.wildirisclimbing.com

Beach Volleyball
Chicago, Illinois
Check the attitude in Southern California and spike yourself into a game of beach volleyball along Chicago's North Avenue Beach. With 40-plus city courts to choose from, there's plenty to dig. For tips from the pros, check out the Association of Volleyball Professionals' tour when it hits Chicago, July 20–23. www.avp.com

Southern California Coast
When San Diego's Pacific waters start warming up in May, massive California halibut move inshore to feed on baitfish—your cue to move offshore and jab yourself lunch. These flat bottom-dwellers can get big—the record catch exceeded 72 pounds—but a more modest 15-pounder is good eating for days. Slice it into steaks, wrap it in foil with onion, cilantro, and salt, and grill it on the beach. "Point, shoot, and eat," says Guy Skinner, owner of JBL Spearguns, in the city of Orange. www.jblspearguns.com

Gardiner, Montana
The food chain gets interactive on the Yellowstone Association Institute's four-day Wolf Base Camp course, where you launch out from a central backcountry base camp to spy on the noble canids. June 1–4; $400; 307-344-2294, www.yellowstoneassociation.org

La Seigneurie du Triton
de l'Islet, Quebec
Cast your fly for a two-pound brook trout on one of 12 private lakes spread over 15 wooded, boat-accessible square miles. All-inclusive stays from $113; 877-393-0557, www.seigneuriedutriton.com

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
With summertime water temps of 80 degrees, more than four miles of sand, and the 11,000-student-strong University of North Carolina at Wilmington ten minutes away, Wrightsville Beach is this summer's hot spot. Look for surf pumped up by hurricane swells and southern belles touching up their tans. Sweetwater Surf Shop has everything you need for a day on the beach. 910-256-3821, www.sweetwatersurfshop.com

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Alaska
While Congress slugs out the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, take matters into your own hands with the Sierra Club's first ANWR service trip, a 12-day wilderness hike and backcountry-and-cleanup expedition. After collecting and transporting debris (such as metal roofing and insulation materials) from a cabin once used for illegal hunting to a plane-friendly pickup spot, you'll spend a week following caribou trails along river corridors and sharing open tussock tundra with bears, moose, and wolves. June 6–17; $2,365; 415-977-5522, www.sierraclub.orgoutingsnational

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