The Wild-Water Life List

We know you want your fair share of life's peak moments—and you want to get good and wet along the way—so we've thoughtfully prioritized our ten favorite liquid adventures in the United States

It's number one! The Grand Canyon of the Colorado     Photo: Corbis

Hot Commodity: Droplets

Amount of earth's surface covered in water: 80%

97% of the earth's water is saline

Water that is frozen in glacial ice: two percent

Only 1% of the earth's water is fresh and available for human use

153 GALLONS (water used daily per capita in the USA)

88 in the UK // 23 in Asia // 12 in Africa

Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; National Wildlife Federation

1. Raft the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, Arizona Plunge into 277 miles of Class I-V whitewater and spectacular red rocks. Get on the 12-year waiting list for individual permits (800-959-9164, www.nps.gov/grca) or sign up with an outfitter like Canyoneers Inc. (800-525-0924, www.canyoneers.com).
2. Paddle the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota Nearly a thousand interconnected lakes and streams dot this million-acre north-woods wilderness. For maps and permits, contact the BWCAW (877-550-6777, www.bwcaw.org).
3. Snorkel in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida Set sail for seven white-sand islets and miles of coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. Go with Ocean Voyages (800-299-4444, www.oceanvoyages.com).
4. Learn to Surf at Waikiki Beach, Hawaii It's a kitschy and overdeveloped beach, yes, but punch your surf ticket on the slow rollers off Oahu's leeward shore before braving Pipeline. Check out Hans Hedemann Surf School (808-924-7778, www.hhsurf.com).
5. Sea-kayak the San Juan Islands, Washington Island-hop among the orcas. Call Outdoor Odysseys (800-647-4621, www.outdoorodysseys.com).
6. Paddle the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho Float 100 miles through the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Check out Middle Fork Wilderness Outfitters (800-726-0575, www.idahorapids.com).
7. Sail the Maine Island Trail, Maine Explore spruce-shaded islands and craggy coastline on this 325-mile route from Portland to the Canadian border. For details, contact the Maine Windjammer Association (800-807-9463, www.sailmainecoast.com).
8. Raft and Fly-fish the Talkeetna River, Alaska Fish for king salmon, then hunker down for a 14-mile Class IV ride. Go with Keystone Raft and Kayak Adventures (907-835-2606, www.alaskawhitewater.com).
9. Canoe the Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia Float between gators in southeastern Georgia's lush 400,000-acre wilderness. The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (912-496-7836, www.fws.gov) can provide details.
10. Kayak the Apostle Islands, Wisconsin Paddle around 21 unspoiled Lake Superior islands. Try Piragis Northwoods Outfitting (800-223-6565, www.piragis.com).

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