Big air, bigger views kick off this weekend in Vail. Photo: Teva Mountain Games
With long days and warm nights, summer is festival season. But if you want more from your weekend than sitting on your butt on a blanket, swilling beer, and listening to live music, check out these 10 family-friendly outdoor festivals that put the emphasis on adventure.
Summer Teva Mountain Games Vail, Colorado; May 31-June 2 Stand-up paddleboarding, mud running, freestyle mountain biking, and slacklining are just a few of the events on tap this weekend in Vail at what’s arguably the standard-setter for summer sports festivals. The mountain mash-up attracts elite athletes, local die-hards, and weekend warriors from across the country—and the mix is what keeps it fresh. Kids can take a shot at any of the events, but the youth bouldering contest and XC bike race breed are where the next generation of rippers can be found. Plus: adventure flicks, gear demos, free yoga, casting clinics, and big-air contests for dogs round out the action. www.tevamountaingames.com.
What would it be like to ride a rocket at super high speeds just above a really long road?
That's the question Giacomo Miceli, a creative coder, computer scientist, and self-proclaimed entreprenerd from Rome, asked himself as a child. He decided to find out as an adult by using pictures from Google Street View.
*If you want her to run alongside you for a really, really long time.
Kentucky Fried Chicken doesn't need a lot of help in China, but this is a story that sounds perfect for the company's next commercial there. After his graduation, 22-year-old Zhang Heng decided to bike more than 1,000 miles through Sichuan Province to the city of Lhasa in Tibet. On his journey, he came across a small, scruffy white dog that looked hungry, so he fed her a chicken drumstick.
There's no shortage of epic timelapse videos popping up on Vimeo, but few chronicle their shots in a way that allows you to learn something. Photographer Sean F. White gathered footage in 24 countries on all seven continents over the course of six years to make Terra Sacra. He chronicled the sky moving over everything from penguins to pyramids, the changing light everywhere from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Antarctica, and the different shadows cast by castles from Syria to Poland. How do I know all of this?
Day Hiking Acadia National Park, Maine Ages: All (depending on hike)
Acadia seems designed for hiking with kids: Numerous trails deliver constant views many of the best hikes are relatively short; and the steep, rocky terrain often requires exciting scrambling. The 1.3-mile hump up and back down The Beehive involves an exposed ascent of a cliff via ledges and iron rungs drilled into the rock. The easy, 1.6-mile walk to Great Head leads to the top of cliffs rising straight out of a pounding sea. The relatively flat and popular 3.6-mile Ocean Path follows the rocky shore from Sand Beach to Otter Point, passing by Thunder Hole, where waves crashing into a pocket in granite create an explosive popping noise, and over Otter Cliffs, the tallest sea cliffs on Mount Desert Island. The 4.2-mile loop over the rocky domes called North and South Bubble climbs just a few hundred feet to reach postcard-like views of Jordan Pond tucked between surrounding hills. Families gunning for a more serious challenge—and views stretching from Frenchman Bay to the hills and ponds of Acadia—can take a 13.5-mile, east-west traverse of the park’s six major peaks, linking trails (and crossing some roads) from the Bear Brook Trailhead on Champlain Mountain to the parking lot north of Upper Hadlock Pond on ME 198. Blackwoods Campground is across the street from the trailhead to Cadillac Mountain, the park’s highest, and has great access to carriage trails.
Exploring Ancient Ruins in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado Ages: All
Before having kids, I never visited Mesa Verde. The park, in the southwestern corner of Colorado, is known for its 600 cliff dwellings and 5,000 archeological sites dating back nearly 1,500 years—but long hiking trails or climbing routes were my focus back then. My wife and I finally went with our kids when our son was three and our daughter was one, and we were amazed by the 150-room Cliff Palace and other dwellings on this windswept mesa. Pitch your tent at Morefield Campground, four miles inside the park, and take the kids on the guided tours of Spruce Tree House (a half-mile) and Cliff Palace (a quarter-mile)—the latter featuring my son’s favorite moment: climbing a series of wooden ladders up a 100-foot cliff face.