1. Dine the San Antonio Food Trails
San Antonio is an under-the-radar mecca for folks who plan their vacations around food. Just follow the Food Trails organized by Culinaria™, a local nonprofit that also throws food festivals and grants culinary scholarships. There’s a Taco Trail and a BBQ Trail, each with 10 restaurants. To make the cut is serious business; local chefs and restaurant owners weigh in on their local favorites, and it’s all put to a vote. Between meals, walk the 15-mile River Walk, see dinosaurs at The Witte Museum or take in a show at one of the city’s many theaters.
2. Take Surf Lessons
Head to Folly Beach, near Charleston, South Carolina, to take lessons with a World Surf League pro. Kyle Busey, who won a national championship at age 14, teaches safety tips, how to handle the board and the proper way to go from your belly to your feet. (No previous surfing experience necessary.) Think Tony Robbins motivation with a serious workout for your core. Make it an all-day experience with Busey by kayaking to an oyster bank, where he’ll teach you how to spot, pick, clean and eat oysters by a campfire.
3. Visit Green Bay, Wisconsin
This small Midwestern city has a lot of charm, no matter which (if any) NFL team you root for. At Bay Beach Amusement Park – where tickets are just a quarter each – your family will enjoy Zippin Pippin, a wooden roller coaster ride that Elvis Presley put on the map; Big Wheel, a new 100-foot-tall Ferris wheel; and kiddie rides. For a chill nature fix, there’s Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, a 600-acre wildlife refuge with 6 miles of free hiking trails, or the 47-acre Green Bay Botanical Garden, rife with rose gardens, perennial flowers and ornamental grasses, as well as a treehouse, slide and maze. At the Children’s Museum of Green Bay, kids can crawl through the human digestive system or explore a child-sized fire station, farmers market or veterinary clinic. And if you want a gridiron fix, sign up for a Lambeau Field tour or visit the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
4. Relax on a Health Retreat
Feed your need to rest and rejuvenate at Kripalu®, a center for yoga and health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. With accommodations ranging from private rooms to dorms, there’s room for about 650 guests on the property. Many people come alone to connect with others while simultaneously embracing self-reflection. Staying off-site nearby? Purchase a day pass. Activities include movement classes with meditations and mantras, yoga and dance sessions, hikes in the forest and cooking classes, while a spa offers massages, facials, ayurvedic treatments and energy work.
5. Sleep in a Fire Tower Lookout
Snooze among the trees in a rustic lookout cabin previously used by forest rangers. The Gem Peak Lookout tower in Montana (adults only, for safety reasons) is a 225-square-foot cabin that sits 30 feet in the air in the mixed conifer Kootenai National Forest, with views of Noxon Reservoir and Clark Fork River. Hike 400 miles of trails, pick huckleberries, and fish for pike and bass at the reservoir. The cabin includes a wood stove, single beds and a vault toilet outside. There’s no electricity, so you’ll need to bring your own light sources, potable drinking water and cooking equipment.
Read a firsthand account of what it’s like to stay in a fire lookout cabin from Drive contributor Kate Bernot.
6. Take a Meditative Hike
Clear your mind by taking a silent 3-mile, low elevation gain hike on Washington state’s Wildside Trail in Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. Michelle Allen of Peaceful Heart Pilgrimage will drive you 20 minutes outside of Seattle to the trail and then guide you through meditation, slow-paced breathing exercises and introspective prompts throughout the three-hour experience. Groups are capped to four people, ages 15 and up, but she also offers private sessions for solo travelers.
7. Stay at a Dude Ranch
Enjoy the dry heat and mountain views of Saguaro National Park at White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. Besides riding horses that belong to one of the largest private herds in the state, you can go rock climbing, ride a fat-tire bike or learn how to sort cattle. There’s also a pool, petting zoo and movie theater, plus basketball, badminton and volleyball courts.
8. Take a Lighthouse Bike Tour
Bike with a guided, van-supported tour to five different lighthouses in and near Portland, Maine. Depending on your cycling experience, you’ll either call this a leisurely 12-mile ride or a hilly challenge. Beyond exploring lighthouses, you’ll also learn Liberty shipbuilding history, enjoy a lobster roll and visit Two Lights State Park and Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The tour is open to anyone 12 or older.
9. Try Cliff Camping
An expert guide will show you how to rock climb up the face of a cliff in Deville Rocks in Estes Park, Colorado, bordering Rocky Mountain National Park. You’ll start the journey by hiking uphill two-thirds of a mile to base camp. Then gear up and climb to the campsite, where you’ll have dinner and sleep in custom-made “portaledges,” sky tents hanging off the side of a cliff. Have breakfast and rappel back down the next morning. Open to anyone 14 and older.