Active Summer Festivals

Active Summer Festivals

Dates: July 25-27

Cost: $52 for a three-day adult pass

Why Go: Called the "Olympics of the Forest," this event features competitions in pole climbing, log rolling, sawing and chopping. It attracts lumberjacks and lumberjills from across the United States, as well as from countries including Canada, Australia, the Czech Republic and New Zealand. If the event leaves you itching for the great outdoors, head to nearby Chequamegon National Forest for camping, paddling and hiking.

Where To Stay: Located in downtown Hayward, the impeccably maintained McCormick House offers great breakfast service and more luxury than nearby cabins.

Dates: August 9 -18

Cost: Free

Why Go: This mountain bike festival features numerous competitions including the Teva Best Trick, giant dual slalom and the Red Bull Joyridean invitational showcase in which the best riders take on a custom-built course that combines natural terrain with huge man-made features. If you get tired of bikes, check out the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival on the last day of the event.

Where To Stay: Although pricey, people sing the praises of the Four Seasons Whistler. The hotel has a good breakfast, accommodating staff, great facilities, gorgeous rooms with rustic features, and a shuttle that can drop guests off at different spots around town.

Dates: June 16-21

Cost: $650 - $3,155

Why Go: Located on the idyllic coast of Big Sur, California, Esalen is a beautiful, low-key destination for a five-day yoga retreat. The festival begins Sunday evening with an opening gathering where attendees set their intentions for the week. Each morning is unscheduled with options for meditative walks, sunrise yoga classes or time in the Esalen baths. Live music and workshops in disciplines ranging from meditation to dance go on throughout the day. The festival wraps up on Friday evening with a final celebration.

Where To Stay: At the Esalen Institute, there are a variety of housing options, including sleeping bag space, bunk bed rooms and private suites.

Dates: June 6-9 (yes, we know it passed, but we want you to be ready for the event next year)


Why Go: At the GoPro Mountain Games, you can watch athletes in 25 disciplines including extreme kayaking, world cup bouldering and mountain biking. For canine lovers, the dog competitions are an added bonus. Events include speed retrieve, extreme vertical, trail running and the mud run.

The weekend also features complimentary clinics and demos, an adventure film school, an interactive exhibition, live music, a film festival and nightly parties. Events for kids, including stand up paddleboarding, are also available.

Where To Stay: For luxury at the center of the action try The Lodge at Vail. Located in the heart of Vail Village, this clean and comfortable hotel is a short walk away from most of the competitions.

Dates: July 11-14

Cost:$75.00 for aFour-Day Advance Purchase Adult Ticket

Why Go: One of the largest Celtic events in the United States, the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games combines traditional Celtic music and dance with sporting events such as a five-mile footrace, the Grizzly Bike Race and the Mountain Marathon (which begins in Boone, NC, but passes through the games around 9:30 a.m.). Attendees can also see the Highland Dancing Atlantic International Championship, as well as competitions in piping, drumming and traditional Scottish athletic events including the caber toss.

Where To Stay: There is first-come-first-serve camping on MacRae Meadows where the event is held. If this areas fills up, head to the more comfortable Eseeola Lodge at Linville Golf Club.

Dates: July 10-14

Cost: $50 for an all-access ticket

Why Go: Created by legendary free climber Todd Skinner (October 27, 1958-October 23, 2006),this event takes place at the base of the Wind River Range–a granite wonderland for climbers. Over the long weekend, you can take part in yoga, trail runs and clinics put on by accomplished climbers such as Jonathan Siegrist, Alli Rainey and Eric Horst. Participants can then hone their skills on nearby climbing routes.

Where To Stay: There are plenty of options in the area ranging from the Holiday Inn Express and Suites to camping in Lander City Park or Sinks Canyon State Park.

Dates: August 26-September 2

Cost: Tickets start at $650 a pop

Why Go: There is no set agenda at this massive desert festival and activities vary each year based on the creativity of those who attend. Given the sheer number of participants, its no surprise that Burning Man offers plenty to do. In 2011, attendance was estimated at more than 56,000 people who built huge art installations, put on workshops, performed in disciplines ranging from acro yoga to hula hooping and created mutant vehicles that doubled as the primary public transportation system.

Where To Stay: All participants stay in Black Rock Citya temporary village created by the Burners themselves. Make sure to bring your own tent, water, food and anything else youll need.

Dates: June 13-June 16

Cost: Free for spectators

Why Go: Both professionals and recreational cyclists can enjoy this event in Canada's first and most popular national park. The main event of the four-day gathering is a five-stage race with a $21,000 prize purse.

If you're not a professional, you can still watch the competition, shop the farmers market and take a Fathers Day bike ride to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. You'll also want to sign up for Cruise for a Cause–a charity bike ride featuring people in ridiculous costumes. Entry is by donation and proceeds go to the Banff Community Foundation.

Where To Stay: The Banff Lodging Company offers a variety of nearby options including hotel rooms, suites and full service condominiums.

Dates: July 31-August 4

Cost: Free

Why Go: At the 52nd annual ISF, participants can enter paddleboard, swimming, sand castle, beach volleyball, surfing, body surfing and other competitions. In your down time, watch the three signature events: The Judge Talpin lifeguard Medley Relay, the Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Swim and the Charley Saikley 6-man volleyball tournament.

Where To Stay: The Shade Hotel sits just a few blocks from the beach and offers plush rooms (ask about the suite with the in-room beer tap), Tempur-Pedic beds and complimentary bikes to get around town.

Dates: July 3-7

Cost:A four-day advance pass for Wanderlust starts at $405.Tickets for the Mountain Pose Medicine and Yoga Symposium are $450, no matter when you purchase.

Why Go: These two complimentary festivals are slightly offset, allowing participants to take advantage of both. Beginning on July 3rd, the Mountain Pose Medicine and Yoga Symposium hosts a series of experts who discuss the latest research about yoga, nutrition, mindfulness and other topics, as well as host yoga classes. The $450 registration includes up to three Wanderlust activities, including access to live music. The symposium wraps up on July 5 on the second day of Wanderlust, where yoga, meditation, slacklining, hikes, bike tours and other activities abound.

Where To Stay: Copper Mountain hosts the symposium, and you can extend your stay throughout the Wanderlust festival. Otherwise, you can opt to stay at Wanderlusts official campsite. The price is $108 flat for four nights (Wednesday through Saturday).

Dates: July 19-28

Cost: Packages start at $88 

Why Go: This 10-day event has won the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year award fourteen times. Go to see competitions in bull riding, tie-down roping, steer roping, steer wrestling and team roping, and to dance to live music from big names such as the Rascal Flats.

Where to Stay: The Nagle-Warren Mansion B&B, built in 1888, has gourmet breakfast, cozy rooms, a friendly staff, and is close to everything in town.

Dates: July 17-21

Cost:While many activities are free, workshops start at $55 and advance passes to the Mountain Film Festival are $15

Why Go: The bounty of clinics and workshops at the Squamish Mountain Festival include adventure photography, bouldering, aid climbing, rock rescue and more. Participants can also check out the trade fair and take part in dodge ball, yoga, and tug-o-war. After a day of play, check out films about canyoning, kayaking, climbing, and other outdoor sports at the Mountain Film Festival.

Where To Stay: Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company receives high marks for both its rooms and its beer. For more peace and quiet during your stay, ask for a room away from the pub side of the Inn.

Dates: May 31-June 24

Cost: Price varies depending on the activity you choose. For instance, Ride Don't Hide will cost you $35

Why Go: At "Canada’s biggest cycling party", you can take part in or watch numerous events throughout the weekend. The 2013 Robert Cameron Law Cycling Series including a time trial, a road race, and a circuit race in downtown Victoria. Kids between the ages of 5 and 10 can ride with Canada’s top cyclists in Tim Horton’s Timbits Challenge, while ambitious adults can try the Victoria Gran Fondo—a 160-mile ride with 11,482 feet of climbing. For a more relaxed experience, sign up for Ride Don’t Hide, a charity community bike ride hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Where To Stay: With views of the harbor and a famous high tea service, The Fairmont Empress is a great place to put your feet up after a long ride.