Now is the time of year when we northerners all start thinking about putting away our winter clothing and basking in the warmth of the summer sun. We can hardly wait to take that first dip in the pool, go on summer picnics in the parks or watch movies outside on warm summer nights.
But what we tend to forget is that by mid-August, the pool has turned into a hot tub, no one feels like sweating while eating and a movie in a cool basement sounds more civilized than sweltering outdoors.
Yes the hot, sultry, humid, dog days of summer will have arrived, and all one can do is think of any way to get relief from the boredom of sitting inside and the heat from outside. Hopefully, when that day arrives some of the following adventures might cool you and thrill you at the same time.
Many cities or theme parks have water parks, but nothing beats the Wisconsin Dells. Wisconsin Dells boasts that it is home to the largest concentration of outdoor and indoor water parks in the world. There’s also live entertainment, non-water attractions, deluxe to cozy accommodations, and dozens of dining options.
This will really cool you down and be a thrill at the same time. Take a 6- or 7-day rafting trip through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. This trip covers 188 miles and has more than 60 rapids and at least a half a dozen hikes to waterfalls. Many call this trip the best vacation of their lives, according to raftingamerica.com.
This is more of a laid-back activity to keep you cool. Wisconsin has several great rivers to lay back and relax in your tube. Enjoy the scenery, wildlife and the occasional ride through rapids to keep you cool. Travelwisconsin.com says many outfitters on the rivers have canoes and kayaks available for rent if that is more your speed.
If you need a real rush to cool you off, travel to White Rock Park in Indiana and jump off a cliff to the lake below. The park is located in St. Paul and opens in May for the summer. The main lake has four platforms to jump off, all at different heights. The tallest is over 32 feet. If this is a little over-the-top for you, stpaulcliffs.com states there are multiple floating docks on the lake to relax and watch others cliff dive.
One place that will stay cool all summer long is the Great Lakes. And if you really want to cool down, try scuba diving in one of them. Shipwreckexplorers.com says that many of the wrecks are preserved and intact because the cold freshwater is like a refrigerator that preserves them . You can set up diving charters at many locations during the summer season.
This is one high-octane way of keeping a cool wind on your face. Not to mention the breathtaking views. One of the most beautiful places zipline.com suggests is at Ka'anapali, Maui. There are eight lines and each offers views of untouched Hawaiian landscapes and miles of Pacific Ocean. You can also take a rest from the lines and go to a viewing platform that overlooks a 1,000 foot valley.
It won’t get cooler or more exciting than flying off a mountain. Lookout Mountain, Colorado, offers adventures that start a 7000 feet. They typically last 5 minutes but often go longer depending on air conditions. Lookout Mountain is the most popular hang glide adventure in Colorado, according to hangglidecolorado.com.
If you can’t get cool in the air, try going underground. Spelunking (also known as caving) is the exploration of caves. Think of rock climbing but underground. The National Caves Association has a membership of over 80 of the best show caves across the United States, Bermuda and Barbados. Some large, some small, but all will keep you chilled and thrilled.
Water slides can be found just about everywhere today. In themed water parks, stand-alones, even on cruise ships. But one of the most thrilling destinations for sliding would be Summit Plummet (Disney’s Blizzard Beach, Florida). This is a thrill-seekers dream as it shoots riders down at about 60 mph.
Parasailing is basically passengers being attached to a kite being pulled by a boat. Sounds simple, but it’s a great way to stay cool and have a relaxing adventure at the same time. You can find parasailing all over the world. You can even sail on land. But most people will agree that the most tranquil sailing is off the beaches over water.
What could be a better way to beat the heat than riding on an inflatable 20 foot banana being pulled by a speed boat? There are many resorts that have rentals but to keep the coolest try lakes up north like in Minnesota or Wisconsin.
You might think free-falling from 15,000 feet at around 120 mph will make you sweat, but at that altitude, the temperature is only about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. If the idea of jumping out of a plane terrifies you, try tandem skydiving. A trained instructor deploys, flies and lands your parachute so there’s less for you to worry about.
Cool going down – cool coming up. No better adventure on a hot summer day than jumping off a bridge. For first timers exploretheusa.com suggests Highway 21 Bridge by Bungee Expeditions in Boise, Idaho. Bungee jumpers here fall 100 feet down to the Boise River below.
Yes, even in the middle August you can climb ice cliffs in America. The American Alpine Institute offers classes that provide instruction in skills required on ice climbs. Instructions are located in the Coleman Glacier of Mount Baker in Washington. Mount Baker has eighteen glaciers and snow routes. Glacier climbing is a dangerous extreme sport, and training is recommended.
If you want to feel like it’s November in July, try kayaking in Alaska. Prince William Sound Chugach National Forest is voted one of the best by the National Forest Foundation. Prince William is surrounded by towering glaciers, and if you are lucky, you might be joined by orcas on your kayaking adventure.
Snow skiing in the summer is a trip, but how about on a Glacier? Take a trip to Mount Hood, Oregon's highest mountain. According to traveloregon.com, the mountain has 11 glaciers, and a total of six ski areas. It is also believed to be the second most climbed mountain in the world, behind Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire.
Snorkeling can be done in any body of water, but nothing is more exciting than snorkeling and exploring in the salt water sea. Ocean snorkeling offers vibrant coral reefs and colorful, exotic fish. One of the best places ecowatch.com recommends is Dry Tortugas National Park, a 100 square mile park, 70 miles west of Key West, Florida. This park has world-renowned clear waters and coral reefs.
Snow dogs need to be exercised just as much during the summer as the winter, so swap out the sleds for carts and scooters. Breckenridge offers a mushing package that has a line set up for dogs who are trained to pull bikes, carts and scooters. The highly trained dogs will show you around the back country trails and hills.
No matter where you are in the U.S. a lake up north or down south, the speed of the jet and the water in your face will always keep you cool on the hottest summer days. One of the best places to jet is Lake Powell is in northern Arizona and southern Utah, according to jetski.com. Lake Powell has 1,900 miles of shore line, is 180 long and has 4 marinas. Many describe it as having the cleanest clear blue water in Canyon Recreation Area.
Originally called sail boarding, windsurfing was invented on the Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania in 1965, according to awe365.com. They recommend San Francisco Bay with a stunning shoreline and reliable wind as the top of any windsurfer’s ideal destination.