Ziplines > Salida, Colo.
If what you’re after is an adrenaline charge that will leave your hands trembling for a week, then your average adventure probably isn’t going to cut it. The Lost Canyon Zipline Adventure Tours offers up a truly bragworthy experience. Fly through the air at up to 40 mph on specially designed cables surrounded by majestic views of the Rocky Mountains and the Arkansas River Valley. With six different cable lines, some suspended 150 feet above the ground, you’ll have up to 2,000 feet of thrill rides to experience.
Sign up and you’ll go through the course with a group of five to 12 people, hiking through the trees and stopping at various take off points as you go. Feeling especially gutsy? Try one of three advanced cables for the truly daring (or foolish).
Individual tours are $75 each, captainzipline.com.
Off-road Driving > East Haddam, Conn.
Overland experts driving school in East Haddam prides itself on teaching drivers how to take on any terrain that might come in front of an off-road vehicle. Founder and 4-by-4 driving master Bruce Elfstrom’s one-day driving schools will teach you the fundamentals of handling any 4WD vehicle. Start the day by heading out to OEX’s custom-designed driving course to get behind the wheel of one of the school’s Land Rovers. Once you’re buckled in, attempt to navigate the downhill slalom course, as you avoid boulders, crawl over log steps, and cross your vehicle through six feet of water.
One-day driving course is $750 for the first person and $200 for each additional person, overlandexperts.com.
Paintball > Jim Thorpe, PA.
The great thing about paintball is that it’s a game that favors strategy, skill, and physical dominance—so you can get all your loser buddies who have been kicking your ass at Halo off the couch and finally show them how your time at the gym has paid off.
Jim Thorpe isn’t much more than a rural town with a funny name in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, but that’s what makes it the perfect place to go to war. With more than 50 courses, Skirmish USA is hands down the best place in the country for paintball. Castles, villages, woods, airplane crash sites, and name it and Skirmish USA will take you there with your guns loaded. They’ll provide you with everything you need—just show up ready for battle, and be sure to make a reservation a couple of weeks in advance if you want guaranteed combat time.
Starting at $30, skirmish.com.
Caving > Vancouver Island, B.C.
Two hours into your five- hour “Scotch on the Rocks” tour at Horne Lake Caverns and Teepee Adventure Camp on Vancouver Island, you’ll find yourself three stories be- low the earth’s surface. There you’ll see a nine-story calcite crystal formed over thousands of years by water dissolving the limestone cavern drop by drop. This and other subterranean features, such as 75-foot waterfalls and 300-million-year-old fossils, compose the “Rocks” part of this award-winning trip. Just when you start feeling like a troglodyte, you emerge from the cave and head for the “Scotch” at the Crown Isle Resort, which stocks six types of cigars and 17 varieties of scotch in its Cigar & Cognac room. The lounge overlooks a Classic Car museum, so you and your buddies can debate the merits of a ’57 T-bird versus a ’57 Bel-Air while pulling on Cubans.
“Scotch on the Rocks” begins at $149, cavernhornelake.com.
Kayaking > Ontario, Canada; Summersville, W.Va.
Kayaking combines all the best aspects of summer into one highly addictive package. And while you might find some decent rapids near your house, you may want to travel a bit farther—especially if you love the sport as much as Eric Jackson does. He’s a four-time kayak world freestyle champion and the owner of Jackson Kayak, but he also holds an unoffi cial title: King of the Great American Road Trip. “Even though I have a brand-new house, I still look forward to getting in the RV,” says Jackson, 43, who has been road-tripping for the last 25 summers in search of the continent’s best whitewater.
This summer, Jackson and members of Team Jackson Kayak will cover some 15,000 miles back and forth across the U.S. on what he’s dubbed the Fun Tour. And you can take part. They’ll be offering clinics and demonstrations on some of North America’s most wicked rapids. In August, Jackson will teach beginner through expert skills on the Ottawa River in Ontario, and in September you can catch them at the Gauley River Festival in Summersville. The Gauley Fest is a huge party, with great paddling as well. “If you haven’t done it as a paddler,” says Jackson, “you’re missing out for sure.”
To find the Fun Tour schedule, log on to jacksonkayak.com