Here are a few suggestions to help make your summer a memorable one. Remember to take a map, have fun and don't forget to send us a postcard!
PADDLE, PADDLE, PADDLE
Albany, New York
Who says you have to stay on the road when you're on a road trip? You can travel from Albany, NY to New York City via the Hudson River thanks to the Great Hudson River Paddle 2007.
Paddle a kayak, canoe or small boat the entire 150 miles over a span of 11 days or just join in for a day trip – the choice is yours. You'll spend your evenings camped on the riverbank, and you won't be bored because several of the overnight stops will be adjacent to festivals.
You can make this happen whether you're a pro or a beginner as you will be under the tutelage of knowledgeable local outfitters at all times. The event takes place from July 1 to 11, and you must pre-register to participate.
TAKE A (GREEN) HIKE
Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia
Want to totally relax surrounded by mountain laurel, ferns and wild iris? Not bothered by a few wild turkeys running around? Then you need to check out the hiker's paradise that is the Len Foote Hike Inn in Amicalola Falls State Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains area of North Georgia.
Forget about driving here; you can only get to the inn by hiking the 5-mile interpretive trail. The inn provides breakfast and dinner, and you can buy a sack lunch and hit one of the many other trails in the area, including the southern end of the Appalachian Trail.
The inn is tuned-in to the environment, making use of lots of “green” conservation techniques like solar panels, composting toilets, a rain barrel to gather water for their organic garden and vermiculture beds to recycle their organic waste. Make reservations at (800) 581-8032.
HIT THE BOURBON TRAIL
Bourbon is America's only native spirit, and it's pretty much made now the same way it was made 200 years ago. The trail takes you to seven distilleries including Jim Beam, Maker's Mark and Buffalo Trace, where you'll learn all about mashing, fermenting, distilling and aging. And yes, if you wish you can taste.
Other Louisville area attractions adjacent to the Bourbon Trail include the Kentucky Derby Museum, the Louisville Slugger baseball bat factory and the Muhammad Ali Center. Want to ride on the oldest operating steamboat in America? Take a dinner cruise on the Belle of Louisville.
ON THE FRINGE
Kansas City, Missouri
It all started in Edinburgh, Scotland. A major festival was being held, and a large group of artisans were not allowed to participate. These folks “on the fringe” decided to hold their own festival, and the idea was successful.
So now fringe festivals are held all over the world with one of the best being the Kansas City Fringe Festival, a four-day event packed with live theater, dance, performance art, visual art, spoken word, puppetry, storytelling, film and fashion.
Local, regional and national artists will be participating in the event that takes place in downtown K.C. and the lively Crossroads District. The fun happens July 26 to 29, and don't you dare go to Kansas City without hitting a barbecue joint or two (try Jack Stack, Arthur Bryant's or Gates BBQ).
BMX IN CANADA
Victoria, British Columbia
Like extreme sports? You won't want to miss the spectacle that is the most prestigious and biggest BMX event held each year – the U.C.I. BMX World Championships.
BMX is now an Olympic event, and this stop in Victoria is one of the qualifying rounds for riders hoping to compete in the 2008 Olympic Games. More than 2,000 riders from 40 countries will be battling it out on the track trying to earn world titles.
The big show happens July 26 to 29 on the massive track at Victoria's Juan De Fuca Recreation Center. Get all the details and watch a heart-stopping video of the action at www.bmxcanada.ca .
RIOT ON SUNSET STRIP
And last but not least, here's something unusual for you to do if you're staying in the area for the summer. How about a bus adventure into the secret heart of L.A.?
The Esotouric Company runs a variety of such tours, including a music-themed expedition called Riot on Sunset Strip. The tour uses material from Domenic Priore's new book Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock'n'Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood to tell the tale of how the music scene displaced movies as the center of action in Hollywood back in the mid-'60s.
The tour promises to forever change the way you look at the streets, shops and alleys of Hollywood as you learn about the bands that got their big break here in that era: the Doors, Love, Buffalo Springfield (with Neil Young and Stephen Stills), Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band, the Turtles and many others.
Garage punk rockers honed their chops on the Strip too; the Seeds, the Standells, Music Machine, Leaves, the Bobby Fuller 4 and the Electric Prunes all were part of the scene.
Esotouric runs their themed tours on a rotating basis, and the Riot on Sunset Strip bus will be heading out on June 23. Other tours scheduled for this summer are John Fante: Dreams of Bunker Hill on June 16 and Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles on July 21. Tickets run around $55 per seat or you can buy a season pass.