Surf an Empty Break
In August the big waves at Cannon Beach grow scarce, its surfing populace dwindles, and surf school finds its sweet spot. Oregon Surf Adventures ($279; www.oregonsurfadventures.com) preps students with a shoulder-loosening yoga routine and an afternoon in the secondary break on day one. Day two begins with an oceanside Thai massage (shoulders, pectorals, and abs get extra attention) and ends in the baby curlers, where you can hone your bottom turns and cutbacks in preparation for the fall swells.
Eat Good Food
Mendocino's organic farms open their barn doors August 25-26 to anyone interested in the finer points of health horticulture (for a list of farms, visit www.puremendocino.org). Base yourself at the Philo Apple Farm ($200; www.philoapplefarm.com), where cottages abut an organic apple orchard boasting 70 different varieties. After vegging out at the farms, run the three miles of cliffside trails at Mendocino Headlands State Park or hike the 1.6-mile loop through virgin redwoods inside Hendy Woods State Park.
Bag an Icy Peak
Summer swelter? Not here. Pro Guiding Service ($580 for a two-day climb; www.proguiding.com) plunks novice mountaineers down on the icy 10,778-foot Mount Baker in August when (in counterintuitive fact) the snowpack is firm and easily traversed. On summit day, awake at 4 a.m.; don crampons, an ice ax, and a light pack; and hit a series of moderate, low-angle glaciers before tackling the more formidable 30-degree Roman Wall. The payoff: 360-degree views of the San Juan Islands and the Cascade Range.
Ride High, Cast Often
It's multisport with a purpose: Mount a draft horse with Allenspark-based Wild Basin Outfitters ($1,000 for a two-day trip; www.wildbasinoutfitters.com) to bypass the blister-inducing hike and fly-fish North St. Vrain Creek in Rocky Mountain National Park. You'll pitch camp by Thunder Lake at treeline, feast on trout almondine, and sight cast to rising trout in placid waters until sundown. The next day, between stops at Copeland and Ouzel Falls, hike off-trail to seldom fished plunge pools.
Climb the Hive
Beehive Basin holds no honey. Its sweet spots--nook-and-cranny routes scattered through a wilderness canyon--lay etched into some of the world's oldest granite. For a two-day climbing tour, meet up with Montana Alpine Guides ($600; www.adventuremontana.com) near Big Sky and follow your guide up six-mile Beehive Trail, past a glaciated outwash and wildflower-rich valleys. Set up camp at Beehive Lake and hit the Prow Wall, a 200-foot-tall granite cliff. A 600-foot, four-pitch route awaits at sunrise.
Raft Wild Milds
The 31-mile Rio Chama is a late summer drought buster, springing to life with the flick of a dam release. Make sure the water's running, then push off below El Vado Lake with Los Rios River Runners ($325 for two days; www.losriosriverrunners.com). "This isn't the high desert of hard edges and cracked earth," says guide Liz Hagerty. "It's lush with tall grass, wildflowers, and ponderosa pines." Settle on a campsite inside the 50,300-acre wilderness area and hike to fossilized dinosaur footprints and hot springs. Craving a rush? Run the last few Class IIIs in a single-person duckie.
Breathe Deep Down South
These aren't Daniel Boone's log cabins. At Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa ($295; www.mountainharborresort.com), a collection of 19 log cottages in western Arkansas' Ouachita Mountains, guests can strike a warrior pose on a wood platform overlooking 50,000-acre Lake Ouachita. Yoga sessions begin at 9 a.m., but the deep breathing continues all weekend, with a romp down the lodge's nine-mile network of trails, a half-day paddle to a deserted island (picnic lunch in tow), and a deep-tissue massage at the in-house spa.
Discover a Singletrack Secret
The earth-whittling Des Moines River has sculpted the lands around the Lodge at Seven Oaks into the state's only 24-hour mountain biking race course (www.sevenoaksrec.com). Set up camp at a primitive site ($4), then ply the squiggling, seven-mile path rife with creek crossings and hairpin turns as it rolls up (and down) some 250 feet ($3). Come evening, trade your full-suspension ride for an inner tube ($16) and a cooler of apr?s-bike beverages, and cruise the lazy Des Moines to contemplate erosion's wilder side.
Bike the Wide Open
The residents of Sparta, a small burg in the hills of western Wisconsin, have dubbed their town the "bicycling capital of America." Overstatement? Judge for yourself while zipping through a series of tunnels on the 32-mile Elroy-Sparta State Trail ($16 a day for bike rental; www.speedsbike.com), one of the country's first rail trails. For a follow-up, hit the 60-mile out-and-back through Amish country to the town of Westby. "Expect to see more tractors than cars," says Dennis Northey, owner of Powwow Bicycle Tours. Back in town, make a pilgrimage to the all-in-one Deke Slayton Memorial Space and Bike Museum (www.dekeslayton.com) and visit the Van Cleve, a bike built by the Wright brothers in 1896.
Picture a Puffin
Playing paparazzi to a clown-faced puffin is a life-lister for wildlife photographers. But you can skip the bird-nerd expedition to Greenland. Monhegan Island (pop. 75),
a square-mile outcrop ten miles from the mainland, sits smack-dab in an Atlantic migratory zone. Set up base camp at the Island Inn ($145; www.islandinnmonhegan.com), a turn-of-the-century harborside retreat, and board a wildlife-watching vessel ($15; www.hardyboat.com) from New Harbor to Eastern Egg Rock, where close-ups of curled noses and webbed feet come easy.
Run Continuous Rapids
Dropping 116 feet per mile (steeper than West Virginia's Gauley River), the Upper Youghiogheny is one of the most menacing (and mispronounced) commercially rafted rivers in the East. (Call it "the Yock.") Precision Rafting's daylong trip ($125; www.precisionrafting.com) starts big--three miles of rollicking Class IIIs--and ends bigger--a five-mile-long, ski-slope-steep section of Class IVs and Vs and a drop down six-foot National Falls.
Dig the Low Country
The Inn at Palmetto Bluff ($450; www.palmettobluffresort.com) appeals to the Indiana Jones in all of us. Spend a day on a bona fide archaeological dig (there are over a hundred sites on the bluff), unearthing buttons, bones, and projectile points from as early as 1700 b.c. Continue the treasure hunt with a kayaking trip to Native American sites off nearby Daufuskie Island. Back at the lodge, exfoliate grimy layers of history in the spa's bear claw tubs.