You skied, you ate more meat than you thought was humanly possible and your mom is still mad at you for wearing that hideous sweater to Thanksgiving at your aunt’s.
That was winter. This is summer.
If you can escape mom’s wrath, there are a few rugged activities you should get to this summer. If jetpacks in Hawaii or hand-fishing in Oklahoma intrigue you, check out those and other intrepid items on our summer bucket list. Just remember to apologize to mom before you go canyoneering in Utah.
1. Strap on a water jetpack in Hawaii
In the past, hydraulic jetpacks were for characters like James Bond and Iron Man, not you on summer vacation. Today, that’s changed. Next time you’re in Hawaii, rent a jetpack for the afternoon and propel yourself high above Maunalua Bay off of Oahu. The packs are plenty safe and carry a serious punch with their four-stroke, 250 horsepower engine.
Where: Maunalua Bay, Oahu, Hawaii
How: H20 Sports Hawaii
2. Go for a zip-line tour in the Redwood Forest
Gazing up at the top of a redwood sounds pretty marvelous, but how about being able to see the massive trees from the tree line, while zipping 25 m.p.h. through the Redwood Forest? If that sounds like a better way to experience nature, check out a canopy tour next time you’re in NorCal. On the tours, you’ll be able to zoom past the trees, fly over a 300-foot ravine, ascend a spiral staircase, traverse a sky bridge and rappel down to the forest floor. Trust us — it beats walking alone through the forest.
Where: Occidental, California
How: Sonoma Canopy Tours
3. Take a floatplane ride over Alaska
There’s much more to a floatplane than the name puts on. In Alaska, these birds are the most efficient mode of transportation. Whether flying to a secluded cabin, a fly-fishing hotspot or just using the plane for some good ol’ sightseeing, floatplanes provide unparalleled access to Alaska’s densest and most scenic wilderness. Floatplane pilots can take you above Denali National Park and the Talkeetna Mountains, where you’ll be able to see snow-capped peaks, whitewater rivers and wildlife-like moose, caribou and bears. Pilots can even land the plane in a remote glacier lakes. Not a bad date spot.
Where: Talkeetna, Alaska
How: Alaska Bush Floatplane Service
4. Take a woodworking class in the Midwest
If you have a new pad, try putting a personal touch on it. Woodworking classes teach you everything from basic carving (personalized wine stoppers or hand-carved boxes make great home accessories or gifts…) to cabinet and furniture-making. If you’re ready for more advanced woodworking, sign up for a spindle turning or veneer/inlay class. Either way, you’ll be a more chiseled man after the course.
Where: Omaha, Nebraska
How: Midwest Woodworkers
5. Do some spelunking in New Mexico
Some adventures take you high above; others bring you deep beneath the ground. At the Carlsbad Caverns National Park (and its more than 100 limestone caves), visitors descend more than 60 feet on ropes and ladders to check out clear pools, cave pearls and a stunning formation of gypsum chandeliers. If you’re into shiny things and want to explain to everyone you know what spelunking actually is, you can’t go wrong at Carlsbad.
Where and How: Carlsbad Caverns National Park in Carlsbad, New Mexico
6. BASE jump off a bridge in Idaho
Experienced skydivers looking for a new challenge love to BASE jump, which refers to leaping from any building, antenna, span or Earth (a cliff) with a parachute. The multi-second freefall is well worth the 100 or so skydives you need to be able to jump with your own parachute, BASE jumping zealots say. Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho, has long been a mecca for BASE jumpers due to its accessibility (it’s believed to be the only man-made structure in the U.S. that doesn’t require a permit to jump from) and its relatively forgiving landing zone. At Perrine, students can sign up for a tandem jump with an experienced instructor, meaning you’re all out of excuses not to go this summer.
Where: Twin Falls, Idaho
How: Tandem BASE
7. Do some rugged canyoneering in Utah
Canyoneering is an outdoor junkie’s dream trip. Participants are able to explore everything canyons have to offer — like crevices, rivers and waterfalls — and use a variety of skills along the way, such as climbing, hiking, rappelling, swimming, route-finding and technical jumping. Zion National Park in Utah is widely regarded as one of the world’s premiere canyoneering destinations, largely because of the great diversity of canyons there. Canyoneering is a fantastic workout and an unprecedented opportunity to visit places that hikers can’t otherwise reach. Make sure to bring a GPS and the right gear, though. It’s easy to get lost.
Where and How: Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah
8. Ride a mule through the Grand Canyon
Though you can’t go wrong hiking the Grand Canyon, why not add a little flair to the trip and travel by mule? After all, if Teddy Roosevelt roamed the Grand Canyon that way, it’s probably good enough for you. Mule tours go deep into canyons and allow you to explore crevices, rims and tunnels that a family of four isn’t privy to. In lieu of a time machine, mule rides may be your best opportunity to transport yourself back to the American West.
9. Soar in a wingsuit in California
Wingsuit flying is the most extreme sport you’ve never heard of. The suits, which make you look like a superhero, increase the surface area of your body and give you lift after you jump from an airplane or a cliff. This way, you’ll be able to glide through the air and smoothly turn at speeds up to 90 m.p.h., much like a bird. Though wingsuit diving is not something you just pick up (the United States Parachute Association mandates 500 skydives as a prerequisite for solo flight in a wingsuit), the rush and breathtaking views of the flight are well worth the practice time.
Where: Lake Elsinore, California
How: Skydive Elsinore
10. Climb a silo in Illinois
Not all great climbs are outdoors. At Upper Limits, which boasts 20,000 square feet of climbable surfaces, visitors can venture into five 65-foot-tall indoor silos — three of which are round and two of which feature stem and chimney type climbs. Sure, getting outdoors in the summer is great, but who says it’s the only way to find a great climb?
Where: Bloomington, Illinois
How: Upper Limits
11. Cage-dive with great white sharks near San Francisco
You’ve probably seen myriad pictures on social media of your friends cage-diving with sharks off the coast of South Africa or somewhere in the South Pacific. Yeah, that sounds pretty awesome, but how feasible is that? Most of the time you can’t just take off for Asia or Africa. What if, however, you could dive next to sharks right off the coast of California? At the Farallon Islands near San Francisco, divers can get an up-close-and-personal look at great whites without diving certifications.
Where: Farallon Islands near San Francisco, Calif.
How: Cage Diver
12. Take a drone pilot course in Florida
What can’t you do with a drone these days? From taking a selfie to delivering drinks and to taking a dog for a walk, the unmanned aerial vehicles are all the rage, and figure to become more omnipresent as humans (and corporations) become more familiar and comfortable with them. Of course you can buy one, but half the fun of a drone is putting the gadget together yourself. At the Unmanned Vehicle University — the first of its kind — students can earn post-graduate or certificate courses in a variety of drone-related fields. If you want to spend a day flying your drone outside, why not try out a drone design course?
Where: Sarasota, Florida
How: Unmanned Vehicle University
13. Strap on a GoPro and go mountain biking in Colorado
While there’s nothing wrong with spending your weekend at the local trail, once in a while you need to get a more rugged mountain biking experience. If that sounds like a trip you’re interested in, head to Colorado for some of the world’s premiere mountain biking. In few other environments will you have the opportunity to start out on a mountain and end in a desert. Strap on a GoPro, because this is a trip you’re going to want to relive.
Where: Durango, Colo.
How: Hermosa Tours
14. Try bare-hand fishing in Oklahoma
While we can’t blame you if you’ve yet to tune into Hillbilly Handfishin’, you shouldn’t discount bare-hand catfish fishing — or, as it’s referred to in the South, noodling — altogether. If you have a weekend to spare, try some noodlin’ out. Fishing is a classic dude’s pasttime, but noodlin’ puts an exciting spin on it. Safety is encouraged, so grab a guided tour, which provides spotters. And, if you go noodlin’ in Oklahoma, call it “grabbling.” The locals will know you mean business.
Where: Temple, Oklahoma
How: Big Fish Adventures
15. Enjoy a week-long chartered sail from Rhode Island
A chartered sailing trip is a great way for guys to unwind after a long summer (hopefully after you’ve mountain biked and gone grabbling). By renting a state-of-the-art Beneteau, Jeanneau or a Hinckley with a GPS autopilot, you’ll be able to kick back and do some fishing, then cook your catch on-board for an afternoon picnic or nighttime cookout. Check out the East Coast towards the end of summer. You can either sail towards Block Island or Montauk or, in the other direction, Martha’s Vineyard or Cape Cod.
Where: Newport, R.I.
How: Bareboat Sailing Charters
What rugged activities are on your summer bucket list? Tell us in the comments.