From what I can tell, in order to run a successful magazine with an enormous readership, you simply make lists of stuff and rotate the lists, changing their contents slightly every few years. I used to eschew making lists for blog posts, but I obviously got over that, because you people really seem to love lists, and they’re easy to write and easy to skim.* So here’s the list:
Things ADVENTURE TOWNS Must Have
1. Coffee Shops. Lots of them. With free wireless to make it easy to keep up on blogging and trip reports.
2. Breweries. Lots of them. To throw one back after a hard day of adventure followed up by a hard afternoon of blogging.
3. Quality Food. If the town doesn’t have a long list of quality restaurants then just forget it. It’s not adventure without a cloth napkin.
4. Roads. Well, you have to be able to drive there, right?
5. Touristfrastructure. Knickknacks are the best way to commemorate your adventure.
6. Newishness. If the ADVENTURE TOWN has already been listed in the TOP TEN ADVENTURE TOWNS in the last five years, it’s clearly no good. Find a new one. The old ones go bad after a list or two.
7. Nothing terribly difficult. If it’s actually an adventure to get there, move around, or do stuff, well, forget it.
8. Safety. We want adventure, real adventure, but only ones people can have and keep all their digits and not have to wear a money belt and preferably not have to learn another language. We want to go home safe and sound with all our pocket change and passports intact and be able to order a beer without the hassle of learning any new words.
9. Lots of white people. Look, I’m sorry to point this out, but in my exhaustive research for this article, I didn’t find one single picture of a minority in the lists of US destinations, not even in Hispanic-heavy places like California or places with a high population of black people, like Louisiana (actually, I couldn’t find any ADVENTURE TOWN pictures of any people in Louisiana at all. Just street signs and a picture of a river. Hm). There weren’t a lot of women in those pictures either. So, adventure towns should be for white dudes mostly.
10. At least a fivefecta of activities. Climbing, rafting, skiing isn’t enough. You need at least two more things to do to qualify as an ADVENTURE TOWN. So what if you boast the single best ski run in the universe? What are people going to do for the OTHER six days of their vacation? At least one activity per day of the average American length of vacation is best. Day trips only, of course, so that people can take advantage of the food, touristfrastructure, coffee shops, and breweries.
Well this certainly got sarcastic, didn’t it? In all seriousness here are some great and easy places to go in North America to enjoy outside activities of various types:
1. Burlington VT in July (eat at Al’s French Frys and get a creamee at any roadside stand, play on Lake Champlain, hike around the Green Mountains)
2. Bellingham WA in late July-August (eat at the Fork at Agate Bay, ride MTB on Galbraith Mountain, climb Mt. Baker, paddle in Boundary Bay)
3. Ouray, CO in February (climb at the ice park, eat at Buen Tiempo or the Outlaw, relax in the vapor cave)
4. Cedar Key, Florida in January (channel your inner Buffett, hop a cheap ride with a fan boat to one of the uninhabited keys that lie just offshore, observe wild dolphins, but watch out for those horseshoe crabs)
5. Tulum, Mexico in October (ski at Coba, snow bike on the…oh wait. Wrong list. Do pretty much anything tropical. Mayan ruins are nice too.)
6. Whitehorse, Canada in September (Mountain bike. Just trust me on this.)
7. Blue River, Canada in March (eat, heli ski, relax, enjoy yourself at Mike Wiegele’s. Bring money. Does this count as “easy?” I suppose that’s an individual distinction)
8. San Francisco, CA anytime, it seems the same to me all year (land, rent a car, and drive north to the beaches and undeveloped areas. I’m sure there’s places to eat there. It’s California, how hard can it be?)
9. Honolulu, Hawaii, likewise, anytime (it’s Hawaii! It’s easy! But not cheap. Surf the North Shore, hang on the beach at Waikiki or in the park at Ala Moana, eat at any food truck – you won’t be sorry)
10. Anchorage, Alaska NEVER! (Go away.)
*That’s for you, Danni