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50 Great American Adventures

The Trip Kayaking beneath the sea cliffs of San Francisco Bay.
Why The Hotel Vitale, a new, 199-room boutique property on the revitalized Embarcadero waterfront, offers its guests four-hour kayaking excursions with unique views of the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island.
Don't Miss Intermediate and advanced paddlers can brave the waves under the Golden Gate Bridge, or charge across the strait to Alcatraz and circle the former island prison.
Hotel Vitale, 8 Mission St., San Francisco; 415/278-3700; www.hotelvitale.com; Vitality Weekend package $299 per night, double, including kayak rental and guide.

The Trip Explore New Orleans while riding a Segway.
Why Let the bon temps roll by gliding around town on a single-person, stand-up electric scooter. Get acquainted with your machine during the 30-minute training session, then don the probably-a-good-idea helmet and set off on your half-day tour.
Don't Miss The saxophonists in Jackson Square.
City Segway Tours, 877/734-8687; www.citysegwaytours.com; $65.

The Trip A half-mile of white-water kayaking in the heart of downtown Reno.
Why Within walking distance of casinos and hotels, the man-made Truckee River Whitewater Park features 11 drop pools, Class II to III rapids, and water temperatures that range from 50 to 70 degrees.
Don't Miss The North Channel's great views of downtown.
775/334-2414; www.renoriverfestival.com; free.

The Trip Mastering the art of the flying trapeze.
Why Trapeze School New York, founded in 2002, will erect its own big top this spring—a giant tent along the Hudson River dedicated to the art of flying. Gravity defiers can convene for two-hour classes year-round. Don't Miss Upside-down, mid-air city views.
Trapeze School New York, 917/797-1872; www.trapezeschool.com; sessions from $47.

The Trip Boulder scaling in Central Park. Why Because the climbing can be done very low to the ground, without a safety rope or spotter, bouldering provides an intense and fun workout for solo adventurers.
Don't Miss Rat Rock is easily identifiable by its many white chalk marks. The north face of the wall is best for beginners, while the east side offers some challenging "problems" (boulderingspeak for "routes").
Visit www.climbnyc.com for info.

The Trip Bike through Philadelphia with local hero Jane Golden, whose city art program has been turning desolate gray corners into rainbow dreamscapes for 20 years.
Why One hundred indoor and outdoor murals were created in 2004, bringing the total to 2,500 citywide. Among those unveiled: a multistory tribute to African American poetry; "Healing Walls," a series by prison inmates and victims of crime; and "Passing Through," a postmodern treasure hunt composed of 20 satellite murals.
Don't Miss Lunch with Golden—a tiny tornado of inspiration and energy.
Mural Arts Program, 215/685-0750; www.muralarts.org; tours $25.


The Trip A four-day Grand Canyon multisport adventure, featuring guided hiking along North Rim trails and van-supported mountain biking on backcountry off-road terrain.
Why Record rains and snowfall last winter will bring stunning, lush wildflower displays this June.
Don't Miss The unusual perspectives of the canyon seen from the Rainbow Rim Trail.
Canyon Rim Adventures, 800/897-9633; www.canyonrimadventures.com; trips run June-September; $795 per person.

The Trip Mountain biking in the Sonoran Desert.
Why The Miraval resort's courses in the sport, from beginner to advanced, are top-notch.
Don't Miss The prairies filled with wildflowers along the way.
Miraval, 5000 E. Via Estancia Miraval, Catalina; 800/825-4000; www.miravalresort.com; doubles from $1,100.

The Trip Biking through the wine country in Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara.
Why Trek Travel's Classic Luxury Tour lets you explore Napa at your own pace, and Backroads offers a five-day multisport excursion in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Don't Miss Discovering a new favorite wine.
Trek Travel, 866/464-8735; www.trektravel.com; $2,475 per person. Backroads, 800/462-2848; www.backroads.com; five-day trip from $1,998 per person.

The Trip The recently completed165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail leads bikers (and hikers) through two states high above Lake Tahoe.
Why The view from Chris's Loop of the nation's largest and deepest alpine lake is spectacular.
Don't Miss Après-ride, check out the all-season nightlife at Squaw Valley USA's newly revamped pedestrian village (www.squaw.com).
Tahoe Rim Trail Association,775/298-0012; www.tahoerimtrail.org; call ahead for maps, permits, and trail conditions.

The Trip More than 200 miles of bike trails and forest roads from Durango to Moab.
Why This weeklong traverse debuted last year, mimicking the formula of the wildly successful Telluride-to-Moab mountain biking route that opened in 1989. (Butterfield & Robinson offers a deluxe version of that trip.) The new course is a bit more challenging—though intermediate riders will do fine, and beginners can walk the tougher parts—and a lot more remote.
Don't Miss The Wedding Bell Hut, on the fourth night of the trip, sits spectacularly on a cliff 2,000 feet above Colorado's Dolores River. 970/626-3033; www.sanjuanhuts.com; $553 per person.
Butterfield & Robinson, 800/678-1147; www.butterfield.com; six-day trips from $4,995 per person.


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