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50 Great American Adventures

CLASSIC The Trip Kayaking lessons at the Otter Bar Lodge, one of the best schools for the sport in the United States.
Why You'll be taught basic paddling skills on a spring-fedpond—and be navigating neighborhood rapids on the Salmon River within a week.
Don't Miss Nailing your combat roll in Class II and III rapids during the overnight trip at the end of the course.
Otter Bar Lodge, Forks of Salmon; 530/462-4772; www.otterbar.com; from $1,950.

The Trip Learning to shoot at the Elk Mountain Resort in Montrose.
Why Owned by former pro wrestler Tom "The War Lord" Foreman, this new luxury retreat provides all the traditional pleasures of a ranch(including horseback riding) while also serving as home to the state-of-the-art Valhalla Shooting Club. Valhalla offers one-of-a-kind,reality-based scenario rooms—a bar, bedroom, and subway station are among the many "crime scenes" in the 16,000-square-foot shooting gallery.
Don't Miss The simulated airplane cockpit, where you can imagine you're an air marshal in training.
Elk Mountain Resort, 970/252-4900; www.elkmountainresort.com; doubles from $325. Valhalla Shooting Club, 970/252-4905; www.valhallatraining.com; from $100 per hour.

The Trip A course at the Offshore Sailing School on Duck Key.
Why There are classes for all skill levels on racing and cruising boats, and the Women's Spa Sail Escape includes a one-hour massage at Indies Spa.
Don't Miss Frolicking with dolphins in a natural saltwater lagoon at Hawk's Cay, where visitors learn about dolphin behavior.
Offshore Sailing School, 888/454-8002; www.offshore-sailing.com; courses from $1,745.

CLASSIC The Trip The Wulff School of Fly Fishing sits on the legendary Beaverkill, the birthplace of dry fly-fishing.
Why The course covers casting, streamcraft, fishing knots, tackle know-how, fly selection, wading, playing, and landing; the textbook used is a revision of Joan Wulff's classic, Fly Casting Techniques. Accommodations can be had less than a mile away at the Beaverkill Valley Inn, a 19th-century angler's hotel.
Don't Miss The school is located on 100 bucolic acres in the Catskill Mountains, so take time to see the landscape that inspired the Hudson River school painters.
Wulff School of Fly Fishing, 845/439-5020; www.royalwulff.com; $475 per person. Beaverkill Valley Inn, 845/439-4844; www.beaverkillvalleyinn.com; doubles from $225.

CLASSIC The Trip Rowing lessons at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.
Why Located on the 320-acre campus of a former boarding school, the 30-year-old center provides home-cooked meals and serious training. With former Olympians and world champions as coaches, you'll learn to row like an Ivy Leaguer. Two Yoga & Sculling programs combine rowing sessions with extended yoga classes, designed to help students increase their range of motion and sense of balance.
Don't Miss Showcasing your newfound skills at the Head of the Hosmer, a two-mile race held on the camp's penultimate day.
Craftsbury Outdoor Center, 802/586-7767; www.craftsbury.com; five-day sculling camps from $835.

The Trip Mount, draw, and shoot a traditional bow and arrow at the Equinox Resort's Archery School.
Why Competition hounds can hone their new skills on a forest trail where foam targets simulate bears, deer, and turkeys, while instructors keep score.
Don't Miss For the full medieval experience, add a falconry lesson and learn to handle and fly Harris's hawks.
Equinox, 802/362-4700; www.rockresorts.com; classes from $135.

The Trip The National Audubon Society's seven-day Hidden Yellowstone tour, led by an experienced naturalist and photographer.
Why The first Audubon trip to focus entirely on Yellowstone includes travel throughout the park and lectures and presentations about its geysers and hot springs, the reintroduction of wolves, and other topics.
Don't Miss The chance to spot grizzly bears in the park's Lamar Valley. National Audubon Society, 800/967-7425; www.audubon.org; May 28-June 3; trip for two $4,790.

The Trip A dinosaur dig in Wyoming's fertile fossil fields, with big-bone excavations, studies of fossilized footprints, and lab work.
Why The Glenrock Paleontological Museum near Casper now offers weeklong trips to two sites, so amateur paleontologists can study both Jurassic- and Cretaceous-era bones.
Don't Miss A chance to meet renowned paleontologist Robert Bakker.
Glenrock Paleontological Museum, 888/461-5015; www.paleon.org; trip for two $2,300, all-inclusive.


The Trip A hands-on Wild West experience.
Why The Arizona Cowboy College in Scottsdale has teamed up with the Phoenician resort to offer guests long weekends of herding, roping, and tying tutorials, followed by spa treatments.
Don't Miss Once you're a seasoned cowpoke, you can join the annual Roundup Cattle Drive in Billings, Montana (August 13-19): five days of wrangling, with nightly country-and-western hoedowns.
Arizona Cowboy College,480/471-3151; www.cowboycollege.com; three-day sessions $1,275. The Phoenician, 800/888-8234; www.thephoenician.com; doubles from $1,110. Roundup Cattle Drive, 800/257-9775; www.roundupcattledrive.com; five-day trip $1,595.

The Trip The horse trail along the bluffs 13 miles north of Santa Barbara.
Why The track leads through sand dunes and into the Pacific surf, and skirts the largest monarch butterfly preserve in California, on Ellwood Mesa.
Don't Miss Stay at the famous San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, JFK's honeymoon spot, and go wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley, one hour north.
Arriba Horse Adventures, 805/551-8567; www.arribahorse.com; $85 per person. San Ysidro Ranch, 800/368-6788; www.sanysidroranch.com; doubles from $399.

The Trip The high prairie on horseback.
Why Brings Arrow Camp is a remote wilderness experience run by Lakota Indians, on their own reservation. You'll sleep in a basic tepee with no electricity (there are showers and bathrooms nearby) and explore the tribe's traditional homeland.
Don't Miss Native American drumming, Lakota storytelling, and traditional dancing.
Brings Arrow Camp, 605/964-2333; www.bringsarrowcamp.org; open June through August; $50 per person per day, all-inclusive.


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