July is here, and with it comes the peak heat of summer. Soon to come are school supplies lists and ads for pumpkin spiced-everything. But don’t let that fool you—there’s still plenty of summer fun to be had! Below are four places to visit with fun end-of-summer activities going on, and there is something for every family and traveler.
Families can beat the heat at one of many swimming holes or waterfalls in the national and state parks surrounding Asheville, North Carolina. Kids of all ages love Sliding Rock – a 60-foot natural waterslide in Pisgah National Forest. When the sun goes down, Asheville Wellness Tours offers guided, full moon forest bathing walks during the summer months. Yogis shouldn’t miss Love Shine Play, a three-day yoga festival with an accessible range of offerings for all. Free yoga classes are also offered weekly at Rabbit Rabbit and Carrier Park all summer.
If yoga and swimming holes aren’t fast-paced enough for you, the Adventure Center of Asheville’s Adventure Mountain Off Road Tours is Asheville’s newest, ultimate off-road driving experience. Drive or ride along on a guided tour in a four-person off-road vehicle, while taking in spectacular views of the highest mountains in the East. For another fun family-friendly event, this year on August 4th Skate Night at Carrier Park transforms the free, outdoor skating rink into a roller-skating party, complete with retro drinks and nostalgic snacks.
An hour away in Tennessee’s Johnson City, visitors can also attend Meet the Mountains (August 18-19). The festival is a free, family-friendly festival to experience all of the region’s outdoor activities including live music, zipline, bike course, demo pool, air dog shows, yoga, rock wall and more!
The Mescal Movie Set’s Summer Sunset Tours in Benson, Arizona have started with tours available on select dates through mid-August. On the tour, guests can explore the iconic set where scenes from Western classics like Tombstone and Outlaw Josey Wales were filmed. The walking tour takes about one hour and is one-quarter mile long, allowing guests to explore the set which has been used in more than 100 film productions and soak in a stunning Arizona sunset. The tour is $15 per person. Visit their website for tour availability.
Love the storytelling experience, but can’t make it out west? Back east in Tennessee is an equally fun experience. On July 22nd the Storytelling Festival takes place at Historic Collinsville with story activities and stations, book sale featuring books written by local authors.
More than grapes grow well in Sonoma County, California. Celebrating its 50th anniversary on August 13th and 14th, the Gravenstein Apple Fair, held at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol has a classic country fair appeal. Serious foodies will find plenty to do, from sampling fabulous local food, or tasting iconic craft microbrews and premium Sonoma County wines. Along with a running soundtrack of live music on two stages, the 2023 edition of the Apple Fair will offer the option to enjoy a VIP Lounge for cider and cheese pairings, specialty cocktails, and bites from local restaurants. The DIY Arena, meanwhile, showcases cheesemakers as well as Sonoma County chefs leading apple-inspired demos. Last year, the Gravenstein Apple Fair earned the first-ever Green Resolution for events by Sonoma County Zero Waste, certifying the Apple Fair is 95% zero waste.
With more than 300 miles of trails, 34 lakes and ponds and 6 rivers, there’s never an end to the adventures one can find in the Yakima Valley of Washington state. In addition to road tripping along the Chinook Scenic Byway or White Pass for breathtaking views, visitors can participate in stand-up paddleboarding on pristine mountain lakes and winding rivers; traverse biking, hiking and running trails for every ability; climb majestic basalt cliffs; and spot wildlife like raptorsor bighorn sheep. Travelers can book with Girls with Grit and MADE clinics, classes and private instruction to learn more about the outdoor activity of their choice.
Additionally, tucked into the picturesque Yakima River Canyon and surrounded by dramatic cliffs, Red’s Fly Shop is the destination for fishing on Washington’s only Blue Ribbon trout stream. Take time for lunch or dinner at Canyon River Grill before heading to Yakima proper for a fun evening at local wineries and craft breweries. Try fly-fishing courses for all abilities and guided tours. Or, book with Canyon River Ranch Luxury Eco Tours which include a 2-3-hour guided scenic float through the Yakima River Canyon. In addition to identifying wildlife, guests will learn about the formation of this spectacular recreation area. You will meet your guide at Red’s Fly Shop to begin your adventure.