awesome things-to-do

Five Extreme Day-Cations in the Pacific Northwest

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Watch This (CC2.0) by Justin Jensen.

Now that we’re coming up on the hot months of July and August, I want to get out and play like it’s the last summer of high school.

Do you remember when you got three months off? (Well, not if you went to one of those crazy year-round schools.)

I wasted those gorgeous lazy days watching Matlock and melting an ice cube in my boiling-hot bowl of chicken-flavored Top Ramen.

Now I’m less of a Matlock watcher and more of a day-traveler. The kid-me loves exploring with wide-eyed curiosity and experiencing unforgettable hands-on fun. With that in mind, here are five unusual Pacific Northwest adventures designed to re-awaken the kid-you for under $100 per person, from my estimation of least to most extreme:

1. Be White and Nerdy – Portland, Vancouver, Seattle, everywhere – Price depends on your location, so keep an eye out for a decent (wacky?) Groupon and tour your city from the back of the majestic segway. You too can strap on the knee and elbow pads, safety glasses, and skin-tight suit and have as much fun cruising your own hood as Weird Al.

We did this last year and it was SUPER FUN. Flying around Washington Park at 12 mph and then parking the segway for a coffee in the Pearl District rocked.

2. Relive the Hunger Games – Portland, OR – For less than $70 you can till your own bow from locally harvested wood and pretend you’re Katniss in the woods. They have additional classes for shelter-building, edible plants, and zombie attack survival. You can probably find a class nearer to you — here is a more expensive one that’s held in Monroe WA.

3. Blow Something – Seattle, WA – Like a paperweight or a flower. For $85 you can schedule a private 30-minute lesson on how to blow glass. Add color and one of the five basic shapes to what is essentially a stone that has been melted to 2400 degrees. These classes are everywhere so check your local glassblowing studio for prices and availability.

4. Wax your Board – Florence, OR – When you get tired of the bag of cheese curds you purchased at the Tillamook Cheese Factory (om nom nom so tasty CHEEZE) you can work off the extra calories on the slopes. The sandy slopes, that is. Now for as little as $10/day ($15 if you want goggles and a helmet) snowboarders can cheer that winter is far away. Don’t forget sunscreen and a camera to capture those heart-warming moments when you plow face-first into the dunes. (Check out this video to feel like you were there.)

5. Fly the Friendlier Skies – Seattle, Portland, etc. – If you’ve always wanted to test how you would fare during an emergency mid-flight evacuation, but the idea of actually plummeting 12,000 feet through open atmosphere to your potential death gives you pause, try indoor skydiving! Less than $60 for a 2-flight introductory session, you get all the benefits of throwing yourself into a vertical wind tunnel and none of the potential life insurance issues.