Coolest Boarding: Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Located in: Stretches from Florence (north) to Coos Bay (south), Oregon
Why you should go: Even at the height of summer, the ocean waters along the Oregon coast are too chilly for all but the bravest surfers, but the terrain offers a different kind of adventurous ride: sandboarding. It’s like snowboarding, only much more forgiving when you wipe out, and the best place to try it is the vast Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, running some 40 miles north to south and measuring five miles across at its widest point. Start at Sand Master Park in Florence, which offers board rentals and lessons—often taught by world champion sandboarders—then hit the “slopes” at the DNRA. Not ready to board a board? Opt for a guided dune buggy ride. At Sandland Adventures in Florence, you can choose between a one-hour scenic tour that covers eight miles of dunes, or a half-hour, higher-speed ride that covers 10 miles. (Sandboarding: $16 for a 24-hour board rental, $5 each for helmet and goggles; sandmasterpark.com. Scenic buggy tours: $15 per person, and open to all ages; higher-speed tours: $55 per person, open to adults and children over age 3; sandland.com.)
Where to stay: Driftwood Shores Resort and Conference Center, in Florence, Oregon (from $119.50 per night for a package that includes two board rentals; driftwoodshores.com).