I have a week and a half paid time off for an adventure this Sept/August -- Where should I go?
July 26, 2009 10:12 PM   Subscribe

What kind of adventure can I have in a week and a half this September or August? I have about a week and a half of vacation that I have to burn before the end of September and would like any suggestions the hive mind can offer. I'm looking for some sort of cool festivals, experiences or week-long trips that I can take to use this time and have a good adventure (or two).

Ideal trip parameters:
+ Cheap would be cool, but not mandatory. I'll pay a bit for a 'bucket list' type experience. In general, tend to enjoy more of the backpacking/shoe-string travel experiences than the catered, package tour/planned travel experiences.
+ Relatively relaxing (Due to ridiculous drama and stress at the job, in my current state of mind I'd really prefer something relatively mellow. Running around being tourist nazi trying to cover Asia in a week and a half isn't what I'm looking for.)
+ I have a wedding the first weekend in September, so nothing tied to that weekend -- I was thinking of heading to Burning Man, but it's that freaking weekend! :\
+ I'll probably have to do this solo. Most of my friends are broke or don't have time off.
+ Foreign lands are doable, but I don't want to spend more time traveling to the place than I actually get to spend at the place. Also in general, if I'm going to take a 10+ hour flight somewhere, I'd prefer to spend a big chunk of time traveling there (as in, more than a month) ... so maybe not Iraq or somewhere really far away.
+ This could be two extended weekend trips instead of one long trip if need be (I don't HAVE to fill an entire week and a half in one shot)
+ I'll be starting from the Chicago area (Not that it really matters, but just fyi)

Just to give you a feel for some things I've considered:
+ Burning Man (can't do it because of wedding)
+ The Gathering of the Juggalos (this thread really piqued my curiosity as a sociological study.. all you can eat cheeseburgers and a waterslide sounds awesome too: http://www.metafilter.com/83540/See-you-there-ninja)
+ Go to Maine for the changing of the leaves in September (Seems a little too... I dunno ... late-30-something-married-couple-in-big-fuzzy-sweaters for me though... no offense to anyone)
+ I've considered going fly fishing in Montana or something (although I have no experience fly fishing, I've always wanted to try though and it'd be pretty relaxing)
+ Maybe doing a cruise up to Alaska to check out some glaciers before they all melt (I've heard you *have* to be double occupancy on these trips though or you get raped on the cost... this also seems like uh... it'd be me and 231882349 60 year olds).

Also, just to give you an idea of what I've done already:
I've backpacked across Europe for months, done Mexico, Toronto to Quebec, Australia and some Caribbean islands. I've driven cross country three times so that's kinda been done (although if there was an end goal like Burning Man, that would be cool.)

Any thoughts or suggestions? All help would be greatly appreciated. Time is pretty short. :\ We've had such a bad year at work that I've been working like a dog and the year kind of got away from me. If I don't use this vacation time I lose it. Thanks for your help!
posted by jkl345 to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
You gotta do as much of the Appalachian Trail as you can - for me.

Read Bill Bryson's A Walk In The Woods either before you trips, or perhaps after you set up camp each night.
posted by Sassyfras at 10:27 PM on July 26, 2009

New Orleans
posted by gribbly at 10:30 PM on July 26, 2009

I had a great time at the Sivananda Yoga Farm: www.yogafarm.org.
posted by chicainthecity at 11:32 PM on July 26, 2009

If I had a week and a half to do whatever I wanted, I'd go on a motorcycle road trip. Camp most nights, with a hotel every few days to catch a shower. Windy back roads and small towns and gorgeous scenery. Just explore the country. Little to no plans. Turn around when half your time is up.

If you don't have a motorcycle, this will be 1000X less awesome. But still pretty awesome in a car.
posted by mollymayhem at 11:33 PM on July 26, 2009

Cuba! Go via Veracruz or Montreal or somewhere to evade the ridiculous embargo and ask them not to stamp your passport. Cuba is so fucking cool (for non-Cubans) and once Castro dies it will change overnight. Stop reading this thread right now and start planning your trip to Cuba.
posted by LarryC at 12:01 AM on July 27, 2009

Vancouver is a very fun and very relaxing city. Flying there is a five-hour flight, and the greatest way to end a trip to Vancouver is by taking the train back - that means almost 4 days on a train going cross-Canada! You get a sleeper, you bring your books and mp3 player and some crossword puzzles, you have some 'alone' time to de-stress and you will probably end up meeting some cool people.
posted by alon at 1:13 AM on July 27, 2009

Come to Scotland and walk the West Highland Way. Adventures guaranteed - in particular you tend to meet lots of other walkers. Walk is best completed in about 5 or 6 days so it would fit with your time slot. Once you have got to the start the experience is relatively inexpensive. Best option would be to camp and use a backpack carrying service.
posted by rongorongo at 2:13 AM on July 27, 2009

Utah National Parks:

[all the following are self-links]

Hike the Virgin River Narrows in Zion Canyon. Take a hike from Zion Canyon to Kolob Canyons on the Hop Valley Trail. Test your vertigo as you climb Angel's Landing.

Bryce Canyon
Walk among the "hoodoos" on the Fairyland Loop Trail. See all the way to Arizona at Inspiration Point. Stargaze at the Milky Way in the low-light, high-altitude environment.

Hike through Chesler Park to see needles, pods, mushroom tops, coke bottles, and fins. See the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers at Grande View Point.

Capitol Reef
Four-wheel-drive Upper Muley Twist Road to the Waterpocket Fold, one of the most awesome geologic upheavals I've ever seen. Gaze down on Cathedral Valley and up on the Temples of the Sun and the Moon.

Play around in the "Devil's Garden." Take a hike down "Park Avenue." Cavort in the fins and spires of the Fiery Furnace. And don't forget Delicate Arch.
posted by netbros at 2:41 AM on July 27, 2009

Go WWOOFing.
posted by headnsouth at 3:34 AM on July 27, 2009

Go to the monolith festival and then hang out in Denver.
posted by ephemerista at 7:59 AM on July 27, 2009

It's coming up fast, but since you say you're looking for an adventure, I can't help but suggest the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. As a bonus, you can visit the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, Deadwood, Rapid City and other wild west attractions.

I have never been out there for the rally, but I live close enough to know that it's a big deal. It's not an impossibly long drive from Chicago, either.
posted by bristolcat at 8:36 AM on July 27, 2009

Death week at Graceland.
posted by raisingsand at 8:56 AM on July 27, 2009

Here's a (possibly comprehensive, definitely worldwide) list of festivals in August, including La Tomatina, which would certainly be my pick of the lot.
posted by Eumachia L F at 10:44 AM on July 27, 2009

Edinburgh Fringe?
posted by djgh at 1:05 PM on July 27, 2009

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