[Not Your Mama's] Summer Vacation

There's nothing wrong with laying by the pool all summer, but we prefer a vacation out of left field. Throw your summer break a curveball by venturing to one of these unlikely destinations.

1. Slide Rock State Park (AZ)

Ditch the crowded water theme parks and take a ride with Mother Nature instead. Slide 80 feet down slick red rocks in Oak Creek Canyon for an outdoor thrill that's au naturel.

(Check out Sliding Rock in Asheville, NC, if you're getting your kicks on the East Coast.)

2. Badlands (SD)

Spend a few long summer days among the colorful geologic formations of Badlands National Park -- where you can spot bighorn sheep, bobcats, bison, and prairie dogs, hike Medicine Root Loop and Fossil Exhibit Trail, and retire to Sage Creek Campground for a night of stargazing.

A photo posted by mmrosales (@mmr0sales) on

3. Alaska

Cool off in America's wildest corner.

Soak your stress away in Chena Hot Springs, hike to the Into the Wild bus on the Stampede Trail, and go bear viewing at Brooks Falls for an American summer that's absolutely like no other.

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4. Rio 2016 Olympics

Fly your flag and go for gold; hop a plane to Rio!

Take in the games at more than a dozen Olympic venues, snap a selfie with Christ the Redeemer, surf Ipanema Beach, and ride a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain for a world-class, once-in-a-lifetime vacation that comes with its own closing ceremony. 

A photo posted by The Olympic Games (@olympics) on

5. Go back to winter in Australia.

Head down under and flip the script on the seasons. Pack a few sweaters for outings to Freycinet National Park in Tasmania and Cape Range National Park in Western Australia; don a wetsuit and summon your courage for a heart-stopping dip in the Cage of Death at Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin City.

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Wander wildly and sip smartly this summer. Do something unexpected: