Our field-tested, expert-approved, and barely survived guide to the coolest things you can do on this planet.
Paddle around Manhattan (New York City)
There's a beach just north of the swank River Café, in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. Grab a wetsuit and a kayak and put in there, across from the canyon wall of Manhattan skyscrapers. As the tide goes out, ride the current to midriver and peel out toward Governor's Island, in the middle of the harbor. Avoid the Fast Ferry that - Jesus - wants to churn you into a smoothie, and paddle over to the Statue of Liberty, which looks seriously impressive from the waterline. Cruise back around the Battery, waving to the curious police boat, then climb out at the South Street Seaport and saunter into the Yankee Clipper for a beer and a couple dozen oysters, in memory of the bivalves that used to cover the bottom of this harbor. The mâitre d' may question whether your wetsuit meets the dress code, but he seats you anyway, muttering, "It is surely not black tie, but it is black." [$30 per hour; manhattankayak.com]
Credit: Joel Rogers / Corbis