Where do you want to go this summer – hiking along the Oregon coast or surfing the Snake River, stargazing in the darkest corners of the Allegheny Mountains or exploring late-night Chicago? We scoured the USA in search of every state's hidden summer gem. All you have to do is get there.
Arkansas: Hike a River
Saved from damming by local conservationists, the Buffalo River was declared the country's first national river in 1972. Ken Smith, 79, has spent the past 25 years forging a trail that will ultimately extend from the Buffalo's source in the Boston Mountains to its convergence with the White River, 135 miles west. This summer, he recommends "float hiking" the 24-mile segment from Ponca to Pruitt Landing: Hike upstream through blue hills of hickory, peer over 500-foot limestone cliffs, and then spend a couple of days kayaking back downriver past plunging waterfalls.
Getting there: Fly into the Boone County Airport from either Kansas City or Memphis. From there, a 35-minute drive on A.R. 43 will bring you to Ponca, where the Buffalo Outdoor Center has cabins to rent from $129 to $300 and kayaks for $58 per day.
Credit: Illustration by Kagan Mcleod