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.
Missouri: Cigarette Boat Shootout
The largest unsanctioned boat race happens every August on Lake of the Ozarks. More than 75,000 people show up to watch powerboats hit speeds up to 208 miles per hour. The all-day party scene includes 100-boat flotillas, tied together, with coolers of Coors barely outnumbering the bikini-clad co-eds dancing deck to deck. NASCAR brothers Rusty and Kenny Wallace spent childhood summers in their father Russ's boats as he challenged other bare-chested dads at 100-plus miles per hour. "My dad was a real badass," says Rusty. At sunset, the far-end Bagnell Dam strip serves as open-air concrete dance floor.
Getting there: From St. Louis, drive three hours to the Shootout. Buccaneer Bay at Captain Ron's offers bungalows and lake houses.
Credit: Illustration by Kagan Mcleod