outdoor and indoor summer vacation adventures before back to school

It’s now or never. School is starting soon and you wanted to take the kids somewhere exciting, but it’s been so hot this summer. Now is the time to end the season with a fun family adventure.

What to do? There’s so much to choose from, but here’s a short list of five places you and the kids can find excitement and cool off, too. The best of both worlds.

Climb into a shady canopy and soar like a bird on a zipline. Raft on the cool flow of a river in the Berkshires or venture into the depths of the Earth where the air is several degrees colder. Ride the waves where there’s absolutely no chance of being bitten by a shark and you won’t get sand in your wetsuit, or dive into a simulated skydiving experience. Or swim with a mermaid along a lazy river. Whatever adventure you choose, make sure you and the kids enjoy the last summer.

Aerial Adventures

Unlimited Adventures, 154 River Road West, Berlin; 978-592-0017; https://boundlessadventures.net/ma-park/

High in the trees not far from Boundless Adventures’ Solomon Pond shopping center in Berlin, visitors can soar like the breeze on a zipline and climb a high ropes course. With something for all skill levels, beginners can stay lower to the ground and more advanced can climb high into the tree canopy. Swing, climb, balance and explore the adventure park on its tree climbing courses and zip lines. Do you have to work during the day? No problem. The park offers two-hour “Glow in the Dark” climbs from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets range from $47 to $65, depending on when you visit and how long you climb.

A river crosses it

Crab Apple Whitewater Inc., 2056 Mohawk Trail, Charlemont; 1-800-553-7238; https://www.crabapplewhitewater.com/

The sweltering days of summer call for a raft or kayak trip down the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts with Crab Apple Whitewater, from its base in Charlemont. The flow of the river is controlled by water releases from hydroelectric dams, ensuring the flow; the timing reflects when the water is released behind the dams. Release days are scheduled from Thursday to Sunday in August. With three different segments of the Deerfield to paddle, there are trips with class 3-4 and class 2-3 rapids (ideal for young children), or take an inflatable “funyak” on the class 1- rapids. 2 in the lower part of the river. A van or bus will take you and your raft to the set-up point. Overall, the company offers more than 20 types of adventures you can experience in Massachusetts and its other location in Maine. Rafting trips range from around $35 for youth to $105 to $135 for adults; Funyak trips cost $60 per person.

Descend into a cool cave

Polar Caves, 705 Rumney Route 25, Rumney, New Hampshire; 603-536-1888; https://polarcaves.com/

Take a refreshing walk to the center of the Earth at the Polar Caves in Rumney, New Hampshire, where you can “dive into the Earth and feel the cold breath of the last Ice Age as you explore nine granite caves.” indicates on its website. Sounds like a great escape when it’s hot outside. There is also an animal park which is home to deer and ducks that you can feed. Visit the main lodge for t-shirts and souvenirs. Be sure to dress for the weather and wear closed-toe shoes; bring a jacket or sweater as it is cool in the caves regardless of the weather outside. Picnics are encouraged, so bring one. Advance tickets are $24.50 for adults; $15.50 for ages 4 to 11; $21.50 for seniors 65+ and military/first responders with ID; and free for children 3 and under. Tickets cost a few dollars more for the walk-ins. On August 20, the park celebrates its 100th anniversary with $13 admission.

Surf’s Up, man

Surf’s Up and SkyVenture New Hampshire, 100 Adventure Way, Nashua, New Hampshire; 603-897-0002; https://skyventurenh.com/

It’s endless summer at SkyVenture’s Surf’s Up New Hampshire, where you can surf the waves created by a 32-foot SurfStream, the largest standing wave machine in the world. It generates 10 different types of waves, so all skill levels ages 5 and up can ride surfboards on an endless wave. From the size of a boogie board to left and right barrel rolls, there are a variety of water walls to learn from and have fun with. Forgot your costume? They sell or rent costumes, towels and lycras. You don’t even need your own surfboard – they provide boards and knee and elbow pads. It’s indoors, but they have a beach vibe with real palm trees, smoothies, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic umbrella drinks. Even if you don’t want to surf, you can just hang out and watch the action in the cafe where shirts and shoes aren’t necessary. Don’t want to get wet? Try indoor skydiving at SkyVenture New Hampshire, where you float above a trampoline floor on a wave of air. It costs $45 for 15 minutes on the SurfStream. It’s $55 for a 2 minute indoor skydiving flight. Combo packages are available for $90.

Tea time, swimming with a mermaid

Canobie Lake Park, 85 North Policy St., Salem, New Hampshire; 603-893-3506; https://www.canobie.com/

You’ll laugh – or maybe you’ll cry – you’ll get soaked, and then you’ll want to start all over again. The Boston Tea Party ride at Canobie Lake Park in Salem, New Hampshire, is worth the wait in line. A 20 passenger boat rises and then descends through a hollow which creates a wall of water that is simply amazing to behold. And it will refresh you and crack you up at the same time. I literally can’t stop laughing every time I go. Be sure to wear your costume as Canobie Lake has a whole Castaway Island water park with a tidal river and there is also an area for young children. And on Fridays and Saturdays, a few tickets are available to swim with a live mermaid! And the rest of Canobie Lake Park is lovely, with nostalgic rides for little kids, the Yankee Cannonball wooden roller coaster, and a carousel. It also offers thrill rides, like the “Untamed” coaster with loops and a 97-degree drop. Online tickets cost between $32 and $55 for those under 60 and 48 inches or taller; $32 to $35 for those under 48 inches and seniors 60 and over; children 3 and under are admitted free. Check the website for prices for nights and special days.

Nancy Olesin is the editor and managing editor of the Daily News. Email [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @WickedLocalArts.

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