With sunshine, long days and warm weather, summer is the season for outdoor festivals. Every year, these events pop up around the United States, offering a unique variety of music, food and other features. And while each event has its own cult following and an interesting mix of experiences, we're partial to the festivals that help you break a sweat...and not just because you're baking in the desert sun (Coachella, anyone?).
The events we love feature different types of athletics-from mountain biking to yoga. At some, participants can practice their sport throughout the day, while others offer incredible opportunities to see world class athletes strut their stuff. In the latter case, the events are nearby world class climbing, hiking and biking trails that allow attendees to break away and seek out their own action.
Consider Crankworx in Whistler, British Columbia. After watching world-class mountain bikers compete in events ranging from best trick to dual slalom, you can hit the nearby lift-serviced trails. And while you may not be able to compete with professional bull riders at Cheyenne Frontier Days, Rocky Mountain National Park is just a short drive away.
Compare these to more immersive experiences such as the Esalen Yoga Festival in Big Sur, California. After the opening ceremony, there are a vast diversity of classes and workshops to choose from over the next six days.
While the level of participation differs from place to place, there's no doubt that these festivals are all great places to learn more about your sport through gear demos, presentations and conversations with likeminded athletes. Because many outdoor sports, such as mountaineering and mountain biking, can be solitary activities, these large gatherings can also help you expand your network and learn about cool new places for your next big trip.
So grab your calendar and get ready to schedule your next getaway to one of these amazing events.
Crankworx; Whistler, British Columbia
Dates: August 9 -18
Why Go: This mountain bike festival features numerous competitions including the Teva Best Trick, giant dual slalom and the Red Bull Joyridean invitational showcase in which the best riders take on a custom-built course that combines natural terrain with huge man-made features. If you get tired of bikes, check out the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival on the last day of the event.
Where To Stay: Although pricey, people sing the praises of the Four Seasons Whistler. The hotel has a good breakfast, accommodating staff, great facilities, gorgeous rooms with rustic features, and a shuttle that can drop guests off at different spots around town.
Credit: International Climbers Festival
International Climbers Festival; Lander, Wyoming
Dates: July 10-14
Cost: $50 for an all-access ticket
Why Go: Created by legendary free climber Todd Skinner (October 27, 1958-October 23, 2006),this event takes place at the base of the Wind River Range-a granite wonderland for climbers. Over the long weekend, you can take part in yoga, trail runs and clinics put on by accomplished climbers such as Jonathan Siegrist, Alli Rainey and Eric Horst. Participants can then hone their skills on nearby climbing routes.
Where To Stay: There are plenty of options in the area ranging from the Holiday Inn Express and Suites to camping in Lander City Park or Sinks Canyon State Park.
International Surf Festival; Manhattan Beach, California
Dates: July 31-August 4
Why Go: At the 52nd annual ISF, participants can enter paddleboard, swimming, sand castle, beach volleyball, surfing, body surfing and other competitions. In your down time, watch the three signature events: The Judge Talpin lifeguard Medley Relay, the Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Swim and the Charley Saikley 6-man volleyball tournament.
Where To Stay: The Shade Hotel sits just a few blocks from the beach and offers plush rooms (ask about the suite with the in-room beer tap), Tempur-Pedic beds and complimentary bikes to get around town.