Kayaker Apostle Islands National Lakeshore via Flickr by Tim Wilson

3 Ways to Get Active in Wisconsin This Summer

Winter is finally over and it’s time to get active again! With state parks and natural areas featuring hundreds of hiking trails and bike paths, Wisconsin is a great place to explore the outdoors. However, without the limitations of a trail, there is so much more to discover. Leaving the trails behind can lead you to experiencing truly unique things and give you a view of nature that you’ve never seen before.

Ready to go beyond the basics? Here are three outdoor sports to get you off the beaten path.

Rock Climbing

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Image via Flickr by Brady Wieland

Rock climbing is a great way to get off the trails and immerse yourself in nature. You can go almost anywhere in the state and find climbing areas, but Devil’s Lake State Park is by far the most popular climbing spot with thousands of climbs for every skill level.

There are plenty of rock climbing gyms and climbing guides in Wisconsin to help you get started. Joining a gym is a great way to ease yourself into the sport and build your confidence if you’re not quite ready to scale a rock formation, while a climbing guide will help you jump right in and have you up a bluff in no time. Either way, you’ll be sure to meet new climbing buddies and make lasting memories.

Kayaking

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Image via Flickr by Tim Wilson

Wisconsin is bordered by Lake Superior and Lake Michigan and has more than 15,000 lakes and 43,000 miles of rivers, meaning there are plenty of places to go kayaking.

Water trails can take you to campsites that are otherwise inaccessible, making your camping trip an exclusive event. Lake Michigan and Lake Superior both feature water trails and several state parks and forests have marked water trails or water trails that are unmarked, but can be found on a map.

Don’t have your own kayak? The Travel Wisconsin website can help you find the perfect place to rent one. Buckhorn, Council Grounds, Devil’s Lake, Mirror Lake, and Perrot State Parks all offer adaptive kayak rentals so a disability won’t slow you down.

Scuba Diving

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Image via Flickr by Robert Hornung

Scuba diving is a pricy sport, but well worth the cost for a chance to visit the underwater world.

A quick online search can point you toward a scuba shop near you where you can sign up for lessons. A mixture of classroom work and practice in a pool will have you ready to hit the lake for your certification dives in just a few weekends.

Once you’re certified, all you need is some equipment and a dive buddy and you’re ready to explore the world below the water’s surface. If you’re not ready to buy your own gear, you can rent everything at your local scuba shop whenever you have a dive planned. You can find a dive buddy by having a friend take lessons with you, meeting someone in your scuba class, or just by hanging out at your dive shop.

There’s so much of Wisconsin that can’t be seen from a  hiking trail or bike path. There are plenty of sports that will help you immerse yourself in nature. Rock climbing, kayaking, and scuba diving are just a few ways to begin a life of adventure.

Planning a Dream Roadtrip: The Glass Beach

A very long time ago I saw a picture of a glass beach. It was so beautiful, with red, green, blue, yellow, brown and clear glass pebbles spilling out of the ocean. The glass beach is in MacKerricher State Park in Fort Bragg, California. Ever since I’ve learned about it, it’s been my dream to go visit it.

There are three glass beaches in Fort Bragg. The sites were used as dumps from the 1900s to the 1960s. When the dumps were closed, the metal trash was removed and the biodegradable trash broke down. The broken glass was tumbled in the water until it became smooth and pebble-like. The water deposited it back on the beach along with other sand and rocks to create the glass beach.

I’m hoping to visit the glass beach during my trip to California this fall, while it still exists. The beach is slowly disappearing because of people taking the glass as souvenirs. Taking glass from the beach is not only ruining the park for others, it’s also illegal Since the glass beach is in MacKerricher State Park, everything in the park is protected and it’s against the law to remove anything, including the glass.

The glass beach is what began my goal of taking a roadtrip down the west coast and it’s the most important stop to me. I’m excited about finally being able to visit it after dreaming about it for years. It may not be part of a roadtrip this visit, but in a few years when I do drive down the coast, visiting the glass beach will be essential. I only hope that it will still be there.