6. Fly a kite.
Kite flying has such a long and rich history, dating back more than 2,000 years, yet it’s such a simple, joyful activity. All you need is a kite, some wind, and a wide open space. The type of kite you get is up to you, though Delta kites—with their triangular shape and semi-flexibility—are one of the easiest to fly, especially in light winds. Most parks and beaches are typically great spots for kite-flying.
At Berkeley’s waterfront Cesar Chavez Park, winds off the bay offer plenty of uplift, and on clear days you can take in great views of San Francisco and the Marin Headlands. The park hosts the annual Berkeley Kite Festival and West Coast Kite Championships each July.
In northern Nevada, Reno’s 580-acre Rancho San Rafael Park offers wide grassy spaces with plenty of room for kite flyers to roam.
Oregon’s Lincoln City has earned itself the moniker, “Kite Capital of the World,” for its annual kite festivals (including one in June), as well as its unobstructed beaches and reliable breezes.
The night sky is filled with endless wonders, from dazzling constellations to bright planets. On a clear night—and in the right location—it’s easy to spend hours gazing at the universe. If you have a telescope to bring along, great, but there are plenty of places around the West where you can see plenty with just your eyes.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, the isolated peak of the East Bay’s 3,849-foot-tall Mount Diablo offers dark skies and often clear night views, most notably from the parking lot near the Mount Diablo Summit Museum.
Utah is home to one of the world’s highest concentrations of International Dark-Sky places: official-designated communities, parks, and reserves where the Milky Way is often on full view. They include Antelope Island State Park—an easy drive from Salt Lake City—and Cedar Breaks National Monument in the state’s southeast. Each of them have campgrounds ideal for bedding down beneath the stars.
Some of the country’s darkest skies are above the Bureau of Land Management’s Massacre Rim Wilderness Study Area, in northwest Nevada near the California and Oregon borders.