In summer, Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula is beautiful and cool, yet quiet even at the peak of tourist season.
It doesn't have many "attractions,'' yet there's so much to see soft pink-sandstone beaches, old mining towns, 10 lighthouses. In late July, blueberries ripen along roads and bear sightings are likely.
Details: For more, see Digging the Keweenaw.
Past fast plans: Finding agates in Moose Lake, Breezy in Bayfield, Music and theater in Winona, Staying cool in Grand Marais, Riverfront fun in Minneapolis
Festa Italiana in Milwaukee. There's cannoli-eating and pizza-making contests, celebrity chefs, a bocce ball tournament, parades at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, nightly fireworks and music and dance on five stages and an opera tent. July 1921.
Lumberjack Days in Stillwater, Minn. This music festival along the St. Croix River also features lumberjack shows, a downhill derby, hammerschlagen, helicopter rides and a parade at 1 p.m. Sunday. July 1921.
Highland Fest in St. Paul. This street fair in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood includes an arts fair, music, carnival rides, wiener-dog races and an all-Ford car and truck show. July 1921.
Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City, Mich. Eleven schooners, barques and brigs arrive in the western Great Lakes, part of the Tall Ships Challenge. July 1821.
For more, see our Events Calendar.
At last, Americans are realizing that life is too short to drink cheap beer.
The tasteless factory lagers of our youth look awfully pathetic next to the beers now being turned out by craft brewers: sweet cream stouts, lip-smacking India pale ales, chocolatey porters, Belgian wheats flavored by coriander and orange.
In fact, it's getting hard to keep up with all the new brews, some of them wildly creative. That's where brew festivals come in.
"You'd be amazed at how many people have been introduced to good-tasting beer at these festivals,'' said Bonita Rowland of Rowland's Brewing Co. in Chilton, Wis., which has been hosting the Wisconsin Micro-Brewers Fest for more than 25 years.
On the Great Lakes, everyone loves to see a multi-masted schooner, white sails flapping in the breeze.
They're always the favorite guests at festivals, especially on Lake Superior, which usually sees only freighters.
On Lake Michigan, these magnificent replicas of 19th-century schooners and sloops are more common, offering tours and day sails from their homes when they're not appearing at festivals.
Most of the tall ships are non-profit and devoted to teaching early American history and training future sailors. Many offer passage between ports as they sail to festivals.
It's a big rush, zipping over treetops.
You can ride over an Ontario canyon, dunes in Door County,
a gorge near the Dells and a creek in Michigan.
Zip lines first made an appearance at environmental learning centers, alongside
climbing towers and high-ropes courses.
If you want to try one, here's
where to look. There's usually a weight restriction of between 230 and 275 pounds, and a minimum age of 7 to 10 years. Most courses require reservations.
Big, bad Lake Superior.
Its big as in vast, with a surface area equal to Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire combined.
Its bad as in lethal, able to swallow ore boats or pulverize them against the hard volcanic rock that lines its shore. And its treacherous like an enraged bull, its crushing waves can turn on a dime.
Oh, how we love this lake.