August 11, 2021

Top Trending Outdoor Activities for August: Parasailing, Biking, Whitewater Rafting

Are you starting to hit that proverbial mid-summer slump? It’s natural. The days are long and hot, you’ve grown tired of your daily slathering of sunscreen and the kids are starting to mumble those two dreaded words: I’m bored. Summer burnout is real. Jam-packed social calendars making up for lost time, shuttling children from one camp to the next, even travel to-and-from vacation can be exhausting.

Here are more than a half dozen trending activities, according to Broadry’s analysis of the latest Google trends, that may just reignite your summertime swagger.


Looking for a quick adrenalin rush? The most heart pumping part of parasailing, after securing your harness to the line attached to a giant parachute (known as a parasail wing), is standing on the stern of the boat and eagerly awaiting for it to gain enough speed to whisk you into the sky. After that initial belly-flipping blitz, the gentle lift off gives way to a peaceful, gradual ascent until you reach about 300 feet above the water, where an overwhelmingly peaceful experience is in store.

Most parasailing adventures can accommodate solo riders, a duo or even a trio, so bring along our BFF(s). Those seeking a more adventurous ride can talk to the captain about adding a few dips throughout the ride.


The beauty of taking in the world on two wheels is that a good amount of people know how to do it from a young age, it can be as intense or as mellow as you like, and it’s the rare gem of being a multigenerational activity. Pedal power might be just what you need to simultaneously unplug and recharge, and meets the mark when it comes to boosting your physical and mental health. A low-impact exercise that can still get the heart pumping (without a gym membership!), biking can be enjoyed nearly everywhere, from urban to bucolic settings.

For an insanely fun and unique ride, take a spin on a tandem bike. Both riders control the speed and pace of the ride, but the person in the lead, the “captain,” bears the most control, so a bicycle built for two can be ideal when the second rider (called the “stoker”) may not have the ability to ride a bike completely on their own.

Splash pads

No pool? No problem. Splash pads, often found in public parks, amusement parks and gathering spaces, are usually free. They're total kid magnets and are the ideal antidote to the sweltering summer sun. Watch little ones frolic and squeal with glee as powerful streams of water shoot through the air with powerful force, cooling down everyone in its path. Often choreographed, the airborne water chutes are captivating to watch and lure in people of all ages.

Trade overcrowded pools for these awesomely refreshing refuges – if you can locate one. None in your area? Backyard splash pads are on the rise, too. Easily inflatable – albeit less intense – versions of public splash pads that can be found at major retailers and online for under $50.

Blueberry picking

The spoils of summer are many, and one of the best ways to experience it all is with our palette. Roadside farm stands, in all their Rockwellian charm, are some of the season’s most resplendent seasonal staples, but rolling up your sleeves and plucking blueberries right from the bush is like capturing a little piece of summer magic right in your hand.

The sweet, juicy, lip-staining berry is arguably the season’s greatest culinary pleasure, whether enjoying the ripened antioxidant-rich fruit from the moment you give it a gentle tug off the plant, woven under the flaky lattice of a blueberry pie, amid the crumbly bits of fresh scone, speckled throughout fluffy pancakes, or extending their longevity by making preserves or a luscious jam.

Exploring caves

Exploring cazes, more formally called “caving” or “spelunking,” is nothing new, considering the lure to do so dates back millennia. While it is one of the oldest recreational pastimes, it’s also one of the more dangerous. Cave exploring should be well-planned in advance as some caves have hazards not immediately seen to the curious eye.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, cave explorers should wear proper attire, sturdy footwear, gloves, a hard hat with headlamp and maybe even knee and elbow pads if you expect to do some crawling. First-timers might consider a guided cave tour, whether through private companies that specialize in cave or cavern tours or through state park systems or the National Park Service.


One of the many outdoor activities many people turned to while social distancing, hiking not only burns a ton of calories but cleanses the mind and feeds the soul. As such, the American Hiking Society calls hiking “nature’s therapy” and says trail usage saw a 200% increase in urban areas during the quarantine-heavy early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Terms related to hiking were mentioned more in June than in any other month in the past year. Additionally, hiking-related terms were mentioned 27% more in June of 2021 than in June of 2020, according to media monitoring service Critical Mention.

The U.S. boasts an extra ordinary trail system; one that’s diverse in terms of terrain and distance, so don’t let your skill level, or lack thereof, hold you back. Whether journeying solo or hiking with a buddy, always take precautions out there, including having adequate hydration, familiarity with the trail or a map of your trek, and ideally, letting someone know where you’re headed (remember, your cell phone may be useless, depending on location).

Whitewater rafting

Got action? Adventure seekers take note: if white water rafting isn’t on your bucket list, consider this a sign. You really don’t know the meaning of teamwork until you’re perched upright in a rubber inflatable raft (that looks completely penetrable) with a bunch of helmeted strangers paddling relentlessly to try and have some control over Mother Nature’s fury as rushing, turbulent waters careen over centuries-old rock formations creating rapids that don’t exactly look “human friendly.” Okay, that might be an exaggeration...depending on the class of rapids you’ll be navigating.

Let’s back up. There are six levels of classification for whitewater rapids; the lowest being the easiest (little to no waves, minimal steering of the raft required) and the highest being wildly difficult. Whitewater canoe/kayak slalom have been Olympic sports since the 1972 Munich Games. (However, they didn't become permanent additions until Barcelona in 1992.)

Nearly all white water rafting companies have a guide aboard every trip who knows the waterway well and can “read” a river as they call out directives from the back of the boat.

Consider a multi-day rafting trip to get a diverse range of rapid experience while camping along the river. And, before you head out, grab a pair of water sports shoes (with traction, if available) on Amazon. Based on sales, slip-ons are the most popular variety, in the outdoor recreation category.

Boating and jet skiing

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) made headlines earlier this year when they reported that boat sales skyrocketed in 2020, with the industry garnering $47 billion (includes marine products and services). That’s an increase of 9% from 2019 and a 13-year high. An estimated 10% of those were first-time buyers. Since then, boat sales haven’t slowed down. But not every consumer is looking for the considerable demand and responsibility (and cost!) that comes with a boat.

While the Broadry team recently highlighted the demand for inflatable paddle boards from brands like Bote and Aquaglide, sales of personal watercraft, including Kawasaki's Jet Ski, Yamaha's Waverunner and Sea Doo, were also estimated to be up 8% in 2020, with the NMMA citing accessible entry-level price points attracting buyers – many of those first time buyers. With so much of the workforce able to work remotely more than ever before, people can spend more time with family and friends enjoying recreational activities while chasing that elusive work/life balance.

Copyright 2021 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC. All rights reserved. From By Andrea E. McHugh - Broadry Newsroom.

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