Outdoor adventurers raft, zipline, and climb across ACE Adventure Resort's 1,500 acres of wilderness along the New River Gorge National River, staying close to the action with a variety of lodging options. Whitewater-rafting trips satisfy all skill levels and include family-friendly Upper New River excursions with bouncy rapids, swimming holes, and a grilled lunch. Intermediate Lower New River trips balance rapids with calm spots to thrill both beginners and advanced rafters, and the Gauley River provides a challenging adventure with its raging rapids and predatory goldfish. More than a dozen off-river adventure activities send guests ziplining through the canopy, revving through the mud on ATVs, and horseback riding down shaded trails to catch views of the New River Gorge. The lake itself is stocked with big inflatable toys, including waterslides and trampolines for kids. After action-packed days, groups lodge in deluxe cabins outfitted with kitchens and bathrooms or opt for rustic cabins, cabin tents, or sites perfect for parking an RV or roadworthy caboose.
A bearded and scruffy Shawn Hash launched his outfitting business 20 years ago with a spartan collection of four bicycles, two canoes, and a pickup truck. Tangent Outfitters now oversees a small flotilla of aquatic craft as it leads guests to all the outdoor adventures the New River and its surrounding valley have to offer. Tubing trips afford a leisurely 1- to 2-mile jaunt down the river, with plenty of pit stops at sunny beaches, swimming holes, or riverside nail salons. Instructors bring a slice of Hawaiian watersports to Virginia with standup paddleboard lessons or teach guests to snag unsuspecting smallmouths with guided fishing trips. The surrounding mountainous trails invite bikers to speed through their dirt-stained paths, and the riverbeds host seven different types of kayak and canoe day trips. Adventurers can stock up on excursion rations at Tangent's onsite deli.
On the scenic Smith Mountain Lake, run-about motorboats and WaveRunners create arcing, white-capped wakes atop the water. Nearby, slower-moving pontoons host anglers and picnickers. The captains of each of these vessels owe their enjoyable day to the family-owned Hales Ford Marina & Boat Rentals, which loans its equipment to locals and visitors alike. In addition to pairing clients with the right boat, staffers also perform repairs and maintenance, including winterization for a variety of vehicles.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength and use more than 150 pieces of cardio equipment, attend over 100 different classes, and play on the racketball court, basketball court and in the pool. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines.
Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated. Members also have access to Kids Care and even tanning booths.
Armed with a fresh infusion of guards and new head coach Dennis Wolff, Virginia Tech's lady hoopsters turn heads with precise passes and graceful jump shots. Today's Groupon ushers Hokies fans to an ACC showdown, where the team will challenge regional rivals the Virginia Cavaliers to cross-court sprints and parking-lot potato-sack races. Center Porschia Hadley aims to boost her 5.8 points-per-game average with finely honed shots and a newly mended ACL. After scoring the ACC Rookie of the Week title last winter, sophomore guard Monet Tellier strides toward the hoop with the confidence of a rooster with a perfect SAT score.
At Adventure World Skate & Fun Center, kids and adults alike entertain both muscle and mind-matter in through a variety of heart-pounding activities. In the laser tag arena, players strap on receivers, holster a laser-emitting gun, and re-enact the galactic phase of the Crimean War on a phosphorescent battlefield. Competitors have the option of playing the four 10-minute games consecutively or spacing them out to fuel grudge matches or plan for potential roommate border disputes. With an additional admission fee ($3–$6), zapped compatriots can take backward victory laps around the skate rink ($3 skate rental) or purchase tokens to conquer the arcade room.