En español | The word "extreme" might conjure visions of a snowboarder whizzing wildly down the slopes with a spray of powder in his wake. Give him a wide berth. There are plenty of places in the U.S. where you can experience the extreme — as in "reaching a high or the highest degree" — without getting dusted by snowboarders or risking injury. Here are five extremely cool examples:
1. The wettest place:
Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park, Wash.
Drive into the Hoh Rainforest and enter another world. Sure, it's rainy on U.S. 101 before you head east, but it's nothing compared to the mossy green grandeur of the Hoh. More than 130 inches of rain fall here in an average year, at least triple the precipitation in nearby Seattle. But there are plenty of sunny skies in summer — the best season for exploring this uniquely lush spot.
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2. The highest paved road: Mount Evans, Colo.
You can drive nearly all the way to the summit of Mount Evans. On the way up, you ascend a vertical mile to the end of the road at 14,240 feet. Mountain goats and bighorn sheep patrol the ramparts at the top, where you can lace up your boots for a hike. Try the Summit Trail, which ascends to the true summit (at 14,264 feet), for a real mountain high.
3. The oldest bar: White Horse Tavern, Newport, R.I.
Built in 1652 and converted into a tavern in 1673, Newport's White Horse Tavern is the oldest bar you can belly up to in the U.S. It had some rough patches, serving as a boardinghouse and falling into neglect in the first half of the 20th century. But it was fixed up and reopened in the 1950s and today exemplifies colonial Newport architecture. If you're planning to eat while visiting the bar, make reservations — this is one of the fanciest restaurants in town.
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