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9 Summer Vacations You Never Thought of

  • Tom Uhlman/Alamy

    Go on an African Safari Without Leaving the U.S.

    There are many parks where you and your family can check out African wildlife. At The Wilds, in Cumberland, Ohio, you can view rhinos, antelopes, buffalo and giraffes on more than 9,000 acres. Zoom over them on zip lines, and stay in the lodge or in a hillside yurt with all the modern comforts.

    There are many parks where you and your family can check out African wildlife. At The Wilds, in Cumberland, Ohio, you can view rhinos, antelopes, buffalo and giraffes on more than 9,000 acres. Zoom over them on zip lines, and stay in the lodge or in a hillside yurt with all the modern comforts.

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  • Glyn Thomas/Alamy

    Go Back to School

    Oxford University, the fabled alma mater of royals, world leaders, writers and more than two dozen British prime ministers, opens its doors to the public for weeklong summer courses ranging from close perusal of Jane Austen’s works, to “The First World War in Perspective,” to “The Garden in Art.” Stay in a residence hall, mingle with profs and fellow students at social events and pubs.

    Oxford University, the fabled alma mater of royals, world leaders, writers and more than two dozen British prime ministers, opens its doors to the public for weeklong summer courses ranging from close perusal of Jane Austen’s works, to “The First World War in Perspective,” to “The Garden in Art.” Stay in a residence hall, mingle with profs and fellow students at social events and pubs.

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  • Getty Images

    Volunteer Vacations

    Make reservations to help build housing for the less fortunate with Habitat for Humanity, give rescued dogs, cats and horses some love at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, or take family time off during a cruise or resort stay to help locals (check out the Together For Good clearinghouse). Information: habitat.org, bestfriends.org, togetherforgood.org

    Make reservations to help build housing for the less fortunate with Habitat for Humanity, give rescued dogs, cats and horses some love at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, or take family time off during a cruise or resort stay to help locals (check out the Together For Good clearinghouse). Information: habitat.org, bestfriends.org, togetherforgood.org

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    Get in Touch With Your Inner Driver

    Always wanted to handle a race car? Try a high-performance driving school. At the BMW Performance Driving School near Greenville, South Carolina, you can take the wheel of a powerful late-model Bimmer for a two-day course. Zoom through high-speed laps and learn pro techniques for downshifting and drifting.

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  • AARP Offer: Explore Your World

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    Sign up for the Travel Newsletter today. Help save for your next dream trip by joining AARP

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    Go Inn-to-Inn for the Best of Leisure, Fitness and Food

    Have you dreamed about inn-to-inn touring but never had the time? Search the Web for hiking or cycling routes for people of all abilities; Breakaway Adventures offers a global roster. As your luggage is ferried to your next stop, you’ll work off enough calories to gorge on local cuisines in such locales as France, Italy, Peru and the Caribbean.

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    Your Turn to Dance With the Stars

    Unleash your inner cha-cha champ on a dance vacation. At venues such as Ballroom Dance Camp in Warwick, Rhode Island, beginning and advanced hoofers — couples or singles who get paired up — spend five days working with competition-winning instructors. Make new friends and perfect a routine for the camp show at a semiformal dance.

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    Pack Everything In on a Multisport Tour

    Hop on a mountain bike, hike to the top of a windswept peak or learn to rappel. Groups such as the World Outdoors take children and adults to destinations ranging from national parks to way beyond. Choose to hotel it or rough it.

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    Take Wing on a Bird-Watching Tour

    Team up with like-minded folk with high-powered binoculars and cameras by using wingsbirds.com to find an outing that makes your heart soar. The website’s extensive tour list includes such adventures as a Southeast Arizona outing in canyons and mountains or new Alaska forays for those on Princess and Holland America cruises.

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    Reconnect With Your ‘Better Half’

    Remember 'Hope Springs,' the movie for grownups in which a long-married couple (Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones) attempts to reconnect and spice up their sex life via couples therapy away from home? Such vacations are for all sorts of people: those who want to overcome hurdles or just relax together and feel close. Diana and Richard Daffner, wed nearly 30 years, help couples rekindle at Intimacy Retreats in Siesta Key, Florida, and Yelapa, Mexico. Note for the bashful: No nudity or public sexual activity is involved.

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