Sandland Adventures Dune Buggy Rides
Oregon’s long stretch of coastal dunes draw off-road enthusiasts from all over the world. Sandland Adventures, located in Florence, makes it easy for groups to take on the towering sand at high speeds or slower paces.
“The fast buggies are for groups looking for thrills on the dunes,” said Darla Hague, who runs the long-established family business with her husband, Chris.
The fast-paced tour covers 19 miles of dunes and one mile of beach in an hour. Around eight riders fit in each buggy, and they’re strapped in by harness for the wild ride. Drivers speed up and down the living dunes, which tower hundreds of feet and can grow as much as two feet a day from high coastal winds. Winter winds tear the dunes down, and summer winds build them back up, which means riders never get the same tour from season to season.
The large buggies pack in 27 riders and offer a more leisurely experience for groups who want to take in the scenery. They cover eight miles of dunes and two miles of beach in an hour. In addition to the shifting sand, guides point out tree islands, wildlife and the Siuslaw River, flowing into the ocean.
Sandland offers tours March through December and also operates bumper boats, go-karts, mini golf and a miniature railroad that runs a half-mile through woodlands, gardens and lakes.
Electric Tour Company Segway Tours
With a fleet of more than 200 Segways, the Electric Tour Company helps groups cover San Francisco in a short amount of time. The company prides itself — and gets rave customer reviews — on narrating every tour with large doses of history and humor from big-personality guides.
“A tour guide can make or break a tour, and we have the best tour guides in the city,” said Brandon Luse, assistant manager at Electric Tour Company. “These are actors, comedians, musicians; these are public speakers who are really comfortable entertaining people.”
Luse said several groups show up for the novelty of riding a Segway and end up finding it’s the best way to tour a big city. The most popular tours last two to three hours and include a 45-minute training session so groups can get their balance on the Segways before hitting the streets.
Designed for first-timers, the Fisherman’s Wharf and Waterfront tour runs through Fisherman’s Wharf, the National Maritime Museum, Ghirardelli Square, the cable car turnaround, Aquatic Park and the back alleys of historic Little Italy in North Beach. The route includes some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. A similar nighttime tour allows guests to see the same sights and skylines all lit up.
Also popular is the Golden Gate Park tour, which covers seven miles of landscaped trails and roads within the park. Guides share the history of the park’s transformation from sand dunes to city treasure.
Groups already experienced with Segways can opt for the Advanced Hills and Crooked Street tour for more riding and bigger hills. The Segways easily glide up super-steep Lombard Street, named “the crookedest street in the world” for its eight sharp turns.
Pink Jeep Tours
Sedona’s towering red rocks and perfectly blue sky seem unreal, and so do snapshots from the Pink Jeeps Tours that deliver groups to those fiery formations. The customized jeeps haul visitors on off-road climbs that would be impossible in most vehicles.
“All of our pink jeeps are purchased new, broken down and custom rebuilt from the suspension to the pink paint,” said Donna Helfrich, general manager of Pink Jeep Tours in Sedona. “We put a lot of time and attention into each one, so they can climb the rocks and carry heavier loads.”
Once the fabrication and suspension work is done, the canopy and specialized seating are installed. Then, the jeep receives its dramatic coat of pink paint and joins the largest touring fleet in the nation. Groups can run caravans as long as they like.
Pink Jeep offers six main guided tours, several of which can be combined, in the Sedona area. Pink Jeep’s original and most popular route, Broken Arrow Tour, has operated for 50 years, and the National Forest Service doesn’t allow access to any other company. The two-hour excursion first stops at Submarine Rock, then Chicken Point, which is surrounded by giant spires and famous formations like Bell Rock in the distance. The jeeps navigate more technical climbs to get to Mushroom Rock, The 747, Chapel Butte, the Rock of Gibraltar and, finally, the Road of No Return.
Other tours last from one and a half to five hours, depending on which combination of formations and canyons groups want to see. If groups are willing to make the 11-hour commitment, Pink Jeep also offers an incredible tour that stretches from Sedona to the Grand Canyon. Since the trip is longer than others, Pink Jeep commissioned Chrysler to design the Tour Trekker, a sturdy off-road vehicle that offers luxuries like reclining leather captain’s seats for a comfortable ride.