Budget Travel

Cheap thrills: the ten best places in america with an adventure for free

In search of budget thrills and spills in the land of the free and home of the brave? This extract from Lonely Planet's new edition of The Best Things in Life are Free can help you discover the ideal places to go for budget adventure sports and experiences.

Bouldering, California

Another essentially equipment-free pursuit, bouldering is about solving small climbing problems on, yep, boulders. Bishop, in California's lower Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, is among the world's best bouldering destinations.

San Francisco Parkour, California

It's hard to keep flowers inside your hair throughout a monkey vault, but whether you are a trained traceur or a free-running virgin, the SF parkour scene is both developed and welcoming. Complimentary intro sessions offered.

Storm-chasing, Oregon

The self-proclaimed "storm-watching Capital of the World", Bandon-by-the-Sea's beaches become wind- and wave-whipped once winter riles the Pacific into a rage. Watch the action from behind the ocean stacks and spires on Bullards Beach.

Canyoneering, Utah

A non-technical introduction to an addictive art, the spectacular Peekaboo -Spooky Gulch Loop and Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument in Utah can be spliced into easy 3 mile (5km) return scrambles, with lots of slots and arches to explore.

Trail-running, New York

In autumn, go trail-running around Lake Placid, NY, and explore the tracks that wend through vast, fantastic forests within the Adirondack Mountains to experience an explosion of leaf-turning color.

Snorkeling or diving, Florida

Armed with fins along with a snorkel set, explore Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which protects the planet's third-largest reef and possesses the submerged statue Christ of the Abyss.

Body-surfing, Hawai'i

No board? Nothing? No worries! Point Panic beach in Hawai'i, in the middle of a surfing mecca, has a wave so tailormade for bodysurfing that boarders steer clear, leaving it towards the penny-pinching purists.

Glacier-spotting, Alaska

In summer, the roadside Child's Glacier near Cordova, Alaska, sees a collapse of ice every Fifteen minutes. In winter (Oct-Apr), head to the Mendenhall Glacier, a well known walking stop with free winter entry, accessible by passenger bus from Juneau ($8).

Deepwater soloing, Utah

DWS is mountain climbing without the encumbrance (and expense) of safety gear – it's just you, the rock and also the water below. Lake Powell's extensive shoreline in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is the perfect destination to give it a try.

Nordic skiing, Michigan

Forget expensive lift passes, extortionate accommodation rates and crowded runs, and try your arms (and legs) at Nordic skiing somewhere like Higgins Lake, Michigan, where one can ski a groomed 11-mile (18-km) network of trails for just $9 per day.

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