Partial to parkour? Go giddy at the sight of a glacier? Whether your kicks come in the form of skiing, surfing or chasing a storm, the USA has an adventure for you.
Find budget thrills and spills in the land of the free and home of the brave with this extract from The Best Things in Life are Free.
Essentially equipment-free, bouldering is all about solving small climbing problems on, yep, boulders... Bishop, in California’s lower Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, is one of the world’s best bouldering destinations.
Bishopvisitor.com; Bishop, CA; free.
San Fran parkour
It’s hard to keep flowers in your hair during a monkey vault, but whether you’re a trained traceur or a free-running virgin, the San Francisco parkour scene is both developed and welcoming. Complimentary intro sessions offered.
In summer, the roadside Child’s Glacier near Cordova, Alaska, sees a collapse of ice every 15 minutes. For a glacier you can walk up to, visit Matanuska, a 27-mile/43-km tongue of ice poking out from the Chugach Mountains.
Forget expensive lift passes, extortionate on-mountain accommodation rates and crowded runs, try your arm (and legs) at Nordic skiing somewhere like Higgins Lake, Michigan, where you can ski a groomed 12-mile/19-km network of trails for just $8 per day.
Armed with fins and a snorkel set, explore Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which protects the planet’s third-largest reef and contains the submerged statue Christ of the Abyss.
Floridakeys.noaa.gov; Key Largo, Florida; free.
No board? No money? No worries! Point Panic beach in Hawai’i, in the midst of a surfing mecca, has a wave so tailor-made for body-surfing that boarders stay away, leaving it to the penny-pinching purists.
Hawai’i, HI; free.
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/5-km (three-hour) return scrambles, with plenty of slots and arches to explore.
DWS is rock climbing without the encumbrance (and expense) of safety gear – it’s just you, the rock and the water below. Lake Powell’s extensive shoreline is the perfect venue.
Lakepowell.com; Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, UT; free.
In autumn, go trail-running around Lake Placid, NY, and explore the tracks that wend through 6 million acres (24,200 sq km) of fantastic forest in the Adirondack Mountains to experience an explosion of leaf-turning colour.
Lakeplacid.com; Lake Placid, NY; free.
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 sea stacks and spires on Bullards Beach.