Who doesn’t love grand adventures? The more I learn about human nature, the more I believe that it is part of our DNA to try new and exciting things, push the limits, and explore long forgotten parts of the world. However, all this can rack up the dollars, and if you are not careful, these adrenaline-pumping activities can break the bank.
While that sounds depressing, the good news is that there are many adventures throughout America that are affordable and fun. These epic trips can take you high into breathtaking landscapes or down low into the deep murky shark infested seas, all without putting a massive dent into your savings account.
America’s National Parks
Some of the best adventures in America are hidden in the stunning national parks. Any national park is a fantastic base for those looking to spend their morning walking well trodden trails through still forests and glistening meadows. There is nothing quite like setting off into the wild terrain, embarking on your own journey, and creating memories to share with loved ones throughout the years.
Another benefit of visiting national parks is that they are inexpensive. Most parks have either no or only a small entrance fee that allows entrance for several days. Many parks offer a car pass that is good for an entire week.
Tips to save even more money when visiting a national park.
- Camp - First, choose to camp. There are several camping options and most come at a price but nothing compared to hotels or B&B's. If you are traveling for a week or two, camping can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
- Cook - One universal travel tip to saving money is to cook your own food. Camping is the perfect time to choose this option. Plus, it is hard to beat chicken and burgers on the grill.
- Drive - Driving has a few advantages over flying. Depending on where you are, it might be cheaper. Plus, you are free to pack all the hiking, camping, and cooking supplies you desire.
There are so many beautiful national parks scattered throughout the United States. Here are just a few of my favorites.
Yellowstone – Yellowstone is one of the most affordable National Parks in America, and its beauty is almost beyond compare. Yellowstone has a vast amount of diverse wildlife, jutting mountains, breathtaking hikes, steaming hot springs, powerful geysers, and beautiful green meadows.
Cost: The price of a seven-day pass with a vehicle is $30.
Yosemite – This expansive park is one of the biggest in America and has over 750 miles of scenic trails to hike. Speckled throughout this vast landscape are awe-inspiring natural wonders that include towering thousand-year-old Sequoia trees and massive rock formations that will leave you breathless.
Cost: The price of a seven-day pass with a vehicle is $30 and $15 without.
Acadia National Park - New England’s only national park is full of engulfing mountain views, crystal blue lakes, and scenic ocean views as far as the eye can see. One reason Acadia is such a good choice for budget travelers is that it is not as well known. Even in peak season, you will have much smaller crowds, and in this case, smaller crowds mean smaller prices.
Cost: The price of a seven-day pass with a vehicle is only $20.
Wreck Dive with Tiger Sharks
Imagine the rush of diving deep under the ocean's surface. As your descent begins to slow, your eyes start to adjust to your surroundings, and you are able to peer through the murky darkness. Out of the corner of your eye, you see something quickly dart behind you. You turn and spot an intimidating sand tiger shark only a few meters away. You start to panic, sucking tons of oxygen through the scuba tanks on your back when you remember this is exactly the adrenaline filled adventure you signed up for.
The Olympus dive center in North Carolina offers this rare one in a lifetime opportunity – to dive with sharks. While it is not the cheapest option on the list, it is not a bad deal at all when you consider what you get: a couple of stunning wreck dives and the chance to scuba dive with sharks.
Cost: Prices start at $130 for a full day charter
River Boarding on the Colorado River
Experience epic views, intense rapids, and a thrilling ride as you lay on a board that barely covers your torso. In this epic adventure, you float down the Colorado River with nothing but fins, a life jacket, and a tiny board for a ride like none other. Get a once in a lifetime adventure as you fight against the waves that crash into your body and spin you in multiple directions. During the calmer moments of the journey, lay back and take in the grandeur of the Colorado River. This adventure is cheap, thrilling, and beautiful. What more could you want?
Cost: Prices start at $60 for a 4-hour training session. It is a fun filled day that will not put a huge dent in your wallet.
Smokey Mountain Llama Trek
Travel into some of the most majestic mountains in America on this fun and exciting trek. After traveling to the top on your very own llama, you can enjoy the view of the incredible mountain range at over 4,500 feet from the top of Max Patch Bald.
Take your time, explore, have a picnic, or learn to rock climb the walls of Panther Town Valley. There are a variety of packages to choose from to make this adventure your very own.
Cost: Prices for llama treks start at $20.
Explore the Diversity of Culture in Americas Cities
Not all America adventures are in the vast outdoors. A lot of the greatness of America is found in the diversity of culture.
There are many places to indulge in this melting pot culture throughout the nation. A couple of fun cities to experience the uniqueness of American culture are:
New Orleans – This vibrant city has an atmosphere all its own. Whether you're sipping drinks at the numerous 24-hour bars, eating delicious Cajun cuisine, or going on a day trip to the beaches, swamps, or plantations, you are sure to have a good time for relatively little money.
New Orleans loves to party and one of their mottoes is, "the more, the merrier" making it one of the most affordable destinations in America.
Las Vegas – This popular vacation destination is also one of the cheapest to visit. Many companies and websites offer insane travel deals that often include hotels and flights. There is so much to see and do in Las Vegas from gambling to thrilling rides to spectacular stage shows.
No matter who you are, you are sure to have an amazing adventure that can be as cheap or as expensive as you desire.
From the towering mountains of Yosemite to the lively nightlife on Bourbon Street, America is a great place for adventure. Plus, you can experience all of them without breaking your budget. So now the question is, which one should you do first?