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.
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 reports lonely planet.
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.
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.
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.
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.