Best Locations for Adventure JunkiesDecember 14, 2018
-Words by Rosalina Leonardo-
Adventure sports or extreme sports are recreational activities that have high risk factors such as speed, height, heavy physical activity, and for most, special equipment. Adventure sports are often cost-prohibitive. For motorized water sports like jet skiing, a jetski costs thousands of dollars; and you will continue to spend on gas, maintenance, and insurance. Aside from getting lessons and purchasing equipment, getting to the location where these adventures take place is an additional cost. If you are into skiing and snowboarding, after buying or renting your gear, you still have to spend for a lift ticket every time you go.
More popular adventure activities or extreme sports include bungee jumping, white water rafting, waterfalls diving, hang gliding, parasailing, and scuba diving. However, there are adventure sports that cost little after you have made the initial investment on lessons and equipment. These adventure activities are also environmentally conscious- in the sense that they are usually in a beautiful, scenic environment. And they are mostly self-powered sports which mean a great body workout for adrenaline junkies.
Here are five extreme sports activities one can enjoy without breaking the bank:
Rock climbing involves climbing up, down or across rocky surfaces, whether natural or artificial, using specialized equipment. To begin, you will need a harness, a chalk bag, and the right kind of shoes.
Mountain biking provides a good aerobic workout with the potential for an adrenaline rush when you go charging up and down steep hills on narrow trails. While you are still learning, your first bike might take a serious beating so buying a used one is a practical idea.
Mountain Biking / Cycling
Surfing or Stand Up Paddle Surfing
For the quintessential beach sport, you do not really need any special equipment beyond the surfboard and wax. Except, maybe, some sunscreen.
Stand up paddle surfing or stand up paddle boarding, aka SUP, is a water sport where a person stands on a surfboard-type craft and moves through the water using a long paddle. SUP enthusiasts play in the ocean, on lakes, and in rivers.
Kayaking or Canoeing
Kayaking is a white water or flat water sport. Thrill seekers looking for a little adrenaline gravitate towards white water rivers. Kayaking in the ocean can be adventurous or serene depending on the weather and the waves. Since most kayaks and modern canoes are made of durable plastic, buying a used kayak or canoe is economical.
Hiking, Trekking or Mountaineering
These are all outdoor activities with varying levels of difficulty. Hiking involves walking in beautiful, natural environments on pre-charted paths called hiking trails. A trek takes longer than a hike, usually on uncharted paths, in challenging environments which can be hilly or mountainous. Mountaineering, however, is a set of activities that involves ascending mountains. It can be a combination of hiking and trekking.
Here is a list of best locations for adventure junkies on a budget:
Washington, D.C. offers opportunities to experience different outdoor adventure activities. The Potomac River provides the perfect place for sailing, canoeing, and kayaking. To the west of Great Falls, Virginia and George Washington State Forest is an excellent terrain for mountain biking and hiking. You can also climb the rocks that overlook the Great Falls Park. Meanwhile, the Shenandoah National Park is a great place for camping and backpacking while Rock Creek Park is an excellent setting for biking, hiking, and horseback riding.
Trekking at Shenandoah National Park
Steamer Lane is just one of the classic surf destinations in Santa Cruz, California. It is a town where the forest meets the sea, which is why it also offers an array of camping options. One can camp along the coast at Manresa Uplands, New Brighton State Beach or in the forest at Henry Cowell State Park. Cowell’s Beach is another prime surf break along the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk. Pleasure Point is also a popular paddling and surfing spot. If you are looking for calm water conditions to go paddling, head to the Santa Cruz harbor or New Brighton State Beach. You can also take a hike through Nisene Marks in Aptos, Pogonip along the UCSC campus. Hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping are all available in Wilder Ranch.
Surfing in Steamer Lane
Portland is home to the beach of Popham where you can go surfing. If you like other watersports like canoeing and kayaking, Casco Bay offers tranquil waters perfect for paddling. Other bodies of water such as Beaver Pond, Haskell Pond, Highland Lake and Presumpscot River Reservoir, all within a few minutes travel of Portland, are also great spots for canoeing and kayaking. There are other places nearby to go whitewater paddling, including the Royal River, Saco River and Crooked River. If skiing is more your preference, Lost Valley or Shawnee Park, feature steep vertical drops. Nearby Bradbury Mountain offers great spots for mountain biking, hiking, and climbing. L.L. Bean Discovery School offers a variety of outdoor courses, ranging from fly-fishing to kayaking.
Kayaking and paddle boarding in Royal River
North Conway, New Hampshire has one of the best mountain climbing landscapes on the East Coast. Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast, is located here. The Appalachian Trail crosses the summit of Mount Washington. Hiking, ice climbing, kayaking and rock climbing are popular activities in this area of North Conway. The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is a popular hiking spot. In the winter, the Tuckerman Ravine is also a hotspot for skiing. There is also the option of paddling a canoe down the Androscoggin River.
Durango, Colorado offers many adventure travel destinations. The Rockies or Rocky Mountains provide the ideal setting for hiking, skiing, mountain biking and ice climbing. Mountain sports and hiking are perfectly suited for Durango's terrain which has an elevation of about 6,500 feet or 1,981 m. You can try rafting through the canyons, or paddle with a canoe or kayak. You can rock climb on the sandstone of East Animas. You can also hike or bike on the Colorado Trail which features mountain ranges that rise to over 13,000 feet or 3,962 m.
Boone, North Carolina has parks, rivers and mountains that offer a range of adventure travel. At Pisgah National Forest, which is a national park, one can enjoy mountain biking, rock climbing and hiking. As for watersports, the Nolichucky and French Broad Rivers provide the opportunity to go rafting and canoeing. A trip to nearby Banner Elk and Blowing Rock offer great slopes for skiing in the winter. One can drive down Blue Ridge Parkway and hike or mountain bike at Grandfather Mountain.
Bend, Oregon is a great place for watersports and skiing. After rafting, canoeing, or kayaking down the Deschutes River, you can climb Smith Rock. It is also great for mountain adventure sports, with an elevation of 3,635 feet or 1,108 m and Black Butte offers a prime spot for mountain biking. The Deschutes National Forest is also great for hiking. In the winter, Mount Bachelor and Tumalo Mountain are great places for skiing. If you are craving some surf, the beach is only about a four hour drive away.
Las Vegas, Nevada features tranquil landscapes. You can climb on Red Rock Canyon's famous pink sandstone at the Cloud Tower in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. About two hours drive away, Zion National Park, is one of the best locations in the U.S. for climbing and hiking. You can bike on the ridges of Bootleg Canyon to observe the many coyotes, bighorn sheep, owls, and lizards that live in this area. You can head to Mount Charleston for skiing or snowboarding in the winter. If your interests are in watersports, the Colorado River boasts some great rapids for rafting. And Lake Mead is perfect for some peaceful canoeing.
No matter where your adventures take you, make sure your gear can handle it. Shop Catalyst.