8. The Adirondacks.
Why: Want to tackle the mountains but don’t want to fly to freakin’ Nepal (or risk death climbing 10,000 footers)? Never fear -- New York’s Adirondacks are here! Boasting user-friendly peaks in the 4,000-5,000-ft range, the largest protected natural area in the lower 48 states, and 12 distinct regions with no fees or entrance requirements, you can truly do it all here: canoeing and kayaking, hiking, biking, wine tours, scenic drives, dives, and bikes, world-class fishing, and so much more.
How much: First and foremost, this upstate paradise features 12 distinct regions, none of which charge fees or have entrance requirements. Check out VisitAdirondacks.com for package deals, many of which include offers like two extra nights free when you book five.
What to see: Don’t miss the newly-opened Wild Center -- the innovative museum mixes the indoors and the outdoors in ways that our frontier-ready forefathers never could have dreamed.