7 Active Summer Vacations For Less Than $500

A summer getaway doesn’t have to involve posting up on a beach or by a pool and sunbathing until you’re red in the face. In fact, the warmer months are the best time of year to take advantage of the beautiful outdoors while the temperatures are bearable.

But as if making the time in your busy schedule wasn’t hard enough, the price point on these weekend trips, excursions and adventures are enough to convince you to stay-cation it. But staying near-ish to home doesn’t have to be boring! We’ve combed through the ranks of the best active vacay spots to find the ones where you (surprisingly) don’t need to cough up that much cash—just bring your workout shoes, gear and a sports water bottle and get ready for an adventure to remember.

Shadowcliff Retreat Center in Grand Lake, Colo.

Open from Memorial Day through the first of October, this lodge sits atop one of the most breathtaking views of Colorado. Built by volunteers from the 1950s to the 1970s, the retreat center is within walking distance from two Rocky Mountain National Park hiking trails and sits at the foot of the state’s largest and deepest natural lake, Grand Lake. Rent kayaks and canoes, take up whitewater river rafting, fly fishing and more all just minutes away from the lodge.

Neighboring CP city: Denver
Entrance fee: Nightly rates range from $70-$80 for up to two people, and then just $15 per person for additional nights after that.

Wanderlust Festival in various cities across the globe

You love finding your chi and saying “Om,” so why not make a weekend out of it with other like-minded yogis by attending the world’s largest yoga retreat? Pair your downward dog with this year’s musical acts including Citizen Cope, Michael Franti, Stephen Marley and more. But don’t party too hard: You’ll want to be sure to take advantage of the day’s worth of classes taught by top instructors.

Neighboring CP cities: Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, Denver, Toronto, Vancouver, Brisbane
Entrance fee: The full four-day experience (Thursday through Sunday) costs $495, but you can book a three-day ticket for $375 or a one-day ticket from $95.

The Gorge Zipline Canopy Adventure in Saluda, N.C.

Get ready for the steepest, fastest zipline in the United States, expanding 1,100 vertical feet long over 10 sections of the Green River Gorge. The gorgeous greenery extends 125 acres and overlooks an astounding 18,000 acres of North Carolina’s protected Green River Game Lands. Once ziplining tires you out, take advantage of the other exciting activities available to you during your stay, including standup paddle boarding, guided fly fishing, whitewater rafting, kayaking and more.

Neighboring CP city: Atlanta
Entrance fee: Nightly rates range from $70-$80 for up to two people, and then just $15 per person for additional nights after that.

Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas

Like the saying, everything is bigger in Texas, including the active outdoor scenery. Lady Bird Lake reservoir on the Colorado River is located ideally in downtown Austin and offers 416 acres of land dedicated to hiking, biking, kayaking, paddle boarding and just plain old exploring. Stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Austin for as little as $139 a night. Wake up and head to Barton Creek Greenbelt, an urban oasis with a bevy of trails for running, hiking, and biking (not to mention the Instagram-worthy natural springs). At night, enjoy the Sixth Street bars and live music venues nearby and delicious restaurants and food trucks. Yum!

Neighboring CP city: Austin
Entrance fee: Just pay to rent equipment.

The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa, in Tucson, Ariz.

If you’re a runner, welcome to paradise. The incredible trails around Arizona’s Santa Catalina Mountains will have you totally awestruck. For around $89 a night, your stay at this stunning resort allows you access to group fitness classes, a fully equipped gym, tennis courts, a full golf course and a nice pool to cool off in. Bonus: The resort offers a complimentary running concierge who leads group runs in the early mornings and evenings to beat the Arizona heat. And if you forget your running gear, you can rent from Westin’s New Balance program—all for $5!

Neighboring CP city: Phoenix
Entrance fee: Just pay to stay.

Oliver Phelps Bed and Breakfast, in Finger Lakes, N.Y.

Just a few hours north of NYC, this quaint little bed and breakfast is set at the foot of the infamous Finger Lakes. But don’t let this region’s rep for fine wines, hard ciders and breweries fool you. It’s also a must-see destination for hikers, bikers, boaters, fishers and lovers of agriculture. This historical B&B offers comfortable accommodations for only $150 a night. You can bring your own biking equipment or save yourself the hassle of dragging everything from the city by renting for only $10 an hour or $30 a day. Bonus: The B&B owners have already mapped out the best hiking and biking routes in the area and may even come with you on your trek over scenic overlooks.

Neighboring CP city: New York City
Entrance fee: Hotel cost only

Evergreen Lodge, in Yosemite, Calif.

If you’re looking for a scenic outdoor vacation with larger-than-life opportunities to enjoy nature, Yosemite is your spot. From gorgeous, cascading waterfalls to out-of-this-world panoramic views of cliffs and mountainside, you’ll feel at home among the quiet sounds of nature. This cozy lodge offers everything you’re looking for to make your stay comfortable and affordable. With rates starting at just $90 for custom campsites, you can enjoy everything from hiking and horseback riding to white river rafting and more.

Neighboring CP city: Sacramento
Entrance fee: Hotel cost only

Jenn Sinrich is an editor in New York City, a self-proclaimed foodie always looking for the healthier version of all recipes, a passionate lover of all things cheese, a friendly New Yorker, Bostonian at heart and proud Red Sox fan. Love cats? Cheese? Mac n' Cheese? Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.