Go Your Own Way

Five hundred dollars can buy you a lot of things: an iPad, a mediocre bike, a lawn mower—or three days of glorious summertime freedom (transportation excluded). Here are our picks for the best do-it-yourself budget escapes in North America, plus outfitted adventures you can't afford to miss.

Nederland, Colorado

Nederland, Colorado

Rocky Road
Nederland, Colorado
This town, just 17 miles uphill from Boulder, is part Peruvian-sweater-wearing mountain freaks and part Crocs-clad ex-Denverites. It's also home to some of the best mountain biking along the Front Range. (You can take the bus all the way there, with your bike, from Denver.) Rookies: Try the West and East Magnolia trails, which start just south of town. Experts: Hit the Sourdough Trails. Pick up free maps at the Happy Trails coffee-and-bike shop.

EXPENSE REPORT
Two round-trip bus tickets from Denver (rtd-denver.com): $18. Coffee at Happy Trails (303-258-3435): $8. Two nights at the Sundance Lodge, just south of town (sundance-lodge.com): $180. Smoked chicken wings and ribs, plus beer, at the Wild Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery (wildmountainsb.com): $40. Total: $246 (or $436 with two $95 two-day mountain-bike rentals from Happy Trails).

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