If you are like me then you are always looking for ways to pinch pennies, in the hopes that one day it may amount to something. Fingers crossed. However, I have found that even though I have an affinity for shopping and tasty food, entertainment is by far the biggest expenditure in my budget (beyond the basics of housing, etc.). From a young age our parents encouraged my brothers and I to get outside. So much so, that we did not have anything more than basic cable when we were kids. We were fortunate to spend childhood summers at a sleep away camp that further honed our ability to survive and thrive outside.
After graduating college, I moved to the Bay Area, right at the time it surpassed New York City for cost of living. I had no money. Most of my friends were in the same boat. The plus side of this is that we all got into great shape and have explored natural beauty and vistas, while bonding together and saving money.
Over the coming weeks I will be providing specific day trips for major metropolitan areas, but here you will find some useful links to identify outdoor activities near you -- wherever that may be. Feel free to comment other useful trail guides and resources in the comments below.