If you’re new to outdoor activities and you don’t know where to go, this list is for you.
This will guide you in your search for fun things to do outdoors in your area.
Yeah, you could do a Google search, but it may lead you down a rabbit hole.
So I did the searching for you and provided helpful links and tips to get you on your way.
Start with small adventures close to home and expand to longer trips far away.
Just get outside and into nature.
Fun Places to Go
Nature Centers – These are neat places usually found in state parks, national parks or local parks and nature preserves. They are fun places to learn all about the wildlife and plants in your area.
Public Gardens or Botanical gardens – These places are collections of plants, flowers, and trees maintained by organizations for the purpose of education, enjoyment, research, conservation and sometimes higher learning. One that comes to mind is Mt. Cuba Center here in Delaware. Learn about native plants to your area and be inspired to create your own oasis at home.
Local Parks – These are everywhere, and may be referred to as community parks. Here you can walk, bike, run, play basketball or tennis. Some have outdoor equipment you can use to stretch, pull up or balance on or hop on the swing and start swinging. These places are for you to enjoy, make use of them and go often.
Urban Parks, Wild Spaces or Green Areas – These are places that will get you into the woods while still being close to amenities. Read my post on Urban Hiking. If you’re lucky enough to live in a city like Phoenix AZ you have South Mountain Park which has over 50 miles of hiking, biking, and horse trails to explore. Look for places like these in your area, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how awesome these spaces are for those times when you just want to take a walk in the woods but don’t want to go far to do this.
Wildlife refuges and Wetlands – These places offer an awesome opportunity to view natural habitats like waterfowl and shorebirds. Most of these places have boardwalks that go over the tidal marsh areas. They also have observation towers that look out over the wetlands and freshwater ponds. This is a photographer’s paradise and bird lovers’ hangout.
Historical sites, Monuments, Landmarks and Old Cemeteries – If you are a history buff you’ll definitely want to visit historical sites. Also, explore old landmarks and cemeteries because this can make for a mysterious and scary adventure. I love these kinds of adventures.
Private Campgrounds – If you’ve never camped you might want to give it try. I suggest looking for campgrounds that offer to rent you a tent and all the gear. Some will even set the tent up for you. Better yet, rent an RV at the campground. No need to drive a big RV into the campground, it’s already there for you. Dan and I did this in West Virginia once, we loved it especially since it rained all weekend and we didn’t have to pack up wet gear.
Glamping – This is glamorous camping with all the comforts of home. I think of Clamping as an outdoor bedroom. You don’t sleep on the ground, you’re sleeping in a comfy, cozy bed with a few other luxuries thrown in that some campers can only dream about. It’s pricey though but if you want to sleep outside, but not on the ground this is for you.
Retreats – How about experiencing a hiking and yoga retreat. These are tranquil places to rejuvenate your body mind and soul. You can go outdoors, enjoy nature, take meditation walks or just sit quietly and read a book. This is on the top of my bucket list.
State Parks – Depending on how big your home state is, there could be hundreds of state parks to visit. Some are free, some are not, and if you plan to visit often you might want to buy a season pass. There is plenty to do in state parks like boating, fishing, hiking, biking, and tons of other outdoor activities. Many have youth activities and camping. See the links below to find out how to find a state park near you.
The National Forest, National Lands and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – Out in the West it’s BLM and National Lands, here on the East, it’s referred to as the National Forest. These lands are free to use but do have regulations and permits for hunting and fishing so while you may be able to camp freely you may not be allowed to hunt without a permit so check your state rules and regulations for what you can and cannot do. Links below to help you with this. Great outdoor spaces to take advantage of, that’s what they are for, your enjoyment.
National Parks – Last but not least are our awesome national parks. There are 59 official national parks but over 400 other parks, monuments, and historic sites that are managed by the National Park Service so no shortage of places to go.
Where to Find Information
State Government Website – Start here to look for state parks but also to niche down to county and local parks in your area.
State Tourism Website – Don’t overlook checking out these websites because they can help with where to stay, places to eat, local event happenings and out of the way places.
Visitors Centers – These are local folks working here and know the area well. They’re a wealth of information, giving you the scope of local festivals, best places to eat or off the beaten path places to visit.
Conservation Groups – If you’re looking for a way to volunteer your time outdoors you can do this through conservation groups. It’s a great way to give back or go to some amazing places for free or at low cost. They can also help in finding places to stay such as hostels or private camping areas.
Hiking – Looking for hiking information in your area, here are two sites that will search for hiking trails in your area.
- American Hiking Society has a map that helps you find hikes in your area. Click here for this useful hiking tool.
- You can also use the free version of ALLTrails to find a hike near you.
Meetup groups – You’ll most likely find a group for whatever it is you want to do outdoors by using this social site. Or if you can’t find a group in your area, be the one to start your own group.
Local outfitters and outdoor retail stores – These places sell guide books, maps, outdoor gear and more, but they also provide local workshops on “how to go camping and how to pack your backpack”.
Some local outfitters will do a car drop for hikers and backpackers who are doing a long one-way hike.
My husband and I did the West Rim Trail which is a 30-mile hike one way through the Grand Canyon area of PA and the Pine Creek Outfitters drove our car to the end of the trail. It was awesome to see our Jeep at the end of that amazing hike.
If you’re lucky enough to live near a REI store, check out their upcoming workshops for those who are new to the outdoors.
National Park Service – This site has all the information you’ll need, not just for national parks but for all historic parks, landmarks, monuments and state parks.
Recreation.gov Explore Your America is also a great resource, here you can discover the best American experiences, learn about epic camping spots, national monument tours, hiking through pristine national parks and forests, renting a cabin on federal lands and so much more.
You can also make your reservation for camping, backpacking and RVing on this site. I use it all the time.
Plan Your Adventure
- What it is you want to do outdoors?
- Where do you want to go?
- Gather all the information you need about that adventure such as maps, directions, equipment, supplies etc.
- Start small and explore your own city or town first.
- Expand to day trips and weekends.
Adventures are everywhere and you don’t have to go far. Put outdoor adventure on your weekly schedule, because if you don’t you’ll put it off.
So make it a habit by doing it often.
Do you have anything to add to this list? If so leave a comment below and I’ll add it. Thanks for reading!
Peace, Love and Adventure!