Springtime looks a little different across the country; some places, like Yosemite National Park, are still covered in snow, while others, like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, are seeing blooming wildflowers. As the weather starts to warm up, we’re itching to get back outdoors and enjoy the natural world around us, whether that’s with a nature scavenger hunt, outdoor games, tossing the frisbee around, or going for a hike. Need some inspiration for your next outdoor adventure? Here are 5 fun outdoor activities to try this spring!

 

1.  Cross-country skiing

A hybrid of downhill skiing and snowshoeing, cross-country skiing is a great way to explore the wintry landscapes of parklands. The techniques for this sport vary, but skiers aim to propel themselves forward, armed with ski poles, by either striding forward in the ‘classic style’, or side-to-side in a skating motion in a newer style called ‘skate skiing’. This activity can range from a few hours to an all day experience, and may not be available in all parts of the country, so plan accordingly! 

 

2. Rock climbing 

Rock climbing,whether you are scrambling, bouldering, or repelling, is a fun way to test your strength and skills outdoors. The gear you’ll need ranges on the activity and intensity of the climb. For example, if you are repelling, you’ll need a climbing helmet, a harness and a belay device on a carabiner, and for bouldering, you’ll need a chalk bag, climbing shoes, and crash pad for protection when you drop off. This is a high risk activity that can result in serious injury if not done properly, so if you are new to the sport, we suggest teaming up with someone who has experience and can guide you through the process.

 

3. Kayaking 

Nothing says warm weather better than a day on the water. Kayaking, whether you’re on a river, a lake, or in the ocean, is a great way to take in the scenery around you from a different viewpoint on the next sunny day. From the water, you’ll be able to explore areas that are inaccessible by simply hiking. Many areas have restrictions and regulations when boating—look out for spots that are on private property, or are closed to boats. Always remember to wear your lifejacket, pack plenty of sunscreen and water, and pack in what you pack out!

 

4. Bird-watching

Spring is a fantastic time to get into bird-watching or ‘birding’. The migration season has just begun, so you’re likely to see new and returning visitors to your backyard or local park. To start birding, simply select a site where you’ve seen a lot of birds, like a bird feeder in your own backyard! Good bird-watching is all about patience, observation, and a few helpful tools! A good set of binoculars and a guide (a regional book or an app will work) are the keys to success. We suggest starting with the birds you most commonly see—look up the most common birds in your state or region and keep an eye, and eventually an ear, out for them while walking around. Once you’ve learned your locals, branch out into migratory birds and start keeping a list.

 

5. Forest Bathing 

Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, originated in Japan in the 1980’s with the goal of reconnecting with nature through mindful meditation. Unlike the typical nature walk or hike, the idea is to disconnect from all distractions (keep that phone on silent or off) and focus on the natural world around us, fully immersing yourself in the outdoors and working towards better mental health. Slow down and listen to the wind in the leaves, watch ants on a log, or dip your toes in a stream. Though called ‘forest bathing’, a forest doesn’t have to be involved—simply visit an accessible outdoor space; this could be your backyard, local greenway, or a nearby park.

 

Bonus: Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

For those looking for outdoor fun for the whole family, try a diy outdoor scavenger hunt! This is a great way to get kids of all ages interested in the natural world around them. Simply create or source a printable list of items to look for on your next outing (things like a pinecone, green leaves, a nesting bird, etc.) and start exploring!

 

 

Springtime looks a little different across the country; some places, like Yosemite National Park, are still covered in snow, while others, like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, are seeing blooming wildflowers. As the weather starts to warm up, we’re itching to get back outdoors and enjoy the natural world around us, whatever that may look like. Need some inspiration? Here are 5 activities to try this spring!

 

1.  Cross-country skiing

A hybrid of downhill skiing and snowshoeing, cross-country skiing is a great way to explore the wintry landscapes of parklands. The techniques for this sport vary, but skiers aim to propel themselves forward, armed with ski poles, by either striding forward in the ‘classic style’, or side-to-side in a skating motion in a newer style called ‘skate skiing’. This activity can range from a few hours to an all day experience, and may not be available in all parts of the country, so plan accordingly! 

 

 

2. Rock climbing 

Rock climbing, whether you are scrambling, bouldering, or repelling, is a fun way to test your strength and skills outdoors. The gear you’ll need ranges on the activity and intensity of the climb. For example, if you are repelling, you’ll need a climbing helmet, a harness and a belay device on a carabiner, and for bouldering, you’ll need a chalk bag, climbing shoes, and crash pad for protection when you drop off. This is a high risk activity that can result in serious injury if not done properly, so if you are new to the sport, we suggest teaming up with someone who has experience and can guide you through the process. 

 

 

3. Kayaking 

Nothing says warm weather better than a day on the water. Kayaking, whether you’re on a river, a lake, or in the ocean, is a great way to take in the scenery around you from a different viewpoint. From the water, you’ll be able to explore areas that are inaccessible by simply hiking. Many areas have restrictions and regulations when boating—look out for spots that are on private property, or are closed to boats. Always remember to wear your lifejacket, pack plenty of sunscreen and water, and pack in what you pack out!

 

 

4. Bird-watching

Spring is a fantastic time to get into bird-watching or ‘birding’. The migration season has just begun, so you’re likely to see new and returning visitors to your backyard or local park. To start birding, simply select a site where you’ve seen a lot of birds, like a bird feeder! Good bird-watching is all about patience, observation, and a few helpful tools! A good set of binoculars and a guide (a regional book or an app will work) are the keys to success. We suggest starting with the birds you most commonly see—look up the most common birds in your state or region and keep an eye, and eventually an ear, out for them while walking around. Once you’ve learned your locals, branch out into migratory birds and start keeping a list! 

 

 

5. Forest Bathing 

Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, originated in Japan in the 1980’s with the goal of reconnecting with nature through mindful meditation. Unlike the typical nature walk or hike, the idea is to disconnect from all distractions (keep that phone on silent or off) and focus on the natural world around us, fully immersing yourself in the outdoors. Slow down and listen to the wind in the leaves, watch ants on a log, or dip your toes in a stream. Though called ‘forest bathing’, a forest doesn’t have to be involved—simply visit an accessible outdoor space; this could be your backyard, local greenway, or a nearby park. 

 

Springtime looks a little different across the country; some places, like Yosemite National Park, are still covered in snow, while others, like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, are seeing blooming wildflowers. As the weather starts to warm up, we’re itching to get back outdoors. Need some inspiration? Here are 5 activities to try this spring! 
Explore more from: In Park
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