5 Tips for Making the Most of the Outdoors Right Around You

Find those "close-to-home" adventures that you can go on right now.

There are many things I enjoy when it comes to living in the city, but sometimes it can feel impossible to get away from all the hustle and bustle, or to make any time for enjoying the outdoors. Being a weekend warrior is simply a way of life for many of us, but there are still plenty of opportunities to experience and explore nature during a typical week, without needing to travel. Here are five tips for getting the most of the outdoors right where you live:

Check Out Local Parks, Rivers, and Green Spaces


Look up your city's parks and recreation department (and any local maps) to see what your area has to offer - there may be some real gems in terms of parks and semi-wild areas near you. Maybe an adventure would simply be to follow that stream nearby and see where it goes. Do a little research, then go check out a few places for yourself - you could end up with your new favorite birdwatching or sunbathing spot.

Try Commuting by Bike or on Foot


It can be very easy in the city to spend hours sitting in traffic during your commute. However, if you live close enough to your workplace, why not try turning some of that commute time into outdoors time? Riding a bike (or walking if you're close enough) is not only great exercise, it totally changes your state of mind on your journeys to and from work. If you can get away from roads and onto a trail, then even better! Your commute might end up being your favorite part of the day.

Be Present and Observant


You may not think your local park or trail has that much to offer, or maybe you've just been through it a million times. Being observant, looking for small details, and using all of your senses can bring seemingly dull places to life. Insects, flowers, birds, and interestingly-shaped trees can all be easy to miss if we aren't paying close attention. Look around for the color of leaves and flowers, listen for birds singing and frogs croaking, feel the wind on your face, and smell whatever there is to smell!

“How much virtue there is in simply seeing.”
“We find only the world we look for.” 
- Henry David Thoreau

Find the Beauty in Every Season


Spring? Find a quiet park or neighborhood that has trees or flowers in bloom. Summer? Paddle a local river, swim in a lake, or just pack a picnic and enjoy the sun. Fall? Go for a walk and admire the leaves changing color, or string up your hammock and settle down with a good book. Winter? Take advantage of the solitude outdoors while everyone else is staying warm indoors!

Mix it Up a Bit


Do you normally walk a mile or two down your local trail or greenway? Try biking the same route, but go further and explore more of it. Do you usually run or ride through the park? Try bringing a book down to the creek and relaxing for a while. Do you only ever keep things to daylight hours? Trying going for a moonlight stroll. It's easy to slip into a rut when you know your area so well, but if you try mixing up your activities every once in a while, you never know what you'll find!

While doing a little traveling for weekend (or longer) trips is amazing whenever we're able to do it, there may be an entire world of natural beauty right outside our doors just waiting to be discovered. Let's get out there and discover it!

Published: April 12, 2017

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Andrew Todd

Atlanta

Web developer by weekday. Cyclist, hiker, and bookworm the rest of the time.