12 Fun Outdoor Activities for When You Need to Get Out of the House

Itching to hit the biking trails yourself? Consider finding a cycling group in your area so that you can connect with and learn from experienced riders, as SELF previously reported. Check out USA Cycling’s club search tool to find groups near you.

5. Plan an outdoor adventure date.

Injecting an element of surprise into your next date night can help rekindle a sense of romance, Boston-based licensed mental health counselor Samantha Burns, MA, LMHC, and author of Done with Dating: 7 Steps to Finding Your Person, tells SELF. And one way to do so is by planning an outdoor thrill-seeking date, like a zip-line and ropes course or an amusement park. “Make sure to cheer your partner on and support them if they find it challenging or scary,” Burns says. Along the way, look for opportunities for physical touch, she adds. Think hand-holding, kissing, high-fives, and hugs.

Another option: water sports! If you live near a body of water—like an ocean, lake, reservoir, or river—consider renting a stand-up paddleboard and taking it for a spin. Not only does this activity allow you to chat and continue to get to know your partner, but exercise releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter known as the happy hormone. And as Burns puts it: “Now you can associate your partner with this invigorated mood.” 

6. Play in your backyard.

With just a little preplanning and a willingness to let loose, you can beat the heat and have a grand old time right at home—no travel to a National Park or other far-flung location required! 

One such way to do so? Take a cue from Pierson and let your yard host a slip-and-slide—yep, the classic activity where you slither and glide on a slick tarp. Pierson bought her slide at the grocery store for $15, and set it up in the lawn with a hose, where it’s already gotten a lot of use for kids and adults alike. 

Trust us: This is one of those classic outdoor activities that’s a blast for the whole family no matter your age! It can feel refreshing on a hot day and also pretty exhilarating to zip down the slide. Here’s a highly rated option (Amazon, $40) to test it out yourself.

7. Pitch a tent and fire up some s’mores. 

When it comes to outdoor activities that really immerse you in nature, camping is hard to beat. “I like that peace and quiet that comes from camping and tending the fire and just being in a beautiful place where it’s all around,” McCord says. Instead of frequenting campgrounds, McCord prefers dispersed camping on land that’s in a national forest or managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which tends to be more secluded. “I just like going out to a more middle-of-nowhere spot,” he says. “You have the whole place to yourself—it’s more of an extension of the solitude, the meditative nature of nature.” Totally new to it? Check out our guide for camping for beginners and consider this raved-about camping gear for your next trip.  

8. Play a round of mini golf or disc golf.

Scope an outdoor mini golf or disc golf (a specific type of frisbee game) course in your area and take your partner next time date night rolls around. Either activity “is a great way to create opportunities for flirtatious competition,” Burns says. “You can up the ante by making some bets, such as [where] to go on another date, or who pays for the ice cream afterward!” Even in a non-date setting, opting for a round of mini or disc golf can be a fun way to play in the outdoors.

9. Float down a river. 

For super-adventurous folks, whitewater rafting may make the list of ideal outdoor activities. But for people seeking chill time on the water? A gentle river float may be just the ticket. On warm summer days, Pierson and her family grab life jackets and tie a whole bunch of inner tubes together and then float on them down a river. They’ll get out at a certain location and have a picnic. In many places, you can also rent tubes and get more guidance on the ideal places to float—search “lazy river tubing near me” to discover options.  

10. Sneak in a quick meditation. 

For a rejuvenating work day break, consider heading outside for a meditation session—here’s a 10-minute guided one to try. During a recent shift, Conry slipped outside during lunch for some outdoor respite. After she finished eating, she popped in her earphones and did a simple guided meditation to help ground herself. 

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