BlogDecember 2023

13 December Outdoor Adventures With or Without Snow

13 December Outdoor Adventures With or Without Snow

By Jeff Bogle

Dec 15, 2023

Check out these 12 December outdoor adventures for couples to try this year and winter outdoor adventures on a budget with or without snow.

Your natural inclination in winter may be to hunker down indoors, light candles, pull snuggly warm blankets up to your chin, and wait for spring, but there are many December outdoor adventures and outdoor activities for families to make venturing out in winter fun and memorable, with or without snow. Here are a baker’s dozen December outdoor adventures for couples to try and winter outdoor adventures on a budget that won’t break the bank (many don’t cost a penny)!

December Outdoor Adventures With Snow


1. Sledding and Tubing

When it comes to December outdoor adventures on a budget, it's practically impossible to do better than spending a frosty day zooming down a snowy hill in an Inflatable inner tube or plastic sled. The gear needed — tubes and sleds — are affordable, readily available, and accessible in most discount stores in communities that often see snow. Then all you need for your inexpensive December outdoor adventures is a good hill and a good winter storm to put down a few inches of powder!

2. Hiking

Whether you're looking for December outdoor adventures for couples or December outdoor activities for families, a winter hike is a great way to experience nature, avoid the crowds at indoor locations (like a shopping mall choke full of holiday shoppers), and get some exercise together with the ones you love.

3. Ice Fishing

You can, of course, make fishing a group activity, but a day spent on the ice with a hole cut and a line dropped is one of the most enjoyable December outdoor adventures for solo travelers who love to fish. Learn all about the ice fishing basics and then get ready to enjoy literally the coolest of December outdoor adventures!

4. Winter Festival or Holiday Market

Many cities, towns, and communities across the country have pop-up holiday markets and winter festivals in December. As you search for, "outdoor adventures near me," consider spending a chilly night out with your family, shopping for gifts, listening to carolers, playing games, and eating traditional wintertime treats.

5. Holiday Lights Tour

On your own on foot, in a toasty warm car, or during an organized neighborhood tour, spending a night outside looking at holiday light displays is one of the best December outdoor activities for families that doesn't cost a penny! And if you have a dog, put them in a cute and cozy holiday sweater and let them participate too because touring holiday light is one of the great December outdoor adventures for dogs too!

6. Soak in a Hot Spring or Hot Tub

The paradox of being incredibly warm while barely dressed as the snow falls and your breath is visible is nothing short of intoxicating. If you're looking for December outdoor adventures for beginners or romantic December outdoor adventures for couples, finding a hot springs location near you or booking a winter getaway to a cabin with an outdoor hot tub is a very relaxing wintertime activity.

7. Ice Skating

You don't need to be able to pull off a triple salchow, axel, or toe loop to truly enjoy December outdoor activities for families on the cool, slick ice. When you look for, "outdoor adventures near me," search for seasonal outdoor rinks where you can either hug the wall as you make your way around the oval or show off your ability to go backward!

8. Skiing or Snowboarding

Spending a winter day on the slopes, and then in a wooded lodge with hot cocoa in hand, can provide great December outdoor adventures and lifelong memories. While older folks can also enjoy a day on the slopes and sipping hot beverages afterward, backcountry skiing would not be one of the recommended December outdoor adventures for seniors.

9. Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding

This outdoor December adventure is defined as skiing outside of the boundaries of a resort or a planned ski slope. Because accessing secluded backcountry routes is done by climbing up mountainsides to find paths that are outside the realm of a ski resort, this is one of the December outdoor adventures for experienced adventurers only.

10. Snow Camping

Wintertime camping deep in a snowy location is one of the best December outdoor adventures for experienced adventurers. This activity should only be attempted by individuals who understand the risks, have the best winter outdoor gear, and possess the skills and knowledge to stay safe during a thrilling night in the snow and under the stars.

December Outdoor Adventures Without Snow

If snow is scare in your part of the country, you can still find outdoor adventures on a budget and December outdoor activities for families this winter.


11. Build a Fort

Even if you don't get significant snowfall, you may experience winter storms that knock branches down to the ground. Gather your kids and gather branches to make a fort for them to play in. This is also one of the December outdoor adventures for dogs too, because your pup will love being in a wooden, DIY dog house.

12. Sand Dune Sledding

With nothing more than a flattened cardboard box and a sandy hill, you can have December outdoor adventures sans snow!

13. Nature Scavenger Hunt

Winter might not bring you sheets of pristine white, but chances are your neighborhood will have crunchy leaves, acorns, pinecones, and other nature’s other wintertime bounty. If you want kid-friendly outdoor adventures on a budget this month, create a scavenger hunt in which your little ones will need to find a series of things in nature to win. This will get them excited to have fun outside, be active, and engage in a tactile sense with the great outdoors.


For even more December outdoor adventures, consider trying one of these exciting new winter hobbies this year.

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle
Jeff is a dad of teen daughters, avid traveler, photographer, and freelance writer. He’s penned stories on family travel, outdoor recreation, the environment, parenting, and more for Fodor’s, Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, PBS, and Esquire, among other publications. Find him on his blog, and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion