By any measure, this year has been a difficult one. Anxiety, unrest, and a pandemic still have many Americans on edge. Thankfully, the many benefits of nature have not been diminished. In fact, the benefits of going outside are even more pronounced right now. Here are six fun things to do outside, alone or with family and friends.
From catching and releasing to catching to cook, a day spent with rod and reel in hand is the greatest of all outdoor ac-tivities. Soak up the sun or the pre-dawn dew, and experience the benefits of being in nature at your favorite fishing hole.
Thanks to a cool breeze whipping through your hair and a coveted temporary 'escape' from civilization back on land, boating is a classic year round activity that naturally promotes the benefits of being outside. Check out the 5 best boating destinations for your winter vacation this year!
Take a hike
Find a loop trail covering a distance and terrain you feel comfortable with, and set out for a hike to experience the bene-fits of nature this fall. Crunchy leaves and brisk clean air combine to fill up your senses and leave you refreshed and thankful. While hiking, your mind may declutter and you’ll quickly recognize the benefits of spending time in nature.
The world tends to look differently when viewed through a camera lens. Colors are more defined, shadows and light em-brace and dance into the evening, and nature will at times offer up meaning and life lessons. Additionally, honing in on granular detail instead of everything all of the time may just help your mind focus. Using your phone to capture even just some of what the outside world puts on show is a calming and creative way to be outside, and receiving the health bene-fits of nature has no co-pay or deductible! Indulging your artistic side is one of the best outdoor activities to improve your mental health.
Install a bird feeder and squirrel/chipmunk picnic table
Not only does this outdoor activity make backyard co-habitants fat and happy deep into winter, it's a fun way to engage with nature while relaxing outside and, when too chilly, while snuggled up indoors. Plus, your kitty cats will be thankful for the free entertainment! Opt for simple, inexpensive suet cages or a proper bird feeder with seed, and also consider put-ting out some whole peanuts for the squirrels (you don’t need to buy a small wooden picnic table for chipmunks and squirrels, but doing so is positively adorable!)
Walk a beach in the offseason
You cannot underestimate the benefits of nature, and a beach is one of the most magical places in the natural world! Whether you opt for a road trip to your nearest ocean for a socially-distant, sunny and warm, sandy beach stroll or simply amble along a local lakefront beach with the people you love, walking on a quiet beach may reduce anxiety and put your focus back on the beauty that still exists in the world. Of course you can fish from the beach too! Here are 8 beach fishing tips for beginners.
Need some alone time? Check out these 14 fun things to do outside all by yourself!
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, OWTK.com and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion