We all know that time spent outdoors has the unique ability to heal. Whether it’s the vitamin D, the sunshine or the fresh air, nature grants us serenity and happiness no matter what we’re going through. And that’s not just anecdotal, either! There are a myriad of studies confirming what we already suspect — outdoor time equals a better mood, stronger mental focus and more positive thinking. If you’re looking for some simple ways to log more hours outside, and to improve your overall health and happiness, consider getting cozy with one of these amazing outdoor hobbies.
- Motorcycle Riding — Hit the wide-open road and see miles of breathtaking natural landscapes from the saddle! These days, with cutting-edge motorcycle helmet speakers and other helmet communication devices, you can focus on enjoying the fresh air while you listen to music or podcasts.
- Gardening — Gardening is one of the most rewarding outdoor hobbies there is, as it not only affords you the leisure and joy of outdoor time, but also leaves you with plenty to show for it in the form of fruits, veggies and fresh-cut flowers you can share with friends and family throughout the season.
- Volunteering — There are many volunteer activities that involve spending time outside, including dog-walking for the local animal shelter, picking up litter with conservation organizations, gardening for local beautification efforts, canvassing door-to-door for a cause you believe in or helping to build homes for families in need. When you get to do good in the outdoors, it’s a win-win for you and your community!
- Geocaching — Billed as the “world’s largest treasure hunt,” geocaching involves using traditional wayfinding methods — maps, a compass and GPS — to discover hidden “caches” marked by coordinates around the world. There are millions of geocaches hidden throughout the world — about three million, to be exact — in 191 different countries, so there are surely some near you!
- Fly Fishing — Fly fishing is gaining a lot of steam among outdoor enthusiasts, and it’s not hard to see why. Compared with spin fishing, fly fishing brings a whole new set of challenges in a more peaceful, serene setting. Many fly fishing enthusiasts adore the natural calm of the stream environment and the craft of making their own intricate flies.
- Local History — Take a walk around a historical area, cemetery or landmark and you’ll be logging your steps for the day, enjoying the fresh air and learning something new all at the same time! Check with your local historical society for guided or independent walking tours to discover some rich historical splendor right around the corner.
- Barbecuing — In essence, barbecuing is just the art of cooking outside. If you gravitate towards food-focused hobbies, consider foraying into the world of wood-fired grilling, smoking your own meats and experimenting with different fuel sources. Although it seems straightforward, there is a surprising amount of nuance to grilling and barbecuing, so it’s definitely something you can sink your teeth into, both literally and figuratively.
- Roller-Skating — If your goal is to master a new hobby that gets you outside and contributes to your overall physical well-being, consider hopping on wheels. Whether it’s the classic four-wheeled roller-skating setup, in-line skates or a skateboard, wheeling through the neighborhood can help you soak up some sun, strengthen your muscles and build up endurance.
- Backcountry Camping — Camping is the original outdoor hobby, and one that’s as popular as ever. But if you really want to give it an all-natural twist, consider pitching a tent off the grid. Backcountry camping involves hiking with all your gear out to a remote area — typically somewhere not accessible by car — and setting up camp in a faraway spot.
- Day Hiking — Hiking is one of the very best activities for active outdoorsy types who want to soak up the peace and quiet of nature. If you want to kick your hiking game up a few notches, consider setting out for a day hike over several hours and miles. A longer hike requires more preparation, so make sure you pack meals, an emergency kit and extra water for the day, and be sure you’re physically fit enough for the terrain you plan to conquer.
- Backyard Games — Hiking and camping are classics, but your new outdoor hobby need not be anything too serious. In fact, for many of us, it’s a good old-fashioned round of gameplay that gets us into an outdoor state of mind! Volleyball, lawn darts, cornhole or regular old catch are great options.
- Flying Kites — You see people flying kites up and down the beach in the summer, but this is one underrated hobby that can bring year-round entertainment. Kite novices generally start with single-string line kites and then advance to more complicated options, such as two-line stunt kites. To get started, bone up on the Beaufort Scale and steer clear of power lines!
- Bird-Watching — If it’s serenity and knowledge you seek, birding may be the answer to your outdoor hobby prayers. This activity involves posting up in scenic environments — woods, mountains, coastal areas, etc. — with binoculars and the National Audubon Society Field Guides to scope out and potentially even photograph rare and majestic birds.
- Snowmobiling — Who says you have to stay inside when it’s snowing? Hopping on the back of a motor sled and cruising over packed snow is an amazing way to get your fresh air and vitamin D when it’s freezing out. Plus, it’s the perfect hobby for thrill-seekers who love pushing top speeds.
- Sailing — Sailing is a challenging yet surprisingly approachable hobby for those who love the water. If you’re brand-new to the sport, it’s a good idea to start out by renting a beach-launched dinghy, such as a Sunfish or a Hobie Cat, to get familiar with the concepts before advancing to a larger vessel.
Source: Pierre-Yves Babelon/Shutterstock.com
Time spent outdoors should be healing, beneficial and all-around enjoyable, and we know there’s a hobby on this list that ticks all of those boxes for you! Remember to hop around and try new things as you please until you find an activity that sticks.