Outdoor Activities While Social Distancing

Today while dropping something off to a friend, I encountered quite a crowd running on the backroads. Of course, they were all at least 6 feet apart, but staying active while being safe. The governor of Montana even has outdoor activities listed as an essential activity, as long as people are following the CDC guidelines. Even though you may be cooped up inside in a place that you can’t get outdoors, there are many ways to enjoy the outside without having to adventure into the mountains and forest, or even leave your house. Here are just a few things to try while you’re self-quarantining, social distancing or following a stay-at-home order.

Walk or Hike With SilentHike– I came across the SilentHike download a few weeks ago and it was perfect timing. A relaxing guided meditation download, it has been really helpful to calm the nerves and change up the routine during my hikes and walks. You can check out the full review here.

Create an Outdoor Adventure Bucket List– Cooped up inside and unable to travel? Why not update or create the ultimate outdoor bucket list? Check out this post on creating an outdoor adventure bucket list and where some of my inspiration comes from. Create a vision board or a scrapbook of all of the adventures you want to go on or places you want to explore.

Take Nature Photos – Go outside!!! Even if it is in your own yard and you don’t have a fancy camera, try taking some nature photos. It is a great way to soak in a bit of fresh air and vitamin D. My kids and I have enjoyed short walks and taking pictures of whatever we find.

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The first buttercup of Spring

Explore the National Parks Virtually – I am a fan of Google Earth. It has been a few years since I looked at it, and it sure has changed. Besides it being free, you can explore over 30 of the National Parks right from your living room. Check out Yellowstone, Glacier and Arches, to name a few.

Try Atlas Obscura’s List of “Wonder From Home” – So many things to choose from, right from the comfort of your home. From aquariums to helping scientists, there is so much to choose from, and right from your own couch. Some of the nature-inspired adventures include:

Bird Watching – Hang up a bird feeder outside your home or go for a nature walk to discover birds. If you need help identifying birds, check out a local Facebook birding group like Montana Birding or a bird guide like “National Geographic’s Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America“. Be sure to grab your binoculars.

Explore the Earth From Space With Earth Observatory – One of my favorite things about living in the mountains, is being able to gaze up at night and see millions of stars with no light pollution. I have fond memories of laying outdoors at night when I was a kid and trying to figure out the constellations. But the Earth Observatory is amazing!!! So many celestial features that can’t be seen with the naked eye and some of the coolest pictures of the earth from space.

Meditate in Nature – Besides SilentHike, another great way to balance and rejuvenate the mind is to meditate in nature. I find that sitting quietly, breathing and observing nature can be so calming. I know this is a children’s book, but “Put On Your Your Owl’s Eyes” is the perfect mix of meditation, observation and nature journaling. Check out my review here.

Practice Your Outdoor Cooking Skills – It is almost summertime and I am ready for cooking outdoors. I cook just as well outside over a fire or using a camp stove, as I do on my stove pot. Because many camping recipes use a few ingredients, this should be perfect right when a lot of foods are missing from the grocery stores. Our favorite resource for backpacking and camping meals is montYboca, which I have done a few reviews on this site about, including a review of their backpacking recipe book.

Hike or Walk the Backroads and Off the Beaten Path – Hiking or walking is a great way to get outdoors and practice social distancing. As a family and as an individual, I prefer to keep to the roads and paths less traveled. I go to be by myself or to spend quality time with my kids. We are always looking for new trails and luckily live in a place where there are thousands. Two apps that I absolutely love are:

  • onX offroad – This is the best app that I have found for finding trails and maps. It details all of the trail on your area and specifies what kind of traffic i.e foot, horse, atv etc. is allowed on each trail. The downloadable maps are fantastic for navigating. I discovered this app last year and I think it is a must for all outdoor enthusiasts. Initially, I used it to find open off-roading trails because the travel maps are cumbersome, hard to read and not consumer-friendly. Now I use it for all of my trips, on for and on wheels.
  • AllTrails – After I have found new hiking trails on onX offroad, I look them up on AllTrails for more information, such as the difficulty, length, and reviews from other hikers.

Listen to Outdoor and Nature Podcasts – There are so many outdoor-themed podcasts. Here’s a few from my post last year, that I absolutely love. I particularly enjoy the American National Park’s Podcast, one of my favorites.

Trek or Through-Hike From Your Own Home – Many mountaineers and adventure enthusiasts haven’t let social distancing ruin their fun. Rail runner Rory Southworth got together 30 hikers, runners and climbers to “climb” to Everest Base Camp virtually. These guys climbed stairs as home and even camped in their living rooms. Becky the Traveler came up with an awesome guide on how to turn your stairs into a mountain. So, why not get your gear together and “climb” the highest peak in your state or “hike” the Pacific Crest Trail, right in your own home? It’s a great way to get exercise too.

Coronavirus: Trekkers climb Height of Everest at Home

Explore the Outdoors With Documentaries – If you can’t go yourself, at least you can observe nature from your own living room. I mentioned in another post the because of sickness, bad weather and upgraded internet, we are now streaming. I didn’t want my kids to completely rot their brains because watching tv is a novelty at our house, so we have been streaming a lot of National Geographic documentaries. Our favorites so far have been the National Parks Collection, Lewis and Clark (because we live about 5 miles from the historic trail), and lots of Disneynature. My son loves Disneynature Bears the best.

Yard Games – Now is the perfect time to practice for the summer evenings and the full-contact family competitions. I kid you know, all sports in our family become full-contact at some point, including rockhounding. Try some crochet or the classic game of horseshoes. Now that the snow is kind-of melted and the sun sets later, our evenings have been full of good old-fashioned family competition.

Rock Hounding – I am sure every kid I know has come home with rocks in their pockets at least once. I love looking for rocks like fossils and crystals. And I have never encountered anyone else on any of my rockhounding adventures. Check with your local rock hounding group or online for great areas to find some gems, pun intended. Falcon Guides has a lot of resources for rockhounding especially by state and many other outdoor adventures. Be sure to adhere to all local rules and guidelines.

Go Camping – And if all else fails, go camping. Find the most remote spot that you know and pitch a tent or park the RV. Unfortunately, there is too much snow in the mountains right now, otherwise, that is where I would be. I am not a big fan of snow camping. Besides, who says you have to camp in the forest or mountains? Try pitching your tent in your yard or even in your living room.

Can you think of any outdoor adventures that you can try from the comfort of your home? What other outdoor activities can you try while safely social distancing? Which of these would you try? As always, be outside with no limits but don’t forget social distancing, even when the world is off-kilter.

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Comments

  • Cindy

    1 year agoReply

    Hoping to get to some of that nature photography today. Finally warm enough that I am willing to go out.

    • admin

      1 year agoReply

      The weather hasn’t been the most cooperative this year, has it?

  • Debbie

    1 year agoReply

    Great ideas. I enjoy spending time outdoors.

  • Sydney

    1 year agoReply

    Great list! Getting outside, while following CDC like you mentioned, is a great way to stay busy!

  • Diane Kurzava

    1 year agoReply

    I love these ideas! Sometimes we get stuck coming up with creative ideas and these are perfect. I especially like the “cooking outside” idea!

  • Lisa Manderino

    1 year agoReply

    These are all great ideas! It brings joy to my soul to get fresh air and explore!

  • Jennifer

    1 year agoReply

    Fishing even solo fishing is banned here. Virtual is the go.

    • admin

      1 year agoReply

      That’s terrible!! Even though Montana is shelter in place, people are encouraged to get outside, including fishing.

  • Sara - Seek Discover Learn

    1 year agoReply

    This is a great list of ideas. Apparently I haven’t been doing a lot of thinking outside of the box, because we’ve just been walking around our neighborhood and that’s it. I love your idea of taking photographs. My kids love taking pictures, and that would be a fun family activity. I have 4 kids and we could all take a camera and come back and vote on which pictures we like best. Your post also made me remember that we got a free telescope a few months ago and haven’t pulled it out to use it yet. Now would be a great time to do that. My kids (ages 3-11) would love that.

    • admin

      1 year agoReply

      Very cool. I wish we had a telescope.

  • Casandra

    1 year agoReply

    I have not heard of silent hike before. That sounds like a wonderful option.

  • erin

    1 year agoReply

    Great ideas! Unfortunately in Ontario, we’re encouraged to stay in and all of our trails, parks and campgrounds are closed. I wish we had outdoor activities listed as essential!

    • admin

      1 year agoReply

      That’s terrible. Here in Montana outdoor activities are considered essential. There are a few things on this list you can try at home or in your yard.

  • Tim

    1 year agoReply

    Great list of activities. I am glad to be in Montana where outdoor activity is considered essential.

    • admin

      1 year agoReply

      Same. We are pretty lucky.

  • Debbi H

    1 year agoReply

    These are great ideas! I love the idea of nature photography. My teenage son might even enjoy that.

  • Tonya | the Writer Mom

    1 year agoReply

    We’re lucky enough to live out in the country, where we rarely see other people. Now,we just need the ground to dry up enough that we can actually enjoy being outside!

  • Chantelle

    1 year agoReply

    We aren’t allowed to hike here in Washington, but Silent Hike sounds amazing! We will put a few of your other options to use as well!

  • Tricia Snow

    1 year agoReply

    These are great ideas! I love having birds in my backyard. Photographing wildlife is one of my favorite things to do.

  • Charlene

    1 year agoReply

    I’ve used AllTrails before, but I’ll have to check out SilentHike.

  • Angie

    1 year agoReply

    Great post. I’m missing my outdoor time and should make it a point to get out more and get back to nature.

  • Hillari

    1 year agoReply

    I love these options. We are waiting for the weather to cooperate here – fingers crossed it is soon!

  • SUzan | It’s My Sustainable Life

    1 year agoReply

    Great roundup of ideas to keep me busy!

  • heather J jandrue

    1 year agoReply

    Yes, we can still head outside for exercise. I have been running and taking lots of dog walks. My kids have been hanging in the back yard a bit more.

  • Tiffany

    1 year agoReply

    We have been bike riding and exploring larger walking paths in our neighborhood! It’s always a better day when we get outdoor time!

  • Christina

    1 year agoReply

    These are all awesome ideas! I love going for walks with my girls, and adding a camera to the walk is a great idea. Thank you!

  • Lisa

    1 year agoReply

    Excellent ideas! The Animal Kingdom is going on our list!!

  • Jason Gowin

    1 year agoReply

    What a great bunch of ideas! Thank you for sharing!

  • Beth Shields

    1 year agoReply

    Great suggestions and I love “Climbing Mount Everest”. Very clever for sure.

  • Kendra

    1 year agoReply

    So many great suggestions! I really want to go on a nature hike today and get lots of pictures!

  • jen

    1 year agoReply

    I love this list so much! I am going to implement several of them!

  • cathy

    1 year agoReply

    Thank God for the great outdoors! It’s one place we can practice social distancing… in most places. I also love feeding the birds in our backyard and taking a walk down by the lake. If it wasn’t for being able to enjoy nature, I would be going crazy right now! Beautiful post!

  • Amy

    1 year agoReply

    I love the idea of exploring the national parks virtually. I have lupus, so I am not able to be outdoors much. Visiting the parks virtually is the next best thing.

  • Lisa

    1 year agoReply

    Great ideas I know we are going stir crazy over here.

  • Sandi

    1 year agoReply

    Great post, but I want to be on that rock, looking at those gorgeous mountains.

  • Michele

    1 year agoReply

    The outdoors have been our saving grace during this time. I am thankful for where we live and being able to get outside.

  • Cindy Moore

    1 year agoReply

    Wonderful suggestions for important time outdoors. I’d add gardening to the list!

  • Missy

    1 year agoReply

    We have been walking in our neighborhood.

  • Brooke

    1 year agoReply

    We hike most days. I have never heard of that app before so I will definitely have to check it out. Sounds like a great way to relax and enjoy nature even more. Thanks for the tip!

  • Jean

    1 year agoReply

    Love the ideas, especially the yard games. People in general don’t go out to play and explore like they used to, including me. As a child I was always outside no matter the temperature or the weather…sun, snow, wind, etc. These are great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  • Alice

    1 year agoReply

    These are great ideas. Our governor is opening up our state forests and parks this Friday. Just in time for opening day fishing season.

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