I don’t know if it’s the cooler temps or that left over back-to-school feeling from childhood, but Labor Day weekend always feels like the beginning of the end to me. Fun times over, put away your hiking gear, pack up your tents and kayaks, and get back to work. While the kids may be busy with school and sports, and you have less free time yourself, there’s no need to give up on fun altogether. If you’re a committed outdoor enthusiast you can still find ways to have meaningful outdoor microadventures this fall!
What’s a microadventure you may be asking yourself? British adventurer and author Alistair Humphrey describes them as “adventures that are close to home, cheap, simple, short, and yet very effective” (check out his book Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes). You don’t have to spend a week in the backcountry or complete a thru-hike to have a great and memorable experience. There are plenty of activities that can be done locally in a spare afternoon and with minimal preparation.
Here are five ideas from Woolx HQ to get you started:
- Explore one of the 59 National Parks, 154 National Forests and 6,624 State Parks in the U.S., chances are you live in reasonable driving distance of at least one. Take a Saturday afternoon to hike, bike or even horseback ride. These protected areas are held in trust for all of us, and enjoying their natural beauty is the birthright of every American! If you’re lucky enough to have a fourth grader in your family you can take advantage of the National Park Service program A Kid in Every Park to get a FREE annual pass to public lands.
- Get down on the farm. Support your local growers! Hit up a farmer’s market or better yet find a pick your own pumpkin patch or apple orchard. Many farms provide a host of outdoor activities this time of year to help you enjoy the harvest season, corn mazes, hay rides, cider presses and most importantly freshly made donuts! Check out vineyards or craft breweries for some grown up fun, quite a few offer tours through the grape vines and hops!
- Embrace the darkness! As the sun starts to set earlier and earlier, rather than lament the dying of the light get outside and enjoy the unique opportunities dark skies have to offer, and still be in bed by 10! Hike up a local hill to take in an early sunset or late sunrise. Try getting in touch with your inner astronomer with some backyard stargazing. September is great month to get started, there’s a rare Supermoon Lunar Eclipse on the 27th. You don’t need to worry about buying expensive equipment, there’s plenty of awesome celestial activity to enjoy with just the naked eye. Check out Space.com for some great tips for beginners.
- Urban Adventure! If you live in a larger city it can seem impossible to find the time to get away for even a short trip, but many urban areas offer awesome adventure opportunities right in the heart of the city. Explore small parks, go for a run along the river, take a bike tour of a neighborhood you’ve never visited, find an indoor climbing wall or get your scuba certification. Not all microadventures have to be outdoors, learning a new fun skill can also provide you with a rush of adrenaline and the feeling of escape from the everyday that you’re looking for.
- Backyard camping staycation – Now’s the perfect time to practice your backcountry expertise in the privacy and safety of your own backyard. Take a night to set up camp in the garden and test yourself on your survival skills. Get ready for future worst case scenarios, try starting a fire without a match or work on your bandaging and splint making abilities. If you’re feeling more optimistic about your future camping endeavors try out some new campfire recipes. Be bold in your culinary experiments, you can always order a pizza if it goes horribly wrong!
Chances are your community has even more region specific opportunities to get outside and have fun. Check your local library or your town’s tourism website to find local attractions and events, microadventures are everywhere! It seems everyday we’re learning more about the mental and physical benefits of an active outdoor lifestyle, some doctors are even prescribing exposure to nature to combat stress and other ailments. Let the microadventure mindset become part of your everyday life. There are a million opportunities everyday to explore the world and enjoy nature’s benefits, improving your wellbeing can be as simple as having lunch in the park or walking to work. Whatever you do, make sure get outside and have fun this fall!
Woolx Instagram Ambassador Jacqueline Knutson enjoying little microadventure in Colorado this fall!