Here in the South, summer starts when the mosquitoes come out. The beginning of May means warm weather for most of the country and here, it’s already full blown swimming weather.
Warm weather affords us the opportunity to get active and get outside through a variety of different outdoor activities. Whether it’s hiking or a water sport, it’s so much more fun to get moving when the weather is warm and the sun is bright.
If you’re looking for some outdoor activities that are off the beaten path, we’ve got some new, fun things to try this summer.
9 New Outdoor Activities to Try
Slacklining is exactly what it sounds like — using a slackline as a tight rope essentially and walking across it.
You can make it easy for yourself — tying the rope between two trees a few inches off the ground, for example — or make it more difficult by adding inclines, making the distance longer, or walking over greater heights.
Slacklining tests your balance — one of the ten components of fitness — and also builds strength in your legs and core. You can buy your own slackline for as low as $30 to try it out.
2. Paddle Boarding
Paddle boarding is a fun way to get active in the water. Whether you do it from a kneeling position or do stand up paddle boarding, it’s a great core workout as well as an exercise in balance.
Be sure not to bring anything that can’t get wet, as chances are you will probably fall off at some point. However, losing your balance isn’t so bad when you’re rewarded with a refreshing dunk in the lake.
Paddle boards can be pretty costly, but many places close to bodies of water rent them by the hour for an afternoon of fun.
Spikeball is a close cousin of volleyball and is generally played in teams of two. It consists of surrounding a small, trampoline-like net and serving back and forth to one another.
Spikeball gets its name from spiking, which is volleyball is an aggressive downward serve that is notoriously difficult to return. You use this same method to move the ball back and forth during spikeball — other volleyball passes like the more gentle “bump” are not allowed.
If you’re looking for a fun activity to do with another person, canoeing may be for you. You can pack a lunch and some snacks and spend a whole day paddling through the great outdoors.
Although canoeing isn’t an intense workout — it’s generally a slower burn — it still works muscles throughout your shoulders, back and core.
According to the World Freerunning Parkour Association, parkour is defined as “…the act of moving from point “a” to point “b” using the obstacles in your path to increase your efficiency.”
Parkour is pretty easily recognizable as it involves lots of jumping, flipping, climbing and running. Although the sport is focused on overcoming obstacles on a pathway — similar to an obstacle course 5K — there are also times where parkour is similar to dance in that people use creative movement as a means of self-expression.
Don’t know how to get started? Map out a path with some obstacles, whether it’s buildings, stairs or fire escapes and try to get through the path using the most creative means possible. For some ideas of some classic parkour movements, check out this beginner’s guide from APEX Movement.
Bouldering is the most basic form of rock climbing, as it doesn’t involve using any safety equipment, such as harnesses or ropes.
Bouldering is simple because you can do it virtually anywhere you find rocks. It is a great method for increasing upper body strength and grip strength.
Since bouldering doesn’t require equipment, it’s important to take safety into account when selecting rocks to boulder. Falling, getting scraped and scratched up and bites from insects are common maladies that are associated with rock climbing in general. However, falling from more than a few feet without a harness can be fatal. Always keep safety first.
If you love scavenger hunts, geocaching may be just the thing for you.
You start by creating an account at geocaching.com. Then, you have access to hundreds of thousands of items around the world that have been hidden by other geocachers for you to find. It’s a giant treasure hunt for adults.
Once you find an item, there’s generally a log or a notebook where you can leave notes about when you found it as well as personal anecdotes about anything funny or scary that might have happened during your search. Then, you return the geocache to its hiding spot and continue on to the next geocache.
You can also create your own geocaches out of random items, items that have significance to you or items that look like everyday junk.
Kayaking is similar to canoeing in the sense that you’re in a boat and you use a paddle to move yourself around. However, kayaking can be done in a single — a boat with one seat — or a double and can be a placid and peaceful activity or a adrenaline-pumping fight through the rapids.
You can adjust the difficulty levels of your kayaking depending on what body of water you’re kayaking on. Oftentimes, avid outdoor sportsmen will kayak through treacherously strong currents and even waterfalls. You should draw from your level of experience and knowledge when choosing body of water you kayak on. If you’re a beginner, a small, smooth flowing creek or a lake is a great place to learn the basics.
Spelunking is essentially exploring caves for those with a knack for adventure.
Also referred to as caving, it’s a great way to cool off on a hot day. However, some equipment such as a helmet, a strong light, good boots, and a first aid kit are recommended.
First timers should be cautious, as caves can have steep and sudden drop offs, deep bodies of water and unstable conditions. When in doubt, turn around.