8 Easy Ways to Get Outside in 2017

A skateboarder rides down a long road towards the Grand Teton Mountains and the setting sun in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Here at Aurora, our resolution for 2017 is to get outside as much as possible. This year we’re embracing the outdoors and its opportunities for adventure, health and beauty. To help us (and you) do that, we came up with 8 ways to get into the outdoor spirit no matter where you live or how much (or little) time you have.

#1
Find an alternate way to the office. Take a zip line to work. You have one of those, right? If not, pick one day per week to walk, bike, skateboard, or skip to your job. If your commute makes that impossible, consider parking just a little farther away or hopping off public transport one stop early. Bonus points if you don’t chicken out when it’s raining  or 10 degrees outside. You can do it! We believe in you.

Woman laughing on patio during winter

#2
Set a timer to go off once or twice during your work day, to remind you to get up and go outside for 10 minutes. You don’t have to do anything special – just stand there and breathe for a bit. The trick here is to avoid hitting “snooze” on your reminders. Chances are, most things you’re working on can wait for 10 minutes or so, although don’t tell your boss that we said that.

Mother rows canoe in Kezar Lake while son tries to scoop up fish in his net

#3
Discover a fishing spot.​ Or maybe just discover a spot to sit and watch other people fish. For those with sporting tastes, the website takemefishing.org​ has a fishing and boating search engine to help you find new destinations. You can search by the type of fish you like to pursue, and if you decide to cross state lines you can even buy licenses.

Man running in urban park

#4
Find the parks and public lands around your state.​ The legendary outdoor company L.L. Bean has ​a ParkFinder tool on their website​ to help you in your search for places to #getoutside. You can discover everything from city parks and playgrounds to state and national parks. It even has an activity filter, which lets you search for the best birdwatching, bicycling, fishing (or fish-watching, see #3) or boating spots.

Trail Running

#5
Explore the rail trails and multi-use paths in your area.​ Just to be clear, multi-use doesn’t mean walking and texting. Multi-use trails are great for all sorts of outdoor recreation: running, biking, cross country skiing, or walks with friends (no need for texting). Many are just a few miles long, perfect for an hour of adventure, but others (like the ​Grand Allegheny Passage​ and ​C & O Towpath) can traverse states and run hundreds of miles. And unlike a sidewalk, these trails often avoid automobile traffic. Many of these trails exist as recreation paths thanks to the R​ails-to-Trails Conservancy,​ which keeps ​a searchable list of trails and paths​ that makes it easy to find nearby places to play.

Three man preparing themself to ride their mountain bikes (MTB) in the freshly snowed Swiss Alps near Kandersteg, Bern, Switzerland.

#6
Find a new bike route.​ Bicycling is one of those sports almost anyone can do, and you can find places to do it everywhere. Most states put out cycling maps to help riders find the best pavement, but if you’re looking for lots of maps in one place check out t​he Adventure Cycling Association’s route map store​. Not only might it give you new ideas for your home riding, but it also has what you need to plan a cross country ride or some other grand adventure. If a bicycle is too much of a challenge, the website adulttricyclespro.com has reviews and top picks of the best adult tricycles.

People shopping at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market

#7
Go to a farmers market once a week. It’s a great place to engage all your senses, enjoy your community, and force you out of the warm, dark hole that is your most recent Netflix binge. Stranger Things will still be there when you get home, and you might even score a tasty pint of artisinal gelato to enjoy in front of it. The USDA has a National Farmers Market Directory to find the one nearest you.

Adam Welch asleep on a picnic bench at Humbug Mountain State Park awakes the next morning to find the campground flooded.

#8
Get lost.​ Just go. Leave the web behind and head for the nearest park or woods. Be willing to turn your bicycle down an unfamiliar street. Every trail or fishing spot listed online is probably surrounded by five others no one has ever heard of. Those are the ones only the adventurous find. Be willing to go looking for them. It won’t always work out as you’d hoped, but that’s part of the fun. (Although we recommend keeping a cell phone or GPS device on hand, just in case.)