1. Go for a walk with your favorite critter
2. Participate in a Clean-Up (or Organize Your Own)
Say thanks to your local public lands agency and join our partners at REI in opting to act by picking up trash. You can play at the park while you clean up, too!
3. Try something new
Try an outdoor activity that you don’t usually do: slacklining, mountain biking, roller skiing, trail running, geocaching…
4. Join A CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECT
Photo by Lindsay D'Addato.
A lot of projects rely on ordinary people to help collect data on the natural world, and many can be done on your own time. Find a citizen science project you can join.
5. Take a nap in your backyard to recover from your food coma
Even if the view from your backyard isn't quite this spectacular, lounging in a hammock or on the porch is a great way to spend an afternoon—especially after a big meal.
6. see who can spend the most consecutive hours outside
Photo by Cass Colman.
Make this a friendly competition—or just have fun making it happen! We recommend starting at midnight the day after Thanksgiving and going through the following midnight. That’s a whole 24 hours of adventure...
7. Learn about Local ecology —and observe it in Real Life
Some things you could look for: figuring out where local birds forage for food, or if you can see the dynamics of the local squirrel population.
8. Join a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot (or Start Your Own)
Sign up for a local race or head out to your favorite trail or park with family and friends before tucking in to your Thanksgiving leftovers.
9. Eat your Thanksgiving leftovers outside
Eating outside is fun, even if you're not camping! Gather some friends and family and take a picnic lunch to the park—or enjoy the comfort of your own backyard.
10. Go stargazing
See how many constellations you can identify or how many deep space objects you can find through binoculars. Your phone can help! There are plenty of apps to help you get the most out of your night sky viewing. Don’t forget the hot chocolate!
The Bottom Line
Have fun getting outside, no matter how you do it! And don't forget: opting outside is something you can do all year, not just on Thanksgiving.
Editor's note: Post updated 11/7/2017, 11/16/2018, and 11/26/19.
Molly is a NOLS instructor and writer. She loves the smell of her backpack and does her best writing before 7:00 am. When she's not scouting the next post for the NOLS Blog, she's running and climbing on rocks in Wyoming. Follow her on Instagram @mgherber