5 Ways to Celebrate National Great Outdoors Month

Senior women and her granddaughter hiking on mountain, walking through forest

It’s official! With the summer solstice, the long summer days are here. So, it’s a perfect time to honor National Great Outdoors Month by going outside.

Here are five ways you can explore the diverse landscapes the U.S. has to offer.

  1. Play in a local park. Getting outdoors can be as simple as heading to a nearby green space. But you probably already know, that since a recent study found Americans visit their local parks and recreation facilities an average of 29 times per year. Local parks will often have swing sets, slides, playhouses, and other activities for children to enjoy, as well as options for grownups. . Visit your city’s or your local park district’s website for info.
  2. Visit a national park. Did you know that the National Park system covers more than 84 million acres? Although not every state has a national park, there are more than 400 across the country, each it its own unique experience. Most have accommodations and features for people with disabilities. Look into the U.S. Park Serivce’s annual passes. They include a lifetime Access Pass, which is only $10 for those who have a permanent disability. Military annual passes are free, and people aged 62 or over can get either an annual $20 pass or a lifetime $80 pass. 
  3. Visit a marina. Throughout the summer, marinas nationwide bring their communities together to introduce boating to the public with on-water and land-side activities. National Marina Days has been happening since 2001, with events such as on-water boating skills training, open houses and fishing clinics, and food and music. Even if you don’t participate in activities, marinas are a great place to discover marine life and learn more about water in nature. Depending on the location, you may even see a beautiful sunset or experience tides.   
  4. Go fishing. Whether in a boat or casting from land, more than 44 million people find this relatively low-cost activity a good way to relieve stress, bond with family, and enjoy the outdoors. There are several different places and ways to fish: freshwater fishing in lakes, ponds, rivers and streams; saltwater fishing out on the ocean or from a pier; ice fishing in the winter ; and even urban fishing, in stocked lakes or other municipal waterways. Investigate specific requirements (like fishing licenses), how to start, and places to drop a line at
  5. Have a campout. One word: s’mores. Who can resist the chocolatey, gooey, and crunchy treat made over a campfire? The National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Campout is June 25 and part of National Great Outdoors Month. Beginners and experts can appreciate the awe-inspiring experience of waking up in the wild. Whether it’s in a national park or your own backyard, sleeping outdoors offers opportunities to build new skills, unplug the screens, and connect with others. Click here to learn campout basics, activities to try, and tips for camping green.

Whatever you decide, remember the most important thing about National Great Outdoors Month is just to put yourself out there. Literally. And enjoy the great wide open.

Sources: Outdoor Recreation Roundtable; National Recreation and Park Association; National Park Service; Geography Realm; United States Geological Survey;; National Wildlife Federation; Utah State University.

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