One of the best things about living in the United States is the ability to spend time being active outdoors. America offers four seasons, depending which part of the country you live in, and a variety of activities for nature lovers. Spending time outside has many positive benefits, from bringing family and friends closer by being together, to improving physical and mental health. In this blog, we will explore three ways to be active outdoors in the US.
Hiking – The US offers some of the most scenic and unique hiking trails in the world. Whether you want to take a simple walk along the ocean with your children, or want a challenging hike up a mountain, you can have your pick. According to WebMD, hiking offers the benefits of most cardiovascular workouts, such as lowering the chance of developing heart disease, lowering blood pressure and blood sugar, building strength and endurance, helping with weight control and even improving moods. Here are some of our favorite hiking destinations in the US:
- Kenai Fjords National Park – This four-mile day hike next to Seward, Alaska, offers spectacular views of ice, snow and glaciers, such as Exit Glacier, that cover about 300 square miles. The hike is fairly steep, and allows visitors to explore the valley’s forests and meadows along the way. Some hikers have even encountered bears on their trip, so be prepared in advance, and brush up on bear safety.
- Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona’s pride and joy, the Grand Canyon is visited by millions of people every year from all parts of the world. Along with offering one-of-a-kind mountain views, there are 15 official trails available. This is one of the most arduous hikes, as it begins with an ascent, which requires hikers to hike all the way back up after a long day. However, those that feel they are physically fit enough for this adventure will experience nature unlike anywhere else.
- Tuna Canyon Park – Tucked away in Los Angeles’ Santa Monica mountains, this lesser-known hike offers breathtaking ocean views along the way. Located between Malibu and Topanga, hikers have the option of trails in the 1,255-acre location, allowing hikers of any competence levels to enjoy time outdoors.
Camping – Camping is another one of America’s’ favorite pastimes. It provides opportunities for families and friends to spend time outside, barbecuing, and enjoying companionship. At night, campers can gaze at the stars while making s’mores and telling scary stories. Camping increases serotonin levels by exposure to increased oxygen and sunlight; in turn, this improves mood and helps fight depression. By being outdoors and in the sun, campers increase their levels of Vitamin D, the sun vitamin, which helps to strengthen the immune system and keeps us from getting sick. Furthermore, camping promotes physical exercise; from building tents to walking and hiking, to simply moving around, we get our heart rate up and ligaments moving. Our favorite camping sites in the US are:
- Acadia National Park – Maine’s pine tree paradise on Mount Desert Island offers views of the forest, along with ponds, rivers and lakes. Campers can pitch a tent in Seawall, which is more secluded, or in Blackwoods, which is more touristy. The sites offer many outdoors activities, such as biking, hiking and canoeing.
- Glacier National Park – Montana’s famous site offers one million acres of nature, including mountains and lakes. This park is for the advanced hikers and nature lovers, most of who come to backpack for a few days, setting up campsites along the way. Although the breathtaking views and unique adventures may sound appealing, this activity requires serious preparation, including a permit, as well as bringing supplies to get you through the days, while packing lightly enough to carry those supplies while hiking.
- Nehalem Bay State Park – Located over 80 miles away from Portland, Oregon, this campsite is situated on shore pines with views of miles of sand dunes and beaches. Families can bike along the beach, build sand castles, swim and enjoy frequent sightings of deer and elk.
Fishing – Fishing is a fun outdoor activity that allows for enthusiasts to be one with nature. There is often no greater joy than being able to consume what one finds in nature, and catching and cooking fish to eat for dinner can deliver that. Fishing helps you to relax and be at one with your thoughts, lowering stress levels. It helps you absorb Vitamin D by being outside. It also improves muscle dexterity by angling, casting and reeling in the fishing rods. Great fishing spots in America are:
- Salmon, ID – The name of this town alone should give away its appeal to fishermen. This site offers the famous Salmon river, among others, where fishermen can catch trout in the fall, steelhead in the spring and fall, as well as other types of fish. The fish range anywhere between four and 20 pounds! Those interested can even hire professional companies to take them on fishing trips from one to five days long.
- Bahia Honda State Park – This ideal fishing location is located on a 500-acre island in Big Pine Key, Florida. It boasts of the best tarpon fishing in the entire state. Fly-fishing for barracuda and bonefish is available on the Atlantic side, which has shallow sand. Grouper and snapper fishing is done on the Old Bahinda Honda Bridge.
- Galveston Island State Park – Fishing in Texas gives those interested access to warm weather and the chance to catch trout, redfish, flounder and sheepshead. In addition, visitors can swim, bike and hike through the park.