Solo outdoor adventures have so much to offer—as long as you know what you’re looking for. If you’ve set a goal to achieve this year, going it alone can help you concentrate and challenge yourself. If it’s stress relief you need, being alone minimizes distractions, allowing you to enjoy the peaceful quiet and serene beauty around you. This is time for you to focus your thoughts—or to put them aside, if that’s what you need.
With that said: whether you’re looking to challenge yourself, or just to get out of the house, here are five outdoor activities you CAN do alone.
Whatever your skill, experience, and comfort levels, hiking is a great choice. You’ll be able to go at your own pace (whatever that may be), hum whatever tune you feel like, and stop for all the photo-snapping you want. Best of all, you’ll feel truly empowered after completing an entire trek alone.
If you’re new to solo outdoor adventures, start small—pick well-marked, well-populated hiking trails that take only a couple of hours. This way, there will be plenty of help around if you end up needing it, as well as friendly faces to chat with as you adjust to solo hiking. Once your endurance and your confidence are built up, it’s time to tackle a longer day hike. Pick one that’s well within your abilities, but with exhilarating views to keep your motivation up.
As with hiking, camping is a wonderful way to build up your comfort level with being alone outdoors. If you have the necessary experience and equipment, you can camp just about anywhere—but even beginners can get started at a family-oriented campground. And with car camping, you won’t even need to pitch a tent!
Cooking is undoubtedly one of our favorite things to do while camping—and there’s no better way to pamper yourself while solo camping! While ready-to-eat foods are great to have along, a hearty meal that you’ve cooked yourself will make both you and the camping trip feel fuller. Dinner for one may seem like “too much” to do, but trust us—you’re worth it!
When you need a new perspective, it’s time to leave the land behind! Whether you choose canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, or another form of boating. Whatever you’re looking for in an outdoor adventure—be it peaceful, exciting, challenging, or a mix of all three—you can find it on the water. And with space-saving products like inflatable kayaks (which you can transport on your own, even in a compact car), the barrier to entry is lower than ever before.
If you’ve ever enjoyed watching birds at a backyard feeder, it’s time to up your game. A day spent birdwatching in the wild, looking for species to check off your list, can be both peaceful and exciting. Check out a local bird sanctuary or preserve, where sightings are almost guaranteed, or head into forests, fields, or marshy areas for off-the-beaten-path views.
Bring along a bird identification book and the Quik-E-Seat®, our 4.4-lb folding stool with a backrest, to keep you comfortable when you find the perfect spot.
Whether you set up in a close-to-home field or incorporate an evening of stargazing into a camping trip, this is one rewarding experience not to be missed. And here’s some great news—this activity doesn’t need to break the bank. Budget-friendly portable telescopes are available, and in many states you can even borrow one from your local library.
Aside from the telescope, bring your patience and a comfortable chair! Spend some time learning to identify stars and constellations, or just sit back and appreciate the beauty of the night sky—and as you contemplate the vastness of space, you may not feel alone at all.
If none of the above sound quite right, don’t despair! Think of something you’d love to spend an afternoon doing, and then brainstorm ways to make it happen while in the great outdoors. If you need time to rest and relax, for example, a trip to the hot springs could be just the thing! To catch up on some reading, simply set up a chair—the Kickback Rocker™’s big comfort and smaller footprint make it a great choice!—in a shady spot by a river or brook. To connect with nature, try your hand at fishing one morning. And if you just want some fresh air and light exercise, golf and disc golf are both great options for solo outdoor games.
As the saying goes, there’s safety in numbers—but there are plenty of steps you can take to stay safe while on your own. At minimum, follow these three golden rules:
Choose spots and activities that fit your level of skill and experience. Beginner hikers shouldn’t expect to conquer Half Dome! If you’re unsure about your level of fitness or not quite comfortable being alone, stick with well-traveled areas where you can expect to have cell service, if possible. Popular campgrounds and highly trafficked trails are great choices for getting used to being alone without being lonely.
Wherever you’re headed, head out prepared. Know what risks you’re most likely to face (e.g., getting lost, hypothermia, wildlife attacks). Check the weather forecast, bring plenty of water, and dress appropriately—wearing a helmet while out biking or a personal floatation device when out on the water.
Let someone know your plans. Whatever your skill level, make sure that someone knows where you’ve gone, and when to expect you back.
With a little planning and an open mind, you’ll find that getting outdoors alone can enrich your life and deepen your appreciation for nature—and for company, too, when you want it.