The Best Outdoor Hobbies to Take Up
People have become increasingly more addicted to staying indoors binge watching Netflix, endlessly scrolling through social media feeds on the couch, and simply detaching themselves from nature. We have then been hit with a pandemic which has forced many of us to spend even more time indoors living a sedentary life filled with anxiety and stress.
As the world begins to normalize and open up once again, it’s going to be more important than ever to get back outdoors where we can get some much needed exercise and reconnect with nature to help relieve all our built up stress. To help you get back into an active lifestyle that sees you enjoy the outdoors once again or for the very first time, we have gathered some of the best outdoor hobbies you should take up. Whether you’re young or old, there are plenty of great outdoor activities to enjoy no matter what your interests are.
Hunting & Fishing
People have been hunting and fishing petty much throughout our entire existence, and while it was once necessary for survival, the two have now become hobbies enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Hunting and fishing not only allows us to get some fitness, it also opens our eyes to the importance of nature.
Hunting and fishing has been proven to improve both the physical and mental well-being of many people. Both are something that are often taught and experienced between parents and their children which make the activities a great way for families to bond.
Hunting and fishing not only allows you to source your own lean and healthy meats, it also provides much needed money that funds the protection of natural reserves and wildlife management. This ensures that natural areas will remain protected for future generations and can be used by not only hunters but also the many others who enjoy parks and reserves for all kinds of other outdoor recreation.
You can also turn your hobby of hunting or fishing into a full-time career by becoming a hunting or fishing guide. All you really need is a passion for the great outdoors and some guide training from one of these schools that are highly qualified. You’ll learn everything you need to become a hunting or fishing guide including but definitely not limited to navigation training, planning hunts, wilderness first aid, skinning and processing game, tracking and stalking game, setting up a camp, and how to book clients and keep them happy. You’ll be taught by highly skilled teachers that are most often guides themselves who will personally guide you through each and every aspect of what it takes to become a professional hunting or fishing guide yourself.
Wildlife & Nature Photography
If you love wildlife but aren’t really fond of the idea of killing, you can still hunt animals with a camera. Hunting and wildlife photography actually share many of the same required skills. You need to be able to successfully stalk your subject or wait patiently for your subject to come to you, and you need to have the technical skills of how to operate a camera to get that perfect shot much like learning how to shoot a gun or bow.
Nature photography was once an expensive hobby, requiring pricey camera equipment and constantly having to pay for photo developing. Today, there are cameras that suit nearly any budget and you can snap thousands of photos using an SD card which can be uploaded online with no extra “developing” costs involved. You may not even need to purchase a separate camera to get into nature photography as most smartphones today are capable of producing exceptional images.
Whether you’re into taking photos of landscapes, animals, flowers, or abstracts of nature, the opportunities to get into photographing outdoors are endless. If you’re just a budding photographer and want to take your photography to the next level, you may want to think about joining a wilderness-based photography workshop lead by professionals. Photography can also be a great way to socialize as there are countless photography groups and clubs that organize outings, especially when it comes to subjects like bird photography.
Hiking & Running
You may not think of hiking or running as a hobby, after all many of us simply do it because we may have been told we needed to get exercise. Hiking, jogging, and running can actually become quite an enjoyable activity, but its appeal usually comes down to location. While running on a treadmill indoors may seem like a form of torture for many, lacing up your runners and heading outdoors can see yourself surrounded by beauty and all kinds of interesting sights.
Both hiking and running will go a long way to improving your health, as it has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease as it can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and fat levels. You also get rewarded with breathtaking landscapes when hiking through national parks, nature reserves, or along rivers and the coast. The key is to choose locations that are new and exciting, as your mind will be constantly eager to discover what’s around the corner whether you’re running or hiking.
Whether you choose to take up running or more leisurely hiking, you are likely to awaken your sense of adventure and elevate your other senses to levels you didn’t think possible. Both activities can be a way to enjoy some personal time alone to do a bit of self discovery or can be a great way to be social. You’ll find there are often a number of both running and hiking clubs in many towns and cities.
And don’t think that hiking has to be limited to wearing hiking boots through places like national parks and reserves. Hiking after all is basically just walking, so if you’re more of a city person not wanting to get your feet muddy, don’t feel afraid to hike along city streets to catch some impressive street art, glance at shopfront windows, and maybe do a bit of people watching. The key again is surrounding yourself with visuals that are enticing to you in order to make you forget you are actually engaging in exercise.
Gardening & Landscaping
You may think of gardening as a hobby made for little old ladies, but it can actually be quite a fun activity for both men and women of all ages. While many gardeners enjoy planting and watching their flowers grow, you may wish to focus on a vegetable garden where you can grow your own tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. Everyone enjoys eating, and produce that you yourself helped grow always seems to taste a bit fresher and more delicious. Whether you’re into apples and oranges or avocados and strawberries, what you choose to plant is up to you…and maybe the climate you live in of course.
Not into plants? Don’t let that stop you from making gardening a hobby. You can create a beautiful rock or zen garden or if you’re artsy maybe even your very own sculpture garden in your backyard. You can also get into landscaping as a form of gardening to create beautiful stone walkways, retaining walls, or patios to enjoy the great outdoors. You’d be surprised at how fun hard work can be. Landscaping tends to become more of an expression of art. It’s no different than people enjoying painting or drawing, you’re just using a different medium and can actually physically use what you create in many instances.
You can also use gardening as a way to enhance your other hobbies like birdwatching or photography. You can create a garden of plants that will attract your favorite birds, butterflies, and other wildlife to observe or photograph.
There’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the water outdoors. Nature’s waterways provide a wide range of hobbies to get into. You’ve got kayaking which can provide a relaxing calming experience or you can opt for adrenaline pumping white water rafting. If you live along the coast, then you can look at taking up surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, or jet skiing.
Even swimming can become a hobby and will do wonders for your health. Take swimming to the next level by taking up snorkeling or scuba diving and discover a whole new world beneath the surface. You’ll find that being around water will also most likely improve your mental health, reason enough to start a water sport as a hobby.
Rock Climbing & Abseiling
Rock climbing and abseiling are not only great outdoor hobbies for their many physical health benefits, they can also help you to literally and figuratively climb obstacles and develop trust when partnering with other climbers. Much like with many other hobbies, you will find there is a strong sense of community among rock climbers and this can be a great way to meet people and make long lasting friendships.
Unlike many sports that are competitive, rock climbing and abseiling are cooperative. It’s not about being the fastest or outdoing your fellow climbers, rather it is about feeling a sense of accomplishment within yourself for having overcome fear and achieving something that many consider remarkable. While you may be able to only tackle basic climbs and rappeling off moderate vertical drops in the beginning, over time you will develop the skills, muscles, and endurance needed to take on more serious obstacles.
And while there may not be many mountains and rock faces in big cities, you can still look into making buildering or parkour a hobby. Buildering involves climbing the outside of buildings and other manmade structure like bridges, while parkour includes a range of physical activities like climbing, swinging, running, and jumping. Cities also often have gyms or fitness areas with artificial rock walls that cater to many different abilities. Some cities even offer organized commercial abseiling experiences off some of its prominent buildings and skyscrapers.
Fossicking & Metal Detecting
If you like collecting things, then you may want to take up fossicking or metal detecting as a hobby. There are all sorts of things you can fossick for in the great outdoors including gold, semi-precious stones, ancient fossils, and seashells. A metal detector can of course help you locate old coins, jewelry, and other artifacts along beaches or areas of historic human occupation.
It is important to note that there are usually laws or restrictions in place when it comes to both fossicking and metal detecting for natural or historical objects. It is often against the law to fossick in reserves and national parks and you may need to get a permit or some kind of permission from you local government to collect in public areas.
The goal is to not disturb or destroy the environment in search of treasures and use respectful and sustainable methods to uncover whatever it is you are seeking. If you are unsure of the rules surrounding what you wish to fossick, you may want to ask your local council about the laws or search if there are companies that offer fossicking tours. You will find that various companies offer everything from hunting for opals or rubies to uncovering giant shark teeth and mammoth bones from rivers.
Fossicking and metal detecting are great ways to get exercise outdoors, possibly learn a bit of history, and maybe even make a few bucks in the process if you happen to find anything special. Just be mindful of national laws regarding important historical relics and never contribute to the illegal trade in antiquities. There are often heavy fines and possibly even imprisonment for exporting certain significant artifacts.
We hope our list of activities gives you ideas for ways you can take up a new outdoor hobby. When you combine a bit of nature and an exciting activity, you’ll find the result is a hobby that is truly rewarding and potentially everlasting.