Hobbies in the Wild: The Best Outdoor Activities to do in the US

Getting out into nature is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. Reconnecting with nature is essential, whether you live in a rural or urban area. We are part of the natural world ourselves and should always take time to reconnect and get out and about in nature.

But, it can be challenging to know how exactly to make the most of the fresh air and natural world if you aren’t used to it. One of the best ways to ease yourself into spending time outdoors is through a hobby.

Having something to do while outdoors can make you feel more comfortable and less out of place. There are so many different hobbies you can do out in the wild. Here are some of the best ways to reconnect with nature and spend time in the wild.

1. Horseback Riding

Horseback riding might not be something many people will think of first. A lot of people see horseback riding as something elitist and challenging to get into. That is true to an extent, mainly due to the high expense of owning and caring for a horse. But you don’t need to own a horse to get involved.

There are lots of places that will teach you how to ride a horse, and they are plenty of lessons that won’t involve just trotting around an enclosed dressage arena. You can fulfill your dreams of being a cowboy and gallop through the wilderness.

If you want something a little calmer, you can also go for rides on trails. Horseback riding can be a calm and gentle hobby. You can spend a few hours every weekend gently walking through a national park or local path. You can essentially go hiking on a horse.

One of the best things about horseback riding is that, while you will mostly be in control, you often have to give up some control to the horse. That is especially true if you are going over uneven terrain. Rather than guide your horse, it’s important to loosen your reins and allow them to pick their way through, as they will be able to see the terrain better. It will enable you to feel much closer to the natural world as you give up control over the animal. It might make you nervous, but it will give you a greater appreciation for the intelligence and abilities of animals.

2. Kayaking and Canoeing

Kayaking and canoeing are some of the best ways to take in the American wild. You can either try some extreme kayaking or canoeing down rapids or gently row down rivers, exploring the wild without disrupting nature too much.

You can float down a river and see the world around you. When you go out into the wild, it’s essential to be conscious of your impact and what you leave behind. If you go hiking or camping, you need to leave the area exactly how you found it. We might be part of the natural world, but we also need to respect that other creatures also need to use the space, and littering or damaging the area is a big no.

When you go kayaking or canoeing, you can have a much lesser impact on the natural world. You will, of course, still be potentially disturbing the wildlife in the waters, but it will be little more than if another animal were swimming through.

3. Hiking

Hiking is one of the easiest ways to get out into the wild. There will likely be a hiking trail a short walk or drive away from your home no matter where you live. There are so many different types of trails available, and you will be able to find one that suits you. Some are more difficult than others, so make sure to check the difficulty before you set off.

Hiking can often be seen as a hobby that involves a lot of gear and accessories, but this isn’t necessary. You can quickly put on a pair of gym shorts and sneakers and head off. It’s a good idea to invest in some good-quality hiking boots and a water bottle, but don’t feel you have to wait until you have all the hi-tech gear to get started.

Hiking is also one of the most popular outdoor activities in the USA. It’s easy to do, and you can step outside your door and get started. If you enjoy hiking, you can travel around the US or further abroad to try out different trails. You will be able to see some of the wonders of the natural world, all through hiking.

4. Birdwatching

Birdwatching might not seem like the most exciting hobby, but it is a fantastic way to learn about and understand the natural world. It allows you to sit quietly and observe the wild. This is a much better option than hunting or other violent or aggressive outdoor hobbies.

Most of us can recognize several different bird species, but there are over one thousand different species in the US. You can birdwatch by yourself or others, perhaps even joining a group if you aren’t sure where to start.

Knowing where to go and how to act when birdwatching can be difficult, so joining a group is a great way to learn. You will become an expert on US birds, and spotting a new species will become incredibly exciting.

5. Cycling

Cycling is another excellent way to explore the wilds of the US. There are more restrictions than hiking as there are only so many places where a bike can (and should) go. Sticking to designated cycling routes is essential for keeping the wilds safe and undisturbed.

But this doesn’t mean that cycling will restrict your views of the US wilderness. A bicycle touring holiday is a very common vacation that many people enjoy. You can set off for a weekend or a month of cycling around the US and seeing as much as you can.

Cycling is a great way to get your family involved as well. You can go on family vacations or just out and about on a Saturday morning.

6. Canyoneering

This is one of the more extreme options. Canyoneering involves exploring and climbing in and around canyons. When most people think of the wild, they see forests or mountain ranges, but canyons are also wild parts of the US. When many people think of the United States, they think of famous places like the Grand Canyon and other striking spaces.

Many people who live in the US know of canyons but have never had the opportunity to visit them. If you have visited them, then there’s a good chance that you only stood at the edge and looked over. But there is so much more to see.

Canyoneering allows you to explore and find out more about these fantastic places. Itcan be dangerous, so it’s important to train and be prepared before you go. You can join groups or go on an organized trip while on vacation.

7. Rock Climbing

If canyoneering doesn’t quite seem to be your thing, rock climbing might be more your style. A lot of people like rock climbing indoors but climbing an actual rock face is something very different.

Rock climbing takes a lot of strength and skill, so it’s a good idea to practice in a safer environment before climbing a mountain. But you will be able to reconnect with the natural world and get some amazing views. Just remember to stick to safe spots and not climb anywhere dangerous or where you might cause damage.

8. Waterfall Walking

Waterfall walking can be a very tranquil experience or a dangerous pursuit. You can go on a hike following the waterfalls around the US. Or you can climb the waterfalls themselves. There are so many incredible waterfalls in the US that will be a magical and life-changing experience.

It has been shown that waterfalls can be calming and alter your serotonin levels. Climbing waterfalls and getting close to them is a dangerous hobby, so going with a group is essential. It’s also important to check if you are allowed to climb the waterfall before you go.

It can be an extreme hobby, so it’s crucial to ensure you have taken all safety precautions. As with the other hobbies on this list, you don’t want to be doing anything that could damage the natural area.

9. Wild Camping

Wild camping is a great way to integrate into the wild. You can pack a tent and a few other essentials into a backpack and sleep out under the stars. You can wild camp in many different areas in the US, but make sure to do some research beforehand as some places don’t allow wild camping or are dangerous.

Camping is a popular way for people to get back to nature. You don’t need to be doing anything active if you don’t or can’t do any of the sports on this list. Being out in the wild doesn’t mean you have to be doing anything physically extreme. You can take it slow and quietly camp out in the wild to get away from it all.

10. Wild Swimming

Wild swimming has become very popular in recent years. Wild swimming, especially in cold water, has been shown to have unique physical and mental benefits. It is a great way to get right into the wild and immerse yourself in nature.

Swimming is a fun sport, and you can gently drift in the water or try and do as many laps as you can. Wild swimming can calm you down but also wake you up. Wild swimming in cold water is a great way to start your day. It wakes up your body and sets you up to have a happy and productive day.

As mentioned above, wild swimming has recently become very popular, but it isn’t anything new. Before public and private swimming pools became common, people would swim in lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and oceans. Swimming in the wild is something our ancestors did up until very recently. So you will be reconnecting with nature and the outdoors but also with the people who came before you.

Written by

Charlie Short is a handsome trail runner, fitness, and travel journalist that takes pride in helping her readers fulfill their goals to be in great shape and at the same time gives informational travel blogs while exploring different places. He is a contributor over at Travel Medium, a company that helps you as a traveler to find inspiration, practical information, as long as safety and money tips for every destination you want to explore.

Latest comments
  • Survivopedia, Could I please request you correct the description about Charlie Short? Line 2 of the description calls him a her, and I’d guess he’d appreciate it if it were corrected. Thanks.

  • YUP! Looks like a HE

  • Been there….done all of those…

  • Any degree of competency in those ten activities will #1 make you a better prepper when the colapse comes and #2 is a damn sight better than vegitating in front of the idiot box

  • Plant identification, learning the uses of plants, particularly knowing the edible plants.