Tired of Being Cooped Up Inside? 23 Winter Activities That Let You Enjoy Nature
Take a break from hibernation and try one of these eco-friendly winter activities, from planting a winter garden to visiting a frozen waterfall.
As the temperatures continue their annual decline, most of us find comfort in getting cozy and staying warm in our homes—the better to hibernate along with some of our favorite creatures. But after months of being cooped up inside, a touch of cabin fever can be a natural result.
If you want to embrace nature this winter but require some inspiration before braving the cold, you've come to the right place! From snowshoeing to birdwatching, here are 23 winter activities that let you enjoy nature. (If you have a kiddo who wants to join you, check out these winter activities for kids!)
23 Winter Activities That Let You Get Outside
1. Go Ice Skating
Take a trip to an outdoor ice rink for a spin in the crisp, fresh air. For an enhanced experience, look for skating trails in forests or on frozen lakes.
2. Take a Winter Walk
Lace up your winter boots and head out for a relaxing walk outside. If you live in the city, take a day trip (or just a longer walk) to the nearest park to take a break from the hustle and bustle of your daily routine.
3. Hit the Slopes
Grab your skis or snowboard and go for an adventurous day in the pow. Whatever your vehicle of choice, you'll see some beautiful views while staying active.
4. Go Snowshoeing
For a more slow-paced and relaxed winter activity, try snowshoeing. The cold-weather walk is a fun, leisurely way to explore snow-covered trails, spot local wildlife, and get your daily steps in.
5. Plant a Winter Garden
Gardening is a sustainable way you can nourish your family and cut down on your food waste. In the winter, you can plant radishes, carrots, and salad greens in the ground, or simply nurture starters for spring.
6. Fly a Kite
Flying a kite is a fun, effortless activity that you can take part in during the winter. Use an eco-friendly kite or make it a sustainable DIY project by creating your own!
7. Go for a Hike
Chilly weather can make for a magical hike—just bundle up! Test your limits on an accessible mountain path or follow a more leisurely trail for some simple, quality outdoor time.
8. Go Stargazing
Escape from the city's light pollution and hunker down for some stunning star gazing. Be sure to check to see if there are any forthcoming celestial events to time your excursion around!
9. Try Cross-Country Skiing
For a low-impact way to get active outside, strap on your skis and go down a cross-country trek. This is the perfect activity for those who prefer a slow-paced ski trip over the busy slopes.
10. Go Horseback Riding
Experience nature in more ways than one on horseback. Many farms and stables offer riding in the winter months, giving you the chance to spend time checking out epic scenery from a new perspective.
11. Visit a Frozen Waterfall
For an unforgettable view of nature in the wintertime, take a road trip to visit a frozen waterfall. There are fewer things as peaceful, and the site will leave you feeling relaxed.
12. Go Sledding
Sledding is an easy, affordable, and timeless activity. Grab your sled and head outside for a few hours of fun in the hills.
13. Have a Snowball Fight
You’re never too old for a snowball fight! All you need is the frozen element and a friend to enjoy this simple and nostalgic activity.
14. Play a Game of Hockey
Combine athleticism and nature with a game of ice hockey. Find an outdoor skating rink or (very) frozen lake and pass the puck around with a few friends.
15. Build a Snowman
Embrace your inner child (or your actual children) by building a snowman outside. Try thinking outside the box! Who says snowpeople don't like headstands, for example?
16. Make Snow Angels
You’re never too old to make snow angels—and the best part is, all you need is fresh powder and some creativity. Gather the whole family and use your body to make some ethereal shapes.
17. Go Camping
A snowy slumber party! Book a cabin or take the more adventurous route and opt for a sustainable campout in the wilderness—the ultimate unplug.
18. Try Snow Tubing
You can’t go wrong with an exhilarating trip down the slopes in a tube. Grab a group of friends and hit the nearest (reasonably sized and amply snow-covered) hill.
19. Go Birdwatching
Gain a greater appreciation for our planet's winged creatures by observing them in their natural habitat. There’s nothing quite like watching wildlife to help you hone your perspective and connection.
20. Take a Cold Plunge
Hear us out. Quick dips in cold water are thought to soothe muscles and clear your mind—plus, it's exhilarating. The practice is not without risk, though, so practice safely and make sure you have dry clothes (and a warm car or cabin) at the ready.
21. Take a Bike Ride
If it’s not too snowy, bundle up and take your bike out to enjoy the sights and sounds of winter in nature, all while clocking your daily cardio.
22. Identify Animal Tracks
Animal tracks are much easier to spot in snow or mud. Take a trip out to your nearest conservation area or national park to find paw prints from the local wildlife. And don't forget to snap some photos! Once you return home, do some research to see who the prints belonged to.
23. Try Rockhounding
Collecting rocks (aka rockhounding) is a great way to appreciate the beauty of nature—and maybe learn a little something in the process. Leave your finds where they lay, decorate your home, or offer them as a thoughtful gift to loved ones.
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