July is heating up and now is the time for enjoying all that summer has to offer! July is also National Park and Recreation Month and is a great time to show appreciation for all the many benefits our parks have to offer. Whether at a city, state, or national level, parks play a vital role in the health of any community. Not only can they be the perfect backdrop for beautiful scenery and for providing ample green space, they are great for managing stress, preventing crime, and for providing a safe haven for wildlife. Looking for some ideas of how to enjoy your local parks this month?
Tip #1: Find an All-Inclusive Park
Looking for some scenic trails? Or maybe just some peace and quiet is on your agenda. Maybe you’d like to enjoy some paddle boating or cycling. Whatever you have in mind, seek out a park that offers a variety of activities for the whole family. Many parks offer a large open space that’s great for Frisbee throwing or running about with your favorite furry friend. If playing sports is on your list, look for a park that has a number of sports fields available so that kicking a soccer ball or running in for that touchdown is that much more fun! Finding a park with a BBQ grill is not always easy, but can be such a great way to entertain everyone. Opting for a park with so much to offer ensures all of your family and friends will have plenty to do—leaving you with plenty of smiles and wonderful memories.
Tip #2: Plan Ahead
Whether you opt for a quaint local destination or plan to stay for the weekend at a National Park, plan ahead. Many parks require a fee for using their facilities and require you schedule an appointment in advance. And if you plan to be gone for an extended period of time, make sure to include plenty of healthy snacks and beverages. Try:
- Iced tea
- Fresh fruit
- Cut veggies
- Turkey or chicken wraps
Tip #3: Wait for Free Days
Many parks, particularly state and national parks will offer free park admission days. Check with your local park’s service to learn more about which days will get you in for a deal. These listings can generally be found on the park’s website. If you’d prefer to call and learn of these days, you can generally reach a representative who can assist you.
To learn more about the parks in your area, visit the National Recreation and Park Association website at www.nrpa.org
Tip #4: Look for Special Events and Festivals
It seems as though there are always activities happening at local parks. Look online for local festivities and mark your calendar so you can be reminded of these events. Some things to consider are cultural fairs, food festivals (opt for the healthier choices, of course!), children-specific events, family picnics, movies or music in the parks, sporting events, and more! Sometimes there is a fee associated with these, however, many are free. This can be an easy way to entertain your family or spend time with your friends, so be daring and try something new!
Tip #5: Get Active!
Regardless of what you choose to do at the park, just know the possibilities are endless. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind the next time you are planning for your park getaway:
- Go mountain biking
- Enjoy an easy (or difficult) hike
- Try kayaking
- Rent a paddleboard
- Camp (or try “Glamping” if you’d prefer a little bit more luxury in your outdoor experience)
- Go birdwatching
- Visit a historic site
- Try rafting, canoeing, or tubing for some water fun!
- Visit an adventure park or obstacle course
- Go fishing
- Join a sports team
- Play on the playground (even if you’re only a kid at heart)
- Get together some friends for outdoor yoga
- Walk, run, skate, or ride the trails
According to a recent study by the National Park and Recreation Association, approximately 1,000 American adults were surveyed about their favorite outdoor summertime activities. The top 5 faves were:
- Having a picnic/barbeque (55%)
- Going for a walk/hike (49%)
- Going to the beach (40%)
- Exploring nature (36%)
- Attending festivals (30%)
What’s your favorite outdoor summertime activity?