Enjoying the Great Outdoors: 5 Hobbies to Take Up This Summer

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If you need to give yourself a reason or excuse to get outside more often this summer, then getting a new hobby is something to consider. The first pursuits of a hobby have that initial excitement of newness that is quite motivating, and the sunshine and warm weather of summer are motivators as well. Here are five hobbies to consider taking up for this summer’s activities.

Kayaking

Almost all great outdoors suppliers have a kayak section. An inexpensive plastic hull kayak, oar and life jacket is all that is needed for adventures on the water. Choose a placid waterway for your first forays into kayaking before attempting it on any waterway with a current.

Always wear your life jacket, even if you are a great swimmer, and learn how to get out if your kayak capsizes. Larger kayaks are available to hold camping gear and supplies for accommodating your needs for several days of river adventure.

Bird Watching

This is more challenging than what you may initially suspect. There are lists of birds available for every area. Some are so common you see them every day and do not even realize it. There are other species that can be found in your neck of the woods, but they are very tough to locate.

A cheap pair of binoculars and a field guide to birds in your area are all you need to get started, but you can also add a high-end DSLR with a long lens to capture images of those elusive birds that are not seen very often. The Audubon Society is a great place to get started, and there may be local chapters near you.

Gardening

This hobby can be as simple as planting a tomato plant in an old 5-gallon bucket to having a dedicated plot of land and greenhouses devoted to cultivating whatever it is you want to grow. Basic home gardens usually include a mix of container-gardening and a spot in the lawn for plants too.

You can cultivate flowers, vegetables, fruits or whatever you want. A small space can grow tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, carrots, beans, grapes, corn, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, corn and more. If you have a kitchen window that lets the sun in, plan some basil and other herbs in containers to have fresh herbs for cooking.

Mountain Biking

You do not actually have to be on a mountain to be mountain biking. This type of bicycle is designed for off-road use. Mountain bike models have tougher frames, brakes, cranksets, rims and tires than street bikes. They can take the bumps and jolts commonly experienced when on a trail.

Mountain bikes usually have many gears to allow easier hill-climbing as well as allowing for high speed going down-hill. It’s important to make sure that you keep all the components of your mountain bike in good working order, because this type of bike typically handles rough terrain.

If you’re just getting in to mountain biking, it could be a good idea to research companies like Accurate Products Inc. that manufacture rubber parts so you can keep spare parts on hand. If you are not fit enough to ride the hills, check to see if there are any rail trails in your area. These are areas where old rail lines have been converted into mostly flat walking, bicycle riding and equestrian trails.

Camping

You do not need a camper or motorhome to enjoy camping. Many state and federal parks offer cabin rentals, and tents are available for low cost at most outdoor outfitters and department stores. You do not need anything elaborate for summer camping.

Concentrate on things that will keep you dry if it rains and comfortable for sleeping. A cheap tent, air mattress, cooler, lantern and cook stove is all that is needed for weekend camping at a state park camping area. You can load up supplies in the family car or minivan and have a wonderful weekend adventure camping for much less than it costs to do many other types of activities. Many state parks offer boating and swimming facilities as well as showers and flush-toilets.

If you are a homebody, get a cheap portable fire pit and invite your neighbors over for an evening of comfort foods and conversation. Bring out the corn-hole game and the badminton net for the kids. Be creative and innovative to come up with more excuses and reasons to enjoy the great outdoors.

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Kara Masterson

Contributor

West Jordan, UT

Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.

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