Cure Cabin Fever with Outdoor Fun

With temps plummeting and snow falling, the colder weather might tempt you to stay indoors where it’s nice and cozy. But after a while, cabin fever sets in and you just want to get outside. Great idea! Winter offers a unique opportunity to enjoy some special outdoor adventures that aren’t available when it’s 85°F outside.

If you’re lucky enough to live near a state or national park, you’ve got built-in natural spaces to explore. If not, even a visit to your local green space will do wonders for your body, mind, and spirit. (Check with your local parks and recreation department to find a schedule of winter events in your area.) But no matter where you live or your level of ability, you can kickstart your outdoor exploration with these only-in-the-winter ideas:

  • Backyard fun. Build a snowman, have a snowball fight, make snow mazes, create snow angels, build a snow fort—the list goes on. You don’t need to travel far (or at all) to get outside and enjoy a pretty snowfall. Why not set up a winter picnic in your backyard, complete with mugs of hot cocoa, a Thermos full of soup, and grilled cheese sandwiches to warm you up.
  • Nature walks. While you can explore green spaces any time of year, you’ll encounter a different set of mammals, reptiles, and birds during the winter months. On your chilly nature walk, you might catch a glimpse of frozen waterfalls, snowcapped mountains, or children sledding down a hill—all sights to warm your heart. Bring your camera to capture photos of the magnificent winter landscape.
  • Snowshoeing. If you live in an area with above-average snowfall, you can strap on a pair of snowshoes for a wintry nature hike, taking in spectacular views along the way. Don’t have a pair of snowshoes? Some parks might have them available to rent and may even offer guided tours. Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, for example, offers one- to two-mile moonlit hikes during full moons, which occur one to two consecutive nights each month.
  • Skiing and snowboarding. Whether you enjoy blazing a path down a black diamond ski slope or taking a more leisurely trek on cross-country skis, you just can’t beat the feeling of hitting those white powder trails. While Colorado is popular for its ski lodges and resorts, you can find plenty of winter recreation areas around the country managed by the USDA Forest Service. In fact, the Forest Service features 122 ski areas for Nordic and alpine skiing, including the Rocky Mountain Region, the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests, and more.

Need more ideas? Check out our article on Embracing the Outdoors to Beat the Winter Blues.

Just like the summer months, you should take proper precautions to ensure your safety when exploring a wintry landscape. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Check the weather forecast before you head out.
  • Wear layers of clothes, gloves, and a hat.
  • Use proper equipment, including the need for special hiking shoes (or mountaineering crampons for extra traction) if you’ll be walking on snow or ice.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Wear sunscreen on any exposed skin (it’s important to stay SunWise even in the winter months!)
  • If possible, go with a buddy or tell someone your itinerary.

Visit the National Park Service website for more trip-planning tips and checklists.

Author: Lisa Beach