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8 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Local Park

A woman sitting on the grass at a park with a laptop, and writing in a notebook.
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Most people head to the park just to get some outdoor time with their kids or eat lunch, but public parks offer tons of free space to do so much more, why not take advantage of it? Below, you’ll find eight other activities your local park is perfect for!

Having a nice park nearby is quite a luxury. For folks who don’t have yards, like city dwellers and those who live in apartments, a park is the only place they can go to get some relaxing outdoor time.

So, this summer, while you’re making plans for all those warm days, consider some of these things you could be doing at your local park.

Turn Walks into Learning Experiences

Whether you’re strolling the trails alone or with your family, there are several ways you can turn your walk into a learning experience. From plants and birds, to all the other animals you might see scampering about, there’s plenty of stuff to learn more about in the great outdoors.

You can even turn your walk into a treasure hunt.

If you can draw, take a sketchpad with you and draw some of the interesting things you see. If not, just take pictures. Or, carry a small notebook so you can jot down descriptions to look up later.

You can even use your phone while you walk to explore the different tree species you see. Learn about how they grow and which animals spend time in and on them. Bird watching and botany are both excellent hobbies to enjoy while walking park trails.

Start Geocaching

An "official geocache" container.
Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock

There was a time when geocaching was a big deal. For quite some time, it seemed like everyone was grabbing a GPS, going on walks to find caches, and writing their names in to see what treasures they could swap for.

Geocaching started in 2000 and was very popular in those early years. While you might not hear about it much anymore, there are still caches tucked away out there, especially at parks.

Nowadays, you can just use your phone as your GPS. Check the geocaching website to see how many sites are in your area, then find the coordinates you need to hunt them down. Be sure to take a pen or pencil with you in case the cache doesn’t have one, and take some sort of trinket to swap out. Things like small toys or cool coins are perfect.

Take Your Laptop

While you might not have Wi-Fi available at the park, you can still use your computer to complete offline assignments or projects while enjoying the fresh air. Use one of the picnic tables or just plop on the grass under a nice shade tree.

If you have a Wi-Fi hot spot, you can take it along with you and hop on the internet to get your work done in a nice outdoor setting. You’ll have to be able to charge your laptop and keep it cool, though.

Go Fishing

If your local park has a pond or river, pack up your fishing pole and tackle box and take them along. Often, parks have great shore fishing. Some might even offer boat rentals so you can go farther out to catch some fish.

Whether you prefer to catch and release or fish for dinner, it’s a fun way to enjoy some time at the park.

Create Some Art

Someone painting on a canvas at a park.

The park is a great place to find some artistic inspiration. Take your paints, an easel, and a canvas with you, and paint some of your favorite settings. If you’re not into painting, just take a pencil and sketchbook and do some drawing.

Parks also offer tons of opportunities to practice your photography skills, whether you use a digital camera or just snap some pics with your phone.

Do Some Yoga

If your yoga practice has been cramped indoors for far too long, take it to the park. Some yoga studios offer group sessions at the park, but you can do it on your own, some anytime you want—no instructor needed.

However, you probably don’t want to get your indoor yoga mat dirty or grass-stained, so you might want to invest in an affordable backup mat specifically to use outdoors.

Try a New Fitness Routine

If yoga isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other things you can do outside that not only count as exercise but also make great hobbies.

While your park probably has basketball and tennis courts, why not try something completely different, like poi? Circus performers who spin fire start with poi before graduating to flames, and you need lots of space to practice.

Another relaxing practice to take up at your local parks is Tai chi. The flowing movements of this meditative discipline are also sometimes called “shadow boxing.” You can find plenty of instructional videos on YouTube to get you started.

Just Take a Break

A young woman sitting on the grass in the park and listening to music on headphones.
Farknot Architect/Shutterstock

Maybe you don’t feel like playing sports or going for a walk and just want to relax outside. Look for a quiet place at your local park where you can sit (or lie down, if you’re so inclined) and take in the beauty and solitude.

Take your headphones or earbuds with you and listen to music or a guided meditation. If your favorite way to relax is inside the pages of a good book, take one with you and read for a while on a park bench or under a tree.

If you’re a tree lover, you might even want to try forest bathing.

Parks offer a lot of wide-open space to do all sorts of things. Whether you need some alone time or just want to get the whole family outside more, head to your local park more often this summer. If you want to increase your outdoor time even more, check out your local hiking trails.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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