Easy Day Trip Ideas That Will Get You Outdoors

When you don't have an entire weekend to spare, these day trips will help you spend some quality time with Mother Nature.

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Even in this back-to-business season, nature outings beckon to supply the recharge you crave. Here, pros show you how to master the day trip and be back at your doorstep with weekend time to spare.

1. Sample the Local Terrain

A little field research can yield a go-to hiking route that becomes an easy routine for day trips. "We typically use the Gaia GPS app for mapping our trails and finding new locations," says Shequeita Frazier, of Camp Yoshi in Portland, Oregon, an outfitter that offers "transformative outdoor adventures to Black folks and allies." For even more options, check out AllTrails, too. For a two- to three-hour outing, she suggests looking for a trail that is about five miles with minimal elevation and has a well-carved path. (Check out AdventureSmart for a few safety to-dos beforehand.)

REI stores also lead day hikes across the country (for a guided tour, check out REI's events webpage). "You'll know when you find your place," says Frazier. "A deep exhale, an overwhelming feeling of contentment, and an unexplainable peace will surround you." (Make sure to fill you pack with these essential hiking snacks.)

2. Go Fish

"We love a good fishing excursion as a day option," says Frazier. Make it an early morning or mid-afternoon activity for three hours or so: "Whether you hire a charter company that offers excursions in a boat or search for public landings and piers or camping ground creeks, research the rules in your area," she says. Visit Take Me Fishing's website to find a spot and get licensed before you put this day trip idea into action.

3. Do a Day of Surf and Turf

"Find rivers, lakes, beaches, or waterfront parks to explore for the perfect mix of activities," says Diana Lee, a guide for outdoor brand Fjallraven and a stand-up paddleboarding instructor in Toronto. She says sporting goods stores are a great start for SUP recommendations; a site like paddling.com can guide you to kayaking and canoeing in your area for a day trip.

"The AnyFinder app is a great tool to find beaches using its filter, and AllTrails has search options if you're looking for a walk near water," says Mikayla Wujec, a National Geographic Explorer and a co-founder of women's outdoor brand Alder. "I love a beach day and swimming in the open water if I can swing it."

Make Your Day Trip an Overnight

Don't want your day trip to end? Camping one-nighters have become turnkey with just-add pajamas options like Tentrr, which offers check-in and checkout times at over 1,000 campsites for a fixed nightly rate, or Hipcamp, which offers tent camping sites, glamping, cabins, treehouses, and more.

For DIYers, Eddie Bauer now rents gear — as low as $6 a day for tents and $7 for sleeping bags — shipped anywhere. "Sleeping out under the stars, whether it's pitching a tent in the backyard or backcountry, is one thing we can all do that can be very low cost," says Kristen Elliott, vice president of marketing for the brand.

Got an RV or a camper? For a $99 annual fee, Harvest Hosts gives you options to park at 2,600 wineries, farms, and other scenic businesses, plus more than 3,000 private properties. Or, rent one via Outdoorsy, which is like Airbnb for RVs, camper vans, and travel trailers. (

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