First, let’s discuss what a “backyard” is. For some people a backyard is a big fenced in area with grass, a garden, a fire pit, and more. Other people consider anything they can easily walk to part of their backyard. Still others will say that any trail they can access with just a short drive is in their backyard. The vast majority of us probably fall into a combination of those three options. Personally, my backyard is National Forest land I can access on foot but I grew up with acres of farmland as my backyard.
Regardless of how you define “backyard” there are a multitude of ways you can find adventure in you very own backyard. This is the true beauty of adventure — it is what you make of it and as the saying goes “it’s the journey, not the destination”.
Backyard adventures give you an opportunity to see your local area with a new set of eyes. You’re used to driving by that trailhead on the way to work…but when was the last time you stopped by to actually explore that trail? This is likely true for so many spaces near you, from trails to parks to local businesses to unexpected activities.
Taking the time to really get to know your backyard and all the adventures it has to offer is an excellent way get outdoors during safer-at-home pandemic precautions…or when your budget just doesn’t allow you to travel the world. Keep scrolling to get the low down on three ways I love wandering my backyard.
Hike /hīk/: “a long walk, especially in the country or wilderness”
While the technical definition of hike does mention the country or wilderness that can easily be overlooked for the sake of backyard adventures. When you’re living in a concrete jungle the bike path along a river or a local park can feel a bit like the wilderness so roll with it.
The Adventure: The real adventure of hiking is discovering new views or perspectives while you’re out and about using your body to propel you forward. Create a hiking adventure in your own backyard by packing up the essentials [anything from the ten essentials to your wallet with a bus pass] and heading out in a new direction.
Pay attention to the world around you while you roam. If you’re hiking on trails in the true wilderness make note of the views, critters, and foliage around you. If you are exploring civilization notice interesting street signs, other people going about their day, and new businesses to visit later.
You do not need a forest or campground in your backyard to enjoy a bout of backyard camping! If you have a flat piece of dirt out back you’re good to go…or two trees to string a hammock between will do the trick. Or simply pitch your tent in the living room!
The Adventure: Once you have picked a place to camp get your gear together. Even if you’re going on a short hike to find backcountry camping you can choose comfort over weight. If you are staying on your own property wrangle all the items you’ll need for a regular camping trip and try to avoid using any of the comforts of home [ahem, electricity, the couch, etc].
With close-to-home camping – whether in your living room, backyard, or a short hike away – the risk of a bad night of sleep is much lower. If things go wrong you can bail out of the tent and into your own bed! You also get to try out all your gear and be better prepared for your more involved camping trip.
Have you ever visited your local tourism office? Probably not, but it can be a great resource for local adventures. A quick online search for “Frisco, Colorado tourist office” got me all the information I need to make quick visit to the Frisco Information Center.
The Adventure: Pop into your local information center or tourism office [or scroll through the online resources] and pick a few activities or businesses that make you go “hmmm”. You’ll likely find some activities or trails you never noticed before — grab those brochures!
Take a day to treat yourself to life as a tourist in your own town. Grab coffee or breakfast at a well-loved eatery, hike a nearby trail you haven’t been on yet, refuel with burgers from a local cafe, explore museums or art galleries, treat yourself to dinner out [or order in!].
A day of playing tourist is Frisco would look something like this: brunch at Bread + Salt, hiking/biking/sledding at the Frisco Adventure Park, lunch at Highside Brewing, a stroll through the Frisco Historic Museum, a stop at the Frisco Art Collective, a leisurely dinner at Tavern West, and maybe a night cap of problem solving at the Frisco Escape Room. Followed up by an excellent night of sleep because being a tourist is a LOT OF WORK! Want more? Check out our Mini-tinie Adventures!
Of course, these are just three of many handfuls of ideas to get you out into your own backyard. But they are tried and true methods for finding adventure close to home! A few years [and specifically multiple months during the pandemic] these little backyard adventure tricks have led to a whole new appreciation for the area I live in and what it has to offer to both myself and people visiting.
What adventures did you find in your backyard? Share them by tagging @adventurefeetfirst on Instagram or Facebook…or by shooting an email over to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always curious to know how people choose to adventure, especially close to home.