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100 Ways to Get Outside

It’s absolutely no secret that Michael and I love the outdoors and generally being outside. We love doing a variety of activities that include hiking and camping - but it’s not all about hiking and camping. You don’t have to be ‘outdoorsy’ to spend time outside. The average American spends just 5% of their time outside. We are here to help with ideas and inspiration to raise that percentage, to get outside and enjoy our beautiful planet, even in the city.

We have compiled 100 ways to get outside - in absolutely no particular order. Many activities are free or cheap, we are hoping you’ll find more ways to get outside with this helpful list. Our focus is on our beautiful city, Portland, Oregon but we think that many of these can translate to your corner of the world. Tell us, what is your favorite way to get outside?

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This post includes affiliate links where you are given a great recommendation without cost and we receive nominal fees if you choose to purchase. Plaid Pinecone is a proud member of 1% for the Planet- at least 1% of our profits are donated to save our planet.

1. Neighborhood walk

2. Street Fairs

In Portland there are multiple neighborhood street fairs to check out. We’ll be at Last Thursdays on Alberta street in 2018, but be sure to check out Belmont Street Fair and Mississippi Street Fair.

3. Hike in the woods

This is one of our favorite activities. We enjoy hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, on Mt. Hood, and in Forest Park. Check out our blog post about hiking to Jawbone Flats and Opal Creek.

Jawbone Flats, Opal Creek Wilderness, Willamette National Forest      

4. Urban exploration

We love to explore our city and other cities. Some of our favorites are New York, Seattle and San Francisco. We also love smaller towns like Vernonia and Sisters, Oregon.

5. Outdoor patios

Outdoor patios can be at your own home, at a friends place or at restaurants. We are lucky enough to live in a virtually mosquito-free city and take advantage of dining al fresco every chance we get.

6. Bike ride

7. Picnic

8. Movies in the park

There are so many movies to see in Portland Parks. It's part of Portland’s Summer Free for All - that includes many events. We took Euro to see Rio when he was just a puppy.

9. Outdoor Market - one of the most famous in Portland is the Saturday Market

10. Sporting events - Go Timbers!

11. Yoga in the park

We did this once as part of a festival in Laurelhurst Park. Yoga in the early morning sun was an amazing experience and can't be matched in a studio. Portland is full of this type of stuff - keep an eye out for events to take advantage.

12. Chase waterfalls

There are 238 waterfalls in Oregon and countless more in the Pacific Northwest. Some are as easy as a walk across the parking lot or a view from your car window. Some are secluded, hidden and almost secret. Where is your favorite Northwest Waterfall? Comment on this blog post

13. Tea and Coffee

14. Birdwatching

15. Road trip

Check out our 5 Quick Planning Tips to get on the road fast or our tips for planning an epic 30-day road trip.

16. Hot springs

17. Camping

This could be as easy as putting a tent in your backyard or backpacking deep into the woods. Check out our epic 30-day camping trip across Canada for inspiration. We also love the Olympic National Forest in Washington check out our blog post.

18. Plant a garden

19. Pub crawl

You can find a company or create your own. We created one for a friend's Birthday in SE Portland, visiting Produce Row Cafe for dinner, followed by drinks at Cascade Brewing Barrel House and Star Bar.

20. Wildcraft, forage

Take a class or pick up this guide.

21. Parasail

22. Kayak

23. Farmers Market

24. Kite

25. Bocce ball

26. Cozy up by a fire

27. Geocaching

28. Frisbee

29. Harvest Festivals

30. Pitch & Putt Golf

McMenamin’s Edgefield is one of the best. It doesn’t take too much of the day, the golf course and views are magnificent. They even drive the beer truck around so you can grab a beer if you forget one at the distillery (the starting/ending point).

31. Food trucks

We love Portland food trucks and they are plentiful. We most recently picked up roasted turkey from Bark City BBQ for a patio party we hosted. Their sauces are some of the best!

32. Forest bathing

33. County and State fairs

34. Jazz festival

35. Playgrounds

36. Shakespeare in the park

Original Practice Shakespeare Festival performs in parks and other festivals around town. We’ve also attended the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in Vancouver BC and hope to see a play in Ashland, OR very soon.

37. Barbecue

We love to grill in the summer, check out our easy Caprese Salad recipe, a perfect compliment to grilled meats.

38. Fishing

39. Swimming holes

40. Berry, fruit picking

41. River float

42. Riverwalk

43. Snowshoe

44. Whitewater rafting

45. Zoo

46. Ski or Snowboard

47. Skateboard

48. Hot air balloon

We are lucky to have many opportunities in Oregon for hot air balloons. We chose to take our first voyage in Cappadocia, Turkey to see the “fairy chimney” landscape.

49. Rollerblading

50. Rock climbing

51. Run - 5k, Marathon

52. Walk/Bike/Run the Bridges

This one is pretty specific to Portland, Oregon but there is nothing like walking out to the center of any bridge and seeing the sites down each side. St. John's Bridge is one of the famous in Portland, but there are many others that cross the Willamette River including the Tilikum Crossing that is only for transit, pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

53. Summit a mountain

54. Visit a garden (japanese, rose, etc.)

Portland has many beautiful gardens to explore and there are even a few that you can see for free.

55. Outdoor Concert 

Again I’ll shout out to McMenamin’s Edgefield, but Maryhill Winery also has an amazing venue. There are so many to list here, I don’t know where to start.

56. Look at flowers (Tulip Festival)

You can attend a festival or visit gardens in and around Portland. Michael and I also love to wander around the neighborhoods looking at all the trees and flowers.

57. Rose Festival (May 25 - June 9)

Rose Festival is a huge event in Portland, Oregon, it’s been going for over a 100 years. It has parades, visiting Naval ships, carnival rides, and fair food.

58. Public swimming pools

59. Stand-up paddleboarding

60. Take Photos

We love to take random photos around town, in parks or even in our own backyard. We did this one in May and love how it turned out.

61. Frisbee golf

62. Horseback riding

63. Journaling

I love to write, so I’m usually found with a notebook within arms reach. There are plenty of books that will get you started with activities. One of my favorites is by Keri Smith, "Wreck This Journal."

64. Wander

Go outside and wander, without any plan. I love to do this on my lunch hour, weekend mornings or in the evenings after dinner. There is another interesting book by Keri Smith, "The Wander Society" about a secret society of wanderers.

65. Scavenger Hunt

You can attend an organized one, or create one yourself.

66. People watching

I’m very guilty of this one. I love to see what others are wearing, hear snippets of conversation and generally just watch the world pass by.

67. Boating/Pontoon

68. Meditate

69. Amusement Park

Oaks Park is a great one in the Portland area. We like to attend during their Oktoberfest.

70. Walk on the beach 

I’m a sucker for shells and rocks. We love Pacific City and Cannon Beach in Oregon and Alki Beach in Seattle, Washington.

71. Windsurf

Oregon is well-known for windsurfing in the Columbia River Gorge.

72. Games on the porch/deck/patio

73. Rent a scooter

74. Mushroom hunting

Pick up a reference guide to make sure you get the good ones.

75. Soccer, basketball, flag football

76. Mini - golf

We’ve heard about the ‘secret’ Twin Pines Country Club in Portland, but have yet to go. Have you been?

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77. Driving range

78. Explore urban art 

79. Cave exploration

The Ape Caves in Washington are quite popular and awesome for a day hike on a hot day. You can mess about near the beginning or if you’re an intermediate hiker, go through the entire distance and hike back on the outside through the forest. Be sure to bring a flashlight.

80. Draw, paint outside

81. Segway tour

82. Roast s’mores on a fire

83. Renaissance Faire

84. Beer, Wine, or Cider tasting


85. Visit a farm; petting zoo

86. Watch the ducks/geese in a park (feed only if permitted)

87. Visit a Nature Preserve

In Portland, we have a number of these: Oaks Bottom Nature Preserve, Tualatin River National Wildlife Preserve, The Audubon Society, Smith and Bybee National Wetlands Area.

88. Take a nap in a hammock

89. Visit an Arboretum

Hoyt Arboretum is one of our favorites

90. Stargaze, meteor showers, full moons, eclipses, sunrise, sunset

Last Summer's Total Solar Eclipse passed over Oregon, see our blog post to read all about it.

91. Walking Tour - take an organized one, download a podcast or create your own.

92. Clean up trails, other park events

Forest Park, one of the largest urban forests in the United States, has a number of fun events and volunteer opportunities. There are also 47 miles of trails to keep you busy.

93. Read a book

This is a favorite of ours, generally by a stream or river, or taking a break in a hammock strung between two trees. Get books at the best bookstore on the planet, Powell's Books.


94. Festivals

Portland and Oregon have a large number of fun festivals: Greek, Italian, French, Elephant Garlic, UFO Festival, Festival of Flowers, and many more. 

95. Garage sales

The annual garage sale in Maywood Park is one of our favorites.

96. Grist Mill

There is the historic Cedar Creek Grist Mill near Woodland, Washington. They have events on the last Saturday of every month including Strawberry Shortcakes and Apple Cider Pressing.

97. Riverboat Cruise

98. Art Walk

99. Touch the Green; Hug a Tree

Go out and take it all in, change your perspective for an afternoon and breathe some fresh air.

100. Opera in the Park

We haven’t done this one yet, but am looking forward to checking it out.

That's the 100 ways that we came up with, tell us, what is your favorite way to get outside? Comment on this blog post