Skip to main content

Embrace the Summer With These 10 Microadventures

Make the Most of Your Summer With These Micro Trips

We all want to fit more adventure into our lives. How many evenings have you spent at home, scrolling through other people’s adventures on social media, wishing you had spent less time chasing life and more time living in the moment? That youthful vagabond inside you that has to be suppressed daily could be the key to making the most out of your summer. Microadventures are short, local adventures that don’t require all the logistical undertaking of a longer trip. These adventures, coined by U.K. adventure writer Alastair Humphreys, are designed to fit into the 5-9, those 16 hours between working days.

Travel restrictions in the past couple of years have seen a rise in local area appreciation, but just because we’re allowed to travel further away from home, we shouldn’t forget the beauty that we can find right on our doorstep. This summer, you might be planning a multi-week thru-hike or a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. These big-calendar occasions are no doubt going to be the highlight of your summer, but you can keep your passion for adventure burning on other weekends or weekdays by fitting in microadventures around your work life. Here are 10 ideas to make sure you keep getting outside this summer.

A person standing on a hill alone at sunset
Image used with permission by copyright holder

1. Climb your Local Hill

Anything on your doorstep is easy to overlook, and many people have local hills on their doorsteps that they have never walked up. Take a picnic with you in a backpack cooler and sit at the top, taking in the views down across your town. See if you can pick out your house and other locations, like your favorite bar or bookshop. If you’ve been up your local hill plenty of times before, try putting a new twist on it. Go at night or in the evening, camp at the top, and return home in the morning.

An opened bivy sack in a forest
Image used with permission by copyright holder

2. Pick a Point on a Map

It’s a ridiculous cliche from films, throwing a dart at a map and heading wherever it lands. On a less random scale, this is a great way to explore new areas. Pick a point on a map and go there with either your tent or bivvy for the night. You can use a random grid reference, get a friend to pick, close your eyes and point at the map, or use the age-old dart trick. If it’s up a hill, take hiking boots. If it’s on a beach or next to a lake, go for a walk around the lake or take your kayak. We recommend picking again if your chosen point is dangerous, impossibly hard to get to, or if you would have to invite yourself into someone else’s house.

Water running down a river in the woods.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

3. Go Wild Swimming

Take a swim in a river or a lake. Wild swimming can be a stand-alone microadventure or part of a hike or camp. This could be right by your house, or you could fill your backpack and hike into a secluded spot to go swimming. Wild swimming has exploded in popularity in the past few years and whether you swim for health reasons or just as a way to relax, it can be a perfect way to wake up and enliven your senses after a long day at work.

Silhouetted people walk under the moonlight
Image used with permission by copyright holder

4. Hike Under a Full Moon or Go Stargazing

You may have hiked the trails around your house hundreds of times, but have you ever hiked them by the light of a full moon? On a clear night, a full moon can provide more than enough light to walk under and it can make a familiar area look completely different. Take your time and slow down on the trails, enjoying the serenity of hiking under the moon. If there’s no full moon to navigate by, head out with your headlamp and find a clearing, turn your lamp off and let your eyes acclimate so you can spend an hour stargazing.

A man bikes through the woods on a single track trail

5. Take the Train Somewhere Wild and Bike Back

See a whole new local area by putting your bike on the train and taking it as far as you feel you can cycle back. By starting your journey further away from home, you don’t limit yourself to having to ride a loop and you’re pretty much guaranteed to see new things along the way. You can do this in an evening, a whole day, or even pack up a bivvy bag and turn it into a short bikepacking trip.

Man in hammock in the woods.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

6. Sleep in a Hammock

If you’re a hammocking novice, we cannot recommend them enough for camping. Sure, we love sleeping in a tent or bivvy, but there’s something magical about swinging between the trees as you fall asleep. Your hammock doesn’t have to be anything too over-engineered, either. You can use the most basic hammock for sleeping, so long as you find the right spot. If you think it might rain, take a tarp with you, or throw your bivvy bag over your sleeping bag in your hammock. That way you can still look up at the stars, but don’t have to worry about the rain.

Two steaks cooking on a grill on an open fire
Image used with permission by copyright holder

7. Cook on an Open Fire

If you’ve never cooked anything more adventurous than a s’more or a sausage on your fire, we challenge you to give it a go. There are loads of great recipes to cook on a fire, whether you hang a cooking pot to make a stew or throw a grill over some stones to grill your steak. Rather than making cooking part of a camping trip, make it the focus. Get some really nice food and cook yourself up a fine dining experience outside.

Travel planning with a computer and a map
Image used with permission by copyright holder

8. Make Your Own Journey

Pick two points and make a journey between them. These points could be completely arbitrary, or they could have meaning — it doesn’t matter. Follow the course of a river, draw a radius around your house and follow the line as closely as possible, or go off-track up a hill. Alternatively, head out the door and make it up as you go. Whatever your journey, make it different and make it adventurous. You’ll see things differently, or see new things altogether.

Sunrise over forests and mountains
Image used with permission by copyright holder

9. Catch the Sunrise

This could either be after a night out in a hammock or bivvy or just making a point of getting up for sunrise before work. This can be hard in summer, especially if the sunrise where you are is about 4 a.m., but there really is no better way to start the day. If you’re heading out camping for the night, find a place that looks both east and west. That way, you can enjoy the sunset and the sunrise equally.

Two people riding bikes next to each other
Image used with permission by copyright holder

10. Change Up Your Commute

When you’re really hard-pressed for time, sometimes you have to squeeze adventure out of wherever possible. Why not change up your commute to fit in a short dose of adventure on your way to or from work? Walk a different route, drive out a different way, or take the train past your stop and cycle back to see a new area. Whatever you do, try to make as much time count as possible and wake yourself up to the world around you.

Editors' Recommendations

Tom Kilpatrick
A London-born outdoor enthusiast, Tom took the first ticket out of suburban life. What followed was a twelve-year career as…
The Cape Flattery Trail offers wild coastal views that are worth the trek
Why you need to visit the Cape Flattery Trail
Image of the cape flattery reef at the end of the trail off a cliff

When Washingtonians told me I needed to take a trip to Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point of the contiguous U.S., I assumed it was just for bragging rights. I added a short detour to the trail before returning to well-known sites on the Olympic Peninsula, like Lake Quinault's rainforest or Mount Olympus' cloudy peaks.
But to my surprise, my journey to Cape Flattery trail, through the idyllic Neah Bay, was as, if not more stunning than the neighboring Olympic National Park and completely worth the additional drive.
Along the trail, you're privy to lush rainforest views, craggy cliffs, marine life, and millennia of Indigenous and ecological history, all within a 1.5-mile hike.
Ready to visit this Pacific northwestern gem, located just 160 miles north of Seattle? Here's how to get there and what you'll see along the way.

How to Get to the Cape Flattery Trail

Read more
The best hiking snacks to fuel your time on the trail
Consider these foods to have with you on your hike
Man eating a hiking snack

Warmer weather is here, and it's finally time to dust off the hiking gear that’s been hibernating in the back of your closet all winter, and make some hiking snacks that will get you ready to hit the trails. From getting fresh air and exercise to enjoying scenic vistas, hiking is one of the best ways to get outdoors and enjoy nature. But, whether you're taking on one of the most physically challenging hikes in the U.S. or embarking on a short and simple day hike, it's important to be prepared with the right equipment -- and that includes the best hiking snacks. 

If you're keeping your hike relatively short, there's no need to reach for the dehydrated meals. What you do want are snacks that won’t spoil, don’t take up a ton of space in your backpack, and help you stay energized and feel good all day long. That means you'll want a mix of carbohydrates and protein, both of which your body needs to perform at its best during the hike and recover properly once you're done.

Read more
All the camping toiletries you need for a weekend (or a week) in the woods
Just because you're in the wild doesn't mean you have to look and smell like it
Man shaving outside

Hiking, camping, and exploring the great outdoors give you a much-needed perspective change on just about all of life's greatest mysteries. It's like pushing the reset button on our human operating systems. When you return to "the real world," you're often completely refreshed and performing optimally across all facets of your life. Among other things, it shows you just how few things you need to exist in blissful harmony with nature.

Out there in the woods, you don't need much aside from the best camping tent, a good sleeping bag, and cooking gear to prep your favorite camping meals. But just because you pack light doesn't mean you have to skimp on the toiletries. It's an essential step that many people forget, but you want a few items to clean yourself up after an all-day hike or fishing adventure.

Read more