The Journal

The Best Mother’s Day Outdoor Activities

While this Mother’s Day is different from other years, it doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate our moms. Typically, Mother’s Day is celebrated with brunch in a crowded restaurant, imbibing on food and drink, and showering our mom in flowers or presents.

It’s likely you won’t be squeezing into a seat in a crowded restaurant but if you’re anything like us, we want to celebrate Mom outdoors. In the era of social distancing, we wondered what things we could do on Mother’s Day that is near us. 

In all honesty, moms appreciate anything with some thought behind it. Simply giving her a call or FaceTiming her will put a smile on her face. If you want to get out in nature like we do and Mom’s able to, we brainstormed a list of outdoor adventures that are guaranteed to create lasting memories. Here is a list of outdoor activity ideas you can do with Mom while staying six feet away.

 

Picnic

A simple outdoor activity is going on a picnic. They are easy to plan and you can picnic anywhere. Divvy up who is making the potato salad and who’s bringing the main course and pick a place within your community (follow your county’s COVID-19 guidelines). Bring a blanket or find an open and empty park with tables. What’s nice about picnics in parks is that they open other outdoor adventures for you. After or before the picnic, the family can go on a hike or walk. 

 

Backyard Barbecue

Equally enjoyable is hosting a backyard barbecue. It’s the same concept as a picnic but you get to stay at home. If you’re in a county with a stay-at-home order and you are unable to leave your place, this is a great alternative to picnics. Barbecues are great because you don’t have to haul a cooler and food around. You also have access to facilities. If Mom is more of a homebody, this is a great way to stay six feet apart and enjoy the outdoors.

 

Bring the Indoors Outside

A unique way to do things outdoors on Mother’s Day is to bring your indoor activities outside. For example, if Mom likes to read books, take her to a park where she can read under a tree. If she likes to watch movies, experiment with an outdoor movie projector and a screen and watch her favorite film under the stars.

You can also bring yoga workouts outdoors. Set up the yoga mats and tune into one of the many businesses offering virtual yoga classes right now. There are also several workout apps you can download that will help keep up your fitness for your particular sport.

 

Gardening

Some moms have a green thumb and if your mom is one of them, help her start or cultivate her own garden. Find out the last average spring frost date in her area so you don't accidentally kill plants by putting them out too early. The second most important thing to consider when starting a garden is picking the right plants for the area in which you plan to plant them and for your climate. Gardening is a great nature activity that gives you plenty of quality time with Mom.

 

Keep Celebrating Earth Day

Some Earth Day activities can be spent with Mom too. Maybe you both already did some Earth Day activities on April 22nd. We developed a list of 50 ways to celebrate Earth Day you can reference. Some of the outdoor activities include going for a walk and picking up litter in your neighborhood (again, follow your county’s COVID-19 guidelines), starting a compost pile in your yard, and planting a tree. Not only do you get to spend quality time with your mom but you’re making a difference for the Earth as well.

 

Sunrise/Sunset Hike

If you live near a hiking trail, change up the time you explore. Sunrise or sunset hikes take a little more planning than a midday hike but it’s so worth it. It’s a fun adventure if neither of you has done that before. This is also a great way to avoid crowds and remain six feet apart from each other on the trail.

 

Trail Running

If your mom enjoys working out in nature, join her for a run on nearby trails. Trail running is different than treadmill or pavement running in that there are obstacles to avoid (or jump over) and a constantly varying terrain. Not to mention that you’re surrounded by nature. Your first few times out on a trail may require you to slow down more than you would on the pavement because of all the rocks, potholes, logs, and tight turns.

It seems that trail running is less about gaining fitness and more about connecting with nature. We all love to get outdoors and what better way to sweat than amongst the trees? If you want the quick and dirty of trail running, check out our blog post about it.

 

Go on a Bike Ride

Bikes are making a comeback these days because it’s one of the easier ways to get in some exercise and stay physically distant from other people. If you both own bikes, take them out for a spin on a local bike path. You can also contact a local bike shop to see if they provide rentals. 

 

Set up a Campfire in the Backyard

If you have a backyard and a way to create a campfire safely, get some wood, and sit around the campfire. You can share stories or eat s’mores. If Mom is a camping enthusiast and foodie, learn some new campfire meal recipes. That way, when we can explore the wild again, she’ll have a slew of new recipes she’s mastered. You’ll probably come to mind when she’s cooking it again too.

 

Set up Camp in the Backyard or Living Room

Since we can’t go camping right now, bring the camp to you. There are no rules against pitching a tent in your comfy living room or next to the garden you planted earlier. Get creative with it. First, arrange all the gear early so you’re not unrolling your sleeping bag when you’re ready to sleep. Pull out the lantern or flashlight and have it near you for midnight restroom runs. The more into the idea of camping inside or in your backyard, the more fun you’ll have.

 

Go on a Local Outdoor Adventure

You probably haven’t explored your neighborhood in a while, if ever. We get so used to our immediate surroundings, we never think that discoveries are just beyond our front porch. There are a few ways to go about this. One way is finding a paper map of your neighborhood and following it around or walking to a certain destination. It will both challenge you to rely less on technology and help you discover something new just down the street.

Another option is to fly by the seat of your pants. Leave your house without a plan (check your community’s guideline’s around COVID-19) and get lost in your neighborhood. We neglect the spaces that are nearest to us. This gives you a chance to discover places near home.

If you and your mom like challenges, The Urban Wanderer has a photo walk challenge you can try. The idea is to walk out your front door and wander through your neighborhood taking pictures of a given theme. For example, you can search out and take pictures of all things that are red or all things that relate to water. Bonus: All the pictures you take on the photo walk will make a neat memento afterward.

If your mother is artistic, another idea is to bring art supplies with you on your local outdoor adventure and create something based on your surroundings. Harness your inner Bob Ross and paint happy little trees.

 

Or Bring the Outdoors Inside

If the weather isn’t cooperating or your Mom wants to stay inside for the day, a fun Mother’s Day activity is bringing the outdoors inside. No, you don’t have to scoop up dirt and play with it in the living room.

Watch adventure films

We created a list of 10 powerful adventure films that will inspire you and your Mom from the couch to enjoy together. They can all be streamed right now for free too. So grab some popcorn or her favorite snacks and kick back on the couch.

Read outdoor books

On the other hand, if your mom is more studious, we also created a list of five outdoor books she might enjoy. Some moms prefer alone time for the day and if your mom is one of them, get her one of those outdoor books and find her a quiet place to read.

Visit National Parks Virtually

We know it’s nothing like being there in person but since we can’t visit National Parks physically right now, the second-best option is visiting National Parks virtually. We found ten National Parks that have a virtual option. If Mom has always wanted to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Google Earth gives us the opportunity to explore the park’s most popular attractions like Laurel Falls trail, Chimney Tops Trail, Newfound Gap, and Clingman's Dome observation tower.

 

There are so many things you can do on Mother’s Day that brings you outdoors and closer to your mom even when you have to maintain a six-foot gap between the two of you (if you don’t live together).