Local Adventures: Exploring the Outdoors Within City Limits

After a year living on the road and traveling to some of the most coveted outdoor destinations in America, I was terrified that settling down and “staying in place” would ruin my sense of adventure. Suddenly, I went from wide open spaces to the confines of city limits – and yet I quickly learned that it’s easy to find adventure close to home.

Whether you have all day on a weekend, or just a few hours during a lunch break, those who truly seek adventure can find it anywhere. To prove this point, I went out in Tallahassee and found fresh air, a scenic lake, a great 40-minute walk for my pup, and heaps of sunshine – all less than a mile away from the errands I was running on a busy day.

The easiest place to find adventure close to home is a local park. My little excursion brought me to Tom Brown Park, one of Tallahassee’s finest public spaces complete with mountain biking, a dog park, disc golf, and more. You could easily spend the entire day at Tom Brown Park, but since I was seeking just a quick moment of adventure to balance out my hectic day, I simply chose to wander along the trail around Lake Leon.

Niko and Amble take a stroll on the boardwalk along Lake Leon at Tom Brown Park in Tallahassee, FL.The trail itself is mostly paved, with a long boardwalk portion that takes you over the lake and along marshy wetlands full of lily pads and turtles sunning themselves on half-submerged logs. Amble got quite a kick out of peering over the boardwalk to look down at the water, and it was a great place to practice her “heel” command.

Even though the path is less than a half-mile long, strolling along it for a quick lap offered the perfect little escape from being indoors and scurrying around town. I think adventurers spend too much time focusing on big trips, and not enough time slowing down to enjoy the little, simpler moments of getting outside that can add a literal and figurative breath of fresh air into any day.

Amble and I pause for a quick photo while walking along the Lake Leon trail at Tom Brown Park in Tallahassee.Another view of Lake Leon at Tom Brown Park in Tallahassee.One of the many resident turtles that call Lake Leon home at Tom Brown Park in Tallahassee.

After soaking up a little sunshine, watching a turtle warm itself on a log, and meeting a few new dog friends, my mini adventure came to an end and I returned to the hustle and bustle of life in a city. The entire excursion lasted all of 40-minutes (an amount of time that anyone can spare in a day!), but it provided exactly the break I needed to remind myself that I am an adventurer, and being outdoors is where I find my happiness.

Want to find local adventures in YOUR backyard? Here are a few tips:

– Recruit friends or co-workers to get outdoors with you on lunch breaks, after work, or on a sunny weekend. Once you expose your cohorts to how refreshing it is to get outside, create accountability and make it a reoccurring activity to keep getting outdoors on a regular basis. 
– Combine your mini adventures with an activity: pick up disc golf, join a weekly dog park meet-up, start trail running, or bring your lunch outside on a picnic. 
– Do a little online digging and find the best parks in your neighborhood. I love using Yelp to find favorite local spaces. Better yet, ask fellow locals for their recommendations – they may even join you on your next outing!

How do you find local adventures in your city?
What’s your favorite spot to explore close to home?

*Note: This post is sponsored by Nature Valley. For more outdoor inspiration, check out their fantastic Nature Project Tumblr
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2 thoughts on “Local Adventures: Exploring the Outdoors Within City Limits

  1. Jake says:

    This is amazing! I love strolling around our place too and it still mesmerizes me every time. Sometimes, you don’t need to go that far to find a great destination, sometimes their just near you.

    Thank you! Have a great day!

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