It’s that time of the year to start the transition from winter to summer. In the summer, I find myself outdoors as much as possible to soak up the long daylight hours and warm temps.
If you’re anything like me, your weekends get booked fast. Here are a few tips to get ahead of not only your own summer plans but your friends’ too.
1. Set a goal to get outside and breathe in the fresh air.
Block off weekends on your calendar or set a challenge to camp X number of nights or hike X number of trails this summer. Challenge accepted: Goals can help get you off the couch and get outside.
2. Rally the friends who are always too busy.
There’s always that one friend you can never pin down and whose calendar is always booked months in advance. Now is a perfect time to get on his or her radar.
3. Make a list of the trips, trails, campsites, climbs and more you didn’t get to last summer that you’re still itching to do.
I’ve always wanted to wake up to mountain views from a fire lookout tower. It’s time to stop saying “there’s always next year”—the time is now. Research whether or not you need campsite reservations or wilderness permits and make it happen.
4. The more the merrier.
Not sure yet what specific trip you want to do? Ask your friends for ideas, and don’t leave anyone out. Send out a poll to see what weekends work the best for your crew. Polls can be done a variety of ways, from a survey to a social media group to a shared calendar. Who knows, your friends may introduce you to a new area.
5. Host a kick-off-the-summer party.
Find a local campground or park that isn’t too far away and invite friends to book reservations there the same weekend. What better way to kick off the summer than planning with friends around a campfire, drinks in hand?
6. Stay organized, up-to-date and reliable.
If during a casual conversation a friend mentions wanting to do a certain adventure, be an instigator and send a calendar invite to make sure it actually happens. Continually update the details with addresses, reservations, packing lists and contact information.
We’ve asked our blog contributors to provide tips to get you and your crew excited for the upcoming season of campfires, s’mores, and starry nights.
Sign up or host a group run or series of fitness classes with your friends. I know working out can suck, but if it’s getting you in better shape to adventure in the coming summer months, then it’s worth it. Besides, nothing tastes better than a beer after a good workout, and that’s the perfect time to talk about ideas for upcoming trips with your friends. - Ian Coble
Know before you go: Check national park and forest service websites for road closures due to washouts, slides, etc. Trip report sites usually provide information on trail conditions. - Jason Hummel
Start making time to attend local events and club gatherings. Get out of your comfort zone and hang out with a new crowd. Put a couple of group hikes or rides on the calendar. - Matt Hage
On August 25, 2016, the National Park Service will turn 100 years old. Help commemorate by visiting a national park this summer—there are 407 to choose from. If you want to skip the crowds at Yellowstone or Yosemite, try exploring one of many off-the-beaten-path parks. Some suggestions: Cycle the serious hills and curves of the North Cascades Highway through Washington's North Cascades National Park, hike to the highest point in Texas in remote Guadalupe Mountains National Park, or explore desert slot canyons in Utah's Capitol Reef National Park. - Megan Michelson
Having your gear organized is important for being able to pull off quick weekend missions. I like to keep my outdoor gear in separate winter and summer bins, so the winter bins can be stored away in the closet and the summer bins can be close at hand. - Shelby Carpenter
For those of us with only two weeks of paid vacation, camping trips often get the short end of the stick. If you plan to sleep outside on Memorial Day,or Labor Day, ask your boss now if you can take one (or all) of those holidays on the opposite end of the weekend. You’ll still run into some campsite traffic, but that one night of emptiness will be worth the swap. - Whitney James
Don't forget, there are many ways to get outside. Give back to the outdoors you love so much by volunteering with a local organization or take a class to learn a new activity. It's time to start planning.
Have more tips? Please share in the comments below.