How To: Micro-Adventure Ideas

You don't have to leave town to have a micro-adventure. Learn how to slow down and experience new ways of seeing the world with these micro adventure ideas.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
June 26, 2020

Popularized by Alastair Humphreys, a micro-adventure is "an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding. " As summer arrives, many of us want to maximize our time outside. But it’s not always easy to get out after work or on a busy weekend. Fortunately, opportunities for outdoor exploration are right outside your door. Join us as we take a look at a few of the micro-adventures you can take any day of the week.

Run or Walk Your Errands

Most of us see the places we live through the window of a car or bus, and have set routes to our usual weekly activities. Consider slowing down and taking these trips by foot. Though it may be less efficient, this approach allows you to get some exercise, take a new route, and appreciate the small details we take for granted. Throw on your walking shoes and hit the post office or grab ingredients for dinner – you’ll arrive back home with an errand done and a new appreciation for traveling slow.

What You’ll Need

  • Running/walking shoes
  • Backpack
  • Water
  • Sun or rain gear (when necessary)

Naturalist Walk in your Neighborhood

How often do you notice the trees, grass, or direction of the wind as you walk around your neighborhood? Take a stroll in town and make a point of slowing down to notice how nature coexists in the area where you live. Do a little research before you go to inform your observations. What kind of trees do you have in your neighborhood, and where are they indigenous to? What kinds of plants are growing in your neighbor’s right-of-way? Birds and squirrels are especially entertaining to watch – see if you can identify some of your local animals and better understand their habits.

What You’ll Need

Backyard Camping

Camping requires quite a bit of preparation – packing gear, making meal plans, and for many of us, taking time off work. However, you don’t have to take a long weekend and a lengthy drive to spend a night outdoors. If you or a friend have the space in your yard to pitch a tent, it’s a great way to feel like you’re on a weekend adventure. This is an especially popular micro-adventure with kids, who may be happy to skip a long drive and enjoy a camping experience where the safety of home is very nearby.

Backyard camping offers all the luxuries of car camping, so be sure to bring lots of blankets, great food, and maybe twinkly lights to brighten your camp spot. Check out our Car Camping 101 blog for some fresh ideas. And of course, don’t forget the marshmallows!

What You’ll Need

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Flashlight
  • Camp-appropriate games and treats

Go Foraging

Take a trip to the local park and try your hand at foraging! Even if you don’t choose to eat the wild foods you find, it’s great practice to learn about edible plants in the Pacific Northwest. Many places have edible plants, even if you don’t realize it. For instance, nettles are a commonly foraged food – just be sure to wear gloves! And as always, be careful to avoid ingesting any potentially dangerous plants. Mushroom hunting is best done under the guidance of an experienced educator.

What You’ll Need

Let Your Dog Walk You

Those of us who have dogs at home take them for frequent walks, and spend much of the time pulling them away from bushes, trees, and paths (most often the one we hadn’t planned on going down). However, you may find that your daily walk is more interesting and less predictable if you let your furry friend lead the way. Dogs are masters of being in the moment, and their curiosity knows no bounds; allow them to stop you to explore a new dirt mound, bring you down a new path, or run to the next crosswalk. Your daily walk will be much more nature-oriented, and your dog will love the chance to explore the sights and smells that have been temping them. Don’t have a dog? Borrow a friend’s! This exploratory approach to walks can also be used with children.

What You’ll Need

  • Walking shoes
  • Water
  • Navigation tools

Explore Every Park in Town

We all have our favorite spots near our home or work where we go to relax or play. Expand your horizons by making a list of all parks in your city or town and visit each at least once, keeping a journal of what they’re like. What’s nearby? What kinds of plants and animals live at that park? What’s the history of the park, and its role in the surrounding neighborhood? This not only gives you a chance to see different sides of nature, but explore unknown corners of your town as well. If you want bonus points, walk or ride your bike rather than taking a car.

What You’ll Need

Come up with something new

As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and explore without having to leave your neighborhood or get in a car. Many of these activities can be done with supplies you already have, or using online resources. Although getting onto the trail or into the backcountry is a delight, we ought to remember that adventure is all around us – you just have to look.  

Lead Image of a Junior Naturalist Walk in Seattle.