Can you believe it's already close to schools being out of session for the summer holidays? Seems like the time it takes to get from Christmas break to summer break gets shorter and shorter every year. Of course as you age it generally seems like time speeds up and the days, weeks, and months pass by faster and faster each year.
Okay, so what do you have planned for the kids over the summer? Hopefully you are not limited to the video game play time, or web surfing, or the neighborhood pool. I'd rather hope you will be looking for activities that will take you and the kids, or grandkids, outdoors. This is a great time of the year to get in some hiking, camping, canoeing, wildlife watching and outdoor photography. There is so much to do in our region, with so many opportunities provided by our state and local governments and federal parks and recreation facilities. They are easy to find and here are some suggestions;
Federal Recreational Opportunities - The National Park Service provides wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities at the many National Parks that exist in our region. Whether or not you are interested in the historical significance to be found at the parks, there are usually opportunities to get out and walk, hike, or bike the many miles of roads and trails that exist in the parks. The National Forest Service also provides many wonderful outdoor recreational opportunities. They include hunting and fishing and camping, hiking, biking, and canoeing. There are many National Forest lands in our region and you can find great opportunities to share outdoor experiences at the many recreation areas that are found in the National Forests.
State Recreational Opportunities - States also maintain many areas that provide wonderful opportunities to experience the outdoors. Whether state parks, wildlife management areas, or recreation areas, you can find many outdoor activities that create lasting memories for yourself and family. Many of the parks located in my home state of Georgia provide not only camping opportunities, but also cabins and lodges that allow you to entice your spouse to join in your activities, without having to "rough" it too much.
County and local opportunities - Many of the counties and local governments may offer opportunities for your enjoyment. Whether hiking or walking trails, bicycling parks, or local impoundments that offer camping, fishing, and other activities; you may be amazed what is available to you just outside your door. There is nothing wrong with considering that a camping trip can be as close as a couple of miles from your home. It's the getting out that's important and not the distance traveled.
Businesses and Associations - Many businesses and associations linked to outdoor activities offer free or low cost opportunities to not only enjoy the outdoors, but to provide educational opportunities. Programs may include the need for volunteers to cut or clear trails, river or stream pick up and clearing bike trails. Education programs may provide expertise in outdoor medicine, the operation of GPS units, bicycle safety and maintenance, suggestions for making your camping trips a success, and programs designed specifically for kids to provide them information that prepares them for outdoor activities.
Wow, I didn't even realize the number of opportunities that present themselves to anyone wishing to find things to do with family over the summer. All one has to do is look and plan time accordingly. Make a list of what you would like to do this summer, or better yet, ask your children/grandchildren what they would like to do or accomplish over the summer, kind of a "bucket list" and begin to plan on how many you think you can complete before the kids return to school.
So, schools out, but that only begins to open the door to the wonderful activities available to you and your family in the great outdoors.
Don't forget the bug spray and sun tan lotion and have fun.