Living in a big city can sometimes make a person feel a bit trapped. Without regular access to open space, surfaces other than concrete and asphalt and trees growing outside of an area designated as a public park, even the most hearty city dweller can start to feel a bit claustrophobic.
Fortunately, some cities are a bit more conducive to escape than others and offer nearby opportunities for hiking, weekend getaways and bike trips. That doesn't mean, though, that those of us who are less lucky have no hope of escaping the urban jungle. It just means we might have to get a bit creative.
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Hit Up an Outdoor Retailer
Before going too far, though, let's start with the obvious. One of the best resources urban-bound outdoor junkies have at their disposal is a good gear and equipment retailer. There are REI locations all over the country—and many of them offer information sessions, courses, and different events (some free, some for a fee) that will either get you out and about or give you an idea of the best ways to escape city limits.
Additionally, it's getting easier and easier to find smaller, more specialized stores that are ideal if you know exactly what it is you want to be doing. The best stores will have a knowledgeable, enthusiastic staff that's ready to help you get set up for your next (or possibly first) adventure.
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Unsurprisingly, the Internet also has just about everything you could ever want when it comes to outdoor activities. Not only will you be able to find any sort of equipment or apparel you need (although you're likely to miss out on the expertise that a real-life retail experience will give you), you can also work some somewhat mundane, everyday websites to your adventure advantage.
Through discount websites like Schwaggle, Groupon or LivingSocial, you can try out new activities without breaking the bank; you might not come across deals everyday, but if you're attentive and patient, you may find yourself on a yoga hike or taking a stand-up paddling class at a deep discount next weekend. Programs like ActiveAdvantage Outdoors will give you a chance to explore new places without spending all your hard-earned money (after all, city living is expensive enough as it is!).
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Find a Meetup
Venture into the less obvious with an outdoors meetup. In the New York City area, there are hundreds of groups devoted to hiking, biking, camping, climbing, kayaking, paddling, and enjoying the outdoors in every way imaginable—the sheer number of groups may be proof in and of itself of just how confining city life can sometimes be.
Finding a group puts you in touch with like-minded people and can be a great way to get to know a new place or a new activity. If you'd rather fly solo, or stay a little more local, try finding out what's happening in your own backyard. If your city has an Audubon center, botanical gardens, walking tours or even a zoo, then you've got an easy outdoors escape that won't take you too far afield. These options may a bit less physically taxing, but they can be the perfect choice for a family activity, or just a day when relaxing is a higher priority than racking up endorphins.
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Plan your next outdoor adventure.