Outdoor Recreational Activities List

Man jumping ship in a water fight
Epic Water fight in Aruba. Credit Devinsupertramp

This is the ultimate list of outdoor activities listing physical and outdoor recreational activities and hobbies for adults, teens, kids and family. It is one of the best compilations of ideas for new outdoor recreational activities and hobbies to try that satisfy your current reasons for getting active outdoors. Some of the outdoor activities examples are physical activities, some are just plain fun. I’ve even listed the most popular outdoor activities so you can see what others do for recreation. The main aim of this list of outdoor activities is to help you discover something different to do for recreation.

Outdoor Activities Environment Picker

Use the images below to jump to the section in the outdoor activities list with the environment for you.

Outdoor Air ActivitiesOutdoor Land ActivitiesOutdoor Water ActivitiesOutdoor Winter Activities

If you are seeking outdoor activities and ideas for team development, you’ll find my section on outdoor team building activities a quick and easy way to deliver the character building training you need.

Outdoor Activities for Physical and Mental Health

I have learned from personal experience that the best way to support your mental health and wellbeing is to do any outdoor activity that involves focussing on any form of physical movement in the real world.  It doesn’t have to be physically demanding, so long as the activity uses your mind to move your body and interact with the physical world.  It could be physical exercise, gardening, making something, photography, camping, or spending time sharing outdoor experiences with people you love being with.

The different types of outdoor activities in the list below help to break that cycle of spending too much time thinking and dwelling on things without moving your body or interacting with the physical world.  The best outdoor activities I have found for boosting your mental health and releasing the tension from living in the modern world are making or repairing things, dancing, gardening, mountain biking, or learning any new skills that requires moving your body in a specific way to interact with reality.  These outdoor activities force your mind to focus on the here and now, and free your mind from those freewheeling thoughts that just lock you into a state of perpetual anxiety.  Before you know it you will find yourself totally absorbed in the outdoor activities you are doing and find that sense of calm and wellbeing you have been seeking.  But you need to find the right activity for you.

The outdoor recreational activities in the list below will provide you with inspiration for things to do outdoors whether you are on your own, in a group, with your teens, friends or family.  If I have missed anything out, get in touch on the Active Outdoors Facebook page.

Outdoor Recreational Activities and Hobbies for Adults

Outdoor recreational activities are ways in which you can spend your leisure time outdoors being physically active, creative, relaxing, having fun or being social.  Explore the huge range of exciting outdoor activities and some of the best adventure sports in the list of outdoor activities below.

The most popular ideas for outdoor summer activities include:

What are the Different Types of Outdoor Activities?

To help you choose which outdoor recreational activities and hobbies suit your needs right now, I have rated them under five categories:

List of Outdoor Air Activities

Indoor skydiving
This list of outdoor air activities includes birds, planes, flying toys and some seriously exhilarating aerial experiences.

List of Outdoor Land Activities

Football wearing inflatable ball
This vast list of outdoor land activities provides inspiration for fitness, downhill fun, relaxing creative hobbies, personal challenges, new skills to learn and outdoor recreational activities that will leave you with a huge smile.

List of Outdoor Water Activities

sea kayaking along the coast

These outdoor water activities provide wet and wild inspiration in, on or under water.

List of Outdoor Winter Activities

This list of outdoor winter activities is all about outdoor recreational activities on snow and ice.

The Most Popular Outdoor Activities

Every year the Outdoor Foundation in the US and Sport England in the UK publish a list of the most popular outdoor activities.
According to the Outdoor Foundation, about half the U.S. population participated in outdoor recreation at least once in 2018, including hunting, hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing among many more outdoor activities. Unfortunately, the report highlights an alarming trend that just under half the U.S. population does not participate in outdoor recreation at all.
Family mountain biking in Les Arcs French Alps in Summer
The most popular outdoor activities are:

  1. Running, jogging and trail running;
  2. Hiking and walking for fitness;
  3. Camping and RV Camping;
  4. Road biking, mountain biking and BMX;
  5. Freshwater, saltwater and fly fishing;
  6. Golf;
  7. Wildlife watching;
  8. Netball and basketball;
  9. Tennis and Table Tennis;
  10. Soccer;

Most outdoor participants preferred to do outdoor recreational activities less than one mile from their homes.

The top 10 recreational activities remains fairly consistent year on year There are however a few trends as new sports and activities develop and become popular for a while. Follow the blog to find out new trends and more great ways to try out new activities and get active outdoors.

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