Outdoor recreation oftentimes referred to as “outdoor activity” refers to leisure activities conducted in the outdoors.

Such activities could include camping, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, and many other activities.

They can either be done by one person or a group of people. Outdoor recreation can also refer to the organized leading or use of outdoor activities for their recreational purposes by a group, outside of military operations.

Traditionally this kind of activity has been associated with adventure tourism.

Generally, outdoor recreation has been linked to physical exercise, general wellbeing, and also spiritual renewal.



Many educational topics are taught by outdoor recreation. For example, a biology teacher could take their class rock climbing to learn about the adaptations of plants and animals for living in mountainous regions.

A math teacher might go mountain biking with their students as an exercise to teach them geometry and the value of pi (π).

Team building

Several companies use outdoor recreation as a chance to teach teamwork by going on weekend activity retreats.

These retreats are often called “team-building” because they teach people to work together as a team instead of as individuals.

Environmental protection

Many environmentalist groups use outdoor recreation as a chance to educate the public about nature, and how to take care of it.

Many state parks require educational talks before visitors can go on overnight camping trips.

They give information about taking care of the park, like lighting fires at appropriate times or not littering.

Social interactions

Many outdoor recreation activities provide opportunities for people to socialize outside of their normal activities and interact with others who share similar interests.

This is one of the many reasons why many schools offer student groups focused on bringing students together outside of their normal learning environments to take part in recreational activities including camping and hiking trips.

Self-discovery and self-reliance

Oftentimes, outdoor recreation can help an individual discover new things about themselves and build self-confidence and self-reliance.

These attributes are especially helpful during the recovery process from drug addiction by allowing those involved to gain a sense of purpose and independence.


One of the most popular ways of getting fit is by participating in outdoor recreation.

Different activities provide different kinds of exercise. For example, rock climbing builds arm strength while cycling works the leg muscles.


Outdoor activities can be recreational too. Recreational activities are done purely for enjoyment or pleasure, not as a job or for training purposes.

Camping is one such case; people who enjoy camping often do it because they think it’s fun and like to be at one with nature.

Though these activities aren’t usually associated with physical fitness, some outdoor recreationists use their pastimes as exercise; hiking and rock climbing are good examples.


There are several different sports that are considered to be “outdoor activities”.

Examples include hiking, bicycling, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, sailing, boating, and kayaking.

Many sports involve outdoor recreation as part of their competitions; others like mountain biking and BMXing use the natural setting as a key element in their sports (racing down hills and through woods).


Outdoor recreation can also come under tourism, which is normally defined as people traveling (visiting) to foreign countries or places for pleasure rather than business reasons.

This type of tourism has become more popular in recent years due to an increased interest in outdoor activities and a general boost in the economy.

Many public and private organizations encourage tourism because it leads to an increase in revenue for local businesses.

Outdoor Enthusiast

Outdoor enthusiasts sometimes referred to as “outdoorsy” are people who often engage in recreational activities outdoors.

Popular words to describe them are Sportsman, Woodsman, Outdoorsman, or Bushman.

Areas such as mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, deserts, wetlands, seashores, and canyons are places normally associated with outdoor enthusiasts.

Here’s a list of traditional outdoor recreation:

  • Bird Watching
  • Boating And Sailing
  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Caving
  • Cycling Or Mountain Biking
  • Dog Sledding
  • Fishing
  • Fitness Walking, Running Or Jogging
  • Horse Riding/ Horseback Riding
  • Ice Fishing
  • Ice Skating
  • Kayaking
  • Mountaineering
  • Rafting
  • Rock Climbing
  • Rock Climbing
  • Running
  • Sailing
  • Skiing
  • Sky Diving And Surfing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Surfing Or Windsurfing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wildlife Viewing( Animal Safari)


Main Image – Photo by Holly Mandarich