As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the lives of billions, many restless individuals are turning to West Virginia and its low population, low pollution, and high access to outdoor recreation.
Here are 10 outdoor activities you might want to consider if you want to stay active but continue to abide by CDC-recommended social distancing guidelines.
To elevate your camping or backpacking experience into something even more adventurous, consider a survivalist camping experience. Because of its extreme nature, this is not a journey you want to take without being prepared. Items that you’ll need to have on-hand for your trip include a water filter, survival knives, a flashlight, and more.
This classic outdoor activity will reconnect you with Mother Nature. Be warned that camping has enjoyed a popularity boost during the COVID era, a time defined by limited travel. For this reason, it’s a good idea to reserve your campground well in advance of your trip. America's vast network of state parks offers a plethora of camping opportunities, even despite overcrowded campgrounds.
Backpacking grants you the opportunity to explore parts of the world otherwise left unseen in your day-to-day routine. Unlike traditional camping trips, you can wander deeper into the forests and explore more land if traveling on foot. When backpacking, you won’t have to lug around a bulky trailer or other heavy equipment, nor will you be restricted to van-accessible or motorhome-friendly areas. This outdoor activity is naturally suited for those in need of some quality alone time, making it ideal for those recluses craving some rejuvenating silence.
For the ultimate water adventure, you might consider booking a whitewater rafting trip. You can customize this activity to the skill level of everyone in your family. For example, older kids and teens may appreciate a trip with a higher classification of rapids while a float trip is more appropriate for younger children.
Standup paddle-boarding (SUP)
Standup paddleboarding can be enjoyed as an individual or in a small group. Even with tight restrictions, most areas of the country still allow SUP rental businesses to operate. As a bonus, standup paddleboarding is also great exercise, working your core muscles and building upper-body strength.
Take a break from the hustle-and-bustle of your every day with a night of stargazing. If you live in a city, you may have to trek out of town to escape the lights to access full-visibility areas free from obstructing light pollution. Stargazing can be a romantic date night activity or an educational experience for the whole family if you bring along a constellation guide.
Boost the adrenaline levels running through your veins by going on a rock climbing adventure. Rock climbing will teach your patience, build your endurance, and put you in touch with nature’s beauty. If maintaining social distance is a top priority, be sure to pick a place that you know won’t attract crowds. You may want to consider hiring a guide if you’re a novice climber.
What better way to pass the time during this turbulent global pandemic than on a boat in the open water? Boating is the perfect activity for those families looking to adhere to social distancing guidelines. You can easily enjoy a day of fun and not interact with anyone outside of your immediate travel party while out on a boat. Spend your time on the water fishing, lazily floating around, or kicking it up a notch with some water sports, such as skiing, tubing, or wakeboarding.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Discover a magical underwater world free of COVID-19 with a snorkeling or scuba diving trip. When scuba diving, you’re up-close-and-personal with a variety of marine life while accounting for CDC protocols that ensure your loved ones’ safety. As long as you properly sanitize the equipment, this is an incredibly safe activity to get your adrenaline pumping.
While biking on busy streets isn’t always a safe choice if you’re looking to avoid crowds, you should be able to socially distance if you take your bike up to the mountains. It’s important to note that you’ll need a specially-designed mountain bike if you plan on traversing rugged trails on your trip.
Flattening the curve and protecting your family from contracting a potentially life-threatening virus doesn’t mean sacrificing fun. You can enjoy the great outdoors while prioritizing your family and your community’s health and safety, as long as you maintain six feet of distance and carry sanitizer throughout your adventures.