Omg so I went on my first hike this spring and suddenly now I’m an expert.
Not really, but I have recently fallen in love with outdoor adventures. Even though I’m not a hard core outdoors woman, I have learned a heck of a lot about going out in the woods.
Let me start by saying that I don’t go on super long hikes. I don’t go camping either. I do a couple miles on the weekends or weeknights when the weather allows.
I have had such an amazing time on my hiking trips. It’s mesmerizing being out at golden hour when the sun is perfectly shining on the trees. My girls absolutely LOVE being in the woods and on trails and the best part about outdoor activities is that they are free!
How to find good hikes
Ok first of all…let me start by saying there are hidden gems all around.
For the past couple of years I have been super depressed and annoyed because I honestly hate the area that I live in. I feel like there is never anything fun to do that doesn’t require spending lots of money. But now that the kids are getting older, we have been able to do lots of fun stuff right in our area that I never knew about before!
First thing to do is look for state parks in your area. It’s funny because for years I’d drive by state park and never consider visiting and now it’s all I ever want to do.
State parks are awesome because they are well maintained, and usually have bathrooms which is a must for me.
Check out the state parks in your area and they will tell you all about the activities they have there. Often times there is hiking, biking, fishing, camping, etc.
There are also maps to the trails that you will find extremely helpful.
Additionally, if you haven’t done much research online, you can just stop by the park and there will usually be someone there that can tell you anything you want to know. In the beginning, we would visit the park and ask the ranger what hikes were good for little kids. They point us in the right direction and we are off.
Mother’s state parks we have been to have all been awesome. They have gift shops and snacks and clean bathrooms and stuff like that. Sometimes you have to pay for parking but that’s it.
**Related: My first trip to the Lavender Farm
Ask around, or find people on social media.
My most recent hike to Blackwater Falls, game about because I saw it on Leah Messer’s (from Teen Mom 2) Instagram. I googled it and saw that it was only 2 hours away from me so I immediately started planning the trip. It was absolutely beautiful and well worth the trip. You can read about Blackwater Falls here.
I also get great recommendations from people who work at the local hiking store. There’s a store here in downtown Winchester called Mountain Trails. They carry anything and everything that a backpacker could possibly need. The employees there have suggested a couple of hikes that I have officially added to my list for the summer and fall.
What to bring.
Whether you are going on a 30 minute trip or a day trip, there is lots of stuff you need to bring-ESPECIALLY if you are going with children. I’m going to talk about the things I brought on my day trip.
Tons of food
My awesome IGLOO picnic basket that my mom got me!
We packed lunch, snacks, and drinks in this baby! It’s the perfect size for a good trip. Make sure you pack enough lunch and snacks for an entire day. We always get hungrier than usual because we are burning extra energy hiking.
Rain boots, umbrellas, change of clothes, extra socks, hair ties, etc.
If you are like my family, rain doesn’t stop you from taking an adventure. Our trip to Blackwater Falls was ridiculous because it was pouring down rain and we didn’t have extra socks for Zoey. She didn’t like the feeling of wet feet and I felt bad for not being prepared enough.
In your bag
First aid kit
Granola bars, other snacks
This is my life saver. Most state parks and hiking trails have bathrooms, but a little Lysol never hurt nobody. We always use this stuff because I’m not a fan of public bathrooms. And if you do find yourself somewhere with vault toilets…it will certainly come in handy.
Sh*t you should know
BEWARE of Poison Ivy! Omg you guys…no matter where you go there is most likely going to be poison ivy. The good news is that if you stay on the trails (which you always should) you probably won’t get it. If you are taking your little ones make sure they don’t get into it
Be aware of wild animals. If you are visiting a state park, there will be information online about the kinds of animals that live there and safety measures to take for yourself. Please read these before you go on your adventures, I promise you won’t regret it.
Where is your favorite place to go on adventures? Let me know in the comments!