(BPT) – For many people, modern life means spending more time indoors. In fact, Americans spend roughly 90% of their time indoors, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. This has had numerous direct and indirect health impacts, from respiratory issues due to poor indoor air quality to reduced physical activity due to an indoor sedentary lifestyle.
People of all ages are starting to make a change, embracing the outdoors for all the benefits it can provide to their mental and physical health. Since there are opportunities for getting outdoors nearby wherever you live or travel, there’s no better time to commit to getting outside than in 2020.
First Day Hikes
A new year offers 365 days of opportunity, and what better way to start your outdoor goals than with First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day at a state park near you? State parks in all 50 states are offering free, guided First Day Hikes run by outdoor experts who want to help you explore the best the park has to offer.
Visit stateparks.org to find a local participating park and enjoy New Year’s Day making memories outdoors while exercising and connecting with nature. The distance and rigor vary depending on the park and the program, but all hikes have one goal: to create a fun experience for the whole family while fostering an appreciation for the outdoors.
Explore local treasures year-round
It’s easy to take for granted what’s in your own backyard, and state parks are a reminder of the beauty of the different seasons while offering ample amenities that make exploration easy any time of year. Once you visit, you’ll want to return again and again to cherish the scenery and create many more memories with your family.
Whether it’s a family picnic, a guided group hike, bird watching, rock climbing or simply a calm walk listening to the sounds of nature, there are many activities to explore at state parks. Check out the month’s park programs run by knowledgeable state park staff and volunteers to see what may be of interest to you and your family.
Discover different parks throughout the U.S.
In the United States there are 6,792 state park areas comprising 18,694,570 acres. These parks offer 14,672 trails over 52,603 miles total length — that’s more than twice around the Earth at the equator! Whether you’re exploring your local park or looking for a way to enjoy the outdoors while traveling, there’s a state park nearby that is sure to bring the wonder of nature to your family.
Every state park has different opportunities, from hiking, biking, and equestrian trails to swimming, marinas and ski slopes. The best way to get acquainted with a state park is to visit it and see for yourself. Wear comfortable shoes and consider packing a water bottle and protein bar for your hike and you’ll be ready to enjoy nature to the fullest.
Start 2020 with a First Day Hike and let this be the year you commit to getting outdoors and enjoying state parks. You’ll feel a deeper connection with nature and your loved ones, all while making lifelong memories.