How to Explore Close to Home

Senior Couple Walking With Pet Bulldog In Countryside

If you’re ready to get out of the house after these long months, it might be time to expand the way you think about travel. Try venturing out close to home and experiencing new things while staying safe.

Use these ideas as a guide to help you get out, get some fresh air, and soak up the sights. From city attractions to incredible natural wonders to trying a new activity to pass the time, there’s a lot to explore not far from your front door.

Take on the Most Walkable Cities Near You

If you’re in search of a bigger city experience that doesn’t require spending your time at indoor attractions, try taking a solo tour of some of the most walkable U.S. cities. Seeing a city on-foot is the best way to dig into the culture of the area while safely exploring. And these cities have some of the highest walkability scores in the country, lending themselves to outdoor travels.


New York

One of the best walkable cities has to be the Big Apple. With a walkable score of 88, America’s biggest city is simply made for foot tours. From walks across the Brooklyn Bridge and the High Line to sight-seeing all the main exterior attractions, you’ll discover outdoor activities in NYC aplenty.


San Francisco

Topping the West Coast cities with a walkable score of 87, San Francisco is a treat to tour on foot. The Downtown/Union Square and Chinatown areas are especially easy to explore, making it a dream to take in the sights and sounds of this California must-see city.



There are massive amounts of outdoor activities in Boston to keep you entertained, including walking the Freedom Trail and taking a spin in the swan boats at Boston Public Gardens. Baking in time to wander around Beantown is a must.



American history buffs will adore that the City of Brotherly Love also comes with a high walkable score of 79. You can do a solo walking tour of sights like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and even the “Rocky” steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.



If you want a little outdoor fun in the sun, you’ll be pleased as punch to find one of the most walkable cities in Florida is Miami. With a walkability score of 78, this city is perfectly suited to beach walks and people watching. Grab your SPF and go on a sandy stroll.



With plenty of outdoor attractions to see from the Bean to river views to the Navy Pier, it’s a good thing that the walkability score in Chicago is 77. You’ll find that seeing the Windy City on foot is a breeze.


Washington, D.C.

The country’s capital also happens to be one of the most walkable cities in America, with a score of 76. Monuments and memorials are found all around town, making D.C. a prime place for a self-guided walking tour.



Exploring outdoor sights like the Space Needle and Puget Sound is what makes this Washington city a walker’s paradise. And with a walking score in Seattle of 74, you’ll find it easy to get around with nothing but a comfy pair of walking shoes.

Find even more walkable places to explore with these historic downtowns that will take you back in time.


Explore the Best Hikes in the Country

When you’re bursting to get out of the house, the first plan of action can often be searching “hikes near me” and rolling the dice on whatever you find. Instead, hit the dusty trails on these top regional hikes.


Appalachian Trail, Virginia

Some of the best cities for hiking are those around the Appalachian Trail. Shenandoah National Park is a little over an hour from Washington, D.C., but the 101 miles of the national park’s portion of this famous trail will make you feel worlds away from city life.


Burroughs Mountain Hike, Washington

This Pacific Northwest hike is one of the 260 miles of trails within Mount Rainier National Park and provides stunning views of the peak and surrounding lush forest. Keep your eyes peeled for grazing mountain goats, too.


Charlies Bunion, Tennessee

The Smoky Mountains give hikers vast terrain to explore. You can expect to take in a variety of wildflowers and spectacular views on this moderate trek that ends in a rock outcropping, complete with panoramic vistas.


Chautauqua Trail, Colorado

This Boulder, CO hike is often used as an in-trail to miles of others in the area. It’s wide and well-traveled, providing up-close views of the Flat Irons and Colorado’s finest fauna. This is a nice hike with little elevation gain and historical sites along the way, for those who want to experience nature without the climbing.


Petroglyph Wall Trail, Nevada

Just outside the bright lights of Las Vegas, you’ll discover some breathtaking nature experiences. This short hike of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area allows views of 800-year-old petroglyph rock art, not to mention desert dwellers from lizards to hawks.

Point Lobos Loop, California

Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, this oceanside hike is family-friendly and gives incredible views of the California coasts and coves—not to mention sea lions and otters. This is a great hike if you want to breathe in fresh salt air and get some exercise with amazing scenery without the mountainous terrain.

Need more hiking ideas? Check out these must-see scenic hikes from around the world.


Start a New Outdoor Hobby

Getting out of the house and trying a new pastime is a great way to explore your surroundings while getting in your daily dose of fun. Give one (or a few!) of these ideas a swing when you get the itch to get active outside.



Every state—including Alaska—has opportunities to golf. Finding a place nearby should be a hole in one, making this healthy hobby one of the best outdoor activities for adults. Golfing can also help to build muscular strength, increase endurance, and improve cardiovascular functions.



Don’t live beachfront? No problem. There are more ways to get into this watersport, including creeks, lakes, rivers, inlets, bays … the list of places you can kayak is long. If it’s bigger than a puddle, you can paddle. And owning your own vessel isn’t required. You’ll find kayak rentals near almost every major waterway in the country.



Looking for an outdoor adventure on two wheels? Hop on a bike. Whether you want to keep to your neighborhood streets or find a local trail, cycling is a wonderful way to explore what’s nearby. Plus, it’s a great way to get your supply of vitamin D, which boosts feel-good mood regulators and helps ward off disease. Just don’t forget your helmet and sunscreen!

Explore what the most popular hobby is in your state and get ready for some extra outdoor fun close to home.

It can be tough to think about travel until the world is fully open again. And getting out in open spaces and exploring what’s near you is a good way to lose that cabin fever. Try touring close to home and see your surroundings in a fresh, new light.

Need a way to get out and see what’s close to home? Find a car rental here.

Header image via Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

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