While the blissful months of summer are coming to end, there is still plenty of time to get outdoors. September brings a new season-full of fun activities to enjoy, plus ideal temperatures for hitting the trails. In fact, this is the best time to do all the things that you couldn’t pack into June, July, and August. Once the weather cools down, use these ideas to heat up your weekends. From post-summer adventures to cultural tours and even campsites that don’t serious survival skills, there is something on this list for everyone. Read up, grab your pumpkin spice latte, and then get out there and explore all fall has to offer.
More commonly known as a leisurely hike, forest bathing is a Japanese tradition of bringing oneself back to nature, slowing down, and mindfully walking through the forest. This can help ease stress and allow you time to set an intention. (Hilary Clinton was really on to something last year.) The Associations of Nature & Forest Therapy plans to train and certify about 250 new guides next year and is aiming to have 1,000 trained guides within three years. Pick the nearest forest where you feel familiar with the trails, slow down, breathe, smell the smells, and embrace the beautiful nature around you like you're seeing it for the very first time.
It’s that time of year when everyone on your Instagram feed will be posting Boomerangs from their local orchard. But there is no better way to enjoy the fruits of nature (quite literally) come sweater weather. Apple picking is a fun outdoor activity that can be enjoyed with your friends or family. According to Psychology Today, it’s been shown to reduce tension and build bonds between people. Plus, farms and orchards offer tastings and sell signature dishes made with fresh produce (apple fritters, anyone?). So, consider this your permission to indulge in the delicious flavors of autumn.
Photo: Sarah Dorio/Parachute/Airbnb
Forget fussing with tent poles and roasting hotdogs over a camp fire (unless that’s your thing, of course). Go glamping—glamorous camping—instead. Enjoy the wondrous outdoors in a yurt, luxe teepee, or treehouse. As the glamping trend grows, so do your options. In fact, the most popular listing on Airbnb is an intricate treehouse in Georgia with around 300,000 visits a month. You can also rent a treehouse in Vermont, a beachside tipi in California, or a chic tent in Texas. Visit glamping.com for more ideas.
For the more adventurous among us, this is prime time for mountain biking. If the changing leaves and perfect temperatures aren’t reason enough to take a scenic ride through the mountains, consider the emptier trails. If you’re still a little shaky on your bike, use this as an opportunity to gain confidence. Head to a national forest or recreation area (just be sure to check the trail conditions first), or sign up for a guided trip by the Adventure Cycling Association.
Haunted history tours
Although Halloween is still over a month away, all the spooky activities are beginning to draw in crowds. Book yourself a haunted history tour to get in the spirit (and maybe even spot one!) while learning more about a nearby city or town. Tour guides will teach you about the history of the grounds you are walking and share goose-bumps–inducing stories.
Waters have cooled down slightly now, so head to the nearest lake or make a trip to a cascade swimming hole. Swimming in natural waters has long been used for treatment therapy. What’s more, research shows that regular immersion in cold water can boost the immune system and release endorphins in the body. Talk about an all-round feel-good activity.