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61 Microadventures That Can Make Any Day Extraordinary

If you’re tired of the same old boring routine, inject a little excitement into your life with these extraordinary microadventures!

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While most adventurers would pack their bags for a world-traversing excursion any day of the week, the reality is that traveling the world takes ample time, vacation days, and money. With our lives becoming increasingly busy, our economies recovering from a pandemic, and worldwide inflation poking holes in our pocketbooks, many of us are looking for a different way to adventure this year. That’s where microadventures come in! In this guide, we’re giving you out-of-the-box ideas that offer fun and rejuvenation without all the planning and money. Let’s dive in!

Exploring With Adventures From Scratch

If you’re looking to decrease the screen time and get into some microadventures with your crew this year, check out our line of scratch-off adventure books! Whether you need some fresh date ideas, cheap Friday night hangouts with friends, or some bonding outings with the kiddos, we’ve got you covered. Our books include at-home crafts and epic adventures with conversation prompts and space to document your memories. They’re easy to use, too. Just get your book, and consult the handy key. Scratch off an adventure, and then get going!

Microadventure Defined

The term “microadventure” was made popular by British adventurer and author Alastair Humphreys. In his best-seller Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes, he defines a microadventure as “an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap—yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding.” Humphreys wrote his book with the philosophy that you don’t need to be a world-class athlete, a rich man, or a person of great boldness to have an adventure. He states that adventure is simply doing something out of the ordinary, something that stretches you mentally, physically, or culturally.

Humphreys does suggest that you make it outdoors and overnight whenever possible, though. With these definitions in place, we’ll look for ideas that involve getting out of your comfort zone, getting out into nature, and doing something that provides an escape. We’re taking all the fun and challenge of an epic excursion and condensing it into a bite-sized activity!

Microadventure Ideas for Everyday Excitement

Here are a few challenging adventures you can complete just outside your front door. Some of these small adventures take only a few minutes. Others are easy, overnight expeditions. All offer a chance to get out of your comfort zone and escape the bores of everyday life. It should be said here that microadventures still take effort, and they may feel uncomfortable or silly at first. That’s the point! They aren’t expensive or hard, but you do still have to get off the couch and go.

1. Take a city scavenger hunt.

Explore your own city for just a few dollars. Download the Let’s Roam Scavenger Hunt App, and sign up for one of the hundreds of big city and small town hunts. You’ll learn fun trivia facts, engage in photo and video challenges, and compete to top our city leaderboard!

2. Take a night hike.

End your day in nature by venturing out after dark. The sights, smells, and sounds of your very own neighborhood completely transform after the sun goes down. Taking a night walk is not only rejuvenating, but it actually offers some health benefits, too, including burning some calories and contributing to a deeper night’s sleep.

3. Stargaze on the roof.

Stargazing is a timeless activity, and it’s even better if you do it from an adventurous spot. Climb the highest hill! Take a ladder up to the roof. Sit atop the monkey bars in your local park, or lie on your car roof. There’s something completely mesmerizing about the night sky. Bring a sky map with you, and see how many constellations you can identify.

4. Camp out in the backyard.

Wild camping is an excellent microadventure. If it’s legal in your region, take a tent, and wander until you find a good spot. Pop your tent, and spend the night under the stars. If wild camping isn’t legal in your area, use your own backyard. All you need is a sleeping bag or a hammock!

5. Enjoy the Perseid meteor shower.

The annual Perseid meteor shower occurs between mid-July and mid-August. The peak night in 2023 will be August 13th, and it’s a new moon, so the sky should be dark and clear!

6. Go puddle jumping.

Whether you’re five or 50, there’s something very freeing about stomping and jumping in the water. Put on your rubber duck boots, and go splash around a little!

7. Dance in the rain.

Rainstorms (sans lightning) are meant to be played in! The next time the skies open over your abode, head outside, and take a swim in the ditch, dance with your partner or your kid in the rain, and let loose. Obviously, steer clear of culverts.

8. Go creek fishing.

How long has it been since you threw a pole in the water? Why not go out tonight? To make it more of an adventure, put on some boots, and wade in the creek as you fish! Better yet, forget the fishing pole altogether, and just explore the length of the stream on foot.

9. Swim in a wild body of water.

We’re willing to bet there’s a rock quarry, pond, or lake near you. Don’t let it go to waste. Take 30 minutes, and burn some calories working on your backstroke.

10. Go earthing in the backyard.

Take a cue from the little kids, and take off your shoes. We’ve recently rediscovered as a society what the ancients have known for centuries. It’s good to get in touch with the ground! From encountering healthy bacteria to absorbing minerals and energy, bare feet in the grass is a refreshing and healthy way to let off some steam.

11. Try out geocaching or waymarking.

According to National Geographic, geocaching is a global treasure hunt where players use GPS, maps, and coordinates to find hidden caches. Players sign up online, receive their coordinates, and hunt for the prize, which is usually a small coin or log sheet buried in a waterproof box. Waymarking is similar but without a physical prize and is utilized in national parks or public land where geocaching is not allowed.

12. Build a backyard obstacle course.

Gather a few household items (lawn chairs, rope, buckets, hula hoops), and create a challenging course in the backyard for the whole family to complete. Turn it into a race, or redesign it after each run. Get creative!

13. Take a bike ride.

Dust off the bikes. Air up the tires, and take a ride around your neighborhood. Pull up to Sonic for an ice cream on your bike, and eat it on the picnic tables. Visit a friend’s house, or ride to a great sunset spot! The options are endless.

14. Float a river.

Whether you opt to rent a kayak or throw in a pool float and go, you can’t beat a day on the river. Pack a small ice chest with a few cold drinks and snacks. Grab some friends, tie your floatation devices together, and go for a leisurely bob.

15. Go by foot.

A simple way to step outside your comfort zone and see your city in a new way is to walk to and from work instead of driving. You’ll be amazed at how many new things you notice when going on foot, things you never paid attention to while driving.

16. Move your exercise outside.

If you’re a gym rat, move it outside for a day! Take a walk in the woods. Run through the park. Hike up a local hill for sunset, or just move your yoga mat to the backyard.

17. Point and go.

Open up a map of your state or region. Close your eyes. Point to a spot. Get in the car, and go! If you can get there by bike or walking, do that instead. Explore the city or town’s green spaces. Walk through outdoor museums, and look for important monuments. Get local ice cream, and stroll the pedestrian zone. Exploring a new city doesn’t have to take you far from home. Better yet, pick an interesting hotel or campsite, and make it an overnight expedition!

18. Explore a state park.

There’s no better place to get some fresh air and learn about your local environment than a state park. They have informative visitor centers, frequent special events for families, great hiking trails, and awesome camping facilities. Plus, each one is designed around a different cultural heritage site, natural wonder, or important historical event, so they’re all unique!

19. Climb the highest hill.

Whether for sunset or sunrise, use your legs today, and get up in the clouds! Whatever the highest peak in your immediate area is, set your GPS for the base, and start your climb now. You’ll get some exercise, enjoy a panoramic view, and hopefully ignite a passion for getting outdoors again.

20. Float on your boat.

Challenge yourself to a survival experiment, and build your own raft. Head to the nearest creek or steam with a good enough flow. A lake will work, too. Attempt to build a raft from driftwood—you’ll need to bring twine. See if you can make it float!

21. Cook a meal outside.

Build a fire on the beach, or use your firepit to whip up a full meal. Grill hot dogs or brats, snack on some veggies, and finish off the meal with s’mores. Then, gather around the fire for stargazing, storytelling, a sing-along, or an outdoor sleepover.

22. Tour a Native American site.

Most states have a Native American site, and they are usually awesome. The tribes have a special connection with the land and nature, and their ancestral homes are often on stunning landscapes. Check out our list of the most “Incredible Ancient Ruins in America.”

23. Go skinny dipping.

Drop your drawers, and take a dip! Use your own swimming pool, or go at night to a local pond or stream. Just make sure it’s legal to swim there at night, and maybe don’t use your neighbor’s pool or anything.

24. Set an adventure goal.

Make a bucket list of microadventures. For instance, if there are 25 disc golf courses in your state, challenge yourself to play them all. Visit all ten state parks, climb all the highest peaks, or hit all the campgrounds. Whatever it is you love to do, build a list based on your passion.

25. Take an outdoor skill class.

If you know nothing about the great outdoors, you might be uncomfortable with camping, hiking, or mountain biking. Change that by getting some knowledge. REI offers courses, and so do many local agencies. Learn to scuba dive, snorkel, horseback ride, surf, mountain bike, or rock climb!

26. Join a charity run.

Marathons might be way out of your ability range, but you can join a charity 5k. It doesn’t matter how fast you go, and you don’t have to be a runner. Just gather some friends. Create some wild costumes, and hit the road for a good cause.

27. Try your hand at birding.

It might sound boring, but when you catch a stunner in your binoculars for the first time, it’s kind of exhilarating. It’s especially fun if you can identify the species! Grab a birding book for your local area, and find some feathery friends.

28. Visit the closest wildlife refuge.

Wildlife is just soothing and captivating for most people. Take a weekend day, and visit your local refuge. Depending on your area, you might walk the boardwalk over crocodiles, swim with seals, or admire buffalo in the wild!

29. Become a forager.

Do a little research on which edible mushrooms and berries are available in your region. Grab a basket or a bucket, and go foraging! If you’re a beginner, just make very sure that you have identified the produce correctly before consumption.

30. Pick a flower arrangement.

If you normally pick up a flower arrangement on your Saturday grocery run, switch it up this week by picking wildflowers instead. Drive out to the edge of town, and keep your eyes open for wild-growing flora. Pick what you want, and take it home to brighten up your home!

31. Collect some bugs.

Small children have boundless curiosity, and that definitely extends to bugs. Get outside with your littles. Take a magnifying glass, a butterfly net, and some bug jars, and see how many creatures you can find.

32. Take the cold challenge.

Challenge yourself to survive a night outside in winter! Make it as hard or as cushy as you want, but challenge yourself to stay out until morning. Be safe!

33. Walk your town from end to end.

Start in the east, and end in the west, walking your town from one end to the other. If you live in a huge city, start with your neighborhood instead. Don’t map your route. Just wander freely!

34. Rent a mountain bike.

If you have at least a minimal amount of coordination, take on a big adventure in a local way this weekend. Rent a mountain bike, and get a few tips from the experts if you’re a beginner. Then hit the nearest trail. Beware: You might develop a new addiction.

35. Complete a DIY adventure.

Some of you don’t need a physical challenge. You need a mental one! Open the garage door. Move out the cars, and pull out the power tools. Get busy making something amazing! You’ll have no trouble finding some inspiration on TikTok or Pinterest.

36. Go on a rock hunt.

The only things kids love as much as bugs are rocks. Make a list of rock types to find, and then go on a hunt to find them. Make the list age appropriate. For toddlers, your list might consist of a black rock, a red rock, and a gray rock. For older children, up the ante by making them identify rock types and find examples.

37. Stay in a unique Airbnb.

Airbnb has taken a hit since COVID and going public on the stock market, but you can still find a few good ones without outrageous fees. The platform offers so much more now than a guestroom in someone’s house. You can find teepees, yurts, treehouses, train cabooses, and even hobbit holes! If you’re looking for a romantic adventure that doesn’t break the bank, rent a unique Airbnb for the night in your own town.

38. Take a day trip to a national park.

If you’re lucky enough to have a national park nearby, there’s no greater adventure than to try out a new trail in some of the most majestic landscapes on Earth! Plus, they have Junior Ranger programs to keep the kiddos entertained.

39. Get lost on purpose.

Do it by car, or do it by foot. Just go out and wander. Take a road you’ve never been down. Take the back way home. Do it slowly, and focus your mind on exploration. Marvel at little things. You’ll soon start to see your sense of wonder come alive again.

40. Go on a backpacking tour.

Sure, backpacking Europe and Southeast Asia are bucket list adventures, but you can experience the challenge of budget travel and the freedom of roaming by public transit or hitchhiking without traveling across the world. Put a few items in a backpack, and see how far you can roam this weekend.

41. Picnic in your local park.

For some fresh air with no planning, pack up some sandwiches and a frisbee, and go hang out in your neighborhood park for the day.

42. Make sidewalk art.

Get the kids outside, and challenge their creativity with some sidewalk art projects! Let their imaginations go wild on their own, or collaborate to create a family masterpiece.

43. Volunteer to help a neighbor.

Sometimes, the best thing to do to lift your own spirits is to bless someone else. Get out in the yard, and rake the neighbor’s leaves, help them trim a tree, or weed the flower gardens.

44. Make your own Slip ‘N Slide.

For the ultimate microadventure, purchase a large roll of Visqueen from your local hardware store. Invite over some friends, and have each of them bring some baby oil or dishwashing detergent. Roll out the Visqueen. Turn on the water hose, and let the chaos ensue! But do research proper safety precautions so that no one gets hurt.

45. Explore a nearby cave.

Caving is a fantastic adventure that generally doesn’t cost a thing. Find a wild cave in your area, or visit a show cave (for a small price). Meandering through the stalagmites and stalactites, under a ceiling of sparkling crystal, has a way of clearing your mind.

46. Tackle a ropes course.

Challenge yourself physically and mentally by tackling that fear of heights. A ropes course is a safe and secure way to face your fear, get out some energy, and end the day with an epic feeling of accomplishment!

47. Go on an urban art walk.

Explore your own city in a whole new way by admiring urban art! Either wander aimlessly in a hip neighborhood, or use the Let’s Roam Scavenger Hunt App to find an art walk near you!

48. Roll down a hill.

Yes, we said roll down a hill. It’s fun! Use a tire, or roll like a log. Slide down on a sled, a trashcan lid, or a snowboard. Use whatever you have. You will feel dumb… the first time. After that, you’ll feel like a kid again!

49. Play in the snow.

No matter what age you are, fresh snow should never be taken for granted. Build a snowman. Challenge your family to create an igloo, and then sleep in it overnight. Challenge the neighbors to a yard decorating competition. Make snow angels. Make snow ice cream. Enjoy the marvelous wonder of fresh powder!

50. Sleep in a treehouse.

Do you have a treehouse in your yard? Does your neighbor or friend? Pack a pillow, a good book, and some junk food, and spend the night in the trees.

51. Go on a mud run.

Mud runs are fantastic fun! Find one in a city near you. Grab your most adventurous travel buddy, and make a weekend of it. You’ll spend all day tackling obstacle course maneuvers and rolling in the mud like a bunch of pigs. You’ll likely be very sore the next day, mostly from gut-busting laughter.

52. Go cliff diving.

Find a river near you with a campsite and a cliff jump. Take the GoPro and a few friends, and spend the night jumping from the cliffs. The cold water is refreshing, the adrenaline will wake up your spirits, and you’ll fall asleep to the sound of rushing water. Perfect!

53. Chase waterfalls.

Make a list of the waterfalls in your area, and spend a weekend chasing down as many as you can. Most are on public lands, and it’s an easy trip to organize. See if you can get a backcountry camping pass to sleep near the falls!

54. Spend a night in an international neighborhood.

Get a cheap room in China Town or a guest bed in Little Italy. Wander the markets. Meet the locals, and eat all the street food you can get your hands on!

55. Choose a pub in a new neighborhood.

For some of you boring souls, branching out means going to “the other” Mexican restaurant one Friday a month. If you’re a creature of habit and this sounds like you, really shake it up this week, and forego your normal bar stool. Head for a new pub. Heck, try a new cocktail you’ve never heard of, one with fruit or a funky umbrella. Live it up!

56. Go on a ghost tour.

Your town probably has more paranormal history than you’re aware of. Do some research on the most haunted spots, and organize a ghost-hunting tour for your crew. If you’re really brave, challenge each other to spend the night in an abandoned, haunted place! We may have an organized tour in your city. Check out our full list of ghost hunts!

57. Take an ice bath.

Ice bathing is an adrenaline-inducing activity that may come with a ton of health benefits. If you happen to live next to an icy sea or lake, that is your best option. If you don’t, use a kiddie pool or trough. Fill it with ice water, and climb on in! Ice baths are difficult. They’re painful. They’re a challenge mentally, physically, and emotionally, but you will feel amazing afterward.

58. Soak in a natural hot spring.

From ancient nomads to bougie moderns, humans are drawn to natural hot springs. The minerals in the water offer some minor health benefits. The landscapes are generally stunning, and you get to sit in a hot tub (that you don’t have to clean).

59. Conquer a physical feat.

Challenge yourself, your partner, or the whole clan to a silly physical feat. Spend the night outside seeing who can do the longest handstand, do the most cartwheels in a row, or crank out the most push-ups.

60. Take someone else on their first microadventure.

The only thing that makes exploring more fun is doing it with someone you love. When you open the eyes of a loved one to a life of adventure, it ignites your soul for it all over again, too—double bang for your buck!

61. Spend the night in an aquarium.

Sleepovers in aquariums and zoos have become increasingly popular in recent years. Many of the major aquariums in the U.S. are now offering overnight stays under the shark tank. The plan usually comes with a guided tour after hours, a craft, a nighttime snack, and the chance to fall asleep to the slinking sway of sharks above your head.

Closing Thoughts

We hope this list of microadventures has inspired you to get out there and explore in a whole new way. Remember, there will always be a reason (excuse) not to adventure. You can fall into the trap of “I don’t have the time, money, or energy,” or you can push those excuses aside, make a calendar for the year, with one overnight microadventure a month, and challenge yourself to stick to it. Once you have a few under your belt, you’ll be addicted. It changes the way you see the world and the way you approach life, and it increases your appreciation for this amazing Earth and your incredible body that allows you to enjoy it.

If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, out of shape, depressed, anxious, or overworked, try adding a few of these microadventures to your calendar this year. You may just find the problem wasn’t that you didn’t have time—it was just that you weren’t using the time you had to the fullest!

For more easy adventures, make sure to grab your copy of Adventures From Scratch!

If you’re looking for a cheap overnight adventure, consider booking a couple of nights in a hostel. Hostel life is a great way to meet new people, enjoy a simple existence, and experience communal living. Check out “How to Handle Your First Stay in a Hostel” for some expert tips.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning of microadventure?

A microadventure is a simple, cheap, preferably overnight activity that gets you out of your normal routine for some fresh air, relaxation, and a challenge. It’s the perfect way to shake things up.

What is a cheap vacation alternative for families?

If you need an adventure on a dime, consider a point-and-go weekend. Get out a map of your state. Close your eyes. Point to a spot, and take off on a road trip!

What are some examples of microadventures?

Microadventures include stargazing on the roof, camping in your backyard, building your own igloo to sleep in, and exploring a nearby cave. You can also explore your city on a scavenger hunt!

What are some local adventures near me?

If you’re looking for a local adventure, hop on an app-guided scavenger hunt, invest in a scratch-off adventure book, or go swimming in a wild body of water!

How do I make summer vacation more fun?

Spice up your summer with a few microadventures! Cook dinner over a bonfire. Go on an urban art walk. Take the crew cliff diving or caving, or spend the night in an aquarium!

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