So you just moved to a new city. All of your stuff is at your fancy new place, you got the internet hooked up, and maybe you’ve even learned the best route to take to work. Chances are your new city has some great opportunities for enjoying the outdoors, maybe that’s even why you moved there in the first place, but getting outside in a new city can be a daunting task. Especially if you don’t know anyone.
Here are 10 ways to get outside and how to meet people in your new city (once you’re done unpacking all those boxes, that is).
1. Join a local outdoor club
There are huge outdoor clubs that can be great resources, but you’re also likely to find smaller local clubs in any city. Just try googling “outdoor club” and the name of your new town. These clubs are very accessible, they’ll be thrilled to welcome you, and they’ll have all the local info on outdoor pursuits of all kinds. Plus, they’re a great source for local events, clinics, and group lessons where you can meet other outdoor enthusiasts.
2. Get on Tinder
Admittedly, Tinder might not be the best option if you’re not single, but these days dating apps are used for lots of purposes, and they can provide an unending stream of potential outdoor buddies. Going for a hike makes for a great icebreaker… or first date!
3. Join Gociety
I’m a bit biased here, but my company Gociety was founded on the premise that no matter what you want to do outside, there’s someone else nearby who enjoys doing the same thing. You just haven’t met them yet. So Gociety exists to connect you with those people. At the very least, it’s probably worth it to log on and see who else in your new town has already joined.
4. Go on a hike
Hiking is perhaps the most accessible outdoor sport. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes and a trail. If you’re feeling stressed about your new city or perhaps missing your old one, going for a walk in the woods is a great way to get to know your new surroundings and feel a little more at home. Hiking is also an almost inherently social activity, so asking a new friend or neighbor along is par for the course. If you’re not sure where to find trails, check out RootsRated, a comprehensive resource for finding local hikes.
5. Join a climbing gym
If you’re an experienced climber, you already know that climbing gyms are a great place to meet like-minded outdoors-y people. And if you’re new to town or climbing in general, you won’t be the only one giving it a try. Climbing is one of the fastest growing fitness activities, so you’ll be with plenty of beginners learning the ropes and making new friends.
6. Hire a guide
There’s no substitution for face-to-face instruction if you’re looking to gain outdoor experience. You’ll find guides for just about every outdoor pursuit and at every skill level. A bonus for learning your way around a new area: Your local guide will have the local inside scoop. If you’re not interested in hiring a guide on your own, join a guided group to lower the cost and perhaps meet some new faces at the same time. Just search for local guides online, or ask around at local shops that specialize in whatever sport you’re looking to get into.
7. Join a recreational league
Kickball, Ultimate Frisbee, soccer, softball—you name it. These leagues tend to be geared toward socializing so they’re a great way to meet some new friends while being active and getting outside. Be forewarned: Some leagues and teams take it more seriously than others. Try to find a team that matches whatever level of seriousness (or lack thereof) you intend to bring to the game.
8. Go camping
You probably don’t want to go alone, but once you’re out in the trees with a few pals, camping—like hiking—is a super social, accessible, and fun way to get outside. Check out online resources like HipCamp for lots of information on local spots.
9. Join an outdoor meet-up
Meetup.com can be pretty broad (they offer everything from mountain biking groups to knitting clubs), but the site has a huge membership base, which means you’re likely to find outdoor enthusiasts in almost anywhere you are.
10. Scour the internet
There are more online resources for outdoor information than we could ever list. We already mentioned RootsRated and HipCamp. A few others include:
- Outdoor Project
- The Outbound Collective
- Singletracks.com (for mountain bikers)
- Teton Gravity (for skiers)
- Adventure Projects
Search out communities online and you’re bound to find users of every skill level in your area. Now, get out there and start having fun!