Spring is here! Well, Almost…

While the bone-chilling weather of the last few months may make you think spring may never return, don’t worry—it will soon be here. Spring means renewal: of plants and flowers, of long daylight hours, of animals emerging from hibernation. And for us humans, after being cooped up indoors during the winter, getting outside to enjoy favorite activities will be more satisfying than ever. Welcome the return of warm, sunny days and remember to slather on the sunscreen; it doesn’t have to be hot outside to get a sunburn.

Here are some great ideas to enjoy with family and friends, or even by yourself:

Take a hike. Plan a day hike and enjoy some beautiful scenery! National Parks and local preserves offer lovely and accessible trails to explore. Open your internet and search “great places to hike near me.” You may find places you never knew existed. Spending time in nature can be invigorating and help you recharge after a long week. Don’t forget a water bottle, hat and a camera. If you want company, walking outdoors is a convivial social activity. If you go alone, make sure you tell someone where you’re going – safety first!

The water is calling. A lot of people gravitate toward the water as the weather warms. While it might still be too chilly to jump in, walking along the beach or ambling around your local lake is a great way to refresh your spirit. If you plan to dip your toes in the chilly water and wade for a bit, remember to bring warm socks for afterward—and perhaps a thermos of warm broth.  A study from the University of Exeter suggested that people who spend more time on beaches have less stress and overall better health. Don’t forget sunblock, even if it’s cloudy!

Hit the park. If you can’t get to the beach or a nature preserve for a hike, hit your local park! Take your dog, friends, and a frisbee and you can enjoy some quality active time. Fly a kite, have a picnic, let your kids go crazy on the playground equipment. If you’d rather, simply hang out and read a book in the sunshine. No matter what you’re doing, you’ll be out in the fresh air, soaking up vitamin D and recharging your batteries. Remember to take your water bottle with you.

Explore a new city – or your home town. If you have a day (or two!), head to a new place and discover it on foot or take the time to walk through your hometown like a tourist. Visit to a new neighborhood, hit the local museums and galleries, and go where the tourists go. Try a walking tour. Check the internet for suggestions of places to go and things to see. Many rental platforms, like Airbnb or Vrbo, list suggestions of things to do. If you’re really familiar with your town, invite friends over and take them on a tour!

Discover your local farmers’ market.  While many markets are open year-round, it’s hard to beat the opportunity to change up your shopping routine as the weather gets warmer. Pick up some seasonal fruits and veggies, and then cook with what you buy! It’s the way people cooked for millennia—you can find plenty of seasonal recipes online. Don’t forget to bring reusable bags – actually, bring more than you think you’ll need. They don’t weigh much, so why not be prepared? (Once the weather really warms up, add a thermal tote and a cold-pack to your bag collection.) Don’t forget to bring cash, small bills are perfect. While many vendors can take cards, not all can and it would be a shame to miss out on something you want because you don’t have cash on hand.

Indoor activities. Spring may be approaching, but that doesn’t mean the weather will always nice enough to spend the day outdoors. Don’t fret. There are still plenty of fun things to do, whether with the kids or by yourself. Visit local museums and art galleries. Hit the bookstore or library. If you stay home, organize a game night or invite people over and cook a themed dinner.

Remember—spring means that brighter, warmer, longer days are coming. Get ready to savor them!

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