These hidden gems offer recreation opportunities that will take you far away from the sounds, smells and sights of the city -- but are within a short driving distance.
Learn about some of our favorite urban escapes for recreation and how to discover your own.
Plan a day trip
If you plan to get away for a day, your destination should not be more than an hour or two away. A little preparation can help minimize travel and hassles while maximizing time for fun.
Make the most of your time by following these tips:
- Pack a lunch so you don't have to leave your wild spot. How often do you get to picnic outdoors?
- Your pet may enjoy the escape too but check park rules ahead of time to be sure Fido is allowed inside.
- Bring binoculars to help you further appreciate views and spot wildlife.
Teach children about nature
Escapes from the city can provide excellent opportunities for introducing children to nature and fostering an appreciation for the wild.
Here are some wild experiences that every child should have:
- Seeing wild creatures. Squirrels and city pigeons just don't count!
- Walking barefoot through the grass or dirt and wading through a stream.
- Pretending to be lost in an ancient forest. Nothing stirs a kid's imagination like the woods!
If you go to a national park, there are often rangers who can teach your child and even junior ranger programs that provide hands-on activities for your kids!
How to find your urban escape
National parks, national forests and wildlife refuges can all offer recreation within your reach. If you live in the West, don't forget to check out lands owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Or take a look at our list of top urban escapes.