McDonald Creek Exercising in National Parks by

Biking Along McDonald Creek by NPS / Jacob W. Frank

The new year has arrived! It’s time for making plans, fresh starts and new experiences.

For those wanting to make a change for the better, resolutions tend to include steps toward healthier habits such as making more time for physical activity. Working out in the great outdoors can be a healthier option for you and easy on your budget. Who needs a gym when you have the world? Here’s why workouts in public parks should be on your goals list for this year.

  1. Outdoor Sporting – from hiking to running and biking, there are plenty of trails for active park visitors in national parks. You can filter by activity on our site ( to narrow down your search to parks near you that offer your preferred activity. Other options include canoeing, disc golf, kayaking, surfing, paddle boarding, swimming and many, many more.

  2. Time to Disconnect – There’s nothing like time to yourself. Meditate. Run to clear your mind. Get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and make time to get to know yourself away from all the distractions. Take time to just be you, find your strength, and reconnect with nature.

  3. Do it for the Views – From mountain tops to towering trees and colorful landscapes, there are plenty of parks with views that will take your breath away. There are parks with poppy fields, lakes, creeks, rocky cliffs and sand dunes, beaches with crashing waves and plenty of sand, and endless backdrops to your outdoor workouts. Not convinced yet? Here are 4 hiking trails with amazing views to make your outdoor workouts much, much better.

Photo by Brett Hold on National Parks Blog

Photo by Brett Holt


  1. Break your Routine – By taking alternate routes, reversing the trail direction, or simply visiting another park, your workouts will always be a new experience. Don’t get glued to the treadmill and weight room routine- it’s easy to get creative and workout outdoors!

  2. Cut Costs – At only $80 for the annual pass, the National Park membership gives your  access to federal recreation parks across all of America.  Most gym memberships cost more than that to enroll on your first day. Also, passes can have “two owners” which means you can split the cost with your spouse or a family member. Keep in mind there may be additional fees for parking, camping, or other amenities. Screen Shot 2017-01-10 at 1.48.55 PM.png