Exploring Great Outdoors Month in California

June marks Great Outdoors Month, established by the U.S. government to encourage Americans to embrace outdoor activities and highlight their significance for physical and mental well-being, along with the conservation of natural spaces. Recognized since 1998, when President Bill Clinton declared June as Great Outdoors Month, subsequent administrations have continued to promote outdoor recreation and conservation through various events and initiatives.

In California, our diverse landscapes offer endless opportunities to head out on our own and be immersed in some of the nation’s most cherished and awe-inspiring natural landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a novice seeking new experiences, California’s vast outdoor playground has something for everyone.

Here are seven ways you can embrace the spirit of Great Outdoors Month this June:

  1. Hiking: Lace up your boots and explore California’s diverse landscapes on foot. From the iconic trails of Yosemite National Park to the hidden gems of the Santa Monica Mountains, hiking offers a chance to connect with nature and discover hidden corners of the state. Don’t forget to also explore local trails in your own backyard for a convenient escape into nature. Get inspired by some of our past hiking reports here.
  2. Cycling: California is a paradise for cyclists. Whether road biking along the Pacific Coast Highway or mountain biking in the Sierra Nevada, cyclists can explore the state’s diverse landscapes on two wheels. Read about trails, events and organizations here.
  3. Rock Climbing: The state’s iconic rock climbing destinations, such as Yosemite National Park and Joshua Tree National Park, attract climbers from around the world. Beginners can start with guided trips or classes offered by outdoor outfitters and climbing gyms. Get inspired to climb with some of these stories here.
  4. Surfing: From famous breaks to hidden gems, California offers some of the best surfing in the world. June brings warmer weather and smaller waves to our coastline, making it an ideal time for beginners to dip their toes into the sport and practice their skills. Get inspired here.
  5. Kayaking/Stand-Up Paddleboarding: Whether paddling on a tranquil lake or navigating coastal estuaries, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the serenity of California’s waters while getting a workout. Get inspired here.
  6. Rafting: California’s rivers offer thrilling rafting adventures, from the wild rapids of the American River to the scenic floats along the Russian River. Book a guided trip with an outfitter for a safe and memorable experience on the water. Get inspired here.
  7. Sailing: Explore California’s coastal waters and inland lakes by sailboat. For those on a budget or without a boat, look into hopping aboard as a crew member. There are also numerous outfitters that offer affordable short trips (i.e. sunset sails) throughout the state. Get inspired here.

As always, remember to prioritize safety and respect for nature. Follow local regulations, leave no trace, and come prepared with the right gear. Whether scaling a peak, riding a wave, or simply soaking in nature’s beauty, let this be a month of creating lasting memories in the great outdoors.


MAIN IMAGE: Hikers admiring Redwood trees, Redwood National Park, California. Photo iStock/YayaErnst