The 75 Best Outdoor Hobbies for Men
It’s easy to feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Stuck in the same cycle of binge-watching Netflix, ordering from GrubHub, and mindlessly scrolling through listicles like this one. Maybe it’s time to get some fresh air and discover some outdoor hobbies.
In all fairness, the pandemic year(s) have not been great for those of us who like to get outside, break away from routine, and have adventures. But if you’re looking for a change, now is the time.
There’s nothing more rejuvenating than spending time outdoors. Taking up a new outdoor hobby can be an opportunity to add some excitement to your life… or some peace and relaxation if that’s what you need. The outdoors isn’t just for risk-takers and adventurers. It’s for everyone.
There are some great outdoor hobbies that will get your heart rate up and your blood pumping. Other outdoor hobbies are more meditative. Quite a few can be accomplished in the city or in your yard.
From getting back to nature to getting more enjoyment out of your own backyard, these are the best outdoor hobbies for men.
When you find yourself cooped up at the office during the workweek, hiking can be a great escape. Hiking allows you to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of nature at your own pace (and it’s a great low-impact exercise too). No matter where you live, there are probably several great trails close enough for a day trip. If you’re looking for a more social hike, bring a friend – maybe a four-legged friend – to share the trail with.
Gardening is a great way to spend time outside right in your own backyard. Plus, it feels great to get your hands dirty! You have a lot of options too, from cultivating a vegetable garden to nurturing the best flower beds on the block. If you’re not naturally gifted with a green thumb, start with something simple (just about anybody can keep a tomato plant alive) and expand your horizons as your confidence increases.
Outdoor hobbies aren’t just for summer. When the snow flies, hit the slopes! Skiing is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy some beautiful scenery in cold weather. There’s a bit of a learning curve if you’re a total newbie, but it’s not as hard to get the hang of it as you think. Start by taking a skiing class, or hit the slopes with a more experienced friend.
4. Rock Climbing
Climbing is an activity that essentially exercises every muscle in your body, all while sharpening your senses and honing your instincts. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s also an indoor hobby as well as an outdoor one. Start at an indoor rock gym until you feel confident enough to start rock climbing outdoors.
If you enjoy photography, the outdoors can provide endless inspiration. From photographing wildlife and landscapes to urban scenery and portraits, there’s no end to what you can capture in the outdoors. Photography can also be rewarding in a lot of different ways. You could start an Instagram account and start building a following for your work, or maybe even do some work for hire as a freelance photographer. Or maybe your photography is something you do just for you.
Who doesn’t love a night out under the stars with a roaring campfire and a few good friends? Camping is an experience many of us loved in childhood, but we don’t all take it back up again as adults. But a camping trip – whether for a whole week or just one night – can be a truly rejuvenating experience, and an opportunity to reconnect with nature and with our inner child.
For most people who go skydiving, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But for some, it ignites a passion and becomes a lifelong pursuit. There’s only one way to find out which camp you belong to. Either way, skydiving is one of the most thrilling experiences the outdoors has to offer.
Foraging as a hobby has really caught on in recent years, and not just among those who live in the country. Urban foraging is a thing too, and even if you live in a big city, chances are you don’t have to drive too far to find a place where wild edibles grow. Being able to find food in nature is a deeply satisfying experience, and it’s the kind of knowledge that you can enjoy for a lifetime, and even pass down to the next generation.
When we say barbecue, we’re not talking about throwing a couple hot dogs on the grill (not that there’s anything wrong with that). We’re talking about the craft – nay, the art – of slowly cooking meat over smoldering coals until it’s fall-off-the-bone tender. It takes hours, even days. And for some folks, it becomes a lifelong passion. One thing’s for sure: it takes time, but you can become a true pitmaster if you’re dedicated.
Once you really learn how to catch a wave, it can be hard to let go. Surfing is a hobby that connects you with the ocean in a deep way, and it often proves to be a transcendent experience. Not everyone is fortunate enough to live in a place where surfing is possible every day, but it can still be a hobby you pursue on vacations and holidays. You might just find yourself planning future trips around finding the best surf spots.
You’re never too old to make America’s pastime your pastime. Baseball is the quintessential American sport, and there are baseball leagues for all ages and athletic abilities in pretty much every city and town across the country. If there doesn’t happen to be one in yours, there’s no reason you and your buddies can’t start one.
Mankind has been transfixed by the mysteries of the night sky since prehistoric times. We still are, except now we have the technology to see the heavens with much more clarity than our ancestors. Today, anodyne can buy a telescope and train it skyward. It can become a fascinating hobby, and you can actually get a pretty good beginners’ telescope at a very affordable price.
13. Trail Running
Think of it as hiking… only faster. We all know that running is great exercise, but treadmills aren’t for everyone, and city streets aren’t always the most enjoyable places to run. But trail running allows you to experience nature while you get your cardio in. A lot of runners also enjoy the challenge of running with rocks and other obstacles on the trail.
Kayaking is another great outdoor activity that’s available to almost anyone. It’s a relaxing way to hit the water and get some exercise while exploring at your own pace. And you don’t have to live on the banks of a pristine alpine lake to enjoy it. Plenty of urban kayakers have rivers and canals to explore, and I know folks who live in the desert and love to paddle their local irrigation channels (but be sure to check local regulations before you go). A lot of cities even have clubs for local ‘yak enthusiasts.
Paintball can be an indoor or an outdoor game, but we tend to think it’s more fun in the outdoors. A lot of people of all ages get a kick out of paintball, which is a fast-paced game with some real benefits. It sharpens your senses, gives you a workout, and improves hand-eye coordination. It might teach you some humility too if you find yourself on the wrong end of a paintball gun.
If you were the type of kid who liked to pretend to find buried treasure, then geocaching might be the hobby for you. Geocaching is essentially a global scavenger hunt in which participants use GPS and navigation apps to find hidden “treasures” in secret places all over the world. It’s popular among boy scouts and globe-trotting travelers alike.
17. Bird Watching
There are lots of casual bird watchers in the world, and then there are those who take it to a whole other level. You’ll see them in parks and nature preserves, armed with guidebooks, binoculars, and species checklists. They may seem crazy, but once you get started, it’s easy to see why bird watching appeals to so many people on such a deep level. Birds are some of the most beautiful and mysterious creatures in nature, and for many people, getting closer to them becomes a lifelong passion bordering on obsession.
18. Flea Marketing
You never know what you’ll find at a flea market. That’s part of the appeal, of course. You might find one-of-a-kind vintage treasures, or you might go home with an armload of junk. Either way, sifting through the packed booths at local flea markets and auctions is like a walk through the past, and it’s certainly a rewarding hobby for bargain-hunters.
If you grew up in a big city and/or a warm climate, you might scratch your head at the notion of snowmobiling. But if you’re from a rural region up north, then you know that riding snowmobiles is a big deal. It’s essentially sledding across the snow on what feels like your own personal rocket ship. It’s a lot of fun, so definitely give it a try if you have a chance.
For people who get bit by the fishing bug, there’s nothing more thrilling than that telltale tug at the end of your line. Fishing is a great hobby that’s equally appealing for weekend warriors and full-time obsessors. It can be exciting or relaxing, meditative, or requiring deep focus. Basically, it’s whatever you need it to be, and it’s certainly a fun way to enjoy being outdoors.
Getting to keep bees in your own backyard may sound like a dream come true, or it might sound like a nightmare if you suffer from apiphobia (that’s the technical term for fear of bees). Nevertheless, beekeeping as a hobby has really taken off in urban and rural areas alike. For those who get into it, there’s a deep satisfaction to caring for your colony. Plus, free honey!
22. Road Biking
Cycling is a healthy hobby that anyone, anywhere can get into. All you need is a bike, a helmet, and a good stretch of open road. Whether you bike for fun on the weekends, bike to work to save on gas, or bike to the grocery store to help the environment, it’s an all-around good hobby that brings a wealth of benefits. Start by learning the basics of bike riding and bike care, and pretty soon you’ll be more than willing to leave your car behind.
23. Peak Bagging
Peak baggers are a special breed of hikers and climbers who are dedicated to reaching all of the summits within a certain mountain range or collection of peaks. For example, the 46ers are a group that has climbed each of the Adirondacks’ 46 High Peaks. For hikers with a competitive streak, peak bagging is a great hobby.
24. Horseback Riding
As any rider will tell you, there’s nothing quite like the connection between man and beast that occurs while riding a trusted steed. It’s an amazing way to explore the outdoors, and if you’ve never done it before, you might be shocked to discover what a workout it is! Plus, if you get really into horseback riding it can lead to all kinds of related hobbies, from polo and racing to dressage and rodeo.
25. Urban Exploration
Urban exploration is the exploration of manmade structures, usually those that have been abandoned, forgotten, or left in ruins. It’s gained some popularity in rust belt cities like Detroit, where many such structures have been left behind. But there are opportunities for urban exploration in cities and towns all over America and the world, with a lot of surprising hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
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26. Clay Pigeon Shooting
Whether you pursue it as a personal hobby or a competitive sport, clay pigeon shooting is a lot of fun. The idea is essentially to break as many moving clay targets as possible, and it’s a great way to hone your shooting skills. Some hunters shoot clay pigeons as a way of practicing for the real thing.
27. Ultimate Frisbee
Ultimate Frisbee – often referred to simply as “Ultimate” by those who play it – was originally developed by a group of students in 1986. The popularity of the game grew gradually, to the point that there are now Ultimate Frisbee Leagues all over the world, with many players traveling all over to take part in tournaments.
Learning to sail is a challenging pursuit and one that often goes well beyond the realm of “hobby” to become a full-blown lifestyle. It’s not a hobby that many young men have the time for (or can afford), but one that more and more people are coming to in retirement. Still, there’s something that’s undeniably compelling about the thrill of the open sea that makes sailing hard to resist. There are plenty of beginner sailing classes out there if you’re interested in dabbling.
29. Ice Skating
A lot of guys who ice skate do so for hockey, but it’s a great skill to have, and a lot of fun in and of itself. Plus, if you live near a public ice rink (as many of us do) you can most likely ice skate year-round. Still, it’s best when you can skate outdoors in the crisp winter air, and there’s something truly meditative about gliding across the ice.
30. Mountain Biking
As pulse-pounding, adrenaline-pumping hobbies go, there are few better than mountain biking. It’s an inexpensive hobby to get started in, and it’s a thrilling way to experience the outdoors. Mountain biking is quite beginner-friendly too, with plenty of relatively unchallenging trails for newcomers to try out.
There are a lot of reasons folks play golf. Some see it as a competitive sport, while others see it as a way of networking for business. For many golfers, however, it’s the simple joy of being out in a wide-open space on a beautiful day that keeps us coming back. It’s fun, it’s relaxing, and it’s a great way to release some tension if need be. A couple drinks in the clubhouse afterward don’t hurt.
32. Keeping Chickens
Raising and keeping chickens is a great way to bring some nature – albeit of the domesticated variety – into your own backyard. It’s also a fun hobby, whether you’re an aspiring farmer or just a guy who likes eggs. Be advised that chickens do require a fair amount of care and attention, but a few hens and a basic coop don’t take up that much space. Chickens also provide a lot of great entertainment.
33. Cave Exploring
Does underground count as outdoors? I’m not sure, but either way, exploring caves is the perfect hobby for those of you with a real thirst for adventure. Often referred to as caving or spelunking, cave exploring offers access to an incredible underground world that few ever see. There are countless caves and caverns open to the general public, though this is definitely not a hobby you should take up without some expert guidance.
As a competitive sport, tennis will put both your body and mind to the test. But as a hobby, it’s fun and relaxing, and a great way to get your heart rate up! Few hobbies do more to improve your physical endurance as well as your mental focus.
35. Whitewater Rafting
River rafting is the experience of a lifetime, and for some people once in a lifetime is enough. But some of us get totally hooked on the wild scenery and rush of adrenaline that comes with tumbling down a surging whitewater river. Rafting is also not as dangerous as you might think, provided you learn the ropes and know your limits. Start by taking a guided excursion on a relatively mild stream.
Bushcraft is the art of surviving and thriving in the wilderness. It’s an opportunity to unleash your inner Bear Grylls. It’s also an enjoyable way to gain some genuinely useful skills, like building a shelter, making a fire, and cooking in the great outdoors. Best of all, learning bushcraft will create a deep connection to the natural world, to the point that you may feel like you’re truly a part of it, rather than an outsider.
You never know what you’ll find on the beach – cool shells, sea glass, driftwood, sharks’ teeth, pirate treasure. Who knows? It’s the search as well as the discovery that makes beachcombing an enjoyable hobby, and finding some real treasure isn’t entirely outside the realm of possibility.
38. Fly Fishing
Picture a fly fisherman. Chances are, we all have the same image in our minds: a lone, vest-clad angler, knee-deep in a picturesque trout stream at sunset, fly line arching graceful overhead before a backdrop of pine-studded hills. It looks perfect, doesn’t it? Lots of people go fishing, but learning to fly fish is on a whole other level. It’s a genuine art form, and learning to do it well will give you a lifetime of enjoyment.
Archery is a great way to relax and blow off steam, not to mention building some impressive, Robin Hood-esque skills. It’s also extremely rewarding to be able to see yourself getting better at it, and hitting the center of the target more and more often. And let me tell you, it’s one heck of an upper-body workout.
Sometimes you just gotta go out and get some mud on the tires. All-terrain vehicles are a lot of fun to drive, and it’s also a great social activity. Quite a few state parks and forests have designated ATV trails, but many riders who live in the country and own some land simply make their own. Either way, plan on getting dirty!
With some simple, affordable gear and basic instruction, anyone can become a snorkeler. That’s one of the chief advantages of snorkeling as a hobby, the other being that it opens up a whole underwater world that most people never see firsthand. Because snorkeling is mostly done in shallow water, it’s a very accessible pastime and one that can lead to some awesome discoveries.
Backpacking requires planning, preparation, and a thirst for adventure. It’s essentially hiking taken to the next level, in which you have to carry on your back everything you need to spend a night – perhaps many nights – in the wilderness. Most of us live within a day’s drive of a good beginners’ backpacking trail that can be hiked in a weekend, but many experienced backpackers spend six months or more thru-hiking long-distance trails like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail.
43. Drone Piloting
Hobby drones are easy to fly and surprisingly user-friendly. They’re also a lot more affordable than they used to be and have spiked in popularity during the pandemic. Piloting a drone allows you to film spectacular aerial footage and see a different view of landscapes and landmarks you thought you were familiar with.
Hiking season doesn’t end when the snow flies. Just strap on a pair of snowshoes, grab some trekking poles, and you’re good to go! Snowshoeing is a thoroughly enjoyable way to explore nature during winter, and it’s definitely a workout.
45. Standup Paddle Boarding
A hobby that’s slowly becoming more and more popular, standup paddleboarding is great for anyone who’s comfortable on the water. It’s kind of like flat surfing! It’s a unique way to explore your favorite lake, bay, or pond, and it’s also an affordable hobby that requires no training or certifications of any kind.
Most dedicated hunters would probably balk at the notion that hunting is a hobby. Call it what you will, hunting checks a lot of boxes if you’re looking for a pursuit that is challenging, rewarding, and provides a deep connection with the natural world. Plus, if you’re successful, hunting puts organic, free-range, cruelty-free meat on the table. The easiest way to get into hunting is to first tag along with a friend who can show you the ropes.
47. Lawn Games
A staple of beer gardens and backyard gatherings throughout the warmer months, lawn games take many forms. From croquet and bocce ball to badminton and cornhole, there are a lot of games that are great for groups of various sizes. If you’re looking for a hobby that involves hanging out with friends, throwing back a couple of cold beers, and engaging in some friendly competition, lawn games might be for you.
There’s something appealingly old-fashioned about paddling a canoe across a secluded lake or pond. Although the technology that goes into a canoe has certainly evolved, the basics of canoeing haven’t changed much in hundreds of years. It’s a relaxing, meditative hobby that also offers some low-impact exercise. You can canoe solo, but canoeing is also a great hobby for two, whether you want to take a fishing buddy or a significant other.
For people who are super into going to festivals, it tends to go well beyond a mere hobby and become a total lifestyle. You don’t have to go all-in to that degree (though you totally can) but nevertheless, it’s a cool way to see a lot of awesome live music and access some inner peace.
50. Fossil Hunting
Did you dream of being a dinosaur hunter when you were a kid? That dream doesn’t have to die! Fossil collecting is a perfectly legitimate hobby and depending on where you live, you might be shocked at what you can find if you know where to look. From ammonites and trilobites to petrified wood and fossilized shark teeth, there are millions of years’ worth of treasure beneath our feet.
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51. Disc Golf
A perfect merging of golf and Frisbee, disc golf (some call it “frolf”) is a game that anyone can enjoy. It also takes quite a bit of skill to get really good at it, but with disc golf courses both public and private popping up all over the place, you have a lot of opportunities to hone your abilities.
52. Landscape Painting
Painting out in the great wide open is an opportunity to unleash your inner Bob Ros and paint some happy trees while enjoying the beautiful scenery. There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be captured on canvas, and you don’t have to be a master to enjoy painting. Try out a landscape painting class and see if it’s for you!
53. Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving is a hobby that takes a lot of training and experience, but the people who get into it tend to get really into it. It’s not hard to see why. The vast majority of people never get to experience the world beneath the waves, let alone swim with sharks and explore sunken shipwrecks. It’s outdoor adventure at its finest.
There’s an unmistakable joy that comes with watching a kite and feeling it tug at the end of your line in the open sky. Kite flying is a tradition that dates back to ancient China at least 2,000 years ago, but today it brings happiness and relaxation to people all over the world. There are even those who take it to the next level and make their own kites.
Canyoneering, as its name suggests, is the exploration of canyons. There are ample opportunities to pursue this hobby in the southwest, and it’s an adventure-filled hobby that combines many other outdoor pursuits, including hiking, scrambling, climbing, and rappelling. Some consider it an extreme sport, and it certainly requires a level of skill and a certain acceptance of danger.
56. Fruit Growing
There’s something deeply satisfying about fruit growing. Maybe it’s the care and patience that goes into it, or the deep connection you form with plants you’ve cultivated over the course of many years. Anyone can grow fruit in their own backyard if they have the time and patience. Depending on where you live you could start your own orange grove, plant a vineyard or open up an apple orchard.
Snowboarding may appear superficially similar to skiing, but anyone who’s mastered both will tell you that it’s a very different animal. This hobby offers its own unique thrills and requires a particular set of skills. But it rewards you with pulse-hammering excitement and spectacular mountain scenery.
58. Outdoor Movie Nights
Tired of being stuck indoors but don’t want to give up your movie nights? Move them outside! By hanging up a sheet and investing in a projector, you can turn your backyard into your own private outdoor theater. Make it a weekly tradition, invite some friends, and maybe make some s’mores over a crackling fire while you watch your favorite movies out in the fresh air.
You might think skateboarding is kids’ stuff but make no mistake. Grown-ups can get a lot out of it too, and you’re never too old to start. Heck, Tony Hawk is in his 50s now, and that dude is still crushing it.
60. Bungee Jumping
Feeling brave? Bungee jumping is one of the quintessential extreme sports, and there are few things in this world that offer a more thrilling rush. Free-falling from great heights is simply an experience unlike anything else. Of course, it’s not for everyone. Try it once, and you’ll either be hooked for life, or you’ll vow never to do it again.
61. Metal Detecting
Who knows what treasure is waiting out there to be discovered? With a metal detector, you can find out! Even if you don’t find pirate treasure, you’ll still have a lot of fun, and almost certainly turn up a lot of surprising lost trinkets and valuables. You never know! Some folks do strike it rich.
62. Roller Coasters
Roller coaster enthusiasts all share one thing in common: a need for speed. Most of us have been on a roller coaster or two at some point in our lives, but for the adrenaline junkies among us, it becomes an endless pursuit of the next thrill ride. You may find yourself keeping track of every ride you’ve taken, fantasizing about roller coasters, and planning vacations around where you can get your next fix.
63. Roller Skating/Blading
Roller skating and rollerblading have been around for a long time, and they may never fully go out of style. Strapping on a pair of skates essentially transforms you into a vehicle, and there’s just something undeniably appealing about that. It’s a sport, a hobby and a mode of transportation all rolled into one.
64. Wildlife Watching
Wildlife watching often starts with something small. A chance encounter with a fox, an unexpected run-in with a food-stealing squirrel. Before you know it you’re looking out your window with binoculars with a David Attenborough-inspired monologue running through your head. At the end of the day, whether you’re heading out to Yellowstone to see wild bison or strolling through your local zoo, wildlife watching connects us with nature in a big way.
Bouldering is kind of like rock climbing, but with a few caveats. The biggest difference is that bouldering is done without any ropes or harnesses and that you’re usually free climbing no higher than 12 to 15 feet. The only gear involved is a crash pad to soften the blow if you happen to lose your grip and fall on your butt.
66. Fat Tire Biking
Think mountain bike season is over when the snow flies? Think again! Fat tire bikes, also called fat bikes or snow bikes, have gained a lot of popularity in recent years thanks to their ability to take on snowy landscapes. Biking in winter is a blast, and fat-tire bikes are also great for beach biking and desert biking on sand dunes.
Orienteering is basically the sport of navigation. There are a few variations to how it’s done, but it’s usually a game in which you attempt to make your way from point to point using a map and compass. There’s sometimes a speed component as well if you’re competing with other teams or individuals to get to the finish line. It’s a lot of fun, and it helps build some useful skills.
68. Tree Climbing
Why do rocks get all the attention? Trees are great for climbing too! As a hobby, tree-climbing isn’t something you hear about all that much, but there are those who pursue it with a passion. Recreational tree climbing requires only a few basic items of equipment, a bit of safety knowledge, and a desire for adventure in the treetops.
Also known as kiteboarding, kitesurfing is a water sport that involves gliding across the water on a surfboard-like surface, propelled by wind power via kites or sails. It’s a blast, and although it can be difficult to master, kitesurfing is a truly exhilarating experience.
70. Live-Action Role-Playing Games
Live-action role-playing games – sometimes referred to as LARPing – is a pastime in which participants dress up and physically portray the characters from a particular fantasy world or historical time period. It can be a lot of fun, and it’s often deliberately silly (though, in fairness, there are those who take it way too seriously).
Falconry is one of the world’s oldest sports, and it’s as much an art as a hobby and one that takes years of patience and dedication to master. It requires you to build a relationship of mutual trust and respect with birds of prey… and really, what could be cooler than that?
72. Off-Road Dirt Biking
Those who love off-road dirt biking get their kicks from the speed, the intensity, even the racket and noise of the bikes. From twisting and turning through an obstacle course to going full-throttle down a straight stretch of trail, it’s a pastime that provides a lot of thrill and excitement. It requires some skills (and a good helmet) but ultimately the only limit is your own ability.
Taking a nap outdoors is a hobby? Heck yeah it is. Hammocking has exploded in popularity in the last decade, and why not? It’s incredibly relaxing. Placement of your hammock is key, of course, and hammocking is often seen as the reward at the end of a long hike. From secluded mountaintops to shady forests, almost no place is off-limits.
74. Deep Sea Fishing
Fishing for big game on the open ocean is a very different experience than catching bass and bluegills in your local pond. It requires patience, strength, and a lot of stamina to hook and land a fish that weighs hundreds of pounds, and there aren’t a lot of people who experience the deep exhilaration (and sometimes crushing disappointment) of deep sea fishing for big game.
Go-karting can be addictive. Many participants get hooked on the thrill of a race, and it’s an endlessly enjoyable sport and hobby for all ages. If you have a track near your home, then you’re already halfway there. Some people even get into building their own go-karts, although there are plenty of places out there that rent them out.
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