9 Ideas to Help You #OptOutside this Black Friday

For the past four years, REI has been shutting its doors on Black Friday, closing down its website and encouraging its employees and customers alike to spend the day outside. The initiative, known as #OptOutside, is made in defiance of the rampant consumerist culture that has developed around the day after Thanksgiving. Isn’t Thanksgiving supposed to be about friends and family? How did it become about shopping?

REI continues to promote the #OptOutside initiative every year “because we think spending time outdoors is more important. So we pay our employees to #OptOutside, and invite the world to join. But this year, it’s bigger than just one day. It’s about our routines—the ones we need and the ones we need to rethink.”

The hope is that you’ll get outside on Black Friday and enjoy it. Then you’ll get outside another day. Soon enough, you’re fully appreciating the outdoors again and reaping all the stress-busting benefits that come along with it.

If you want to take part in #OptOutside this year, here are some activity ideas that can be fun for the whole family (it’s sure to be a lot cheaper and more fun than spending the day battling the crowds in shopping plazas).

1. Hike a local trail.

No matter where you live, there’s probably a pretty great trail somewhere nearby. And remember, you don’t have to be hiking the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail to be a true hiker. You don’t even need super expensive hiking boots—just a solid pair of sneakers will do.

To put it simply, the act of hiking is what makes you a hiker. Anyone and everyone can do it. Taking a hike or a solid nature walk can be incredibly rejuvenating, both physically and mentally—exactly what the doctor ordered. Looking for some trails near you? Use REI’s trail finder to help.

Ordinary middle age woman hiker on the balcony of fire watch tower enjoying beautiful views of mountains at sunset.

2. Climb a fire tower.

Don’t consider yourself a real outdoors person? Well, you don’t have to be a diehard outdoors athlete to have fun outside. Take a slow hike to your local fire tower, climb up and take in the spectacular views.

3. Hit up the slopes.

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area that already has snow and slopes, why not go skiing? And if your slopes are more of hills, sledding can be just as fun for the whole fam (and cheaper). It’s a great way to take advantage of the post-holiday family time! Don’t forget the hot cocoas.

4. Watch sunrise or sunset.

Get outside into as remote an area as you can find to watch the sun rise or set. Even if you’re sitting in your car because it’s cold outside, the simple act of paying attention to nature has incredible benefits—and it’s way better than spending the day shopping.

Of course, your inevitable food coma will probably make you want to sleep in on Black Friday, but if you can get up to watch the sunrise, you should grab a coffee and do it. It’s a magical way to start the day.

Squeeze in for a group photo!

5. Go on a photo adventure.

We all have access to great cameras nowadays—our phones. Put your phone on airplane mode, so that you don’t get distracted, and go on a nature photoshoot with your friends.

Take silly pictures of each other, capture images of birds, seek out cool lighting and shadows and work on your creative skills out in nature. You can even take turns being the model, so you’ll get some cool new pictures of yourself, too.

6. Create a nature-themed scavenger hunt.

Work with you family and friends to make a list of items to capture in an awesome outdoors scavenger hunt. Items could include: a heart-shaped stone, a perfectly-forked stick, six different varieties of leaves, a sample of stream water, a photo of a bird, etc.

Even better: you can all pool in to make first prize really fun—like rights to wear a silly turkey hat. It’ll be a Black Friday to remember and might even become a new tradition!

7. Find a waterfall.

Do you know where the closest waterfall is to you? Even if it is just 12 inches high, go on a mission to find a waterfall. Who knows where your journey will take you, so make sure you bring lots of water, snacks and warm clothes!

Grandchildren With Grandparents Sitting On Wooden Jetty By Lake

8. Go biking.

Do you live in a snow-free zone? If it’s still relatively warm outside, why not spend the day biking? Bike on gorgeous side roads with friends or hit the trails for an end-of-season mountain bike ride. It’s a great way to work off that post-feast bloat.

9. Cook lunch outside.

Take some leftovers and reheat them over a warm fire, so you can enjoy post-Thanksgiving sandwiches in the fresh, open air. Of course, pay attention to local fire restrictions and avoid making an open fire in areas where they aren’t allowed. Fire safety is of the utmost importance right now.

Just do something awesome with your family.

It really doesn’t matter what you do. Roast marshmallows. Collect plant flora and make a scrapbook. Play frisbee or touch football. Just get yourself outside for the day. With a little bit of nature time, this can be the best Black Friday ever.

Will you #optoutside this Black Friday?   

Related on Care2

Images via Getty


Jessica C
Jessica C3 months ago


Chad A
Chad Anderson3 months ago

Thank you.

Anna R
Anna R3 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Pietro Maiorana
Pietro M3 months ago

Io non ne ho avuto di bisogno perché da me il black friday non esiste!! :)

Paulo R
Paulo Reeson3 months ago


danii p
danii p3 months ago

Thank you

danii p
danii p3 months ago

Thank you

danii p
danii p3 months ago

Thank you

Martin H
Martin H3 months ago

Thank you, Jordyn.

Leo C
Leo C3 months ago

Thank you for sharing!