A Complete Guide of Outdoor Holidays


Editor's note: This article was initially published in December 2022 and has been updated in December 2023 for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Some of the external website links still need to be updated with 2024 event information for this update. 

If you are like me and let the daily grind of life get in the way of enjoying the outdoors. Or even take the opportunity to experience new activities. Over the years, being spontaneous in this effort has failed. I need to take the time to schedule my outdoor activities. 

With a new year approaching, now is the time to fix this issue. I want to plan and schedule those activities. I needed to build a list of ideas or a bucket list. The truth was, I just needed something to make the process simple. This quest might have started with National Bike to Work Day, or another day I need help remembering. Once I had the date I researched for other National Days. This was a great way to put a place marker on my calendar. 

As I started to build my list of these National Outdoor Days. I had the idea to make this a yearly guide. A resource that puts all the national, world, or global Days that get us outside to enjoy the great outdoors. While compiling this guide, I wondered how these days started in the first place. 

While researching, I found that at least one organization was the catalyst behind those days. Plus, most of these days have environmental, conservation, or stewardship causes behind them. The days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern. While other National Days are just about getting people outside to enjoy nature. 

NOTES ABOUT THIS GUIDE:

  • DATES: Some national, world, or global days are set as a particular day, week, or month, and it is that day, week, or month every year.  Some days are celebrated at different times of the year around the world. This is due to a growing or migratory season. I will provide the correct dates or note the dates can differ around the globe.
  • WEBSITE LINKS: Links provided will navigate you from the Navigate to Your Adventure to the organization or government website that provides more information and resources about the day. This might be one of many resources, and Navigate to Your Adventure does not endorse any particular organization's efforts. There are a lot of groups and organizations that support and are the catalysts in the local area.
  • HASHTAGS: I have also provided social media hashtags. If you are into sharing your experience. These are the official hashtags suggested by the sponsoring organization.
  • READER INPUT: My intent in this guide, is that it will be a living resource. If you know of a National, World, or Global Day that should be listed. Please leave a comment. If you know of other websites that should be added. Please leave a comment. The goal of this post is to help you to plan and put a day on the calendar. One of these National Days may be something you do annually with family and friends. You may find a cause that you are passionate about and want to support. But the goal is to get you outside and explore.


JANUARY:

Monday, 1 January 2024

First-Day Hikes: In state parks all across America, plus participating regions in Canada. Join thousands of hikers ringing in the New Year. In all 50 states, plus participating regions in Canada, there are ranger-led programs and self-guided strolls to start your year off right. But First-Day activities are not just limited to hikes. There are First-Day orienteering meets, river floats, wilderness first aid, camp cooking, or a 5k. Bottom-line it's about getting outdoors and having fun. Check out your state parks website for information on First Day events.

Friday, 5 January 2024

National Bird Day: Hike a birding trail or paddle a migratory waterway to learn about wild bird conservation. But this day is about the negative effects of holding exotic birds captive. For more information about National Bird Day, navigate to Avian Welfare Coalition.

Monday, 15  January 2024

Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday: Celebrate one of America’s greatest civil rights leaders with free one-day entry to any national park. Choose from hundreds of volunteer opportunities or retrace Dr. King’s steps on the 45-mile Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. For more information, navigate to National Park Service Celebrates MLK Day.


FEBRUARY:

2 February 2024

World Wetlands Day: Celebrate wetlands' role in filtering pollution and buffering communities against extreme weather across the globe. Attending a free educational program or posting your own that will take place in a marsh, estuary, lake, or floodplain near you. For more information, navigate to World Wetlands Day.

16-19 February 2024

Great Backyard Bird Count: The Great Backyard Bird Count is a fun global activity that can be done in your backyard. How to participate? Choose a location, watch birds for 15 minutes at least 1 day over the 4 days, and identify all the birds you see and hear within your planned time and location. Then share your sightings with an online tool. For more information, navigate over to Birdcount.


Thursday, 22 February 2024

World Scouting Day: This day marks the birth anniversary of Lieutenant-General Baden Powell, who is known as the founder of Scouting. The terms Scouts Day and Guides Day are generic terms for special days that observe the Scouting movement. There is also Founders Day, World Thinking Day, Saint George's Day, and African Scout Day. Some of these days are also observed on 22 February. If you belong to a Scouting movement check when your country observes its day. For more information, navigate over to Scout.

26 February- 3 March 2024

National Invasive Species Awareness Week: NISAW is an international event to raise awareness about invasive species, their threat, and what can be done to prevent their spread. For more information, navigate to NISAW.

MARCH:

March 1-2, 2024 (Sundown to Sundown)

Global Day of Unplugging: Formerly National Day of Unplugging. Its goal is to commit to 24 hours of smartphone-free living. Then shift to an off-line activity, in-person interaction, or real-life gathering. You can organize an outdoor activity to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with your community. For more information, navigate to Unplug Collaborative

Sunday, March 3, 2024

World Wildlife Day: Show your support for the world’s wild animals and plants by increasing awareness of our planet’s endangered species. Sign up for an endangered species program hosted by a state or national park near you, then share what you’ve learned on social media with hashtags #WWD2023, #PartnershipforConveration, #WorldWildlifeDay, #WWD, and #CITES50. For more information, navigate to Wild Life Day

Tuesday, 12 March 2024

National Girl Scout Day: Celebrate the first Girl Scout meeting anniversary in 1912. Help inspire your favorite scout to become a National Park Girl Scout Ranger. Volunteers who contribute 10 hours or more. Are recognized with an official certificate and patch. For more information, navigate over to Girl Scouts. What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie?

Thursday, 14 March 2024

National Wildlife Refuge System Birthday: Celebrate the birthday of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service by fishing, hiking, paddling, or volunteering in one of over 550 National Wildlife Refuges across the country. For more information, navigate to the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Monday, 18 March 2024

Global Recycling Day: This will be the 6th Global Recycling Day. This should be an easy day to participate in the effort. For more information, navigate over to Global Recycling Day

Thursday, 21 March 2024

International Day of Forests: This year's theme is "Forests and Innovation". On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national, and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees. For more information, navigate to Collaborative Partnership on Forests, or UN Women.


APRIL:

Week of 20-28 April 2024

National Park Week: Kick off the National Park Service’s week-long celebration of America’s history, culture, and natural treasures with 20 April being a free one-day entry to the national park of your choosing. For more information, navigate over to the National Park Service. Follow the National Park Service on Social Media during the week #YourPark.

Monday, 22 April 2024

Earth Day: Marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement that started in 1970. In 1990 Earth Day went global and 190 countries were involved in this event. You shouldn't have to look hard for an Earth Day event.  This year's theme is Planet vs. Plastic. This year there is a poster competition and details can be found at Your Art Our Earth. Sharing stories on social media using hashtags #EarthDay2024. For more information, navigate to Earth Day 2024.

Friday, 26 April 2024

National Arbor Day: Celebrated on the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the year based on the best time to plant a tree. Get involved by volunteering to plant and c for trees in these wild lands and in your community. For more information, navigate over to Arbor Day Foundation or check your state forestry department. 


MAY:

Saturday, 4 May 2024

International Women's MTB Day: Celebrated annually on the first Saturday in May. It's a day for women to gather and ride their mountain bikes and get their stoke on! The day is social media-driven. Look for women's MTB Day events at the local level and get the word about your Women's MTB Day by using the hashtag #womensMTBday. For more information, navigate to IMBA.


Friday, 17 May 2024

Endangered Species Day: Every year on the third Friday in May, people worldwide participate in Endangered Species Day. This year will be the 18th year of this celebration. The Endangered Species Coalition’s mission is to stop the human-caused extinction of our most at-risk species and restore their habitats. For more information, navigate to Endangered.

Friday, 17 May 2024

Bike to Work Day: BTWD is an annual event that promotes the bicycle as an option for commuting to work. Statistics show that 40% of all trips in the United States are less than two miles away. If the city where you live has a commuting infrastructure. Then plan ahead and take the bicycle instead of the car. There are so many benefits to commuting by bike. 

Saturday, 18 May 2024

Kids to Parks Day: Celebrate the 14th annual Kids to Parks Day on the third Saturday of May. The day connects kids and their families to local, state, and national parks to promote discovery and exploration in the great outdoors.  Participate in a stewardship, STEM, and history event at a national, state, or local park near you. Or, just visit a park for a day of outdoor fun! Today is all about enjoying nature. For more information, navigate to National Park Trust.



JUNE:

Friday, 31 May through Sunday, 2 June 2024

Bike Travel Weekend: Invite a few friends and plan a bikepacking or touring trip with help from the Adventure Cycling Association, or find an overnight trip at Bikepacking Overnighters.

Saturday, 1 June 2024

Clean the Bay Day: Since 1989 Virginians have been giving back to their waterways by removing litter and debris. Over the last three decades, there have been 165,500 volunteers engaged with this event and have removed 7.18 million pounds of debris. For more information, navigate to Clean the Bay Day.

Saturday, 1 June 2024

National Trails Day: The American Hiking Society's National Trails Day is about committing to trail service and leaving your local trails better than you found them. For more information, navigate to American Hiking Society.

Saturday, 8 June 2024

World Oceans Day: Visit a coastal park, hike a beach trail, volunteer to pick up trash on the shore, or travel to your local zoo or aquarium for this global celebration of healthy oceans. For more information, navigate to World Ocean Day.

Wednesday, 26 June 2024

National Canoe Day: Back in 2007 the Canadian Canoe Museum declared the canoe as the 7th wonders of Canada. Celebrated in Canada or virtually, this year's theme is #OnTheWater. To participate in National Canoe Day virtually. Get out on the water and share a photo. Use the following social media tags #OnTheWater, #NCD2024, and #NationalCanoeDay. Tag @cndcanoemuseum on any post so they can see you celebrating the day. For more information, navigate to Canoe Museum National Canoe Day 2024.

27 June 2024

Great American Campout: Also known as the Great American Backyard Campout. This year Clean Earth Challenge to go camping and be a part of a wide-scale effort to clean up the plant. This could be around your campsite or on the trail. Hashtag #ComeCleanForEarth. For more information, navigate to The National Wildlife Foundation.


AUGUST:

Sunday, 25 August 2024

National Park Service Birthday: Help the park service celebrate 103 years of preserving America’s wild places with this year’s theme Discovering Something New. Plan a park outing with your family, and share your adventure on social media with the hashtags #NPSBirthday, #FindYourPark, and #EncuentraTuParque. For more information, navigate to the National Park Service.


SEPTEMBER:

September is National Wilderness Month. The Wilderness Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, opening a new chapter in American conservation by creating the National Wilderness Preservation System. Today there are 800 wilderness areas spanning 111 million acres.

Wednesday, 4 September 2024

National Wildlife Day: Explore the wilderness areas in your state to discover the wild creatures in the woods and on the water around you. Learn about America's best wildlife viewing experiences.

Sunday, 22 September 2024

Car Free Day: A day to get around by bike, train, bus, or walking around. For more information, navigate to Car Free Metro DC.

Saturday, 28 September 2024

National Public Lands Day: Celebrate the 26th anniversary of National Public Lands Day and the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System and National Wild & Scenic Rivers System with a conservation project at a national park near you. You’ll get a fee-free token in return to use on a future visit. For more information, navigate to the National Park Service.

Saturday, 28 September 2024

National Fishing & Hunting Day: Learn about the critical role hunters and anglers play in conservation efforts by attending an educational event at a shooting range, wildlife refuge, fish hatchery, or national forest in your area. For more information, navigate to National Hunt and Fish Day.

Saturday, 28 September 2024

Bike Your Park Day: For more information, navigate to Adventure Cycling Association or National Park Service.


NOVEMBER:

Monday, 11 November 2024

Veterans Day: Honor America’s heroic veterans with an educational visit to one of our nation’s battlefields, military parks, and historic sites. From the Statue of Liberty to the USS Arizona Memorial, daily admission is free to all national parks on Veterans Day.

Sunday, 17 November 2024

National Take a Hike Day: Brush up on hiking skills and Leave No Trace practices, then take off for the trailhead on the American Hiking Society’s last trail day of the year. For more information, navigate to American Hiking Society.

Friday, 29 November 2024

#OptOutside Day: Join REI’s movement to opt out of holiday shopping on Black Friday. Commit to spending the day after Thanksgiving outdoors, enjoying an activity you love, spending time with family and friends, or giving back to nature and your community. For more information, navigate to Recreational Equipment Inc.


DECEMBER:

Wednesday, 11 December 2023

International Mountain Day: Climb a peak to learn about fragile mountain ecosystems, and take photos of your journey to post on social media and tag #MountainsMatter. For more information, navigate to the United Nations.


Now It's Your Turn-

Please leave, a comment on an outdoor holiday that needs to be added or a resource link.

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