10 Fun Sober Activities in the Outdoors

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By: Renaissance Recovery

Medically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated: 7/1/2021

Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

Spending time outdoors is beneficial for your physical and mental health, and outdoor activities are especially profitable for anyone in recovery.

Indeed, experiential adventure therapy is an evidence-based component of many addiction treatment programs with many proven benefits. Engaging in adventure therapy can lead to improvements in the following areas:

  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-reliance
  • Life skills
  • Motivation
  • Hope
  • Emotional control

The best thing about sober activities outdoors is that you are only limited by your interests and your imagination. You can continue harnessing the power of nature long after you complete your course of treatment at rehab.

So, whether you’re fresh out of treatment or you’ve been sober for years, see if any of the outdoor activities we highlight today take your fancy.

10 Sober Outdoor Activities

1. Hiking

2. Camping

3. Fishing

4. Volunteering

5. Taking a road trip

6. Host a sober BBQ

7. Cycling

8. Geocaching

9. Heading on a city break

10.  Running


1) Hiking

Hiking has no barrier to entry since all you’ll need is some supportive shoes, a small backpack, and some wide open space.

Always head out hiking with a friend so you don’t end up in danger alone.

If you’ve never been hiking before, start gently and build yourself up. Don’t underestimate how taxing it can be to hit the hiking trail. Even an hour of moderate hiking can burn 300 calories. Start slowly, then, and within your comfortable limits.

Enjoy clearing your mind and communing with nature while at the same time flooding your body with more endorphins, delivering a natural high in place of a chemical one. Hiking is a powerful tool in the early phases of recovery and throughout your ongoing journey of sobriety.

2) Camping

Whether you prefer to rough it or stay at a more upscale camp site, make some time for a weekend away with family and friends.

Active addiction tends to exact a damaging toll on your interpersonal relationships. Spend some time relaxing with grilled food and good company, and leave the beers off the menu.

Like all forms of outdoor activity, being out among the fresh air and natural surroundings will boost your mood while you’ll also have the opportunity for some physical exercise, proven beneficial for your physical and mental health.



3) Fishing

Fishing is a very flexible outdoor activity that can also be strongly therapeutic.

Whether you prefer freshwater fishing by the lakeside or heading to the ocean for some fishing on the shore or out on a boat, fishing in all forms can be remarkably relaxing.

If friends or family also enjoy fishing, you’ll have plenty of time by the river bank or seashore to catch up and rebuild any relationships unraveled by addiction.

And the best thing? You can bring home some succulent fresh fish to cook up for dinner that evening.



4) Volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to fill your time in early recovery while at the same time giving something back.

In addition to the way helping others improves your mood, volunteering has many health benefits, too. You might find volunteering your services helps you to manage any symptoms of anger, anxiety, and stress.

From helping out at animal shelters to helping maintain community gardens or coaching a sports team, you should find plenty of ideas in your local newspaper or online. Volunteer Match, for instance, has some great opportunities for volunteering tailored to your local area.



5) Taking a road trip

Many people addicted to drink or drugs find themselves making lots of plans, but follow-through is usually a problem.

If you have always been talking about taking a certain road trip but never got around to it, now’s the perfect time to hit the road.

Whether you want to feel the air in your hair piloting a convertible or motorcycle, or you prefer the sprawling space of an RV, what counts is getting out of your comfort zone and heading somewhere new. Stimulate your mind and treat yourself to a night or two in a five-star hotel with the money you’re no longer spending on drink or drugs.

6) Host a sober BBQ

People have bonded over food since the dawn of time, so why not break out the BBQ and load up on plenty of tasty smoothies, juices, and mocktails in place of wine and beer?

If you haven’t bothered much with BBQs in the past, you might be surprised at the variety of grills, smokers, and griddles you’ll find. Whether you swear by charcoal grills or you prefer the convenience of electric or gas BBQs, you can easily find the right cooking method without spending a fortune.

While you could easily host a BBQ for friends and family aware you are in recovery, this might feel too awkward during the early stages of sobriety. If so, consider hosting a sober BBQ for members of your 12-step support group. This way, you can be guaranteed there will be no alcohol in the house, and you won’t end up being tempted to indulge and relapse.


7) Cycling

If you want to expand your horizons while at the same getting a powerful cardiovascular workout, why not head out for a bike ride?

The efficiency of cycling means you’ll cover ground a lot more rapidly than walking, and you can head to areas of the city you don’t normally see.

Alternatively, get more ambitious and head out for a lengthier ride. Use Google Maps on your phone and you can head off into the distance, even if you’re not entirely sure where you’re going.


8) Geocaching

Geocaching is marketed as the world’s largest treasure hunt.

Create an account right here and download the official Geocaching app in either the App Store or Google Play.

You then find the closest geocaches to you in-app and then go to locate the physical boxes and containers strewn around by other geocachers.

This form of outdoor activity can be highly addictive once you get started, but with none of the drawbacks associated with an addiction to drink or drugs.


9) Heading on a city break

Maybe the thought of traveling overseas right now doesn’t seem appealing. If the idea of restrictions, extended wait times, and quarantine doesn’t appeal, head on a break closer to home in a city you’ve never visited before.

Head somewhere you’ve always intended to explore and spend a weekend cramming in lots of outdoor activities. The more you keep yourself occupied and stimulated in the early stages of sobriety, the less time you’ll spend thinking about drink or drugs. Treat yourself to a city break right now!



10) Running

If addiction to drink or drugs has impacted your fitness levels, running is a great way to strengthen yourself and strengthen your recovery at the same time.

Experience the fabled runner’s high as more endorphins and dopamine are released in your body, and you can burn up to 1000 calories at the same time. 

Start Sober Living with Renaissance Recovery Center

If you’ve been abusing drink or drugs and you’re ready to kickstart your recovery, we can help you here at Renaissance.

We provide a variety of personalized inpatient and outpatient treatment programs suitable for all addictions, whatever the scope and severity. We also offer dual diagnosis treatment programs for anyone suffering from a co-occurring mental health condition alongside an addiction to drink or drugs.

Here at Renaissance Recovery, we utilize a combination of MAT (medication-assisted treatment) and psychotherapies like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy).

So, we’ll help streamline your journey from detox through to sustained sobriety here at Renaissance Recovery Center. All you need to do is call the friendly admissions team at 866.330.9449.866.330.9449

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Pat C

“I owe my life and my happiness to these people. October 8th, 2019 marked two years of sobriety for me, and prior to finding Renaissance I hadn’t had 24 hours sober in nearly 20 years.”

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Paige R

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Courtney S

“Great staff who took the time to get to know me. They have a lot of experience in this field and have first hand experience with what I was going through. IOP is outstanding and really built up a ton of great relationships and found this program to be a ‘breath of fresh air’.”

Diana Vo, LMFT

Diana is an addiction expert and licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in the field of mental health for over 10 years.

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country