One of the big challenges of Thanksgiving is the added stresses that the holiday brings. Between the planning, eating, travel, the extended family get togethers, the entire week can be quite taxing!
That’s why our family has a tradition of going for a family hike during the break.
Nature does the body, mind, and soul a lot of good.
Getting outdoors is one of the most effective ways to easy stress and anxiety. Plus, a walk can aid digestion after that big meal, and can help kids stuck indoors during mealtime get their wiggles out.
This time of year is also a great time to enjoy the last of fall colors before we transition more fully into winter.
Want to get outdoors during your Thanksgiving break but your not sure where to go? Here are some ideas to help you out.
Visit a Wetland Refuge or Park
November is a month for the birds…and I don’t just mean those Thanksgiving turkeys! During this time of year, the wildlife population surges at all the area wetlands as Canadian geese, bald eagles, herons, swans, and so many other bird species pass through on their migration route.
The Portland area has a lot of different parks to choose from, so no matter where you live there’s probably an option nearby. You can visit Ridgfield Wildlife Refuge or Steigerwald Lake Wildlife Refuge in Washington, Wapato Greenway State Park on Sauvie Island, Smith and Bybee Park in North Portland, or Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge in Tigard, Oregon.
And the best thing about wetland parks for family hiking? The trails are flat and relatively short, making them easy for the family's youngest and oldest hikers alike.
Head to a Waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge
Thanksgiving break is a GREAT time to head to the Gorge before the holiday season officially begins! The late fall colors still linger...and we still have a few weeks before the risk of icy roads sets in.
For kids, we recommend going to Bridal Veil Falls with our special packet. With its focus on wildfire recovery, this packet is also a great way to talk about the ways we can all do our part to help lessen the risk of wildfires.
Go on a Forest Hike
While all types of nature are proven to be good for your physical and mental to health, studies show that a walk in the forest can be especially good for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Why? Scientists think it could have to do with the higher concentration of oxygen.
In the Pacific Northwest where the skies can be gray, the ferns, moss, lichen, and leaves also bring a great boost of color stimulation. There are no shortages of parks in the area to go for a family hike. But if you need help, why not try one of our forest trail packets?
Wherever you go, always remember that for kids especially, the destination is not as important as the overall experience. Sometimes kids just need a quick break from the noise of cooking and adult conversation.
Our trail packets can be a useful tool to help you out because it gives them something fun to do in between all that adult time.
After all, when you are a child and are feeling overwhelmed, there is nothing more thrilling than to feel like you get to be in charge. The maps and scavenger hunt stickers are designed to do just that.
And it’s also okay if your little one just wants to mess around in the mud.
Mud is therapeutic too! :)
~Bryna, Super Nature Adventures Co-Founder
Bryna R. Campbell