Summer is right around the corner here in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and for many of us it may have already arrived, in a state-of-mind anyway. 

With longer days, summer breaks and warm weather, this is one of the best times of year to explore our region’s outdoor opportunities. It just so happens that June is also ‘Great Outdoors Month’ across the nation.

Whether it involves getting out for a walk along the Greenways a few times a week or going on that river trip you’ve been dreaming of, now is the time to get outside and explore. 

It is also the perfect time to take a kid along and introduce them to the wonderful opportunities and benefits of outdoor recreation. As the saying goes, ‘start them young!’ 

Growing up in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, I was fortunate to have the chance to explore outside. Thinking back, I am always reminded of childhood camping trips, day floats on the Roanoke River or a simple hike up Mill Mountain

We are products of the influences around us and encouraging outdoor fun is a great way to make a positive impact on someone young, potentially giving them the tools and courage for a lifetime of enjoyment outdoors.

If you are looking for a getaway this summer and hoping to partake in some outdoor activities to celebrate Great Outdoors Month, look no further than Virginia’s Blue Ridge. 

Whether it’s a weekend getaway for two or you’re traveling with the whole crew, we have outdoor adventures for all abilities and budgets. From lakes and rivers to Greenways and singletrack, we truly have some world-class recreation here. 

One of the best parts about our region is the abundance of public land. Yes, land that you, as a tax-paying American citizen, are entitled to use and it is truly one of the most unique things about our country. I can say that our public parks and natural reserves are, without a doubt, my favorite aspect of our heritage as Americans. Lands set aside for the benefit and enjoyment of our citizenship—there is not much that’s more American than that. 

Fortunately, here in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, one does not have to travel far to find National Forest, State or National Parks, and an assortment of other public lands. 

There are a variety of ways to find more information on what’s out there and how to access it. Local shops and outfitters are great places to find more information on access. 

Additionally the governing bodies of all of these lands have offices you can call. As simple as it sounds, a little internet research is a great place to start planning what to do once you arrive in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. 

For those new to outdoor recreation, it can be daunting at first to figure out where to go or what to do with all these opportunities, but once you take that first step, you will have opened a whole new door to enjoyment and I am sure you will notice the physical and mental health benefits of spending more time outdoors. 

Whether you’re traveling to our area from afar or live here, make an effort to get out and see what Virginia’s Blue Ridge has to offer for you and your family. Get outside and celebrate our natural heritage during Great Outdoors Month and while you’re at it, involve a child or introduce someone who may not be familiar with all our outdoor opportunities. Pass it on.

Check out my video blog for some incredibly accessible paddling, biking and hiking opportunities to experience during Great Outdoors Month!