Get Outdoors and Make Memories

Whether you like to spend your time snapping photos, playing sports, or exploring the backcountry, get the advice you need to gear up for new adventures.

Hiking group posing for a photo

There’s a reason why we call it the great outdoors. Spending quality time outside has numerous benefits, from improved sleep to better immune function. Outdoor adventures like hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, or even casually walking, are delightful ways to explore your locale and get to know new people. Read on for advice for making the most of your own backyard. 

Prepare yourself for any outdoor adventure

Preparation is key. There’s no quicker way to put a damper on your fun than by forgetting crucial gear or lacking information necessary for your outing. Set yourself up for success by doing background research for your next outdoor jaunt. 

For example, if you plan to go hiking you should brush up on the trail’s conditions. (The same path can change drastically during different seasons.) Look up permits you might need to park, access, or camp near a trail. Consider the weather and temperature so you have layers for sun or rain protection. Be sure to have plenty of water on your hike and look into places where you can replenish your supply. It’s never a bad idea to pack a first aid kit. You’ll be burning calories while you walk, so think about lightweight snacks that pack a punch: nuts, jerky, and trail bars are popular options. 

Sought-after wilderness survival expert Jessie Krebs has advice for seasoned hikers looking to take their wilderness skills up a notch. Learn practical tips for exploring the backcountry and finding nourishment, shelter, and other essentials in the wilderness in her class on MasterClass. Get an expert’s look at sources of water, food, and more in the wilderness.  

Ready to get out on the trails and make a memory? Check out outdoors and travel Meetup groups near you

Snap the perfect mountaintop photo

Celebrate reaching the summit—capture the view with a picture from the top! Get the perfect shot by practicing a few tips for outdoor photography.

You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment to get started with nature photography. Often, a phone camera will do the trick. One easy hack for better iPhone photography is to turn on the grid setting, which will add a three-by-three grid to your screen as you set up the shot. This will make it easier to follow the rule of thirds and frame a pleasing photo. 

Another helpful pointer is to think about the story you want to tell in your photos. In his adventure photography class on MasterClass, Jimmy breaks down his steps for creating a powerful photo essay. 

  1. Tell a diverse story. Think about how you’re going to convey your message visually and play around with different settings to capture the image. Be confident about your message and your point of view. The best images say something about the setting and subject matter. 
  2. Take a wide variety of photos. You shouldn’t limit yourself. Get creative and take lots of shots. The editing process comes later. 
  3. Slowly narrow down the photos over time. Don’t edit the same day you shoot. Give yourself time and a little distance. Then, select your top 100 photos. Later, narrow it down to 25, then 10. Have a friend with good visual instincts to help you. 
  4. Articulate the details. Once you select your top ten photos, write captions to help tell the story. 

For more opportunities to practice, check out photography groups on Meetup like Cityscape Photo NYC, Street Photography University, and Portland Photography Group.

Become the doubles partner everybody wants

Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world. Its fast pace and its year-round playability make it a hit among kids and adults alike. 

Tennis’ sustained popularity is also due to some legendary players in recent history who have graced the court. Serena Williams is widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. On MasterClass, Serena explains her inspiration and shares advice to improve your tennis game. 

For Serena, it isn’t speed or power that got her to the top, though they are two defining qualities of her game. Serena credits her consistency with giving her the competitive advantage. If you’re interested in improving at tennis, Serena recommends practicing every day. Get creative with your practice. As she points out in her class, spending just ten minutes a day on your toss can work wonders for your serve—you don’t need a court, and you won’t even break a sweat.

Find a community of players who will help keep you engaged in the game and continue to improve. Join tennis groups on Meetup like Aloha Tennis, PlayYourCourt NYC Metro Tennis, or Tennis Made in Texas

Take your dog park swagger to the next level

If you want to take your dog on an outing outside of your typical stroll around the block, you’ll need to be sure it has the proper training to keep its composure in a world full of unpredictability. 

Brandon McMillan is a celebrity dog trainer and the Emmy-winning host of Lucky Dog on CBS. He has trained rescue dogs to become therapy and service animals and has worked extensively with animals who appear in film and television. In his class on MasterClass, Brandon shares essential tips for any dog owner. 

Brendon explains how to train a dog to sit:

  1. Make sure your dog is leashed and you have control to start.
  2. Step on the leash to prevent your dog from jumping up. There should be enough slack so your dog isn’t about to choke but taught enough that the dog can’t jump. 
  3. Place your treat hand above your dog’s head, about six inches from its snout. The placement of the treat above the head is key—your goal is to hold the treat just outside of your dog’s peripheral view because they can’t bend their neck to look up any higher.
  4. Say “sit,” making sure to enunciate. Say it with emphasis. It is a command, not a request. 
  5. As soon as your dog sits, reward them with a treat and heavy praise. 
  6. Repeat the process for up to 15 minutes, always making sure to reset your dog so they are under control and attentive before you begin the command. 
  7. As your dog gets better and better at the technique and is less prone to jumping, remove your foot from the leash

With the proper training, you can feel confident about going anywhere and knowing your furry companion will follow your lead and stay safe—no matter where your next outdoor adventure takes you!

Find dog-friendly communities on Meetup! Join groups like the Hudson Heights Dachshunds, The NYC Pug Meetup Group, or The Portland Dog-Lovers Meetup Group!

Last modified on February 7, 2024