Celebrate Mother’s Day in the Great Outdoors: 17 Activities for Your Nature-Loving Mom!

If your mom loves the outdoors, you might find it hard to plan a fun Mother’s Day, especially if you are more of an indoor type. 

Well, I’ve got you covered. I’m an outdoorsy mom, so I know how frustrating some of the typical Mother’s Day outings are because I find them to be totally unrelatable. No, I don’t want a tea party, flowers, or brunch. Anyway, I’m going to help you out. 

So keep reading for outdoorsy Mother’s Day ideas. 

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Book A Boat Ecotour

Even if you don’t consider yourself an outdoorsy person, you can enjoy an ecotour on a boat with your mom. The boats are captained by friendly and knowledgeable folks who can help you and your mom find various wildlife and points of interest. 

Ecotours often raise awareness of conservation efforts and some of the area’s major environmental issues, which would appeal to your eco-conscious mama. 

All the boats and tours are unique, so do your research beforehand. If the tour company accepts reservations for Mother’s Day, make one!

Boat ecotour at De Leon Springs State Park in De Leon Springs, Florida on a bright and sunny day.
Ecotour at De Leon Springs State Park in De Leon Springs, Florida.

Watch the Sunrise

Watching the sunrise is easy! Just go to a scenic spot near your mom’s house and let the sun work its magic. 

Crank it up a notch with mimosas, pastries, or a full breakfast at a nearby restaurant with outdoor seating. Bring a blanket, outdoor chairs, and a small table to set the scene. 

Don’t forget to check the forecast and make sure you and your mom are dressed appropriately. 

A guided sunrise hike along sandy trails in a scrub habitat at Lyonia Preserve in Deltona, Florida.
Sunrise hike at Lyonia Preserve in Deltona, Florida

Take a Guided Hike

If you are able to join mom on a guided hike, you should do it! 

Just make sure that the hike is something you want to do. Maybe it’s a short scenic hike so that you can enjoy it too. Of course, the day is about mom, but she doesn’t want her kids to be miserable.

Do plenty of research and ask the hike leader a ton of questions, mainly:

  • what to do if you or your mama have mobility needs (some places have all-terrain wheelchairs)
  • proper attire and footwear
  • how long it will take to complete the hike

If you’re unsure how to sign up for a guided hike, the most straightforward place to start is at a state or national park. Check the park website, and if you don’t see any information, call and see if they have any recommendations. 

A woman holds various mosses and lichens in her hand at Lyonia Preserve in Deltona, Florida.
Your guide will also show you cool things along the trails. Like this guide at Lyonia Preserve in Deltona, Florida.

Hit the Water with a Paddle Tour

With a name like Walk and Paddle, of course I’m going to recommend a paddle tour with your mom. You can choose kayaks or paddleboards. 

Although some folks think you have to stand on paddleboards or that they are hard to balance, getting on a paddleboard from a seated position works best, and no one has to stand. Sitting is perfectly acceptable.

Do you or your mom have mobility needs? A tour company should be able to work with you and modify the location and board to fit everyone’s needs. If you aren’t sure where to look, search for ‘adaptive paddleboarding’ or ‘adaptive kayaking.’ 

Want to know more about paddleboarding in general? Check out my Paddleboarding 101 blog post

Two groups of paddle tours meet on the spring run at Silver Springs State Park in Silver Springs, Florida on a cold December day.
Sometimes, there’s more than one tour group on the water.

Spend the Day at a Park

You can take mom to a county, state, or national park for her big day. Just make sure you research the park before making plans. 

Every park is different and has different activities and amenities. Some places even have extensive visitor centers, exciting events, and places to eat and drink. 

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is an example of a park with tons to do, including walking trails, paddling, beach access, a restaurant, and other activities. 

Still trying to figure out where to start? Check out these articles:

Jessica Meinhofer, owner of Walk and Paddle, at Canaveral National Seashore with her kids enjoying the day in the water in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Enjoying a day with the kids at Canaveral National Seashore in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

Go on a Sunset Cruise

Who doesn’t love a sunset cruise? I mean, there are probably folks out there who would hate it, but many people would call this a win. 

A sunset cruise is beautiful and relaxing and gets everyone outside in a more upscale way. 

They are all a little bit different, so do some research in your (or your mom’s) area to see what they offer. 

I went on one, and it was wonderfully full—maybe 20 people. We all got to help with the sails. It was beautiful and so much fun. It was very casual and for all ages. 

Some cruises have refreshments and live music.

Sunset at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida with birds fluttering in the sky.
Sunset at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida.

Geocache with Mom

You might ask, “What the heck is geocaching?” or “I’ve heard the word, but I don’t get it.”

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting activity that uses Global Positioning System (GPS)-enabled devices.”

So you and mom would go out into the great outdoors and find hidden containers (geocaches). You or your mom will need a Geocaching app to find locations near you. If you don’t love being in the woods, you can look for more urban locations to explore. 

Check out this article by REI about how to get started geocaching.

Geocache found in the woods with playing cards, log book, pen, and ladybug rock.
Geocache found!

Birding for the Win

This is a pretty easy activity you can do with mom. It’s relaxing, and the birds are beautiful (we’ll breeze right over vultures for a minute). If your mom is into birding, she will love it!

All you need for a successful day of birding are:

If you really want to kick it up a notch, pack a snackle box and fun drinks (with or without alcohol). Bring chairs in case you find a spot with good birding opportunities that don’t require following a trail.

A white bird flying above a canal in North Peninsula State Park seen along the Smith Creek Landing Trail.
Birding at North Peninsula State Park in Flagler Beach, Florida.

Forest Bathing – shinrin-yoku

It’s a Japanese practice—a physiological and psychological exercise of immersing oneself in nature, consciously connecting with one’s natural surroundings. And no worries—nudity isn’t required. 

Give your mom the gift of a stress-free and mood-improving day with forest bathing. Allow yourselves to focus on the simple and connect with her in a new way. 

You can go with mom to just explore a natural and scenic place and:

  • Look
  • Listen
  • Smell
  • Feel
  • Taste (but only with an expert/guide on this one!)

You can also find trained guides to lead you and your mom in a meditative experience. 

Find out more about shinrin-yoku here.

A woman meditates in the woods, practicing the Japanese practice of forest bathing (AKA shinrin-yoku).
Forest bathing – don’t worry, you can sit on a chair if that works better for you and your mom.

Let’s Go Fishing

Does your mom love to fish? Plan a fishing trip. It can be as easy as finding a local lake and casting a few nets. Or you can make it more involved by renting a fishing boat or going out on a fishing tour. 

Just make sure everyone has a fishing license. If only your mom has one and you still want to go with her, just hang out, watch, and encourage. You cannot help her, though. Research the fishing license required in your state. Some places will allow you to buy a visitor fishing license for the day. 

Or, you know, buy your mom a fishing outing as a gift and don’t worry about it at all. 

Two women fishing, a third rod is visible, during sunset on the ocean.
Bonus – fishing at sunset or sunrise.

Catch Some Waves with Surf Lessons

Has your mom always wanted to surf? Help her make that dream come true with surf lessons! 

Keep in mind that this isn’t just a fun day on the beach. There will be quite a bit of physical effort and sun. So make sure everyone is up for the challenge and for potentially being sore the next day. And everyone needs clothing that will stay on even in the waves. 

The lessons are typically one or two hours long and can be private, semi-private, or group.

Join Mom on her surf lesson, and afterward, make it a beach day! 

Check out this great article about learning to surf at any age (and ability). It’s about surfing in San Diego, but your area should have surfing schools that can accommodate everyone. 

A woman stands on a surfboard on the sand at the beach during a surfing lesson.
Surfing lessons start on dry land.

Rock Climbing in an Indoor Facility

If your mom loves rock climbing or has always wanted to try, consider a rock climbing center. 

There are many places where folks can climb, and you can join her or just watch from a comfortable distance. The best things about an indoor rock climbing experience are staff to help you and your mom and no stress about the weather. 

If you don’t want to go but know your mom would love this, consider buying her a rock climbing gift card. 

Still trying to figure out where to start? Check out REI’s guide here.

Two women at a rock climbing wall, where one is instructing the other.
Rock Climbing is an all-ages activity!

Grab Some Bikes and Ride

Whether you and your mom have bikes or not, you can ride together. You can rent single, tandem, quadcycles, electric bikes, and more

It can be as simple as cycling around the block or heading out to a place known for cycling and spending the day. Or you can find a fun bike path near you. 

If you aren’t familiar with cycle paths, they are completely separate from motorized traffic. Some cut through urban areas, while others meander through forested zones.

And like so many other things, you can go on a bike tour to make it unique.  

See if your area has biking brochures like this one in Florida. 

The Spring to Spring Trail - an asphalt bike path in the woods that doesn't allow motorized traffic.
The Spring to Spring Trail. This portion borders Audubon Park in Deltona, Florida.

Yoga, but Outside or by the Beach

Give your mom the gift of relaxation and healing movement. 

Find a cool outdoor or beach yoga class. There are great ones out there for all physical abilities and levels. Some also have equipment available, so if neither you nor your mom has yoga mats or blocks, you might find a class that lets you borrow them. 

If you want to make it more personal, see if you can find an instructor who offers private lessons. That way, it can just be you, mom, and whomever else you want to join you. A private lesson will allow the instructor to tailor the session to your mom’s needs. 

A group of women doing yoga outside in Sukhasana in a clearing in the woods.
What a magical setting for a yoga class.

Picnic at Mom’s Favorite Park

Pack up some of your mom’s favorite foods or foods you loved during childhood and head to her go-to park. 

Book a pavilion to make it extra special and keep you and mom off the ground. Bring a decorative tablecloth, picnic-ware, food, and drinks, and you are good to go. You can decorate the pavilion too. Just because your mama loves the outdoors doesn’t mean she might not love a cute floral arrangement on the table or a “you’re the best mom” banner. 

If she likes something fancy, hire a picnic set-up company. Yep, there are companies out there that will set everything up, provide decor, plates, cups, etc., and tear it down, too. Some also provide beverages. You provide the food. Oh, and other companies do a pop-up dinner table; they set up an eating table anywhere for you. 

Beef kabobs with yellow peppers, green peppers, tomatoes, and yellow squash cooking on a small table top charcoal grill.
A portable grill might be a bit too much, but if not, consider doing kabobs at your picnic. These were yummy!

Plant Shopping & Gardening

If your mom loves plants, why not take her plant shopping? Head to the best (or her favorite nursery) and shop away. 

After the shopping trip, help her in her garden by: 

  • planting the plants you just purchased
  • working on other gardening projects she’s interested in

If your mom can’t garden like she used to due to physical limitations, this would be a great way to help establish a garden for her or clean up the one she has. 

If you aren’t typically into gardening, let this be an opportunity for her to share her planting wisdom. Or if she doesn’t have a green thumb and you do, give her some friendly tips. 

If you want to have a little more fun with it or make it more memorable, buy matching garden gloves, hats, and knee pads. 

Pop-up nursery with orange marigolds and other colorful flowering plants at the Artisan Alley Farmer's Market in DeLand, Florida.
It’s always awesome to find a pop-up nursery at a farmer’s market, like this one in Artisan Alley in DeLand, Florida.

Skip All This and Buy Her Stuff

You might be thinking, “Jessica, there’s no way I want to do any of this, and my mom doesn’t want a fancy brunch.” The last resort here is to get her fun and outdoorsy things. 

Practical and Fun Items

Cute Baseball Caps for:

Cool gear:

Helpful and Thorough Guidebooks for:

My favorite shop that has everything that I could ever want for Mother’s Day.

Cool Gift Ideas

Fun Themed Shirts for:

Journals to store memories when:

There are many other gift ideas for your outdoors-loving mama, so check them out here

Mother’s Day Done!

I hope my ideas will help you celebrate your outdoorsy mom!

Pinnable photo collage of a sunrise hike, a pop-up nursery, and a paddling tour in central Florida.
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