12 Mother’s Day Ideas to Get You Outside

Whether your mom is nearby or far away, you can show her your love in a special way this Mother’s Day.

Instead of sending flowers or taking her to breakfast, why not share time out in nature? Maybe she’s not the outdoorsy type, but you are; or maybe she loves to get out there, but isn’t close by. Here are a few ways to honor your mama this month in the great outdoors.

Mother's Day

Go for a Picnic

My mom is far from being a hardcore outdoorswoman, but she loves being outside. So, often on Mother’s Day I’ll plan a picnic with her in a beautiful but easy-to-reach destination, preferably with a view. This is a perfect way to be together in the outdoors and treat her to a nice meal at the same time.

Mother's Day

Turn Off the Phone

On a Mother’s Day hike or picnic with the whole family, get everyone to turn off their phones once you’ve all snapped a few pictures of the scenery. It’s too easy to turn an afternoon in nature into a photoshoot. Phones are a distraction that can easily suck you away from family and the beautiful moments happening all around you.

Mother's Day

Give Her a Break

Do you know a full-time mom? Even though the traditional notion of Mother’s Day is for mom to spend it with her kids, there are probably a lot of women in your life who would love nothing more than a gift of a solo adventure for the day. Gently suggest you’ll give her a hall pass so she can go for a hike with friends or solo, minus kiddo attached to her. She might pause for a second, but then she’ll probably take you up on it.

Mother's Day

Clean Up a Trail Together

Make a date with your mom or a handful of mom friends to go clean up a trail in a park you frequent. Do it for your mom, with your mom, or just for Mother Earth. You’d be surprised how easy it is to clear ivy with a baby on your back or a toddler running around “helping.” Moms are inherently “doers,” so sometimes it’s hard to snap out of that. Don’t fight it. Use that energy to get out and clean up a trail you both love.

Sign Up for an Outside Class

A few years ago, just before I became a mother (I was very pregnant), my husband signed both of us up for an edible food class for my Mother’s Day gift. I was a little surprised at first, but the class turned out to be pretty entertaining as our group foraged around a city park learning which plants and trees could feed us. To this day I can still spot wild carrot and fennel on a trail and know the difference between poisonous weeds and safe ones.

Outdoor Escape at Home

Have a real homebody in your life? Ah, the things she could do in the comfort of her own backyard—gardening, reading under a tree, sitting in the hot tub. Pamper mom by giving her an afternoon of outdoor relaxation at home while you take care of backyard chores for her.

Free Entry Outside for the Year

Every year for Mother’s Day my dad gives me a zoo pass, which I love. I’ve always relished the zoo because it gets me outside, thinking about animals and dreaming of exotic places. This is a gift that my son enjoys as much as I do, and I can take other people with me. If the zoo is not your mother’s thing, consider something else that will encourage outdoor fun, such as a national park pass, an annual parking pass for local trailheads, or an entry to a garden she likes. These fees add up quickly, so it’s nice to be given annual passes you would likely buy anyway.

Strike a Pose in Nature

Moms often have a hard time getting good pictures of themselves because they are so busy snapping pictures of their kids. Give her an outdoor on-trail photoshoot so she can feel beautiful in the woods or at the beach. Try giving her the without-family option first, and if she won’t bite, then add in the family.

Mother's Day

Give Her a Sunrise or a Sunset

Set her up with a happy hour outdoors. Get someone to watch the kids and schedule her the time to enjoy a beautiful, quiet walk as the sun sets. Or, if she is a morning person, make it sunrise. When was the last time mom got to see the sunrise because she wanted to and not because she had to feed someone?

Mother's Day

Go for a Fun Run

Did you know many cities have Mother’s Day runs? Do a quick Google search and see if you can find a 5K to participate in with the moms in your life. This can be a great way to reconnect with a friend you used to run with who maybe has dropped away since having kids.

Take a Trip to a Nursery

May is a great time to plant things. Take a family trip to a nursery to look for wildflowers and other plants you might find on the trail. Adding more wild nature to your backyard is great for days when you can’t get out on the trail but want to be reminded about what’s out there!

Aspirational Adventurer

I’ve been wanting to learn to kayak, but I can never find the time to do it on my own. However, if my husband signed me up for classes, I would do it. Usually moms put themselves last on the list of trying fun new things because kids come first. Do a little sleuthing and find out if your wife, partner, mother, friend has any outdoor hobbies she has missed out on in her life. Maybe she has always wanted to rock climb or fly fish. Has she been secretly eyeing stand up paddle boarding or surfing? Find her some lessons, get her signed up, and make sure to also gift her childcare so she can make it to the class and not feel guilty for indulging in her own adventures.

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