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8 Experiences to Gift This Holiday Season

Give the gift of adventure.

By: Sara Sheehy + Save to a List

A quiet holiday trend has been growing for the past few years — the gifting of experiences instead of things. Here at The Outbound, we dig finding that perfect piece of gear under the tree, but even more, we love to get out and enjoy it. 

This year, we'll be wrapping up some of these experiences for friends and family, and look forward to spending time outdoors with the people we love in the coming year.

1. 'America the Beautiful' National Park Pass

Photo by Scott Kranz // Adventure: Kayak Saint Mary Lake, Glacier National Park

The 'America the Beautiful' park pass provides a year's access to over 2,000 federal recreation sites throughout the United States. With many of the most popular parks — like Yosemite, Zion, and Yellowstone — charging a $35 entrance fee, this $80 pass is a steal. Plus, it opens the door to so many great adventures to enjoy year-round.

2. Wilderness First Aid Class

Photo by Emily Pennington // Story: How Learning Wilderness First Aid Seriously Upped My Hiking Game

A wilderness medicine course is an excellent gift for the backpacker, hiker, backcountry skier, or camper in your life. The two-day Wilderness First Aid course is the baseline of wilderness medical training. It will be offered more than 400 times, throughout the country, in 2020.

3. Camping Gift Certificate

Photo by Tyler Drake // Adventure: Camp at Hidden Valley in Joshua Tree

Give the gift of a night under the stars. Snag a camping gift certificate from KOA or Hipcamp for options anywhere in the United States, or search locally to find state or regional park campgrounds that offer gift cards.

4. Gift a Lesson

Photo by Lucas Boland // Adventure: Rappel the Granstaff Canyon

Learning a new skill in the outdoors is a treat, and the experience is even better when you have a friend to do it with. 

The options are endless. Book a lesson in skiing, snowshoeing, canyoneering, kayaking, surfing, mountaineering...anything you think your friend or family member may like. Then be sure to go along with them!

5. Lift or Trail Passes

Photo by Noah Couser // Adventure: Mountain Bike Big Mountain

Let's face it, anything that involves a ski mountain (in winter or summer) is hard on the wallet. Just wait until you see the smile when a mountain-lover opens up a lift pass for skiing in the winter or mountain biking in the summer. It'll be priceless!

6. Glamping

Photo courtesy of Under Canvas // Story: Indulge in Adventure at this Base Camp Near the Great Smoky Mountains

Glamping is all the rage these days, and even hard-core backcountry campers will dig the luxury of a night or two in supreme comfort while enjoying the outdoors. Check out glamping outfit Under Canvas for locations throughout the country, or search around for options close to you.

7. Race Registration

Photo by Emily Hlaváč Green // Story: Trading the Metro for the Mountains: Pursuit New York 2018

Do you have a runner or cyclist in your life? Gift them the entrance fees to one of their favorite races...but be sure to sneakily confirm that they want to run the distance you enter them for before purchasing! They'll probably love it even more if you agree to join them on race day.

8. Weekend Adventure Tour

Photo by Ryan Mckinney // Adventure: Snowshoe to Emerald Lake

If you want to really knock their socks off, book a weekend adventure tour for your favorite friend or family member. Ideas include a snowshoe adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park with Flashpacker Connect, a West Virginia whitewater rafting trip with Explorer Chick, a long weekend in Zion with MT Sobek, or an Amazon rainforest safari with World Expeditions.

Cover photo by Rob Witt

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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