Though the city lights can be lovely, my rural-living family prefers the Northern Lights and outdoor family fun. New Year’s Eve is no exception. We have made many memorable nights singing “Auld Lang Syne” by the light of a campfire with rosy cheeks and chilly noses under the shiny stars. From launching lighted lanterns to just enjoying Mother Nature, there are many ways to enjoy New Year’s Eve without the fanfare, dinner reservations, and crowded venues. Consider trying some outdoor inspiration to welcome the new year!
When it comes to outdoorsy fun, we’re no strangers to making it work during winter. Since it’s always cold during New Year’s Eve in our region we have come up with some ways to keep the fun flowing. None of it requires reservations with Mother Nature and none of the fun requires much in the way of gear or preparation. When it comes to starting a new year, why not start it in an outdoor playground with some of these fun family ideas to get you going!
This can be as simple as lighting logs in a fire ring or it can be the focal point of your evening. We have purchased “funky flames” to make colorful (if chemically induced) colors in our fire to amaze and delight the little ones. One bit of advice — do this AFTER you consume any food items that need to be roasted, just to be safely cautious! (You can go on a little backyard hike to find the perfect
roasting sticks too!)
Get out of the city and the light pollution zone and take a peek at Mother Nature’s expansive art gallery. With your eyes to the sky you can learn some constellations together or just admire the great unknown. We always hope for a crisp, cool evening in the northern hemisphere and the potential for a display like no other–the elusive Aurora Borealis. No matter what the weather you can enjoy the night sky from most outdoor environments. Even if it means you are on top of your apartment building on the rooftop, enjoying the city lights under a cloudy sky. Just get out there and look up!
It’s not uncommon to encounter fireworks while adventuring out and about in nature. We’ve been on desolate lakes, night hikes, and even just playing with the dog in the backyard when we’ve heard the boom and grand caucauphony of fireworks. Both amateurs and professionals can be found delighting the last night of the year with pyrotechnic delights and if you’re within a few miles of a show, you’re likely to see and hear it in the distance. We’ve witnessed the colorful glow in the clouds from a display in town, though we were several miles away. It’s sort of a treat when you’re surprised with an impromptu show! (You can also plan this into your evening. Towns the world-around have fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve.)
Take to the Water
If you’re in a warm climate, get out in a kayak, canoe, or heck, a yacht if you’re so lucky! Enjoy the evening with friends, family, maybe some good food or fishing fun. Get out there and just reflect upon your year and perhaps your reflection in the water itself! This is also one of the most fantastic places to view fireworks! Few crowds (unless your in Lake Havasu or a on similarly popular water body) make for easy viewing and a relaxing spot to enjoy the show! We happen to live in an area that is normally frigid this time of year (except in the case of a La Nina or El Nino year such as this one!) so we are often on solid water, ice skating or ice
fishing to welcome the new year.
One of our favorite traditions is to get paper lanterns (we used Amazon to order a package of 25 but sometimes you’ll see them locally too!) We write down our hopes for the new year, things that we would like to accomplish, and sometimes things that have been weighing heavily on our souls–to let it go and therefore start the new year a little lighter. No matter what you write on the lantern, it’s fun for kids and parents alike to set them sailing into the open skies. (Make sure that you’re not in a Life Flight zone or near an airport.) It’s NOT a cool way to start the new year being chastised by the FAA!
Enjoying State and National Parks can be just the ticket to outdoor family fun! It can also be the epitome of peace on Earth during
the wintertime! (Especially in colder climates!) Brave the weather, set up a canvas tent or rent a cabin and enjoy campfires and perhaps wolves howling in the distance. This is a perfect getaway to try out those freshly waxed cross-country skis or snowshoes! Take a hike to the beach and enjoy the last night of the year first day or 2016 in the sand!
No matter what outdoor activity you choose this New Year’s Eve, get out for a little mini-getaway that starts your year of travel and family fun off on the right foot! Whether that foot is clad in ski boots, cozy socks, or sandals is up to you!
Happy New Year’s to your and yours from all of us at TravelingMom! How will you spend your holiday?