Adventure Starts With Where

The most important part of exploring, of starting an adventure, is as simple as going to the map on this website, typing in your location and watching as all the dots pop up around you.

Fish
By Jessalyn Adams
Fish Ambassador

All great stories start somewhere. Emphasis on the “where.” 

Choosing the place to begin your story is the first and most important step to start exploring. There’s no shortage of places to choose from either. You can go anywhere, simply from your backyard, to your neighborhood, to your state or worldwide. 

So how do you choose with so many options? The well-seasoned campers and travelers (who, very admittedly, still make a lot of mistakes) all suggest starting an adventure at a place close to home. 

Now if you live in a more rural area, that should sound pretty easy. Growing up in Alabama, my dad would let us pop a tent in the backyard and sleep outside for the night. Some nights, he would even open the pop-up camper for a fun slumber party. 

As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve learned not everyone has that type of access to nature. But, I have discovered that living in a more populated area doesn’t mean you are too far from a place that does have access. 

Downtown Birmingham, Ala., is about 15 to 20 minutes away from Oak Mountain State Park. The city’s center is even closer to Red Mountain Park and only a few miles from Cahaba River access. These places offer a break from the busyness of the downtown streets with the sounds of sirens, cars, trains and neverending traffic with a glimpse into the quietness of being outdoors. 

Oak Mountain State Park offers camping, paddleboard or bike rentals, fishing, swimming areas and miles of hiking trails. It’s an escape from the city, located almost directly in the middle of the city. Crazy, right? 

These gems are not just found in Alabama either. Nationwide, there are thousands of places tucked around cityscapes that give you fresh air and wide open spaces. Places that are not difficult to get to or too hard to find. 

On a recent work trip, I was staying in the middle of downtown Fort Worth, Texas. I rented a bike, and after a few miles of riding, I found waterfalls, kayaking, fishing and a beautiful outdoor landscape. 

I just had to ask the question, “WHERE do I go?” 

The Dora the Explorer song starts playing in my head, but instead of pulling a rolled-up map out of my backpack, I grab my phone and start searching the internet. I make a list of a few places that sound fun and then find out how to get there. 

Go Out{side} makes that part easy. The map shows parks across the United States, what recreation is available and its location.

The most important part of exploring, of starting an adventure, is that simple. Going to the map on Go Out{side}’s website, typing in your location and watching as all the dots pop up around you. If you thought trying camping was a lost cause, or going fishing was too far away, or those videos of people paddleboarding were just a dream, a quick search on the map says otherwise.

Our map features those recreation details. It’ll show you where to find fishing spots, places to launch a boat, set up a tent or all of the above and more. 

You really can start your story close, or at least close-ish, to home. 

But let’s say you are ready to adventure further and find more places to visit or discover another fishing hole. Using the Go Out{side} map, I have found brand-new places to add to my explore list. Some are close to home that I’ve never been to, while there are some places in different states that I, until recently, had never heard of. 

(Photo: Laurie Tisdale)

For example, have you ever heard of Hungry Mother State Park in Virginia? Yeah, me neither. Go Out{side} Director Laurie Tisdale found it during her family road trip and the views are remarkable! It’s now on my list of Top 10 places to visit, and all it took for her to find it was a search on the map.

If you’re one of the regular outdoor enthusiasts with an RV, boat, two dogs and an extra trailer with gear, you have to know which places will accommodate you. Our map also allows you to see if your next destination is going to offer everything you need it to at a glance. 

The map is easy to navigate and fun to use. We don’t have the distractions found on other maps like tourist traps and expensive restaurants. All you’ll find is miles and miles of places to discover. 

The only question left is WHERE will you go first?

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