Here’s a suggestion: This Black Friday, instead of going shopping, go outside.
Head to area parks, trails or greenbelts to stretch a leg, instead of giving your credit card a workout.
Several state parks are hosting special events on Friday:
- Buescher State Park is hosting a Giving Thanks Guided Hike. Guides will explain the origins of the park, who built it, why they built it and the enduring legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Meet at the Lakeview Pavilion at 10 a.m. for the hour-long hike. For more information go here.
- Bastrop State Park will host a Selfie Scavenger Hunt. Meet at playground at 1 p.m. to get list of objectives, then explore the park taking photos. Regroup at 4:30 p.m. to go over your findings. For more information go here.
- Park hosts will set up telescopes and a laser pointer from 6-8 p.m. at Inks Lake State Park for a Night Sky Party. For more information go here.
- Guides at Bastrop State Park will lead a Leave No Trace from 2-3:30 p.m. Meet at the playground for the 1-mile hike. For more information go here.
- Learn the basics of fishing during the Fishing With a Ranger program at Inks Lake State Park. Participants will learn how to cast, ethics, and rigging your pole with tackle. All equipment and bait provided. Meet behind the park store at 4 p.m. For more information go here.
- Bring your own lantern or borrow one for the Lantern Hike at McKinney Falls State Park. Meet at the playground at 6:30 p.m. For more information go here.
Texas State Parks aren’t the only parks around, either. The Lower Colorado River Authority operates several parks in the Austin area, and its waiving entrance fees at most of them on Friday. (See a list of all LCRA parks here.)
If you do #OptOutside, give a little salute to outdoor gear retailer REI. For the third year in a row, REI is closing all 151 of its stores, pausing online sales and giving its 12,000 employees a paid day off this Friday. (The stores are also closed on Thanksgiving Day.)
“It’s as much about what we’re doing and our enjoyment of it as getting the public outside,” says Cody Ackerman, outdoor program and outreach manager at REI Austin. “Our goal is really for people to take a break from what had been becoming a very stressful day to enjoy the outdoors together with friends and family and discover something outside.”
REI started the Opt Outside movement in 2015. This year, the outdoor retailer is launching an online search engine to help people plan an activity. To check it out, go here and click on an image. That will lead you to information about that activity, plus directions, reviews and advice from REI.