REI is once again promoting their #OptOutside initiative. “Take a break from shopping/scrolling/swiping and meet us outside!” They are closing their stores on Black Friday, and encouraging their employees, and their customers to get outside. This is the 4th year of the promotion, and you can see what people are doing for some ideas by following #OptOutside on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sources. This is an idea I can get behind. We have created so much hype, and put so much importance on the material aspects of the upcoming holidays that we have created an extremely stressful time of year. Waiting in line to save money on gifts is not my idea of a good time. So if you want to #OptOutside, here are my top 5 ideas for getting outside: Find a State Park. Maybe one you haven’t been to before, or maybe one that you only visit in the summer. There are great State Parks in many states that are under utilized this time of year. It’s the off season. Enjoy them year around. Take a hike. This can be done in a state park, a local hiking trail, a rails to trails project, or even just some state land set aside for recreational use. We have a nature conservation center near here that has some short trails for hiking. Like the state parks, many of these resources are all but forgotten in the winter. Go Sledding! Have you got snow yet? We have some in the northeast. If it sticks around a few days, sledding my very well be an option. Take the sleds and the kids and head out to a local sledding hill. Hit the Beach. This may be a little more fun father south, but beaches can be fun any time of year. Here’s a link to see some great fall beach vacation ideas. 10 Beach Vacations That Are Even Better in the Fall | Family Vacation Critic Swimming may not be the top activity on the agenda in November, but there are many other activities. And you will be competing with fewer people to enjoy them. Take you camera, go for a walk on the beach, watch wild life. And if you want to start kicking off the holidays by getting into the giving spirit, take a garbage bag, some rubber gloves, and pick up some trash while you’re hiking to make the area better for the people that come along after you. Enjoy your own back yard. It may be chilly, but you can always enjoy a cookout, a campfire, or just playing with the kids or your dog. So, instead of shopping, instead of surfing the web, bundle up and get outside for some fresh air. Take advantage of the day off from work, and promote this to your friends. Relax. You don’t need to treat the day after Thanksgiving like the drop of the green flag at a NASCAR race. Refuse the holiday stress. Enjoy the day, and enjoy the season.