There are so many ways to experience nature in your MetroParks this summer. Hike, observe wildlife, ride a bike, picnic, fish, attend a festival—there is something for everyone! Below are some ideas for exploring the outdoors this season.

Hike more than 75 miles of trail, with routes ranging from casual strolls along boardwalks and garden paths to treks up and down ravines in some of Montgomery County’s most remote wilderness. You can even take a backpacking adventure along the Twin Valley Trail!

Unwind during an outdoor staycation by camping at four MetroParks. Sleep under the stars and enjoy numerous park activities by day.

Cool off by playing in the interactive water features at RiverScape and Island MetroParks or by paddling the region’s pristine waterways.

Ride, walk, run and roll on the nation’s largest paved trail network, with more than 300 miles of bikeways to explore.

Shop for fresh and local produce, meats, dairy items, bread, kitchen staples and more at the 2nd Street Market in downtown Dayton.

Relax to live bluegrass, R&B, big band and festival tunes at RiverScape MetroPark.

Encourage children to independently explore the outdoors at the nature play areas in Englewood, Hills & Dales, Possum Creek, Sugarcreek and Wegerzyn Gardens MetroParks.

Plant veggies in a community garden plot or your own backyard. Gardening is great exercise and helps the environment while you enjoy the wonders of growing your own food.

Learn about nature by attending one of many programs that allow you to try a new outdoor sport, learn how to identify trees or wildlife, help children become environmental stewards, and so much more.

This summer, I encourage you to explore a new place—perhaps one of MetroParks’ three accessible conservation areas. Woodman Fen, a groundwater-fed wetland that allows native plants to thrive, is the only fen in Montgomery County. Dull Woods includes an unusual remnant of a swamp forest. And Medlar is home to diverse habitats and stunning views.

Speaking of conservation, I also encourage you to connect with nature along our rivers, which are vital to Five Rivers MetroParks’ efforts to protect our region’s natural heritage. Of the nearly 16,000 acres MetroParks protects, the land along the river corridors provides critical habitat for wildlife and is where such creatures as wild turkeys and river otters have made a comeback in recent years.

You’ll find more info on all this and so much more at MetroParks’ new website that makes it easy to plan an outdoor adventure. You’ll find an improved programs and events calendar, ways to enjoy your parks by activity, and quicker access to park amenities—all while learning more about MetroParks’ commitment to conservation. Plus, you can read it all—and register for programs or rent a shelter and campsite—on your mobile device. We hope you will log on to metroparks.org—and then unplug for some quality time with nature!