We are all living in some pretty weird times right now. Most cities-wait most countries are currently in “lockdown” mode or “social distancing” mode. 

As I am sure you all know, the entire world is currently dealing with COVID-19. Almost everyone is in the same boat. Gyms are closed, some parks and beaches are closed and you probably feel as if the beauty of this world is being taken away from you.

You may be feeling or wondering how can I responsibly experience nature during times like this? What is appropriate and what is inappropriate?

For a lot of people, nature helps them destress. It is calming and rejuvenating. I know that’s how it is for me. This pandemic is really forcing us to make some hard decisions. 

In this article, I am going to give you some tips on how you can responsibly experience nature and even how you can bring nature inside. 


Please note that I am writing this article to my hometown San Diego readers. So, if you are reading this please make sure to check your home city and state’s rules and regulations regarding this topic. 

You can refer to the CDC or your Government website. Here is the San Diego Gov website to reference. 

As I currently write this, per the San Diego Government website “you can go for a walk or walk your dog if you keep six feet from people who are not in your household. Avoid any groups. Some parks and trails have been closed.”

***San Diego residents-currently I know Sunset Cliffs parking lots are being patrolled and not allowing and cars to stop and park. Police are also patrolling the stairs down to the beach to prevent surfers from entering the waters.

So, what does this mean? Well, let’s dig into that statement more. 


The whole point of social distancing is to help flatten the curve and get rid of the Coronavirus. Per the CDC, you need to enjoy nature and anywhere else you may go at a 6-foot distance from others. 

The best way to responsibly enjoy nature is to avoid popular areas. Don’t go on a hike on the most popular trail you know (aka Mt. Woodson’s Potato Chip Rock). Try to find new trails that are more obscure.

If you live near a National Park you can keep track of which parks remain open here

Maybe there are some trails near your very own house? 

Some examples and tips on how to responsibly enjoy nature during COVID are:

-If there area ton of cars in the parking lot then turn around and find a new trail

-Use the restroom at your home prior to beginning your hike

-Only hike with people you already live with

-Maintain 6 feet social distance on a trail

-Don’t make any unnecessary stops to or from the hike

-Always leave no trace 

There are definitely other ways you can spend your time outdoors too. You can visit a park if it is not closed, but the same rules apply above. 

If it is too crowded then please move on. 

So, again if you choose to go outside please just do so responsibly. The sun and nature still remain good for our bodies, souls and immune systems. 


This is honestly probably the best way to enjoy nature. You can keep it local and spend some time near your own home. 

Take your dog for a walk around the neighborhood (or cat-if you don’t know I have a kitten named Moko who I am obsessed with and I take her for walks. Stop along the way and enjoy the birds and the trees surrounding you.

Like I said above, maybe there are some trails in your very own backyard? This can be a good time to explore them. 

Try to think of something outdoors that you have access to without needing to drive to it.

Do your best to avoid long road trips that would require stopping for gas and food. 


I know this one may be hard for a lot of people, especially because San Diego has so many outdoor sports to offer.

But, please take this seriously. This is coming from an ER nurse who is working on the frontlines here. Although the ER has not been crazy yet, we are prepared for it to get a lot worse. 

Each day we are seeing an increased amount of COVID like patients who are becoming increasingly sicker and sicker. We are prepared to become extremely full of mostly COVID type patients. 

Think about it this way. If you are out doing your “extreme sport”: rock climbing, surfing, wakeboarding, etc and you get hurt then you are adding to the number of people needing to be taken care of in the already busy ER’s.

Not only are you adding to the number of patients needing to be seen, but you are also exposing yourself to lots of COVID like patients. You are significantly increasing your chances of catching coronavirus or some other illness. 

Neither the hospital staff or you should want that for yourself. 

So, although this may be how you personally enjoy nature I urge you to do something less “risky” with less potential for injury.

Lastly, emergency services and medical personnel are already thin spread, especially during a time like this. They may not be able to make it to you in a reasonable amount of time. 

I understand you may now have a lot of free time on your hands, but this is definitely not the time to learn a new extreme sport. 


Sometimes, in scenarios like we currently experience you have to practice your skills of thinking outside the box. 

This is a perfect time! 

Ever wanted to camp indoors!? This is the time! Go all out-set up the tent, eat some freeze-dried food, play some cards and roast some marshmallows over a candle or your camping stove.

You can also enjoy nature by starting a garden. Start and indoor or outdoor garden.

Does your yard look like a mess? Now would be a great time to beautify it. Mow the lawn, if you have seeds then plant them. Clean up any fallen leaves, wash off the sidewalks. 

Redwood trees in Big, Sur California

Maybe you are sitting inside, but want to be able to see/hear more nature from the inside. Get creative! Find a nature background on your TV and youtube bird sounds or nature sounds to play in the background.

Hang up a bird feeder, so that you can watch more birds come by your window! Read a book about nature or even watch a nature documentary! 


Spending time outdoors is so soothing and healing for me, so believe me when I say I get where you are coming from.

I think we really all need to come together. I know us San Diego residents thrive off of all things outdoors. Frankly, I think we need to suck it up and just do this for a month or two until things calm down.

This WILL pass and we WILL be able to fully enjoy the outdoors again. For the time being though let’s respect each other and allow each other and even nature to heal during this time.

Think of it positively! This could be great for the outdoors. Pollution is already improving and I am sure we will see lots of re-growth. 

Alright, my friends, shaka 🤙🏼from your, forever crushing on San Diego, girl!

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  1. I’m so glad you wrote this! I haven’t see enough posts about being cautious with outdoor hiking/activities. Things are a bit different over here in Australia, but I hope that others in your area will find your article. ☺️

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