I absolutely love spending time outside. I am always in awe of our Earth and all of the good things that it provides us. God is the ultimate artist and it kind of blows my mind how things work together in perfect harmony to create the ecosystems that we enjoy.
I feel really fortunate to live in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia because it has so much beauty. We're surrounded by salt water marshes and wetlands, beautiful beaches (both oceanfront and bayfront), stunning coastlines, and a short drive away we have mountains.
I put together a photographic Earth appreciation post for you to enjoy!
Some of these are taken locally, in Hampton Roads, but some are from of our other travels and will be noted.
Forget not that the Earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair. - Kahlil Gibran
If you'd like for me to come along on your next adventure outdoors, click the Contact tab above or just click here. I'd love to talk with you about documenting your time spent together, outside.
Hampton Roads has so much to offer, there's never really any shortage of things to do here if you have children. As a family, we aim to spend 1000 Hours Outside each year, so we've become pretty acquainted with fun, outdoor, and free things to do around here. (If you're interested in our 1000 Hour Outside Challenge and adventures, you can read more about them here!) This list is a little different than other lists floating around because this was made from kids I have surveyed myself and then I'll put my 2 cents in at the end.
Kids Choice for Fun, Free Things to do in Hampton Roads
One of my personal favorite places to visit, although not free (but very affordable!), so I'm not including it in the list, is First Landing State Park. The beach access side is wonderful and super easy to navigate. There's a little shop, restrooms, showers, and a snack bar there too. They have a little hands-on discovery area for kids too that has crabs and fish and lots of education exhibits. It's on the bay, so the waves are minimal. The trail side across the street is breathtaking. They have a marsh with bald cypress trees and Spanish moss with lots of well maintained trails for you to use. The Visitor's Center has a few exhibits as well (with little critter encounters too!), restrooms, and picnic tables. It's an amazing way to spend the day. Hike in the morning, eat lunch, swim and lounge around the beach in the afternoon!
What are some of your favorite free things to do in Hampton Roads? I want to hear about it! Maybe you've been somewhere I haven't and I need to check it out!
Let me know in the comments below.
Also, if you've got a session on the books with me, be inspired! Let's visit some of the places and explore together! I'm always up for an adventure.
If you love content like this, consider subscribing to my monthly newsletter. Every month, I find local events/festivals and compile a few of them into a section of my newsletter called "Happenings in Hampton Roads". You can subscribe here!
I guess Fall is over seeing as how it is now February. Ha! My bad. Better late than never, right?! I felt it was still important to update you on how we spent our hours outside this Fall. Hopefully it will give you inspiration on how to get your hours in!
Here in coastal Virginia, we are really blessed with fantastic weather (usually). It's pretty mild in the winter (I'm cringing writing that because I am 100% cold intolerant and I am absolutely freezing below 50 degrees!) and in the fall we are still having really warm days. Although we can't really swim at the beach in the fall, we definitely are still making trips to visit and play in the sand, walk along the beach, and hunt for shells. This is an activity we all enjoy, from the oldest to the youngest.
For some reason, I feel like we don't get many foggy days here. But you better believe when the fog hit, the kids threw on their shoes and headed outside to play! And of course, I was more than happy to shoot in it! We talked about animals and birds and how they use their colors to camouflage themselves against predators or how they used the fog to their advantage in hunting.
One of our favorite hangouts is a river shoreline and we can easily spend hours here! We look for fossils, spot river creatures, track animal prints at low tide, and enjoy the setting sun. The littlest loves to throw shells in the water. The younger ones bring toys to play in the mud with as well (trucks, action figures, sand toys, etc.). I do not expect to come home clean on these days!
There are a ton of other activities we did in the Fall that are not pictured here, mostly because I am still behind on editing my personal work. (Ooops!)
But here are a few of the things we did to rack up our hours:
We use these handy, printable trackers to help us have a visual record of our time spent outdoors. (They also have an app now!) They are free and the kids love them. Let me know your favorite outdoor fall activities and give me some ideas for next year!
As always, learn more about the 1000 Hours Outside mission on their website!
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.