Mother’s Day is around the corner. You could take your mother out for an eggs Benedict brunch for the sixth year in a row. Or you could show mom you put some real thought into her special day this year and surprise her with a more memorable activity. The best way to do that is to take your mom outside. If she’s full of energy and active, you could go hiking. For an older parent, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors that are a break from the usual Mom’s Day routine. Here’s how to get outside this Mother’s Day.
1. Bring your mom to the flowers.
Mother’s day and flowers just go together. Rather than bringing your mom a bouquet of snipped tulips, though, you can take her to the flowers. Botanical gardens are ablaze in showy blooms in May, and you’ll find them across the US and the world. If you’re in a big city — be it Dallas or Denver, Seattle or St. Louis — you’re sure to have a botanical garden nearby. Even smaller cities like Pasadena or Peoria have lovely botanical gardens.
Roses start to bloom in mid-spring, and you’ll find stunning rose gardens from Berkeley, California, to Columbus, Ohio. If your mom lives in a more rural area, take her for a drive to check out the spring wildflowers.
2. Go for a hike.
Your mom will appreciate the chance to get some fresh air and exercise. If you’re a bigger group taking mom out for her special day — and, say, there are grandkids in tow — the little ones will appreciate running around much more than they’d like sitting in a restaurant. You could head out to a state park nearby, but you usually don’t need to drive too far to find a great place to place for a short trek. Most urban areas have great hikes nearby.
3. Walk under trees.
There’s something magical about trees. The image of walking with mom under blooming dogwoods warms our hearts, at least. Washington, DC, has the National Arboretum, but you’ll also find arboretums in towns and college campuses all over the country — from Oregon to Maine. You can also find trees — and benches on which to sit down and listen to the birds nesting within them — in your local city park.
4. Picnic in the park.
This can be very easy to put together. Head to the market to pick up a roast chicken, some salads, and a baguette. A bottle of Prosecco adds a little extravagance. Along with plates, cups, and serving ware, a nice picnic blanket is the finishing touch. Then pick up mom on Mother’s Day and take her to the park. In most places, the weather is perfect in mid-May from an al fresco lunch that your mom will cherish.
5. Ride bicycles.
No one forgets how to ride a bike. If you get away from big city traffic, rent bicycles and go for a ride. If you can get a comfy beach cruiser type of bike with more upright handlebars, even better. Plan a route that takes you alongside a body of water or through a major city park. If you have baskets on your bike, throw in the above picnic items and combine your bike tour with an outdoor lunch somewhere lovely.
6. Set out on the water.
After flowers and trees, there’s nothing like water to calm the mind and create a relaxing Mother’s Day mood. If you live near a beach or lake, go for a walk on the shore. If she’s up for it, you can even rent a canoe and take your mom out. Big city parks often have paddle boats you can take out for a while. Or plan an outing that involves a ferry ride across a lake or bay.
7. Go for a scenic drive.
If your mom would rather not ride a bike or get into a boat, take her for a drive. Go on a daylong road trip to a stunning outdoor destination she hasn’t been to in years. You could get ambitious and head towards a national park. But for this one, we recommend just finding a beautiful view.
If you’re in San Francisco, you could drive south along Highway One. If you’re in Phoenix, take her on the Apache Trail Scenic Drive. If you’re in Richmond, Virginia, head out to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Even if you don’t live near some of the country’s most famous scenic roads, a drive along rolling hills, up a mountain, or to a pretty lake is sure to make her happy. Stop often to take pictures; you can get one of the images framed and give it to her later. It’ll be the best (belated) Mother’s Day gift ever.