September 28, 2022

Planning to spend more time outdoors this spring? These apps are a good start

Spring is the perfect time to go exploring with the family.

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Spring is here, bringing you more warm, sunny days to enjoy. That means it’s time to put your TV show on hold and enjoy the outdoors. And whether you’re looking for a park to camp in or a new trail to hike in or want to stargaze from your own backyard, we’ve found several apps that can get you started.

Check out these apps to help you find something fun to do outside that everyone will enjoy. To learn more, here’s what you need to know about run your first 5K marathon.

Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder

Try a new park with your friends and family using Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder (download for iOS). This application has a huge database of almost all national, state and local parks in the United States.

Choose the park that interests you and discover all the activities it offers. The database also contains descriptions of all the activities offered. Many locations offer sports, water activities, disc golf, playgrounds, camping, and other opportunities.

Oh, Ranger!  ParkFinder app

Oh, Ranger! Parkfinder App

Screenshot: Katie Conner/CNET

Charity miles

Have fun outdoors and raise money for a good cause with Charity Miles (download for iOS Where android). Earn money for the charity of your choice by walking, running or biking. Ask a friend or relative to join you to double the money you collect.

Charity Miles will log your information using the in-app pedometer, run tracker, walk timer, bike timer, and run timer. Before you start your workout, use the stopwatch provided in the app to start your stopwatch.

There are 28 charities to choose from, so pick one and get moving!

Charity Miles app

Charity Miles app

Screenshot: Katie Teague/CNET

Geocaching

Go on a treasure hunt with the Geocaching application (download for iOS Where android). Around the world, these modern treasure chests are just waiting to be discovered. Geocaches are basically hidden containers that people fill with trinkets.

You will receive tips, descriptions, recent activity and attributes for each geocache. You will find geocaches using the map, compass and driving directions. Some geocaches will take longer to find, depending on how difficult it is to find them. Live Search will update geocaches near you as you move.

This app is free, but you can unlock more features (like premium caches) with the premium upgrade.

geocaching app

geocaching app

Screenshot: Katie Teague/CNET

night sky

Gaze at the stars with your loved ones with Night Sky (download for iOS). Try to find and identify planets, star constellations and satellites by pointing your phone’s camera at the sky. The free app uses augmented reality to describe objects in the sky.

If you’re looking for something specific, like Jupiter or the International Space Station, use Night Sky Siri Shortcuts on iPhone. You will need iOS 13 or later to use this feature.

The app is free, but you can upgrade to the premium version for $5 per month or $30 per year. Premium unlocks planetary portals, where you can walk on the surface of other planets in AR. You will also have access to Night Sky Tours for any location in the world.

Night sky app

Night sky app

Screenshot: Katie Teague/CNET

The low

Let Yonder (download for iOS) helps you plan your next outdoor adventure. Find activities near you that you love, like kayaking or hiking, and gather your friends for a fun experience. Use Yonder to help you find great trails and share your experience with the community.

Decide what you want to do and search the app for places that offer this activity. Find inspiration for your next hike by viewing the photos and experiences of other visitors to the area and discovering what makes this destination special. You can even share your memories with others through photos and videos.

app there

app there

Screenshot: Katie Teague/CNET

Komoot

For the active family, use Komoot (download for iOS Where android) to organize your next cycling or walking trip. The in-app planner details each trail with information on terrain, difficulty, distance and elevation.

Turn-by-turn voice navigation keeps your eyes on the trail and turns off your phones for a safe journey. Track your routes and hikes with GPS and add photos to remember your experience.

Komoot gives you your first region (route) for free, and additional regions cost $4 each.

Komoot app

Komoot app

Screenshot: Katie Teague/CNET

Cairn

For all your outdoor adventures, use Cairn (download for iOS Where android) to protect you. Cairn lets you share your location with friends and family, find places with cellular coverage, and download maps to use offline.

Share your location with your friends in case you get separated while hiking. They will be able to use your GPS location to find you. You can also set a “return time” if your group decides to split up. If someone hasn’t returned by then, you can search for them on the map. Before you go, however, check the area to make sure cell coverage is available.

Maps, trails, and cell coverage are free, but you can also subscribe for more features for $5 per month or $27 per year. You will get a 30 day free trial so you can try out all the features.

Cairn app

Cairn app

Screenshot: Katie Teague/CNET

bivouac

Bivy (download for iOS Where android) is similar to some of the apps mentioned above, with 17 different adventure types, like hiking, kayaking, skiing, climbing, and biking. There are tens of thousands of adventures and fully mapped trails. Filter your excursion by type, difficulty and quality.

Bivy will keep track of your pace, mileage, calories burned, top speed, rest time and ETA. Bivy will also alert you if you veer off course. Share your location with friends and family so they can see what path you are on in case you get lost.

The cost is $3 for a month or $30 for a year.

Camp app

Camp app

Screenshot: Katie Teague/CNET