#OptOutside on Black Friday

Three hikers in distance on leafy Spanish Pond trail

Got plans for Black Friday? Why not skip the stores and instead opt outside. Timucuan Parks Foundation is joining outdoor retailer REI’s movement and encouraging everyone to skip the hustle and bustle of shopping and spend some time in one of the more than 23 parks and preserves that we support.

REI started their campaign five years ago and instead of cashing in on the Black Friday shopping craze, they took the day off to spend some time in nature. We think that is a great idea. Jacksonville has one of the largest park systems in the U.S. and we think you should take advantage of our city’s special gems. Not sure where to go? Just visit our Timucuan parks maps page for a list of parks around your neighborhood.

Did you know hiking is not only good for your physical health, but it is great for your mental health as well. Quality time in the great outdoors reduces stress, calms anxiety and can lead to a lower risk of depression. Just ask researchers at Stanford University who found people who walk for 90 minutes in a natural area, instead of a high-traffic urban setting, had decreased activity in the region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression. Being outdoors in nature can also open up your senses to your surroundings and improve your sensory perception.

So, put on your comfortable walking shoes and go enjoy nature at the more than 100 miles of upland trails in Jacksonville, more than 130 square miles of park lands and preserves and more than 1,100 miles of river and tributary shoreline and Atlantic ocean beachfront. Opt Outside—it will improve your health and your mind. Share your photos of your time in nature on social media using the hashtag #optoutside along with #timucuanparks.