Embrace the Great Outdoors with a Midlife Crisis Hobby

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Last Updated on January 13, 2024 by Erin

If you’re over age 35 and in the throes of a midlife journey, you may have reached a point where you crave something new or want something that adds purpose to your life. Finding a meaningful midlife crisis hobby can be just the ticket and a healthy way to cope with midlife challenges.

midlife crisis hobby outdoors
Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash

If you’re new here, welcome! My name is Erin and as you can tell by the name of this blog, I’m a mom entering midlife. I recently experienced an early midlife crisis and ended up making a huge career transition as a result. It’s all worked out for the best and now I’m doing everything I can to navigate the “middle ages” in the best possible way. My hope with this blog is that you find relatable stories and useful information to help you on your path.

My initial post on discovering midlife hobbies became more popular than I ever expected it to! Turns out, many of you out there are also looking for ways to add a little joy and excitement to your life. As a result, I’ve decided to kick-off my first ever blog series devoted to finding a midlife crisis hobby that suits you.

This first post is all about getting outside. I chose it first, because it’s been the category I’ve been most drawn to this past year or so.

Nature offers a plethora of hobbies that can breathe new life into your routine, invigorate your spirit, and add a much-needed dash of adventure to your everyday existence.

Strap on your hiking boots, grab your binoculars, and let’s explore some outdoor activities perfectly suited for those of us experiencing a midlife crisis.

**This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click and buy, I may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you). Please see my full disclosure policy for details.**

Hiking: Rediscovering the Joy of Exploration

I have never considered myself an outdoorsy type of gal. Growing up, my family didn’t go camping or hit the slopes. Our vacations typically involved a beach and that’s about as rugged as we got.

As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve discovered there’s something magical about getting outdoors and breathing in some fresh air. The city can feel a bit cramped and there are times I want to go somewhere where I don’t hear cars and people. (No offense, neighbors!)

midlife crisis hobby hiking
Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

My husband and I found a nearby nature trail that is easy enough for the entire family to do and it has enough entry points that each hike feels a little bit different. We are absolutely hooked! It’s such an easy way to escape the hustle and bustle and appreciate the local flora and fauna.

It gets us up and moving and is a great way for me to get my daily steps in.

You can probably find local hikes by doing a quick google search. If you want to meet up with some like-minded individuals, and maybe even make a few friends, check social media for local groups.

If you’ve checked out a few easy trails in your neighborhood and are interested in getting a little more adventurous, check out some books specific to your state. Here’s an example of a book that highlights scenic day hikes in Missouri. I guarantee your local library can help as well.


This sounds like such a boring and sedate pastime, but you guys, I AM HOOKED. I don’t know if a fascination with birds is a rite of passage when you turn 40 but the pure joy I get when I see a new bird at my feeder is unmatched.

You could absolutely take a pair of binoculars to your local park or on your next hike, but you can also draw birds into your own yard or apartment balcony.

My own venture into birdwatching started when my grandmother gifted me a hummingbird feeder. I put some sugar water in it and stuck it next to my deck so she would see it and know that I used it. I didn’t really care whether it actually drew birds in or not.

BUT THEN…one day I was sitting on the deck enjoying my coffee when a sweet little hummingbird flew up to me and hovered in front of my face before going to the feeder. It. Was. Magic.

From then on, I was determined to tend to this hummingbird feeder and then draw in other types of birds. I bought multiple feeders on Amazon. I really like Kingsyard brand because they are attractive and durable.

midlife crisis hobby birdwatching hummingbirds
Photo by Juliet Sarmiento on Unsplash

There are so many different types of setups you can have but I wanted to start with everything close to my deck so I could see the birds up close. The feeding station that attaches to our deck railing was the perfect start.

Now my whole family knows I’m obsessed and as a result I was gifted several books with advice and information. The most practical for me as a beginner was the Birds & Blooms Ultimate Guide. It’s helping me plan our backyard landscaping project by choosing the best plants for our native birds rather than just “winging it” (pun intended).

Have I sold you yet?

Birdwatching can be a truly mindful, almost meditative, experience. You can slow down, enjoy the present moment, and appreciate the beauty of the natural world.

I think birdwatching also helps keep us curious and ready to learn more about the world around us. Identifying different bird species, understanding their behaviors, and learning about their habitats can be very intellectually stimulating.

Photography: Capturing the Beauty Around Us

If you have a creative streak and a love for the outdoors, photography could be the perfect hobby for you. With just a camera in hand, you can document stunning landscapes, fascinating wildlife, and the intricate details of the natural world.

Photography not only encourages you to explore new places but also allows you to share your perspective with others through captivating images.

You could even offer photography sessions for couples and families in a beautiful outdoor spot you have discovered. These types of family portraits are extremely popular right now and in high demand. (Read more about turning your midlife crisis hobby into income in this post.)

Photography is one of those things I really wish could be my hobby but I just don’t have the patience to learn it right now. I have an amazing camera sitting in my basement closet and it’s a crying shame. I may have it rent it out to more knowledgeable individuals.

If you’re interested in photography but feel like you have no clue where to start (like me), there are TONS of online courses to get you started. Skillshare is one example of a site that offers an online learning community and provides a free trial to get started.

Gardening: Cultivating Tranquility

Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a tiny balcony, tending to plants can be a therapeutic and rewarding experience.

Turns out, it’s also a hobby with many health benefits! Getting a little sunshine provides much needed Vitamin D, helps you sleep better at night, and the CDC says gardening counts as “light to moderate exercise.” This study also found that gardening can improve your mental health.

Even if you don’t have a ton of green space to work with, a small herb garden on the porch will go a long way.

Treat yourself to a durable gardening tote that carries all of your supplies and if you have terrible knees like I do, get a thick knee pad. Trust me.

Geocaching: Modern-Day Treasure Hunting

Geocaching involves hiding and seeking containers, called “geocaches” or “caches,” at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world. These coordinates are then shared online for others to find.

Inside each geocache, you’ll find a logbook where finders can sign and date their discovery. Some larger caches may also contain small trinkets or toys for trading. Doesn’t that sound so fun?!

To participate in geocaching, you’ll need a GPS device or a smartphone with a geocaching app. The coordinates lead you to the general location of the hidden cache.

midlife crisis hobby geocaching
Photo by Martin Lostak on Unsplash

There are several online platforms dedicated to geocaching, such as Geocaching.com. These platforms provide a database of geocache locations worldwide, along with additional information about each cache, including difficulty level, terrain, and hints.

I’m not an expert on geocaching but there are definite rules and basic etuiquette to remember:

  • If you take something from a geocache, don’t forget to leave something.
  • Log your find online to share your experience with the geocaching community.
  • Respect nature and private property. Geocaching should be done responsibly and without causing any harm.

Geocaching is not just an individual activity. Many geocachers participate in events and meetups organized by the community. It’s a great way to connect with other outdoor enthusiasts.

Dog Walking

If you’re seeking a fulfilling and heartwarming outdoor activity, look no further than dog walking. Not only does it provide an opportunity to get some fresh air and exercise, but it also allows you to enjoy the company of four-legged friends.

Sometimes midlife tribulations can bring us down and it’s hard to get the motivation to get outside. Having the responsibility of a dog can be that push you need to find purpose and get moving. It’s not just about you anymore!

Our family adopted a dog two years ago, after years of being a cat family. One of our dachshund’s favorite things to do is walking around the neighborhood. I can’t deny her that joy! Before I knew it, I was getting my steps in, moving more, and feeling healthier every day.

If you aren’t quite ready to commit to being a new dog owner, you can always volunteer your time. Many local animal shelters and rescue organizations are in constant need of volunteers to help exercise and socialize their furry residents.

There are also companies, such as Rover, that allow you to become a dog walker or pet sitter. Your midlife crisis hobby could turn into a fantastic side hustle.

Recreational Sports

Regular exercise is essential for overall well-being, and it becomes especially important the older we get. Pickling up a fun sport you enjoy is great way to improve your cardiovascular health, flexibility, and muscle strength.

The three that come to mind when I think of fun, recreational, lifetime sports are golf, tennis, and pickleball. The only one I have any experience with is tennis, but I have several friends who have become true pickleball pros.

These are sports where competition is important, but socializing is almost equally important.

Another bonus is that unlike some high-impact sports, these activities are generally low-impact and can be adapted to varying fitness levels. This longevity makes them appealing choices for midlife individuals looking for sustainable hobbies.

Honorable Mentions

There are so many midlife crisis hobbies that can help you get outdoors. I’ve only mentioned the ones I actually know something about. Here are a few other ideas to inspire you and lead you in the right direction.

  • kayaking
  • rock climbing
  • fishing
  • camping
  • outdoor yoga
  • stargazing
  • volunteering with local parks
  • cycling
  • running in local races

Final Thoughts

Ok, we’ve just explored a range of outdoor hobbies perfect for those of us experiencing a midlife crisis. Reaching this point in our lives can make us crave change and new adventures. Finding an exciting outdoor hobby is a great healthy way to cope with the stress and changes that happen when we approach “middle-aged” life.

From hiking and birdwatching to photography and golf, these activities offer opportunities to explore, rejuvenate, and rediscover the wonders of the great outdoors.

Embrace the beauty of nature and find joy in the simple pleasures of life!


exploring the great outdoors with a midlife crisis hobby

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