Americans Reveal Their Favorite Summer Outdoor Activities

(June 6, 2016)

Walking, hiking and going to the beach among top three   

Favorite-Summer-Activities-Infographic-FINALASHBURN, Va. – June 6, 2016 - As the official summer season draws near, many Americans will find themselves spending quality time outdoors. A recent online survey conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) found that Americans favor going for a walk/hike, going to the beach and having a picnic/barbeque over other common summer activities. The survey also found that, compared to older generations, millennials prefer going to the pool versus going for a summertime walk/hike.  

A total of 1,000 Americans were asked to select their favorite summertime outdoor activities. Fifty-five percent overall indicated that having a picnic/barbeque was a favorite activity; 49 percent overall indicated that going for a walk/hike was a favorite; and 40 percent overall indicated that going to the beach was a favorite. Other activities selected included exploring nature (36 percent); attending festivals (30 percent); going to the pool (28 percent); camping (20 percent); working out (16 percent); boating/water activities (16 percent); and playing sports (11 percent). 

Generationally, there was some variation in the types of favorite activities chosen. The top three favorite activities for millennials were going to the beach (43%); having a picnic/barbeque (40 percent); and going to the pool (39 percent). For gen x’ers, the top three activities chosen were having a picnic/barbeque (54 percent); going for a walk/hike (46 percent); and going to the beach (37 percent). Among baby boomers, the top three favorite activities were having a picnic/barbeque (39 percent); going for a walk/hike (35 percent); and going to the beach (26 percent).     

“Participating in regular outdoor activities is an important component to living a healthy lifestyle,” said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA President and CEO. “Outdoor activities also foster a sense of community, as they bring people together, leading to healthier and more sustainable communities overall.” 

National, state and local parks are an ideal spot for engaging in popular summertime activities. In fact, most park agencies offer specific programming and spaces geared towards outdoor activities. There are also added health benefits to utilizing park space for outdoor activities. Between 2000 and 2012, more than 85 studies were published linking parks to better physical and mental health.       

“I encourage our local park and recreation agencies to use these survey results as a way to develop meaningful programming for citizens of all ages,” said Tulipane. 

To learn more about the NRPA, visit

To view the full-size infographic, click here. To view interactive charts with the survey results, click here

About The National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 50,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

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Media Contact:

Heather Williams