Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Beach Getaways for the Landlocked

As finals weeks nears for colleges across the country, many are beginning to plan their summer vacations. Plenty of those vacations include coastal beach destinations, but for everyone else who is landlocked, here are the top freshwater beaches in the U.S.

Presque Isle State Park Beach, Pennsylvania

This stretch of island offers more than 11 miles of beach. With concert spaces, lagoons, lighthouses, and plenty of room for recreation this beach has something for everyone. If you fancy a swim at your beach, you might consider waiting until July to visit this beach as the water will still be cold through the first month of summer. 

Bradford Beach, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

With beach bars and volleyball leagues that run throughout the summer, this beach will make you feel like you're on a beach much farther south, but don't be fooled, this beach sits on Lake Michigan. Bradford Beach offers excellent swimming conditions during the warm months and even holds yoga classes for those who enjoy a more relaxing beach experience. 

Oak Street Beach, Chicago, Illinois

This beach sits on Lake Michigan and right in the heart of Chicago. This beach's location gives the opportunity for the unique experience of being able to take in one of the Midwest's most popular cities while also being able to relax on the beach in the same day. Although Chicago bears frigid weather in the winter, it is not unusual for temperatures to soar past 100 degrees in the summer. Oak Street Beach is a great destination for lovers of the city life. 

Now that you know some of the top beaches in the Heartland of America, finish up your schoolwork, visit Low Valley Outfitters, and gear up for your beach getaway. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Where to See the United State's Most Exotic Wildlife

There's a common feeling among North American explorers that they need to leave the continent to see the some of the world's most exotic animals, but there are actually several places to visit right here in North America that show off very rare animals. With that in mind, here are the top spots to explore if you wish to see North America's most exotic wildlife in its natural habitat. 

Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Cameron County Texas

This wildlife refuge is home to many rare animals, but none more exotic than the ocelot. Texas is the only state in the U.S. that is home to ocelots as the species is endangered and fewer than 1,500 wild and captive are alive. This haven for endangered animals sits in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas and a trip here will showcase the tropical savannah found in the the southern United States. 

Everglades National Park, South Florida

Everglades National Park is home to 27 different kinds of snakes, flamingos, the bottlenosed dolphin, alligators, crocodiles, the Florida panther, and many other exotic wild animals. This tropical savannah is one of the most unique ecosystems in the United States has a wide variety of views to experience with land and water tours as options. 

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Many North American animals call the Rocky Mountains their home like bighorn sheep, elk, beavers, eagles, wolves, and the endangered grizzly bear. Recent conservation efforts have helped reestablish the grizzly bear population in the Rocky Mountains, but there are still fewer than 1,500 in existence. A trip to the Rocky Mountains will showcase more than just wildlife; see the snowcapped peaks year round and get the full alpine tundra experience in the winter. 

Now that you know you don't have to travel across the globe to see some of the world's most exotic wildlife, plan your next trip to one the these American national parks. And as always, don't forget to visit Low Valley Outfitters to gear up for your next adventure. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Outdoor Summer Vacation Spots

Folks, you may have been noticing a trend in our recent blogs - summer. If you're like us here at Low Valley Outfitters you can't wait to have the sun out and warm weather everyday. As we get closer to summer we can't help but think about all the things we want to do during our favorite season. With that in mind, here are the best national parks to visit in the summer.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon 

Visit Crater Lake National Park in the summer to experience the dark hues of blue and green. The breathtaking lake is sunk into the earth and surrounded mountains on all sides. If you snow and frozen water is more your style then maybe consider visiting the lake in the winter, but for a more pleasant and easier experience, take the trip in the summer months.

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Located in Southwest Colorado you'll get more than just a visual treat when you visit Mesa Verde National Park. Go on a cultural tour through the ancient Pueblo cliff dwellings and see what life was like for the natives 1,400 years ago. 

Death Valley National Park, California

This one may seem out of place as a national park to visit in the summer, but to get the full experience of Death Valley, make the trip to the lowest point in the U.S. in the summer. At 282 feet below sea level and just northwest of Las Vegas, make sure you are fully prepared for this hot box and bring plenty of water.

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Take a trip to Kenai Fjords National Parlk to get a glimpse into the ice age. This national park is an outdoorsmen's dream with things to do like kayaking and paddle boarding. A visit to Kenai Fjords will showcase the Alaskan wild life and allow you to see the likes of moose, caribou, and even polar bears. With temperatures hovering around 60 degrees in the summer you can have a comfortable day at this Alaskan national park. 

Now that you have some ideas for places to go this summer, visit Low Valley Outfitters, gear up, and go experience the great outdoors. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Top Bike Trails Around America

The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer - summer is at our finger tips. Many cyclists have been strapped in on stationary bikes all winter and now the outdoor cycling season is finally upon us. With that in mind here are some of the best bike trails in the U.S.

Big Sur - Carmel to Cambria, California

Choose where you start this trail wisely as it climbs 6.5 miles when you start in Carmel. This ride will feature stunning views of the Pacific Ocean rolling into the steep cliffs of the California Coast. Big Sur trail goes as far as 100 miles for more experienced cyclists, but shorter options are available. Sandwiched between Sacramento and Los Angeles, the comfortable California climate will make for a nice ride year round. 

Shark Valley Trail - Everglades National Park, Florida

This 15 mile trail is perfect for beginners with minimal elevation climb. In your ride through the Everglades you will see some of the best wildlife the U.S. has to offer; don't be surprised if you have to pedal around an alligator basking in the sun on the trail. The South Florida climate can be hot and humid so if you want to go in the summer months be sure to dress accordingly and bring plenty of water.

Going-to-the-Sun Road - Glacier National Park, Montana

Going-to-the-Sun is a very fitting name for this trail as it climbs more than 6,000 feet above sea level. This trail climbs approximately 3,000 feet in the final 10 miles of this ride so it isn't ideal for new cyclists. Spring and summer are the best times to ride this mountainous trail, but consider making the trip in spring when only hikers and bikers are allowed on the trail. 

Lehigh Gorge State Park Trail - Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

This 26 mile trail follows the Lehigh River and will take you to the artsy downtown area of Jim Thorpe, PA.  This trail is relatively flat, making it great for beginners. You can ride this trail in all seasons except winter, but consider visiting the national park in the fall to take in the dark red hues as the leaves change.
And as always, don't forget to visit Low Valley Outfitters for all your outdoor needs.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mountain Climbs for Beginners

Mountain climbing is a great way to experience the great outdoors, but if you've never done it before, many peaks may be too difficult for you to climb. So here are the top peaks for beginners to get started in the climbing game.

Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs, Colorado

One of the most popular peaks in the United States, the 13-mile trail makes for a great first hike. At over 14,000 feet above sea level this hike will take you about as high as you can get in the continental U.S. And if the climb up is too hard on you, you can catch a ride back down on the cog railway. 

Mount Hood, Hood River County, Oregon

Mount Hood is a glaciated dormant volcano in the Cascade Mountain range and is a great place to learn some of the skills required for snow climbs. A climb up the most common trail on the south side of the mountain takes about a half day to climb and will take you higher than 11,000 feet above sea level. 

Mount Katahdin, Baxter State Park, Maine

This peak is at the northern end of the Appalachian Mountain range and only ascends about 5,000 feet into the sky, making it a perfect first climb for beginners. Due to the ease of the climb, the trail does receive a great number of hikers, so be sure to get there early as the park does limit the number of climbers it admits each day. 

Guadalupe Peak, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

The highest point in Texas, this peak stands alone in the desert and as a result, gives some stunning views of the vastness of the Texan wilderness. The ascent will take you almost 9,000 feet above sea level and round-trip will last about 7 hours. 

Now that you have some of the best peaks from all over the country, gear up at Low Valley Outfitters, and start climbing!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Adventures for You and Your Furry Friend

Dog owners and adventure seekers rejoice! Don’t leave your furry friend behind on your next trip! Here are the top dog friendly national parks in the U.S.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park is the perfect place to take your dog. With 120 miles of dog friendly trails you and your dog can find something new on every trip. Mountains and beaches highlight the views of this coastal park and make a great adventure for dogs and their owners.

The Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is great park to visit regardless of whether you’d like to take your dog or not. The fact that all 13 miles of the South Rim Trail is dog friendly is a great bonus as you can take in a natural wonder of the world with your best friend.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park is not only a sweet sight to see with some of the tallest sand dunes in the U.S., it is also a great spot for your dog. With plenty of open space for to run and streams to cool off, this national park is the perfect place to take your dog.

With these national parks in mind, there’s no excuse to leave your dog behind on your next adventure. So head over to Low Valley Outfitters, gear up and plan your next trip for you and your dog.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Five "Out of the Box" Spring Break Trips

Spring Break is just around the corner and if you’re looking to do something other than the usual “sit on the beach and drink all day,” check out these spots to plan your next adventure.

Moab, Utah

Moab has a little bit of everything; from river rafting to off-roading there’s something for every adventure lover. Although there are a wide variety of activities to do in Moab, Arches National Park is widely regarded as the top place to visit. To see all that Moab has to offer check out this website

The Grand Canyon, Arizona

One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is truly breathtaking. While hiking is the most common and affordable way to see the Grand Canyon, if your budget allows it a helicopter tour of the gorge would be well worth your while.

Summit County, Colorado

Summit County boasts some of the world’s best skiing featuring resorts like Keystone, Breckenridge and Copper Mountain. The mountainous county is skiers dream is a great place to visit in March to get in one last ski trip.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

One of the most beautiful national parks in the United States, it would be wrong to exclude Yellowstone from an outdoor adventure list. Yellowstone has a little bit of everything. From wildlife like buffalo and elk, to gorgeous waterfalls and world famous hot springs like Old Faithful, the Castle Geyser and the Riverside Geyser.

Santa Cruz Island, California

Southern California is a great place to visit in March especially if it’s still cold where you’re living. While Santa Cruz has a lot to offer, a kayak through Santa Cruz Island is at the top of the list for outdoor lovers.  With hundreds of caves to explore, you can spend all day on the water and still have more to see the next day. Not only are there endless caves to explore, the Channel Islands also have a very diverse wildlife population with animals like pigs and foxes.

As you begin to plan your spring break trip, skip the booze filled parties and consider a vacation spent outdoors instead! And as always check out Low Valley Outfitters to gear up for your next adventure.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Five Ways to Enjoy the Pre-Spring Weather

The sun is starting to come out and the weather has started to turn. Although spring won’t officially be upon us for another five weeks the mild temperatures will be begging you to go outside after the cold winter you just endured. With that in mind here are five things you can do to enjoy the great outdoors.

1. Go on a Bike Ride

 Dust off the bicycle and air up the tires! There’s no feeling like feeling a cool breeze in your face after a long winter and a bike ride is a great way to do that. If you're new to cycling or looking for a different place to ride check out TrailLink to find bike trails in your area.
Weather still a little cold? Don't let that stop you. Check out our newest gloves at Low Valley Outfitters - perfect for cycling!

2. Frolf

You may not have heard of this one, but that's alright. Frolf, or frisbee golf, is a fun and easy way to get outside and enjoy the arrival of the nice weather. Unsure where your local frolf courses are? Give The Disc Golf Scene a visit to find out where the closest courses are to you. 
And you'll wand to look good on the course so go ahead and check out the Low Valley Outfitters outerwear line!

3. Take a Run

Or a walk if that suits you. Taking a run is a great way to escape the indoors and get some exercise. TrailLink (link above) is a great website for running trails too. Take a visit to Low Valley Outfitters to see our new running hats designed to wick sweat away from your head while still keeping your head warm. 

4. Play Catch

Whether it's with a football, a baseball or even a frisbee, playing catch is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with a friend. Live in the city and don't have a yard? That's no excuse! Find parks near you and get to playing catch!

5. Tennis

Tennis a great activity for people of all skill levels. Just like playing catch, tennis is a great way to spend some time with someone close to you. All you need is a racquet, a tennis ball and a place to play and you'll be outside enjoying the weather. While you're thinking about your next tennis match, give Low Valley's athletic page a peak where we have shorts that have pockets with tennis in mind - perfect for holding tennis balls during your match. 

Now that you have some activities to do outside, there's no reason you can't escape the outdoors after the long winter you've undergone. So get outside and enjoy the sunshine!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Planning Your Next Camping Trip

In last week's post we went over some of the benefits of getting outside; this week we will talk about one of the best ways to experience the great outdoors - camping! No matter where you want to go camping or how extreme you want your next trip to be there are a few guidelines you should always use when planning your trip.
As you begin to plan your camping trip one of the first things you should consider is the area you will be in. It is a good idea to get familiar with the area and you can do this in a few different ways. One of the best ways to get to know the land is to talk to locals - they will know a lot intricate details about the area that some websites might not. Another way to research the area before actually getting there is the internet - it is 2017! One of the best websites is All Trails. Simply enter the park or trail you plan to visit and it will give you a guide of that area.
Now that you know where you're traveling and what kind of terrain you will be experiencing you can start to plan what you will bring. Supplies will vary based on where you are going, but there are a few items you should have no matter where you're camping. Getting started you'll want a first aid kit, flashlights (and extra batteries), sunscreen, a pocket knife, something to carry water, a cooler, food that will be easy to prepare, and bug spray. While your list will be much more extensive once you decide where you want to go, this should help you get a good start on what you want to bring.
Another important step in planning your camping trip is checking the weather. While you want to be prepared for all types of (realistic) weather it is a good idea to look at the forecast for the days you will be camping to decide if you even want to be outdoors on the days you have planned; your trip might not be very enjoyable if it's raining every day of your trip. Once you know the weather pack accordingly!
Camping is a fun way to experience the great outdoors, but an enjoyable trip can go south in a hurry if you aren't prepared. Next time you're planning a camping trip, take a look at this guide to make the most out of your journey. And for all your camping supplies needs check out Low Valley Outfitters.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Get Some Fresh Air

This week we will look into some of the benefits of the outdoors. From mental health to physical health, there's not a lot some fresh air can't solve. To start, the outdoors make exercising easier and more enjoyable. A study that tested cyclists in front of green, gray, and red filters found that when the cyclists were in front of the green filter (simulating nature), they experienced fewer mood distractions and felt that it was easier to pedal. So not only does being outside put you in a better mood, it can also help you get more out of a workout if that's your goal. 

Getting outside can also help you mentally by increasing creativity. A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that simply walking throughout the outdoors stimulates brain activity. Along with increasing creativity, a short walk outside can also be very helpful in waking you up and getting you ready for the rest of your day. 

The great outdoors also has something that you can only get "out there" - sunlight. Sunlight is crucial for your mental and physical health. The sun plays a big role in setting your sleep cycle - a study done by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences shows that the natural light helps establish your circadian rhythm and restart your body clock every day so you know when it's time to wake up and go to sleep. A study of 101 men found higher levels of serotonin in the subjects during the summer months when they were receiving more daylight than in the winter months when sunlight was scarce - so take advantage of the sunlight as often as you can! 

Now that you know some of the benefits you can experience by enjoying the great outdoors, go take advantage of the free medicine that nature is! For all your outdoor needs check out Low Valley Outfitters to get all the gear and and outerwear your nature experiences will require!