With a world of festivals at your fingertips, you have everything from classic summer camp games to rugged bouldering sessions to pick from. We’ve rounded up our favorite outdoorsy parties for this fall, so choosing is a little easier. Whether you’re interested in deepening your yoga practice or dancing ’til your feet are sore, there’s something here for you. We’ll just ask you to share your favorites in the comments below.
Outdoor Recreation Festivals
Wanderlust events range from free yoga classes to all-inclusive luxury festivals. We’re focusing on the festivals here, which bring together yoga and meditation instructors as well as musicians, speakers, artists and chefs in gorgeous natural spaces. The goal is that you find your way with new ideas, new friends and newfound peace. If a festival isn’t in the cards for you this fall, we suggest Wanderlust 108, a field day that combines a 5K run, yoga and meditation at urban parks all over the world.
Black Girls RUN! has seen how much can change when women build community through group runs. This year marks the organization’s 10th anniversary, and the people behind the movement are celebrating with a big homecoming-themed party on Saturday night. Sign up for a full-day conference of Black women supporting each other and sharing running tips followed by an 8K or half-marathon run. Full disclosure: REI will be onsite! Before you leave town, check out the ever-growing Cross Charlotte Trail for a taste of the outdoors in the heart of the city.
Spend three full days camping and building community through outdoor fun, talks, workshops, music (including a silent disco) and so much more. This festival welcomes people of color and their allies for an event that feels like a family reunion, summer camp and relaxing retreat, all rolled into one. No matter what level of outdoor enthusiast you are, you’re welcome here. And while you’re enjoying Washington’s Snoqualmie Valley, keep an eye out for chinook salmon, which spawn at the confluence of the Snoqualmie and Tolt Rivers each fall.
Brown Girls Climb and Brothers of Climbing teamed up a few years ago to create a climbing festival specifically for people of color. They designed the dynamic event to help remove barriers. Expect music, laughter and even some flappers. A pass includes four days of bouldering, three nights of camping, workshops and other events. Plus, REI will be on site!
In 2016, Flash Foxy, an organization that celebrates women climbers, hosted their Women’s Climbing Festival in Bishop, California, to bring together the growing community of women climbers. The following year, the festival sold out in about a minute with 800 people on the waitlist. That’s what inspired them to create this Chattanooga offshoot.” If you identify as a woman or enby, snag your ticket. If you’re an outdoor shutterbug, sign up for the photography class led by climbing legend and REI ambassador Nikki Smith. And while you’re in Chattanooga, kayak at Lookout Creek, picnic at Point Park and hike Signal Mountain.
Built to uplift the punk ethos and celebrate African heritage, this legendary festival has been bringing together the best in punk, R&B, neo-soul, funk music and way more since 2005. Though it’s now held at venues around the globe from Atlanta to Paris to Johannesburg, its heart remains in its native Brooklyn. Grab tickets before they sell out and see the likes of FKA Twigs, Jill Scott, Danny Brown, Tierra Whack, J.I.D and others while basking in the best the NYC outdoors has to offer. When you’re done dancing, head to Brooklyn Boulders, where you might meet up with Brothers of Climbing.
It’s summer camp, but better, because now you’re an adult. Dirtybird boasts counselors, arts and crafts, and archery in a real campground—plus no curfews and unbelievable dance parties. That’s not all. In typical camp fashion, you’ll be assigned to a color team and compete in classic games against fellow campers and your favorite DJs, including some of the biggest in house, techno, bass and hip-hop such as Claude VonStroke, J. Phlip, Jhene Aiko, Mija and Wajatta (Reggie Watts and John Tejada).
You’ve heard of it, maybe you’ve even been, but no festival list would be complete without it. The festival, produced by the same company that puts on Lollapalooza, manages to book the biggest artists into one action-packed show. The music—featuring more than 140 bands—is spread across eight stages and two weekends. With everyone from Guns N’ Roses to Billie Eilish to Childish Gambino to The Cure, the lineup is out of this world. This year, the folks behind the scenes paid special attention to booking new and established women artists from around the world, and from Texas. While you’re in one of the most beloved parks in Austin, you should kayak, canoe or paddle board in Lady Bird Lake, or take a dip in Barton Springs Pool.
And here are some tips to get you started, before you even go!