Get the Heck Out of Here and Get Outdoors

Get OutdoorsWelcome back to campus! I know many of you have been eagerly awaiting to escape the grips of your parents (love you mom and dad!) and return to campus to resume living in freedom once again.

I agree, it’s great to be back at school and getting into the swing of things, but I am here to encourage you to get the heck out of here. Yes, you read that correctly, leave the campus that you have looked forward to returning to all summer and expand your horizons for a weekend or a couple of hours.

It is great being at Monmouth where everything you need is but a short walk away, but you’ll be here all year, why not use the beautiful weather to your advantage and soak it up before the frigid temps begin to creep up on us all.

Everyone already knows that Monmouth is a coastal school (yes, we know the beach is only a mile away!) but there are so many other great places to explore for an afternoon or a long weekend.

Grab a few friends, load up the car with sleeping bags and all your favorite snacks, compile a killer playlist and hit the road.

Monmouth will still be here when you return, I promise! Now is the time to take advantage of the weather and the flexibility before the semester really picks up with studying, clubs and homework clogging up your precious free time.

So, where to go? Depending on how far you are willing to travel here are a few of my top picks:

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

This National Park sprawls over 196,000 acres and looks absolutely breathtaking in the fall. This is the type of trip you take if you’ve got no Friday classes and you can hit the road first thing in the morning to take advantage of this spectacular park that is just under five hours away. I went there over the summer and was blown away by the vastness and incredible 360 degree views. My favorite of the many trails that Shenandoah has to offer is “Old Rag,” a 9-mile circuit filled with rock scrambles, waterfalls and views that will blow your mind.

This particular hike is certainly not for the faint of heart, those with a fear of tight spaces or an uneasiness towards heights, but I can assure you that completing this hike will not only boost your ego and make you think that you are a professional rock climber, but you will leave feeling accomplished, and oh so sore for the next few days.

Mount Tammany, New Jersey

Clocking in at under two hours from campus, Mt. Tammany is a totally doable day trip and the trail is only 3.5 miles, meaning you can be out and back in no time. This hike boasts of breathtaking views of the Delaware Water Gap. The trail has two options for you to travel, one being a bit easier than the other, however, like most things in life, the tougher trail offers the best view! A quick Google search will lead you to all that you need to know about Mt. Tammany and the best trail for you!

Hartshorne Woods Park, Atlantic Highlands, NJ

If you do not have a ton of time to spare, fret not, the Hartshorne Woods will provide you with the landscape you so desire and is only 22 minutes away! The Hartshorne Woods consists of just under 800 acres and offers tons of trails for hiking, cycling, running and more.

Taking a trip to the woods is a great way to clear your head and boost your heart rate! If you are in an exercise rut and cannot fathom the thought of being stuck inside a gym during beautiful weather, why not take your workout to the woods?

While this list does not even begin to scratch the surface of the amazing mountains, trails, and parks that we have access to in the area, I hope that I have inspired a few of you to dust off your hiking boots, disconnect and head on out to the wilderness.

Getting outside and off of campus, if even for an afternoon can be an incredible way to reconnect with yourself or bond with your friends that you haven’t seen all summer!

PHOTO TAKEN by Kiersten Becht