Best Free Outdoor Apps for Families

Posted by Molly Small on October 9, 2020

I don’t know about you, but this year I’ve found myself spending mindless hours playing on my phone with no end-game. Just mindlessly browsing when I could be productive. Sound familiar? With our minds constantly drawn to the glaring screens of our mobile devices, it's important that we focus at least some of our time off of social media and other superfluous apps and focus on ways to get outdoors. Below is a list of free outdoor apps to make our screen time little more productive for any type of solo or family adventure. 

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For the Hiker:


iOS | Android

Looking to try a new hiking trail but don’t know where to start? Alltrails has you covered. You can search by area, distance, difficulty, elevation gain and more to find the hike that fits your needs. Because some hiking days are a full family affair and others are your days to get after it.



iOS | Android

Turn your regular hike or walk around your neighborhood into a fun treasure hunt. Find the treasure or "geocache," sign your name in the logbook, leave it for others to find in the future and then share your experience in the app. You can even hide your own geocaches!  


SkyView Lite

iOS | Android

Day or night, this app will inspire your inner astronomer and help you see what constellations, planets and stars are all around you. This one works best on an evening hike or camping trip when the stars are extra bright but also functions in daylight too.


Agents of Discovery

iOS | Android

Become a secret agent while learning about and playing in the world around you! While exploring close to home or on a cross-country roadtrip, find top secret missions that bring you outdoors in a whole new way. You might even find your new favorite place to visit! The best part is, you don't even need cell service or an internet connection to complete your missions after you've downloaded the app.


Seek by iNaturalist

iOS | Android

A wonderful companion on a hike or walk around the neighborhood, this app will help you discover new wildlife, plants, and fungi. Just point the camera at what you want to identify and voila! 


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For the Biker:

MTB Project

iOS | Android

The app of a mountain biker’s dreams. Not only can you find a trail that meets you and your family at your level (easy, intermediate or advanced) you can also use MTB to record your ride and share. Use MTB Project to plan your next mountain biking adventure.


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For the Water Lover:


iOS | Android

A good day on the river is not one to be missed for kayakers, stand up paddleboarders, and fishers alike. With RiveApp you get up to date river conditions so you never have to miss the perfect day to catch a rainbow trout or paddle through some grade A rapids.


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For the Rock Climber:

Mountain Project

iOS | Android

Looking for climbing beta? Mountain Project can be your one-stop-shop. With ratings, descriptions, pictures and comments, you’ll be ready to ascend the next pitch you face (and you may even be ready to challenge yourself on that 5.14 you’ve been eyeing all summer).


For the Winter Resort Rider:


iOS | Android

With most ski and snowboard passes offering several resorts to visit, many of us have become powder chasers - seeking out the mountain that’s getting the most of the white fluffy goodness. Use OpenSnow to get the latest snow forecast so you never miss a powder day.


For the Winter Backcountry Explorer:

CAIC (Colorado Only)

iOS | Android

Winter backcountry exploration continues to grow in popularity. But heading into the backcountry without understanding your risk is not smart. Before you load up your skis, snowboards or snowshoes in the morning, check the CAIC (Colorado Avalanche Information Center) app to see what the avalanche danger looks like in the area you want to explore. And if the conditions look risky, maybe the day is better spent at home building a snowman—there’s always tomorrow to try again.




For the Competitor:


iOS | Android

Whether you are competing against yourself, your kids, friends, complete strangers or super athletes who’ve charged the same trail, Strava is the app for you. Strava is the tool to record all of your exercises, from an after work mountain bike ride to a morning HIIT class (other activities you can record include run, walk, hike, canoe, e-bike, handcycle, ice skate, kayak, rock climb, ski, SUP, surf, swim, wheelchair and more!) and uses your metrics to see how you size up to others competing on the same surface.


This list is far from complete and there are more great apps out there than we have time to discuss. We’d love to hear some of your favorites in the comments below. But for now, download, research, and hit the dirt for an adventure! For other adventures, be sure to check out our outdoor cooking recipes and nature scavenger hunt!

For more information on our outdoor adventure camps for kids and teens from 1st-12th grade, click the link below. 

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Topics: Outdoor Activities