The weather is getting warmer. The ground beneath is beginning to thaw. GET OUTSIDE! Take your kids for a walk! Not only does exercise and fresh air improve everyone’s moods and sleep, walking is a great way to spend quality family time together. “Unstructured” outdoor time can also be a great stress reliever and conversation starter. Children may feel stress and social anxiety surrounding school and tests and we adults are often balancing so many responsibilities, it’s important to take a moment to unwind.

With the city and its varied landscape as our backyard, there are several trails and even hiking paths to choose from. The brand new Denny Farrell Footbridge at 151st Street connects visitors with Riverside Park without dodging traffic. Great for pedestrians and cyclists alike. It is also gorgeous to look at. Find the entrance on 151st Street and Riverside Drive.

There’s the Kazimiroff Nature Trail in Pelham Bay Park in The Bronx, an approximately 2-mile hike that loops through a section of the park known as Hunter Island. Pelham Bay Park hosts over 2,700 acres of land, with a diverse ecosystem. While there you can also visit the 19th century Bartow-Pell Mansion. The gardens and grounds are open daily. For the trail, enter from the northern corner of the Orchard Beach parking lot.

Inwood Hill Park, home to Manhattan Island’s only forest, boasts 5 different hiking trails. Enriched in history, a walk through this park “takes you up close to American history, and even to the very formation of Manhattan Island” according to NYC Parks Department. Take care to wear the proper footwear and bring water! Some of the hiking paths have steep inclines and rocky terrain. The blue trail is recommended for beginners.

East Harlem has a lovely walking trail around it’s neighborhood. Designed to start and end at Central Park, the East Harlem Community Walking Trail spans for 3.5 miles on city streets, passing art galleries, public art installations and community gardens. You can download the walking trail pdf file here.

Morningside Park which spans over 13 city blocks, is a quintessential family park: walking paths, rocky boulders, several playgrounds as well as a lovely waterfall. New York City Parks Department created the Morningside Park – Your Green Gym program that has mapped out the park to illustrate which paths are best for walking, jogging and even where to stop along the way to do some quick interval training. Tell the kids to give you 5 burpees at each statue. Check out Morningside Park – Your Green Gym for more information.

Taking time to decompress and reconnect with the family is important. So often we are busy with life that we fail to take a moment away from the hustle and bustle. The benefits of walking together are endless: improves mood, improves health, creates memories. Remember to wear good comfortable walking or hiking shoes and don’t forget water and a snack!

Have a great activity that you do with your family? Share in the comments below!