Great End-of-Summer Walks You Need to Take

I hate to break the news, but summer doesn't last all year. Labor Day is a the signal that we'll be back to the old grind again soon. Here are ways to enjoy that last gasp of summer walking.

1
Take a Hike

Hiking Behind Silver Falls
Hiking Behind Silver Falls. Wendy Bumgardner ©

When the sidewalks could fry an egg and all you see is brown, brown, brown, you need to head into the woods. Get your minimum requirement of Vitamin G (Green) to refresh your soul. You can choose a local park or enjoy the mountains. Be prepared for a hike by wearing trail shoes, which give your feet more protection from rocks and roots. A set of trekking poles adds stability.
More: How to Hike

2
Enjoy a Walking Tour on Vacation or at Home

Group Walking in Sare, France
Group Walking in Sare, France. Wendy Bumgardner © 2013

If you're taking a vacation with your family, add in walking tours at your destination. A guided tour ensures you aren't missing out on the history and culture that may be lurking all around you. If you prefer a self-guided walking tour, look for guidebooks, apps and e-books that can show you the sights. If you are doing a staycation at home, look for local walking tours. You will be amazed at the things you never knew about your own town or city.
More: What to Wear for a Walking Tour

3
Reunion Walking

Vineyard Tour in France
Wendy Bumgardner © 2011

The end of summer is a prime time for school reunions and family reunions. You can only eat so much potato salad before you realize you need to walk it off. It's also a great way to get away from Aunt Sally or to spend quality time with your old flame from high school. Do a little research ahead of time for walks to take from the reunion venue. Suggest they put a walk on the schedule, or be ready to sneak off to enjoy it with the people you really wanted to see.
How to Find a Walking Route

4
Beach Walk

Mature woman powerwalking with earbuds on beach
© Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty Images
Taking a walk at the beach is a good workout. Walking in the softer sand makes you burn more calories and work more muscles. But it can also refresh your spirit. When the beach is deserted at dawn you can see how the tide has smoothed the sand and you can follow the tracks of the sea birds. Bring along a kite to fly. Collect shells. Go barefoot to wear off calluses.

5
Walk the Farm or Farmer's Market

Vegetables and Fruits at Farmers Market
Wendy Bumgardner ©

The end of summer brings a bounty of fruit and vegetables. Treat your body right by getting them from the source. The easiest way is to enjoy a stroll through your local farmers market. I plan my weekend walking workouts to start and end at the farmers market so I can take home great food. Plan a jaunt out to the nearest farming area and pick your own apples and tour a farm. You'll have a deeper appreciation of where food comes from and the efforts that go into growing it and harvesting it.

6
Dahlia Walk

Dahlia Walk - Full Size
Dahlia Walk. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Check the walking calendar in your area for walks that go through flower or fruit fields. We have a yearly Dahlia Walk in early September and the variety and color are stunning. It's a wonderful way to say goodbye to summer while walking with my walking friends.
Walk Finder

7
Train for an Autumn Half Marathon or Marathon

Water's Edge Half Marathon Starting Line
Water's Edge Half Marathon Starting Line. Wendy Bumgardner ©

The end of summer means long distance training days for those of us preparing for an autumn marathon or half marathon walk. You should have been building up your distance throughout the summer to get ready. But I know how it is. You get sidetracked. It's too hot. Or you only decide to register for the race with only weeks to train. OK, let's get you as ready as you can be.
How to Train for a Half Marathon Only a Month Away

8
Go to the Fair

Sonoma County Fair Artichoke Food Stand
County Fair. George Rose/Getty Images News
You can get in a lot of walking at the fair. Keep active and tour the displays as well as the rides and midway. County and state fairs are a fun way to appreciate crafts, cooking and raising livestock. You might even try submitting some entries yourself. Why not get a blue ribbon? You'll need the walking if you indulge in the corn dogs, cotton candy and deep-fried-everything.

9
Join a Charity Walk Team

Women walking in pink shirts at breast cancer walk
Women Walking. Kali Nine LLC/Vetta/Getty Images

Get a group together for a charity walk in the fall. September and October are prime times for breast cancer walks, Walk to Defeat ALS, and other charities. Make it a fun and social event by forming a team with a crazy name, custom t-shirts and glitzy race costumes. You will want to start now so you can do the best fundraising and ensure everybody is ready for the walk.
More: How to Survive a Charity Walk

10
Back to School Shopping Walk

A mother packs her child's backpack for school
Blend Images - KidStock Collection/Brand X Pictures/Getty

Hold on, what's so great about shopping? At the end of summer you can snag great deals on summer walking clothing and gear. Stock up for the rest of the warm weather or save them for next year.

School shopping can be crowded and exhausting just like Christmas shopping. While the stores may be air conditioned, they still have concrete floors that are hard on the feet. Make sure you are wearing comfortable, cushioned and supportive sandals rather than flimsy flip flops. While you're picking up pencils, look for good comfort shoes for yourself. Don't settle for the cheapest backpacks for the kids or your own commute. Look for ones with padded straps and ergonomic designs.
Top Picks for Comfort Shoes
Best Back-to-School Backpacks

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