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Kayakers on Camusdarach beach
© VisitScotland / Chris Close

Active

Fun Outdoor Activities in Scotland

Welcome to Scotland, the ultimate natural playground. Here you can have a go at all the activities the country is legendary for, as well as some you might not have heard of.

This is a land and coast made for exploration and adrenaline-pumping adventures! You can mountain bike down rugged alpine terrain, navigate an aerial assault course across a forest canopy, scale the lofty heights of the Cairngorms, or glide along the shoreline of a Hebridean island in a sea kayak. From world-class watersports, walking and cycling, the possibilities for getting active in Scotland's magnificent great outdoors are endless!

Before you set off into the great outdoors, read up on our Guide to Safety Outdoors in Scotland and remember to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Take a look at what outdoor activities you can do:

Off-Ground

Abseiling, canyoning, Perthshire © Timex/Andrew McCandlish

Abseiling

Abseiling involves going down a rock face on a rope. Many activity providers offer a variety of taster sessions and abseils to suit varying confidence levels.

Abseiling sessions can be a few hours to a full day and is suitable for anyone aged 8 and over.

Try abseiling.

Bungee Jumping

Bungee jumping is the ultimate adrenaline activity for all thrill seekers. Choose to free fall into the lush surroundings of Highland Perthshire or leap off Titan Crane in Glasgow.

Anyone aged 14+ can enjoy this unforgettable experience and sessions are led by an experienced Bungee Jump Master.

Go bungee jumping.

Tree climbing

Take your outdoor adventure to new heights. Everyone aged 6+ can enjoy an action-packed day in Scotland's forests.

Choose from a wide range of treetop activities, from high-wire assault courses and Tarzan swings to epic zip wires.

Embrace your inner Tarzan with tree climbing.

Ziplining

Attach yourself to a wire, hold on tight and take the ultimate leap of faith! Anyone aged 8+ can take part in a Zip Trek, and Zip Adventures are suitable for ages 10 and upwards.

Ziplining is available all-year round. In the winter months, why not enjoy Scotland after dark with a Night Time Zip Adventure?

Go ziplining.

Land

Biking

Archery

Archery sessions of 1 hour+ are for anyone aged 8 years and over to enjoy, with lots of fun targets from dinosaurs to zombies. Tuition sessions are also available by a fully qualified archery instructor.

Improve your aim with archery.

Axe-throwing

Get ready to hurl your axe and aim for that all important bullseye. A friendly and experienced instructor will be on hand to help you get the right technique when it comes to throwing before you compete against family and friends.

Axe-throwing is for strictly over 18's only and visitors who are pregnant will be unable to participate.

Go axe-throwing.

Biking

With our mesmerising scenery and world-class mountain biking, gravel and road cycling, Scotland is a great place to explore on two wheels. You'll be simply spoilt for choice with our variety of routes and trails, suitable for all cycling abilities.

Explore by bike.

Canicross

Canicross is cross country running with your dog. To take part, your dog must be 12 months old and attached to you by a harness, bungee-line and belt at all times.

Dogs of all shapes and sizes can take part. However, it's recommended that Brachycephalic breeds avoid Canicross (Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs etc.).

Get involved in Canicross.

Dog Sledding

Dashing through Aberdeenshire in a five-dog open sleigh. Available from October to April, our four-legged friends will be your guides for this unique experience.

Sessions are approximately 1 hr 30 m, pulling one person at a time on each sleigh.

Experience dog sledding.

Fishing

Scotland's lochs and rivers are home to a number of fish species, perfect for catching a bite or two. It's suitable for the whole family and a wide range of beginner courses are available to improve your angling skills. Although it can be quite an expensive hobby, fly fishing is a cheaper alternative.

Go fishing.

Footgolf

Combine your love of football and golf with footgolf. The rules are simple. Get your football into the hole in as few strikes as possible, the fewer kicks you do the better.

Choose between 9 or 18 holes and compete against family or friends.

Play footgolf.

Forest Bathing

Originating from the Japanese practice of 'shinrin-yoku' which means 'forest bath'. Forest bathing involves sitting quietly in a forest or woodland and using your senses to connect with the natural surroundings, completely immersing yourself in them.

Anyone can take part in this mindfulness activity and it's a great way to reduce stress and improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Go forest bathing.

Golf

When it comes to golf, there is no better place than Scotland to improve your swing. We have over 550 fantastic courses to choose from, including links courses, parkland courses and everything else in between.

The Scottish golf season runs from April to October and is also the perfect opportunity to see some of our prestigious golf tournaments.

Discover the Home of Golf.

Geocaching

Geocaching combines modern technology and the excitement of a treasure hunt. The game is suitable for the whole family and there are over 12,000 geocaches to find here in Scotland. All you need is a GPS device or a fully charged phone with the Geocaching app to find treasure in the most unlikely places.

Go geocaching around Scotland.

Grass Sledging

Children aged 5 and over can enjoy 30 minutes of exhilarating sledging down a grassy slope.
Sessions cost just £4 and each booking includes the use of a grass sledge, a helmet and protective gear.

Go grass sledging.

Horse Riding

From our sandy beaches and beautiful countryside to woodland forests, we've got plenty of places for horseback riding. Lessons can range from 30-minute taster sessions to half and full day hacks, suitable for anyone aged 5 and over.

Go horse riding.

Motor Racing

Get behind the wheel of a real race car. You'll need a full valid UK/European driving licence to participate in track days or experiences and must be aged 17 or over.

It's not just for adults though, there are a whole array of Teen Drive courses and for children aged 8 to 15 years old, there are kids and junior karting sessions starting from £21 pp.

Go motor racing.

Paintball

Paintball is an outdoor activity for anyone aged 11+. The aim of the game is to eliminate your opponents by marking them with small balls of paint using a compressed-air gun.

Prices start from £15 and usually take place over a whole day. You'll also be given your own protective gear which includes camouflage overalls and protective goggles.

Enjoy a game of paintball.

Segway Riding

Segway riding is suitable for anyone aged 7+, with no skill or experience required. Take a Segway tour and explore some of the best sites in Scotland.

Helmets are provided and make sure to keep your Segway on clear paths, avoiding tough terrains as much as possible.

Enjoy Segway riding.

Trail Running

Trail running is a run which takes place on an unpaved path that is completed outside in nature. In Scotland, we've got plenty of hills and mountains to choose from.

Make sure you wear sensible footwear. The ground is rarely flat for long and you'll encounter lots of steep climbs and technical descents along the way. It is recommended that anyone aged 16+ can take part in trail running.

Go trail running.

Walking

Scotland has everything from short level walks over 2-3 hours to towering Munros and long-distance walks which need 4+ hours or even a few days.

Before you set off foot, make sure to plan in advance and decide what route you're taking.

Go on a walking adventure.

Zorbing

Get inside a huge inflatable sphere and go rolling down Scotland's lush hillsides. If you're looking for more fun sessions, enjoy a game of 5-a-side with 'zorb football' or make a splash with aqua zorbing.

Go zorbing.

Water

Kayaking

Canoeing

Canoeing is a great choice for laid-back paddling on calm waters. Single kayaks are only suitable for paddlers aged 11+ but younger children are allowed in a double kayak if they're accompanied by an adult.

Many activity providers across Scotland offer canoeing trips, ranging from a few hours to multi-day trips.

Go canoeing.

Canyoning

Canyoning is the more adventurous big brother of gorge walking. Like gorge walking, the minimum age to participate is 8 years old. It involves abseiling, bigger jumps and big slides.

Before the fun begins, you'll be kitted out with wetsuits, buoyancy aids and a helmet.

Try canyoning.

Coasteering

Coasteering offers a mixture of natural obstacles and challenges for anyone aged 8+. From wild swimming and scrambling up gullies to deep water cliff jumps.

The activity is also open to swimmers and non-swimmers with wetsuits, buoyancy aids and vests also provided.

Go coasteering.

Diving

The dive season runs from April to October, although Scotland can be dived all year round. You'll need to be able to swim 200 metres unaided and have the appropriate diving equipment. You can hire wetsuits, dive masks, snorkels, scuba fins, gloves and much more at diving centres across Scotland.

The minimum age to dive is 8 years old.

Go diving.

Gorge Walking

Gorge walking is tamer in comparison to canyoning. This family-friendly activity is a wet river walk with plenty of natural water slides, scrambling over rocks and fun jumps into plunge pools.

Gorge walking experiences are typically 3-4 hours and are suitable for anyone aged 8+.

Experience gorge walking.

Kayaking

Our rivers, lochs and coastlines are a paddler's paradise! Kayaking holidays vary from day trips to multi-day expeditions and is a great way to get the family on the water.

Don't let the lack of experience put you off, there are lots of kayaking sessions available for beginners. You'll also be provided with all the essential gear, just remember to bring a change of clothes for after.

Go kayaking.

Kitesurfing

Kitesurfing is a wind powered water sport using a kite and board to move across the water. Scotland's coasts are a mecca for the sport and a wide range of one-to-one kitesurfing lessons are available to anyone aged 8+ ranging from 1-2 days.

Try kitesurfing.

Land Yachting

The ideal combination of sailing and motor racing, land yachting uses the power of the wind to accelerate to speeds of up to 40 mph. It only requires a long flat stretch of beach and is a great activity to try with friends and family.

This 2-hour session requires no sailing experience and you'll be given full tuition from a qualified instructor.

Go land yachting.

Pedaddling

Experience a fantastic mix of pedalling and paddling activities. Explore on two wheels with road cycling and mountain biking or head out into the water with stand up paddleboarding, kayaking and snorkelling.

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy these activities in Argyll and the Inner Hebrides all year round - no matter the weather.

Enjoy pedaddling activities.

Sailing

Anyone aged 8+ can learn how to sail from an experienced skipper. You'll have plenty of opportunities to get hands on steering-time while learning essential skills at sea.

Go sailing around Scotland.

Scrambling

A cross between hillwalking and rock climbing, scrambling is a walk up steep terrain using your hands. We have plenty of mountains for a hugely rewarding climb, offering incredible views from the summit.

For more information on scrambling, check out Mountaineering Scotland's website.

Try scrambling.

Snorkelling

Enjoy a glimpse of the underwater world and get up close and personal with aquatic life. Snorkelling experiences start at around £50 and are suitable for anyone aged 8+. Equipment hire is available at many diving centres across Scotland and you must be able to swim at least 100 m unaided.

Why not treasure this unforgettable memory by booking a photographer?

Go snorkelling.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Often shortened to SUP, this water sport is a cross between canoeing and surfing. Our activity providers have a range of suitable sessions based on your experience level.

Sessions range from 60 - 90 minutes and kids as young as eight can join in the fun too.

Go Stand Up Paddleboarding.

Surfing & Windsurfing

Anyone aged 8+ can enjoy this thrilling water sport. We've got lots of surf schools across the country, so you'll be able to ride the waves like a pro in no time.

Surfing lessons are usually 2-3 hours and equipment hire is also available.

Go surfing.

Wakeboarding

Wakeboarding is like water skiing, but on a board. Skim across the water while being towed behind a motorboat. You can also head to a wakepark, where riders are towed by a system of cables.

You'll find a range of sessions to suit all abilities, taken by a fully qualified wakeboard instructor.

Go wakeboarding.

White Water Rafting

Gather your friends and take on the twists and turns of the river. Wetsuits, buoyancy aids and helmets are provided with each raft holding approximately 8 people. The minimum age for white water rafting is 8 years old.

All sessions are led by an experienced rafting guide, so you'll be in safe hands.

Enjoy a white water rafting experience.

Wild Swimming

Immersing yourself in the cold water surrounded by nature can be a truly uplifting experience. Take advantage of our wild swimming pools, we've got lochs, lochans and rivers aplenty!

Wild swimming can be dangerous so make sure to take extra precautions. Stay safe by bringing a friend along and warm up afterwards with lots of layers and hot sugary drinks.

Take a dip in our wild swimming locations.

Air

Microlight

Hot Air Balloon

Go up, up and away on a hot air balloon ride. This unique experience runs from March to October where you'll be given the option to choose a morning or evening flight.

The experience is suitable for anyone aged 7 or over and lasts for around an hour.

Enjoy a hot air balloon ride.

Microlight Lessons

Soar above the clouds in a microlight aircraft. You'll need a pilot's licence to fly solo but anyone aged 14+ can book a taster session with expert tuition. You can be as hands-on as you like, or if you prefer, sit back and enjoy the views.

Fly a microlight.

Paragliding

Enjoy the thrill of flying with a tandem flight. You'll be in the safe hands of a fully qualified, pilot instructor even if you've never flown before. It's also a great way to see Scotland from a bird's eye view without committing to a pilot's licence.

If you're brave enough to fly solo, you must be at least 14 years old to start training lessons.

Go paragliding.

Snow

Skiing

Skiing

The ski season in Scotland runs from December to early April and is a fantastic winter activity to get involved in. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, Scotland is home to five ski resorts, giving you plenty of opportunity to hone your skills with a qualified ski instructor. Many places offer ski hire equipment too.

Before you hit the slopes, make sure it's safe to ski by checking mountain weather and avalanche forecasts.

Hit the slopes on a skiing holiday.

Snowboarding

Snowboarding is very similar to skiing. The difference? Both feet are attached to a snowboard while in skiing your feet are separated. Snowboarding can be harder to master but one-to-one private lessons are available for anyone aged 8+.

Improve your technique at Scotland's five ski resorts with lots of equipment hire available.

Go snowboarding.

Winter Climbing

Winter climbing is a form of mountaineering, so you'll need a fair bit of walking experience under your belt. It requires the same equipment for summer climbing with the addition of ice screws, ice axes and a pair of crampons. Challenge yourself to a winter climb up Ben Nevis - Scotland's highest mountain.

Before your climb, make sure to check mountain weather and avalanche reports to help you stay safe.

Go winter climbing.