Whether we like it or not, the pandemic is still going on and we need to continue to do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Spending some time outside with fresh air is sure to boost your serotonin levels and give you that added boost of energy while getting a much-needed break from reality.

Here are five ways you can still socialize with friends outdoors while maintaining distance.

1. Enjoy an outdoor meal 

I know my friends and I always go for a bite to eat when we want to hang out and catch up. This could mean going to one of the many restaurants in Baton Rouge. There are plenty of restaurants that are expanding their outdoor seating at this time. If you’re low on funds, a picnic where each guest contributes to the meal could be the way to go. I recommend getting your picnic goodies at Trader Joe’s: its prices are super cheap, and it has released its seasonal items for fall. 

Top 5 Places to Eat Outside in Baton Rouge

2. Date-a-Dog from Companion Animal Alliance 

Located right across from Alex Box Stadium, Companion Animal Alliance (CAA) lets you check out dogs so that you can play with them for the day. If you’re tired of hanging out with your real friends, you can’t go wrong with a furry, four-legged one. CAA has many animals looking for a new home or just a day of play. Find a doggo you connect with and take them out to one for the BREC parks or any of the pet-friendly restaurants in Baton Rouge. No matter if it’s two hours or a whole day, you’re sure to put a smile on any pup’s face with this activity.  

Date-A-Dog

Lacey Lamana and her dog Kanye, who she rescued from Companion Animal Alliance.

3. Take a trip to the Parade Ground

This is one of my favorite places to go on campus. The Parade Ground offers plenty of room to spread out. This could be the perfect place to host that picnic I mentioned. The perfect time to go is in the afternoon around golden hour. There seems to always be something going on at the Parade Ground lately. You can watch people play games of soccer or see others doing somersaults in the grass. Grab a few friends, a blanket and a speaker to play some tunes, and you have a perfect afternoon spent on the Parade Ground.

4. Stroll through campus

This may seem a little lame, but I know one thing I miss the most with classes being moved online is just taking a walk through the quad. Those stately oaks and broad magnolias just hit different when you’ve been going to class from the comfort of your bed. Take a walk past the University Lakes or the BEC and stop by the Dairy Store or food trucks for a quick snack along the way. 

LSU AgCenter Dairy Store

LSU AgCenter Dairy Store operates during normal business hours on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, on South Stadium Drive.

5. Ride a bike 

If walking’s not quite your style, take a bike ride with your friends to get out into the fresh air. The Baton Rouge outdoor scene is perfect for those wanting to cycle. There are plenty of places on and around campus to ride. If you don’t have a bike, that’s no problem. You can rent a Gotcha Bike on campus for your ride. 

Stick to sidewalks or designated bike lanes for optimum safety in this busy city. This is definitely a go-to activity if you and your friends are looking for a fast-paced outdoor adventure. Whether you want something more in touch with nature or a trail with paved ways, Baton Rouge has got the perfect place for you.

Here's some places on and around campus where you can ride with your friends.

LSU Lakes Loop

The University Lake is a little over three and half miles of paved trails for those wanting to bike alongside the water.

Mississippi River Levee Bike Path

This path is a bit more challenging with paved and gravel paths. With a total of 12.2 miles to ride, you are sure to experience the great outdoors in Baton Rouge.

Hooper Road Park Trial

This trail is also for those wanting a stimulating ride. This trial ranges from one to five miles and consist of wooded and some bluffs paths.

Perkins Road Community Park

This park has grounds for numerous outdoor activities and is the perfect place to start exercising.

Comite River Park

This park has a six-mile mountain bike course and is also used for hiking. You might want to reserve your day to enjoy the park to experience all it has to offer such as the beach at the banks of the Comite River.

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