For all the nature lovers out there, it can be a challenging endeavor to find affordable apps geared towards outdoor adventures. Too many apps have an interface that is hard to use or come at a steep price. And it’s hard to know which ones to trust before you have a chance to use them.
That’s why we have curated a list of the best outdoor apps for all of your adventures. Keeping in mind user experience, practicality and security, these apps will help you take your exploration to the next level.
APPS FOR PLANNING YOUR ROAD TRIP
Going on an adventure often means driving to the destination first. But road trips can be frustrating with traffic, weather, and directions. How many times have you heard that you missed your exit and have to drive twice as far to double back? With the right apps, these mistakes could be avoided.
The apps we’ve listed below are all designed to take the frustration out of the ride, help with road trip planning, and get you to your destination without any hiccups.
This app makes sure you get the best gas prices to fill up your tank on the road. You can search for the nearest pit stop in your area and get the best bang for your buck. You can also find stops based on reviews of other users to make sure you are using the cleanest restrooms around.
As an added bonus, you get five cents off every gallon you fill up when you sign up for Pay with GasBuddy.
Driving in bad weather can create frustration for the driver and lead to unsafe conditions on the road. It’s always best to stay one step ahead of Mother Nature by tracking the weather before it hits. AccuWeather is the best weather app for mobile phones with the most accurate forecasts. The app follows your location to show only the weather that will affect you. It provides real time updates every minute and live weather radars. AccuWeather also has forecasts 14 days in advance so you can plan to be in the right place at the right time.
3. Roadtrippers – Trip Planner
An essential part of taking a road trip is planning your stops. Roadtrippers allows you to see millions of attractions and save up to 7 waypoints on your trip. You can access all of your attraction plans and even share your itineraries with friends. From local diners to National Parks, oddball roadside attractions to scenic lookouts, Roadtrippers has something for every kind of adventurer.
It goes without saying that no road trip is complete without tunes. The fondest memories of being stuck in a car are often laced with the music that lifted your spirits.
Spotify lets you take your favorite music with you on the road. Add your favorite songs to a playlist, press shuffle, and let the music move you! And as long as you don’t mind commercials, then the app is free to use with an account registration. If want the premium version, you can sign up and pay a monthly subscription.
The best part is Spotify covers all music genres so there’s something for all tastes. Whether it’s hard rock, country, audiobooks, or podcasts, Spotify has you covered with all your favorites. So crank up the volume and let your tunes take you on your journey!
5. Hotel Tonight
Every road trip requires a rest stop. When the driver begins blaring music and rolling down the windows, it’s probably time to break for the night. Hotel Tonight lets you book last-minute deals to find the best place to rest your head at seriously discounted rates. Browse a range of stops from luxury hotels to small B&Bs and book with one swipe. Hotel Tonight also gets you the best deal by finding discounted prices that won’t break the bank.
APPS FOR NAVIGATION
Gone are the days of unfolding a paper map and following your route with your fingertip from the passenger seat. Sure GPS navigation has been around for a while now, but not all navigation apps are created equal. These apps will help take the guess work out of route planning and let you keep your eye on the road ahead.
6. Waze Navigation & Live Traffic
Every adventure requires a roadmap to get there. Waze offers the best GPS to get you where you’re going on the quickest route. With live traffic updates and other driver reports, you’ll never be surprised by an accident or construction again!
Waze also reroutes your trip to get you to your destination in the fastest way if something should come up on your drive. No more waiting in surprise traffic or being stuck behind an accident. You’ll get to your destination in the shortest time possible.
And the best part… you don’t have to sacrifice your favorite tunes for your GPS. Waze integrates your favorite music apps to be at your fingertips, so you can keep your concentration on the road and not on your phone.
7. Sygic GPS Navigation & Maps
Navigation is an important part of any nature lover’s journey. Sygic gives you a 3D map so you know where you’re going without any trouble. This highly rated service has a user-friendly interface and dash projection at night so you can stay confident, even if you’re driving through unchartered territory.
Sygic also has tons of great safety features that make sure you’re in the correct lane, warn of speed limit changes, and even a dashcam feature that records the road in case of an accident! The offline use of maps means you have a guide anywhere in the world, even without data.
8. CoPilot GPS Navigation
This app is highly rated by millions of truckers who spend their lives behind the wheel. CoPilot customizes your ride based on the size of your vehicle, whether it’s a car, truck, or RV. This app has offline maps in spotty areas and makes you aware of large-vehicle-friendly stops along the way.
You will never miss a turn again with its clear navigation, nor find yourself in a tough spot in traffic. You’ll get where you’re going on time and be ready for adventure.
9. Spotted by Locals
This free app lets you experience a new town the way the locals do. Spotted by Locals is the best app to make sure you hit all of the local favorites in town and blend in with the crowd.
The app is curated by locals who review their favorite spots at your fingertips. Each “Spotter” is handpicked and provides tips for getting around. This service also provides up-to-date maps to recommend nearby stops and provides the ability to save your favorites.
The only catch… While the app itself is free, each city or town map you download does cost money.
10. Sit or Squat: Restroom Finder
How often do you find yourself on a long stretch of highway looking for a restroom to stop at, but there is nothing for miles so you just decide to hold it? Been there, done that.
Sit or Squat is a public restroom locator with high reviews by users who swear by it. This service lets you find the nearest public restroom to your exact location and read reviews so you know which facilities are up to par and which to avoid. You will see the exact time it takes to travel to your chosen pit stop, and see photos of the facilities taken by other users.
APPS FOR FINDING CAMPSITES
Wondering where the best place is to pitch your tent tonight? Not sure what’s private property, where it’s legal, or if you need to pay… Look no further than these mobile apps which were designed specifically to help camping enthusiasts and RV drivers figure out where to stay.
11. The Dyrt
With more than 1 million user-submitted reviews, The Dyrt has the largest database of campgrounds and more reviews than any other app of its kind. It’s no wonder this app was 2020’s #1 camping app, and our personal favorite.
Plus, it’s super user-friendly, and has some pretty cool features that you won’t find on any other camping app.
- database of 44,000+ campsites (more than any other camping app!)
- more reviews than any other camping app
- community building features
- forums to connect with others and seek advice
- chances to win outdoor gear by leaving reviews
- easy to use interface with the ability to filter campsites based on your preferences
Everything in the free membership, plus…
- Offline version of the app: This is incredibly helpful in places like the PNW or the Rocky Mountains where cell signal can be sporadic. Trust us!
- Trip Planning feature: Allows you to easily plan your road trip in one place!
- Discounts on select campgrounds (up to 40% off!)
- Customize your map with layers that easily show free dispersed camping
- Discounts on select outdoor brands: Two discounts we’re stoked about are 20% off Keen Footwear & 10% off Travellers Autobarn (campervan rental)
- Cost: $35.99 per year, but you can try it for 3 months TOTALLY FREE.
Wanna try Pro for FREE?! If you’re interested in testing out the Pro membership, we have an exclusive discount code just for you! Download The Dyrt from this link and you’ll get 90 days of the Pro Membership, absolutely FREE. That’s 3 months of access to this network without paying a single cent!
Designed specifically for RV and campervan parks, Campendium gives you the best options for parking your RV for the night. From high-priced RV parks with all of the hookups and convenience to free parking destinations, you’ll never have to worry about parking in the wrong place again.
This app was curated by fellow RV campers and has an easy, user-friendly interface. The service lets you access over 200,000 reviews and photos from other users and filter rest stops based on your preferences.
IOS | Not yet available on Android
Planning a camping trip? You’ll want to check out our one-pot camping meals to plan your camping food situation.
Speaking of campsites, this app gives you the best reviews worldwide and it’s available for IOS and Android. iOverlander provides maps for campsites near your location combined with reviews of amenities such as running water, Wi-Fi, showers, and more. You can see reviews from other users and photos of the site before you make your stop. Download iOverlander to get the best camping experience globally.
Looking for a secluded getaway with no one around for miles? Look no further than Hipcamp. This service has the largest availability of RV parks, cabins, and tent campgrounds. These sites are unique because they are almost all on private land such as ranches and vineyards. You’ll have a one-of-a-kind adventure by booking your stay in total isolation.
The app provides a variety of stays ranging from full service “glamping” adventures that feel more like staying at a resort to tent camping spots for truly roughing it off the grid. Use Hipcamp today to book your next campsite and get away from the noise of regular life.
Boondocking is your answer to budget-friendly camping with a database of over 700 free camping sites in and around the US. Find the nearest location to you and use multiple map styles for clarity on how to get there. Read reviews and get information about the site before arriving, and save your favorite locations instantly. This service helps anyone tight on money and still wants to enjoy the great outdoors.
IOS | Not yet available for Android
APPS FOR HIKING
These apps will help you find the best trails, track your progress and never worry about getting lost in the woods again.
Every hiker should carry AllTrails in their back pocket. The app provides over 100,000 hiking and biking trails for all levels of experience. You can filter your results by kid-, dog-, or even wheelchair-friendly. Find trails reviewed by users just like you and access a GPS tracker to get you there. You can also track your steps and elevation while on the trail to keep track of your fitness goals.
Psst! Don’t for to pack some healthy hiking snacks on your next outdoor adventure!
17. Hiking Project
This app by REI is the perfect way to find your new favorite trail and connect with other outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking Project has over 217,049 miles of trails and is constantly updated by the community. See reviews, photos, and recommendations by other hikers to find the right path for you.
18. Google Earth
A commonly used service for cityscapes, this app also lets you plan a cross-country hike and see elevation gains. Google Earth can be used in 2D or 3D and has the ability to zoom in to find water sources or slopes. For the adventurous souls, you can even randomize your next destination with their dice feature.
Looking for some hiking inspiration? Check out our list of the best hikes in Washington state to figure out which trail you want to hit next.
Frequent hikers might have a compass but casual explorers often rely on the Internet. Spyglass app acts as a smart compass, map, GPS locator and augmented reality viewfinder in one. Get the coordinates for your location of choice and use the waypoints to make it there. The offline usage makes it essential for all the hikers who need to find their way in low coverage areas. It costs $5.99 on IOS but is free for Android users.
APPS FOR NATURE LOVERS
If getting out into nature often is one of your priorities, you’ll want to download these apps for interesting and convenient reference.
20. Star Walk 2
Stargazing is one of the most peaceful things to do in nature and there are plenty of ways to enhance the experience. Star Walk 2 is an app that uses your location to point out the stars above you and help you learn about them. Simply tilt your phone upwards towards the night sky and get information about constellations, planets, and stars above you. You even get an augmented reality format that allows you to access a 3D map and play around with your constellations.
The price is well worth the ability to walk with the stars at $2.99 for IOS and $0.99 for Android.
21. REI Co-op National Parks Guide
This mobile app is the perfect guide to all of the National Parks in the US. You’ll see user ratings, hike difficulty, and even elevation stats. With its offline setting, you can track your exact location without an Internet or data connection. Use this service to visit all of your dream destinations such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion, Grand Teton, and so many more and track which parks you’ve visited in the past.
22. Offline Survival Manual
No outdoor app list is complete without this gem. This is a completely offline guide to survival in the wilderness. It contains information on building a shelter, starting a fire, finding food, and more. Use this app for fun on your next outdoor adventure, but also know you’ll be prepared in extreme circumstances. The Offline Survival Manual is a must-have for people who spend a lot of time outdoors and off the grid.
Not yet available on IOS | Android
You may also like…
- USA National Park Checklist + Guide
- One-Pot Camping Meals to Easily Prepared for Your Next Outdoor Adventure
- Healthy & Delicious Hiking Snacks
- Guide to McRedie Hot Springs Oregon
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We want to hear from you!
Do you have a favorite app you use on your outdoor adventures? Have you used any of the apps from out list? Comment below and let us know what you think of them!