The Five Apps You Need For An Endless Summer Adventure

August is almost here, and for many that means it’s time to go on a well-deserved adventure. Depending on where you’re headed, you should probably bring an app or two to help you navigate our nation’s wild spaces.

Here are five apps to make your exploring that much easier.


Weather reports are one thing, but especially if camping, hiking, or on the river, you need to know what’s going on over your head and what’s coming. RadarScope is a professional meteorology app that gives you the raw data from the nearest radar station in the US, in real time, so you know what’s unfolding and can get a sense of when rainstorms will clear up and you can get started again. It also has warnings from around the country so if the situation gets really dire, you’ll know to get out.

Tides Near Me

Whether you’re kayaking, sailing, or just taking a swim, it’s good to know the situation in the ocean around you. That’s where Tides Near Me comes in; with one click, you’ll have data from the closest tidal station informing you about currents, tides, and potential risks as you get out on the water. High tide, low tide, current risks, it’s all there with one click, and it works around the world, whether you’re in India or Florida.


When you’re in the wild, it’s important to know not just where you are on a GPS, but your overall height relative to sea level, so iPhone users should bust out Altimeter+. Height is a useful tool for determining your overall location, especially if you’re working off a map and compass on a hike, or simply don’t have any signal and are using a paper map and a compass. It also lends itself naturally to corny jokes about getting high off nature, which really is part of being in the outdoors. For Android users, Altitude fits the bill just as well.


When you’re in the great outdoors, safety is important, and coordinating contact times and points is important to ensure that people know you’re missing as soon as possible. Cairn is an app that lets you download maps of trails for offline use, tracks cell phone reception along trails, lets your loved ones track you via GPS, and generally ensures that while you’re in the woods, you don’t become a cautionary tale.


Leaves of three, let it be. It’s advice we all know well, but what about the other plants around us? Are they dangerous, or maybe just interesting? Leafsnap lets you tap the wisdom of professional botanists to figure out just what that neat plant is, and why maybe you should stay the heck away from it in some cases. “Take only pictures and leave only footprints” isn’t just to protect nature, y’know.

Any apps we missed that you use while exploring the outdoors? Let us know!