19 Free Apps for Outdoor Travel That Every Adventurer Should Have

As lovers of exploring the great outdoors, we can all agree that outdoor travel apps are a valuable tool to help get the most out of your adventures. 

With the right travel apps, you can plan a camping trip, navigate unfamiliar terrain when hiking (even with offline maps), and explore a new city.

Some of these free travel apps include navigation apps like Gaia GPS or AllTrails, apps for road trip planning like Roadtrippers, and the official National Parks Service app for planning your hiking and camping trips. 

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Whether planning a hike, a camping trip, or just a day out in nature, these apps can help you maximize your time outdoors.

In this list, I include some of the best free apps for outdoor travel that you can use right away, while others may require a subscription to use all the features.

These apps are accessible on iPhone and Android devices so you can consider downloading them before your next trip.

📲 Features to Look For in an Outdoor Adventure App: Offline maps, real-time GPS navigation, trail guides, weather forecasts, tracking and recording routes, custom waypoints, and trip planning tools.

Hiking and Navigation Apps

One of the most important aspects of any outdoor adventure is navigation. You need to be able to find your way around, and having a reliable trail guide can be a lifesaver.

If you’re wondering which apps to use while hiking or camping have offline maps (not Google maps), I’ve got you covered!

Furthermore, when you’re out in the backcountry, you need good navigation apps with features to help you stay on your path. Here are some of my favorites.

1. AllTrails

If you’re an avid hiker or just starting, AllTrails can be one of the most resourceful apps for your hiking trips. Nonetheless, I recommend you combine this app with other reliable navigation tools for your hikes since the maps are sometimes off, depending on the location.

AllTrails app screenshot

That being said, AllTrails has a great collection of trail maps, complete with user reviews and photos to help you find trails that suit your skill level and hiking preferences.

You can search by location, length, and difficulty to discover new hiking paths or plan your next weekend’s hikes. AllTrails also allows you to track your progress and share your hikes with friends. 

Why it's Great: Extensive trail database with detailed information, user reviews, and photos.

Fun Features: Offline maps, customizable filters, and social sharing options for sharing your adventures with fellow outdoor enthusiasts.

2. Gaia GPS

As one of the best navigation apps for outdoor travel, Gaia GPS is a powerful navigation app that can help you navigate in the backcountry and it’s great for your hiking and camping trips.

Gaia GPS app screenshot

This app gives you detailed topographic maps, satellite imagery, and road maps, making it perfect for hiking, hunting, and off-grid camping.

Tailor your map downloads to your trip, and use the app’s extensive features to stay on track in the most remote locations. With Gaia GPS you can also track your location and use waypoints and trip planning tools.

Why it's Great: Detailed topographic maps, route planning capabilities, and offline map access.

Fun Features: Tracking, waypoint setting, and trip planning for outdoor adventures.

3. Cairn

For safe solo or remote adventures, this app is a must! Cairn is a safety-oriented app perfect for adventurers venturing into remote areas.

Cairn app screenshot

This app allows you to share your location and planned route with loved ones, provides estimated times for completing trails and finds cell coverage spots on the trail.

You can also download maps for offline use, ensuring you’re prepared for whatever the wilderness throws your way.

Why it's Great: Safety features that keep friends and family informed, coverage maps to know where you can get a signal.

Fun Features: Alerts for emergency contacts if you’re overdue and the ability to find spots with cell coverage when you need it.

4. Komoot

This is a great app for planning long-distance hikes and biking tours. Whether cycling, hiking, or mountain biking, Komoot can be a great tool for your outdoor adventures.

Komoot features for apps for outdoor travel

With this app’s route suggestions, you can discover new trails tailored to your fitness level, with navigation and voice prompts.

You can easily plan your outdoor journey and explore paths less traveled with Komoot’s detailed maps. This is one of the best apps for outdoor travel and I highly recommend it if you’re seeking scenic vistas, hidden gems, or adrenaline-fueled challenges.

Why it's Great: Comprehensive trail database, turn-by-turn navigation, and personalized recommendations.

Fun Features: Route planning tools, highlights of points of interest, and integration with wearables for seamless tracking.
escape campervans

5. Google Maps

Not that this one needs any introduction, but whether you’re navigating the urban jungle or planning a road trip, we all know how indispensable Google Maps is.

Google Maps apps for outdoor travel

This app has real-time traffic updates, turn-by-turn navigation, public transit options, and detailed walking directions.

Although this is a must-have app for traveling, it’s not much so for outdoor travel. Meaning, there are much better apps made specifically for your outdoor adventures.

Regardless, Google Maps works great when you need to find nearby restaurants, local businesses, landmarks and attractions, no matter where you are.

Why it's Great: Extensive map coverage, real-time GPS navigation, traffic conditions, and transit information.

Fun Features: Street View for a 360-degree view of destinations, indoor maps for complex buildings like airports, and the ability to save favorite places and share them with friends.

6. Outdooractive 

For hiking enthusiasts looking for a new challenge, this app can be your digital guidebook to the outdoors.

Outdooractive app for outdoor travel screenshot

Outdooractive (formerly ViewRanger) is one of the greatest apps for outdoor travel that’s trail-focused with detailed topographic maps, route guides, and the ability to record your hikes.

Apart from hiking, you can find trails for watersports like kayaking and paddleboarding, off-roading routes, ski resorts and places to visit.

Plan your next trail adventure, track your hikes, and share your experiences with a community of explorers.

Why it's Great: High-quality topographic maps, Skyline AR feature to identify peaks using the camera, and a vast library of routes.

Fun Features: You can search the travel guide features by activity and location and plan around all the acitivites you can do in the region.

Trip Planning Apps for Outdoor Travel

When planning your trips and crafting an itinerary for outdoor adventures, an app with travel inspiration, resources and guides can make a huge difference.

These are some of the apps for travel planning that I frequently use and recommend.

7. Roadtrippers

When the open road calls, this is your go-to app for planning the ultimate road trip!

Roadtrippers app screenshot

Whether planning a cross-country adventure or a scenic drive through the countryside, Roadtrippers helps you discover hidden gems, quirky attractions, and picturesque routes along the way. 

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With this easy-to-use travel planner app, you can save your favorite spots and create your bucket list road trip itinerary. I personally love Roadtrippers’ colorful interface and its awesome points of interest database

Why it's Great: Discover hidden gems, quirky attractions, and picturesque routes.

Fun Features: Customizable itineraries, user-generated recommendations and guides, and integration with navigation apps for seamless planning.

8. National Park Service

For all national park lovers like ourselves, looking for free apps for outdoor travel, this one is an absolute must!

National Park Service official app for iPhone screenshot

As the official app from the National Park Service, you can find all the info about America’s national parks, monuments, and historic sites, serving as your digital guide to exploring the country’s most iconic landscapes.

The app includes interactive maps, tour suggestions, and up-to-date news on park activities and ranger-led programs to make the most of your visit to America’s natural treasures.

Why it's Great: Comprehensive information on national parks, monuments, and historic sites.

Fun Features: Interactive maps, ranger-led programs, and alerts for park updates and events.

9. Clear Outside

If you’re planning to take pictures of the Milky Way on your stargazing adventure or want to complete your bucket list with a sunrise hike, then this app is an indispensable tool.

Clear Outside App screenshot

With the Clear Outside app, you have detailed weather information, including cloud cover, visibility, light pollution and lunar phases to plan your next outdoor trip.

This app has all the tools you need to ensure clear skies (but not guaranteed, because Mother Nature is unpredictable) for your next stargazing or astronomical photography adventure.

Why it's Great: Complete weather forecasts with cloud cover and astronomical predictions.

Fun Features: Astronomical visibility charts, customizable weather alerts, and offline accessibility for outdoor enthusiasts.

10. GOES Health

This comprehensive app is a great health and safety guide for all your outdoor adventures.

GOES health app for outdoor travel

GOES Health has health assessments, first aid guides, and emergency response protocols to give you an idea of how to manage an unexpected situation, at least until you get professional aid assistance. 

What I love the most about this app is the forecasting feature that gives you potential risks you could face according to the weather, like heat exhaustion, sunburn and dehydration.

GOES Health guides you to stay safe and healthy during your outdoor adventures to explore with peace of mind.

Why it's Great: Action-oriented weather forecasting, health assessments and first aid guides.

Fun Features: Works offline even in remote areas, access to wilderness medicine doctors, emergency response protocols, real-time health alerts, and location-based assistance.

Apps for Outdoor Adventure and Activity

If you’re looking to up your outdoor adventure game, some inspiring and fun apps for outdoor travel are made for this!

These outdoor adventure apps can help you find new activities, plan thrilling trips, and even participate in scavenger hunts.

11. SkyView®

This astronomy app is a must-have for those curious about the stars, planets and constellations that light up the sky.

Skyview app for constellations and astrophotography

By pointing your device towards the sky, SkyView® uses augmented reality to overlay constellations, planets, stars, and satellites onto the sky as seen through your phone’s camera.

SkyView® provides an engaging way to explore the night sky from anywhere, making it one of the most essential apps for stargazing enthusiasts.

Why it's Great: Easy to use and educational, demystifies the night sky and makes astronomy accessible to everyone. 

Fun Features: The "Time Travel" feature allows you to see the sky at different points in the past or future, and it can help you locate the International Space Station (ISS) and the Hubble Telescope as they pass overhead.

12. Geocaching

As an avid fan of geocaching, it would make total sense to include this as one of my favorite apps for outdoor travel, since Geocaching is a super fun, worldwide outdoor treasure hunt.

Geocaching app screenshot

The Geocaching app has GPS coordinates that lead you to millions of cleverly hidden containers known as geocaches or caches, that are scattered around the globe.

With the Geocaching app, you can view clues and the difficulty level of each cache before you begin navigating to the cache.

The excitement of Geocaching adventures extends to America’s National Parks and can even be found in Florida State Parks!

Why it's Great: Engaging outdoor activity combining navigation skills and exploration.

Fun Features: GPS-guided treasure hunts, logbook entries, and community engagement.

13. WalknTours

If you love walking tours and are eager to explore a city’s history and hidden gems at your own pace, WalknTours is the perfect self-guided tour app for you.

Walkntours app for outddor travel

I love everything about this app because it’s like having your personal tour guide right at your fingertips!

WalknTours has a wide selection of audio tours to immerse yourself in interesting stories and landmarks around the world. It’s also super easy to use…just plug in your headphones and start walking!

Why it's Great: Self-guided walking tours with informative commentary.

Fun Features: Interactive maps, audio narration, and customizable tour options.

14. Florida Stories App

I wouldn’t have done this article without including this one because ever since I discovered it a few years ago, it’s been one of my favorite apps for outdoor travel in Florida.

Florida Stories app screenshot

The Florida Stories App includes immersive audio tours of some of the Sunshine State’s most iconic destinations.

You can explore pristine beaches, historic landmarks, and unique towns. This app brings Florida’s rich heritage and diverse landscapes to life through captivating storytelling and informative commentary.

Why it's Great: Immersive audio tours of Florida's attractions and landmarks.

Fun Features: Interactive maps, historical anecdotes, and insider tips for exploring Florida's hidden gems.

Camping and Accommodation Apps for Outdoor Travel

If you’re planning a glamping trip or looking for outdoor stays for your next adventure, you’ll need an app that can help you find the best options. These are some of my favorites for booking unique stays outdoors.

15. Hipcamp

This is a great outdoor app for elevating your camping experience and discovering off-the-beaten-path accommodations and campsites.

Hipcamp app for booking unique outdoor stays

Hipcamp connects outdoors lovers like us, with landowners who offer unique outdoor stays and private land camping options.

You can find anything from secluded woodland nooks to working farms and vineyards, RV parks, cabins, and glamping.

Why it's Great: Offers a fresh take on camping with a great number of private campsites that can't be found in traditional campgrounds or parks.

Fun Features: You can filter searches by landscape (like forests, beaches, and mountains) and amenities (such as pet-friendly spots or sites with showers). You can also find farm tours and yoga classes as experiences offered by the land hosts.

16. Airbnb

For a home away from home when traveling, we can all find a world of possibilities through Airbnb.

Airbnb app for booking cabins and unique stays

From city apartments to countryside cottages, you can book some incredible and unique stays directly from local hosts on the Airbnb app.

This is one of the best accommodations apps for outdoor travel to consider when you want to explore destinations like a local and enjoy a private space that fits your style and budget. You can even find unique places to stay like igloos and castles!

Why it's Great: Provides lodging options centered on a more authentic travel experience.

Fun Features: Create a Wish List with your favorite accommodations and explore the Airbnb Experiences section that offers local activities that aren't typically found in guidebooks.

17. VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner)

If you’re traveling with family or friends, you can find spacious vacation rentals for large group getaways on VRBO.

VRBO app screenshot

This app focuses on private rentals for travelers particularly looking for vacation homes, condos, villas and family-friendly stays with more space and all the home-like amenities you need for your vacation.

Why it's Great: Great selections that are ideal for larger groups or extended stays

Fun Features: The Trip Boards feature helps you plan your travels collaboratively by saving and comparing favorite properties.

18. Glamping Hub

This is the go-to app for outdoor travelers who prefer a blend of luxury and nature or want to try a glamping experience.

Glamping Hub app for booking glamping sites

Glamping Hub is a booking platform exclusively for glamorous camping, or “glamping,” and offers a curated selection of upscale accommodations in the great outdoors.

From safari tents and treehouses to yurts and cabins, Glamping Hub allows you to find extraordinary stays in some of the most breathtaking natural settings around the world!

Why it's Great: Offers a wide variety of upscale outdoor stays that don't compromise on comfort, making it easy to find amazing glamping experiences.

Fun Features: The app lets you filter options by location and accommodation type, and many listings include on-site or nearby activities to add to your glamping adventure.

19. Recreation.gov

The Recreation.gov app is a must-have for anyone planning a trip to the national parks since this is the app that serves as a gateway to exploring America’s outdoor recreation destinations.

Recreation.gov app screenshot

With the Recreation.gov app, you can make campsite reservations, secure permits, and purchase a site pass to national parks, forests, federal recreation lands and historic sites across the U.S. 

Why it's Great: Gives you access to federal recreation site reservations, making it easier to plan visits to national parks across the U.S.

Fun Features: Fun Features: The app allows you to enter the lottery for Coyote Buttes North (The Wave) in Arizaona and other highly sought-after hiking experiences as well as backcountry permits for federal lands.

Conclusion

Overall, there are an incredible amount of apps you can download for your outdoor adventures that can be a valuable resource.

For the most part, travel planning apps are very user-friendly and there are a lot of free outdoor travel apps that are super fun to use as well.

So next time you’re planning a hike, a camping trip, or your next trip to a new destination, consider using resourceful apps that can help make the most of your trip.

Do you have a favorite app for outdoor travel? Let us know in the comments!


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Yanitza Ninett
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Yanitza is an avid adventurer with 15+ years of hiking experience and outdoor travel. As a PADI-certified scuba diver, she's also passionate about ocean conservation. When she's not exploring the great outdoors, Yanitza obsesses over The Vampire Diaries and dreams of traveling to Mallorca, Spain.

2 thoughts on “19 Free Apps for Outdoor Travel That Every Adventurer Should Have”

  1. Roadtrippers sounds like a fun app to start with for adventuring on the road. Thank you for the tips and tricks!

    Reply
    • Oh, I love Roadtrippers! It’s super fun to use and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be creating travel guides non-stop! It’s a great app to use for creating a road trip bucket list 😃

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