Chances are you’ve already heard all about REI’s bold Thanksgiving campaign #OptOutside—which encourages shoppers to abandon the retail madness of Black Friday for the tranquility of an outdoor setting.

In doing this, REI is putting their money where there mouth is, closing every one of its 143 locations across the nation and awarding their employees with holiday pay in the process.

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This unprecedented move shows that REI is willing to sacrifice profits for the good of its employees and the advancement of its core principles as a company. Here at BRO we are 100 percent on board with the #OptOutside campaign and will be happily ditching the hustle and bustle of crowded stores this Friday for the peace and quiet of our Blue Ridge backyard. Will you join us?

9 Tips and Ideas for #OptOutside 2015

Hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail.

The AT sprawls throughout 2,000 plus miles of the Appalachian Mountain range. Make the most of your post turkey day escapades by hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail near you. More info here.

MG_4324-web (1)Hit the dirt on two wheels.

One of the advantages of living below the Mason Dixon line is the extended mountain biking season, which continues well into autumn and in some places even remains open into the winter months. As you probably know, the Blue Ridge is blessed with mile upon mile of top notch single track, so grab your bike and hit a the trail this Black Friday.

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Fine tune your winter gear.

Winter is upon us! Instead of rushing out to the chaotic lines of a gear store in the throws of a Black Friday invasion, take some time to maintain the gear you already have. Tune up the skis that have been collecting dust all season or test out the old -15 degree sleeping bag so you’re not caught in the cold during that annual winter backpacking excursion.

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Climb atop a fire tower.

Some of the best views in all of Appalachia can be found atop the regions many abandoned fire towers. These structures have long served as essential lookout posts for fire-wary watchmen, but today many of them are open and accessible to everyday hikers like you.

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Head for the coast.

Can you say sunny and 70, because we can, and believe it or not that’s the current weather projection for Charleston, South Carolina on Black Friday. Sure, you could layer up in your finest Patagonia puff jacket just to go stand in line in front of Best Buy all day, but may we suggest SUPing your way through Shem Creek instead?

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Hit the slopes!

Thanksgiving weekend almost always coincides with the opening of a handful of Southeastern ski resorts. This Black Friday you’ll be able to choose from Beech Mountain, Cataloochee Ski Area, and Sugar Mountain Resort just to name a few. More info at skisoutheast.com.

Fly fish a delayed harvest stream.

For novice anglers the delayed harvest season can be one of the best times to get out on the water and test your skills in an environment where fish are plentiful and competition from bait fisherman is nonexistent. Learn more about the delayed harvest here.

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Explore a new a town.

One of the best things about calling the Blue Ridge your basecamp is the plethora of travel options within a stones throw of home. Use our extensive collection of 48 Hours travel guides to find the right town for you.

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Watch a sunrise or sunset.

On a clear day, the Blue Ridge is of the best places in the country to catch a sunrise or a sunset. While the rest of the country is camped out in front of Target, you can #OptOutside by soaking in an amazing view like this. More details here.

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