12 Great Side Jobs for Outdoorsy Types

By Brittany Lyte on 18 April 2016 0 comments

If working a 9-to-5 job in an office cubicle is slowly driving you crazy, remember that you've got options. There are lots of ways to supplement your income from a "regular" job with a side gig that lets — nay, requires! — you to roam free in nature. Computer eye strain be gone! Here are 12 side jobs for lovers of the great outdoors. (See also: 11 Cool Jobs for Outdoorsy Types)

1. Waterkeeper

Imagine a job where you get paid to paddle a beautiful natural waterway. Waterkeepers, or riverkeepers, do precisely that, scouting for polluters and testing for water quality along the way. They are the protectors of our rivers and lakes, working to keep these natural resources pristine. Ask riverkeeper Hartwell Carson his favorite part of patrolling North Carolina's French Broad River Trail, and he'll tell you this: "Getting in my canoe around sunset and paddling upstream, trying to be all stealth."

2. Wilderness Instructor

In some schools, nature is a subject of study no less important than reading or math. Taught by experts in food foraging and shelter building, these classes school children on the interconnectivity between humans and nature, something often overlooked in this age of smartphones and tablets. In addition to schools, church groups, Girl Scout troops, and neighborhood associations sometimes employ wilderness instructors for workshops.

3. Trail Blazer

At $10 an hour, you can build a hiking trail deep into the Tennessee wilderness, erecting signage and mending weather-worn safety features as you go. No loafers. No desk. Just a backpack full of tools and a wide-brimmed hat.

4. Photographer

Early morning light and the evening golden hour make for beautiful photographs. For these reasons and more, many photographers are averse to studio portraiture. Hey — who wouldn't prefer to take pictures while immersed in the natural elements? Whether you decide to start up your own family portrait business or take on a gig as a stringer at your local newspaper, photography can be a great way to boost your income while fueling your love of nature. Music festivals, historical sites, real estate companies, and local tourism boards all need stellar photography, too.

5. Deckhand

Nothing says summertime like a cruise along the harbor. And if you score a part-time, $10-an-hour deckhand gig, you can enjoy the experience time and time again while getting paid for it. All tour boats and most fishing boats need deckhands — and many of these gigs don't require previous experience, making them accessible to newbies aching to get out on the water. Working as a deckhand is also a great way to grow your knowledge about boats.

6. Arborist

Get those tree legs ready! Climbing, pruning, planting, and preserving are all in the arborist's job description. If you have any interest in saving trees, this is the gig for you.

7. Ski School Instructor

If getting paid to play on a powder-covered mountain sounds like good fun, consider becoming a ski school instructor. Among the perks: Free ski passes, and the satisfaction of teaching newbies how to make their first turns.

8. Surf Instructor

If you live to catch waves, why not make a little extra cash teaching others to do the same? Many surf instructors are regular folks with regular weekday jobs — but on the weekends, they like to go out and play in the water while making an extra chunk of change.

9. River Rafting Guide

"The typical guide is someone who enjoys being outdoors, and likes the water and nature and sunshine in general." That's how River Rider, a whitewater rafting company based in Oregon, describes its employees. Most of them, the website states, are folks with full-time desk jobs somewhere else. They're also lovers of river rafting, and they see a convenience factor in getting paid to do it while bringing other folks along for a wet and wild ride.

10. House Painter

Painting the exterior of a home is a job that requires precision and, of course, a tolerance for spending long hours outdoors. It's also a job that can make you feel good. With every house you paint, you'll know that you've played a role in raising its curb appeal.

11. Wine Tour Guide

If getting paid to drive and entertain a car full of wine tasters around the vineyards of Santa Ynez doesn't sound like fun, we don't know what does. This part-time gig has got it all: Gorgeous landscapes, delicious wine, and the opportunity to meet and educate wine tasters about grapes and this gorgeous sliver of California wine country.

12. Zoo Tour Guide

As a tour guide at your local zoo, you'll trade in coworkers with neckties for lions and lemurs — and you'll have the unique privilege of showing off these beautiful species to wide-eyed visitors. The San Diego Zoo pays between $20 and $22 per hour for friendly, informed part-time guides.

What other side jobs would be perfect for outdoorsy people? Share with us in the comments!

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