UPDATE: She’s here! Jamie writes: Thanks SO MUCH to everyone for the suggestions! As much as I liked Scout, it didn’t sound right with our last name. We took Briar, Acadia, and Wren with us to the birthing center, and we decided she looked like a Briar. Elaine is for my mom.
We have two boys, Wilder Blake and Ridge Harrison, both named for our love of the outdoors. We’re expecting a daughter in August, and we’d like a name with the same rugged, adventurous spirit. But lists of “nature names for girls” don’t feel right. We’re not interested in frilly flower names. If this was a boy, we liked Canyon.
We don’t like Canyon for a girl, though.
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Jamie –
Congratulations on your new daughter! You’re right that nature names for girls sometimes tend towards Lily and Rose. But it sounds like you might want something at least slightly feminine – or, in any case, you’re not interested in just using your next favorite name regardless.
Based on your comments, and drawing from your sons’ names, we’re looking for something that:
- Conveys an outdoorsy and adventurous vibe
- Is probably a word name, or close to it, rather than a more subtle meaning/association
- Sounds like a sister for Wilder and Ridge – or at least doesn’t sound like the third brother
- Is modern and current, but not invented
I think there are some excellent possibilities.
Aspen makes this list for two reasons: first, it’s a tree. But secondly, the Colorado town is known for its rugged beauty, especially during ski season. There are lots of other tree names that might inspire you. Or maybe there’s a favorite place – a trail, a mountain, a lake – that would work well for your child’s name. Rowan is another option.
Briar is sometimes heard for boys, but it’s more popular for girls. If you know your fairy tale princesses, you might know that Sleeping Beauty was also known as Briar Rose. But there’s nothing overly feminine or frilly about this name. After all, a briar is a thorny plant – beautiful, but strong, too.
High-energy Juniper is another tree name. It’s caught on in a modest way over the last decade or so, meaning that it feels just familiar – and feminine – enough. Built-in nicknames like Junie and June are another bonus.
Flower names tend to go to the girls. So do bird names. Wren ranks in the current Top 1000, but I wonder if Lark would appeal to you even more?
No question that Meadow feels outdoorsy and untamed. But it’s also clearly feminine, especially when paired with brothers Wilder and Ridge. While all three names are drawn from the natural world, they all have distinctive sounds – I think that’s a plus. For something rarer still, you might consider Prairie.
River is rising for boys and girls alike. While it’s more popular for boys at the moment, I think it works equally well for a daughter. My only hesitation is that Wilder, Ridge, and River might sound like three boys, and it sounds like you might prefer to avoid that. Well … and is it a little bit of a tongue twister to say all three names together?
Do season names appeal to you? Winter, Autumn, and Summer have all seen plenty of use for our daughters – though Winter is the least common of them. (Well, except for Spring, which is seldom heard, but could wear beautifully.) Of course, some of this depends on your preferences. If Winter – or Autumn or Summer – is a favorite season, or the time of year you got married, etc. – then it might work especially well.
I’m still stuck on Meadow. I think it’s outdoorsy and feminine, without straying into the frilly. And I love the way Wilder, Ridge, and Meadow all sound distinctive – but I think they work nicely together.
Readers, over to you. What outdoorsy girl names would you suggest for Wilder and Ridge’s new sister?
My favs from above are
For some reason. I think these names read as girl names. Without the frills.
Monte or Monty… means mountain.
Meadow sounds perfect with Wilder and Ridge, I think.
Rochelle, nickname Rocki.
Dare — it’s not a nature/outdoorsy name, but it has a similar theme with Wilder.
There was a girl named Dare at my high school. I have no idea if it was her mother’s maiden name or maybe her great-grandfather was named Dare. Her last name was very common, so an unusual first name was a nice pairing.
Caldera (call DARE uh) is a volcanic crater. Calla, Callie, or Dare could be nicknames for Caldera.
Diane McGann says
My first thought was Acadia. I also love Sierra or Aspen.
So many beautiful suggestions. I would add Ochre (oak-a is how I’ve heard it pronounced).
Along that line, Oakley is a little more expected and works well for a girl.
I also love Briar, Maple, Sparrow, and Sunny.
Aurora might be too mainstream for you, but it’s another option.
Funny, I see it just below…I was coming to say I knew a Denali. Wow, what a coincidence.
I like Lake, Lark, Fawn, Prairie, Skye, Eden, Winter, June or Meadow.
I love the suggestion of Valley, although maybe too much with Ridge? Also love Tundra. Along similar lines, what about Taiga? It reads feminine as a name but is undeniably outdoorsy and wildernessy! Also one of my favourites that was a top contender if our son had been a girl is Tarn (a type of mountain lake).
The more mainstream names I thought of have been mentioned, so here are some that are a little less common:
Hadley (heather meadow/field)
Kiri (Maori for tree bark)
Vesper (evening star)
The national park that was previously mentioned is actually Acadia NP (not Arcadia). Acadia was mentioned a few times; Cady could be a fun nickname.
I think I like Hadley, Haven, Avis, Eden, and Tempest the best.
Linnea, Harbor, and Haven were the first three to come to mind.
The Mrs. says
My first thought was Prairie. (And, of COURSE, Abby mentioned it.)
I agree that Valley is crazy cool, too.
Wilder, Ridge, and Prairie. Perfection!
Rain might appeal to you.
There’s also Sunshine. I know she’s got a deep history in the 1970s, but she IS stunning AND non-frilly.
A color name could be appealing… Hazel, Iris (but also a flower), Emerald, etc.
Meadowlark legitimately combines TWO of Abby’s excellent suggestions.
Arcadia might feel too fancy, but perhaps the national park could sway your opinion.
Wilder, Ridge, and Arcadia.
Shasta? She’s a mountain and pretty fantastic.
Congrats and best wishes to you and your family!
Brenda DeVries says
We know a family with a daughter named Denali. Another family we know has daughters Winter, Violet and Eden. I’ve always thought Juniper would be perfect for a nature-loving family.
Love Meadow and the suggestion of Scout! While reading I couldn’t help but think of Coral. A different vein of nature name than I think you were going for – but had to still mention it!
Alexis G says
Fun thread! I’ll try not to repeat but add:
Reverie, Boheme, Story, True, Indigo, Phoenix, Pax, Poet, Lyric, Electra, Echo
Cedar, Bay, Oceane, Acadia, Everest, India
Nova, Vega, Luna, Io, North, Soleil, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Juno
I think Phoenix Juno and Nova are great matches for this sibset!
Acadia called Cady would be adorable!
That’s my dog’s name and nickname
It’s a great name for a dog AND a human!
I was super surprised to not see Scout on the list of suggestions! Scout is probably the outdoorsiest, most adventurous name I can think of for a girl.
OH! Yes … Scout would be amazing!
So many gorgeous suggestions all around! I quite partial to Willow, but see how it might be too close to Wilder. Wren, Ember, and Vale are all stunning as well.
I saw the suggestion of Fauna, but I’ve always been quite partial to the simple Fawn. It’s never been too popular, but I think it’s lovely.
And I know it’s not strictly a nature name, but I think Piper would fit in quite nicely with your sibset as well.
Based on the boys names I think Abby’s suggestions aren’t rugged or wild enough. Maybe look up geology and geomorphology terms. I would suggest:
Lots of good suggestions here. I’ll just add:
Plants: Cypress, Sequoia, Willow, Ash, Fern
Sea-related: Cove, Ocean, Harbor, Blue, Marin
Weather: Snow, Rain, Soleil, Cielo
Misc: Ember, Sparrow, Acadia, Montana, Journey
From Abby’s suggestions, I like Wren, Juniper, Lark and Briar. River is alright as well. Skylar was another good suggestion.
I also wanted to suggest Scout and Vale.
Julie G says
I like Briar, Juniper, and Meadow. And even though it’s not typically a name I’m drawn to, I think Meadow is perfect for this sibset.
What about Cypress?
I like Lake, Spring, and Sierra best of those that have been suggested already.
I also wonder if you might like Skyler? Wilder is really more nature-ish surname than true nature name, maybe something like Skyler/Skylar would also fit the bill? Or Parker?
Isle / Isla
Aurora – is this too princess?
Haven – not strictly speaking a nature name, but we do associate the word with nature havens and natural havens
Other non-frilly Flora and Fawna
More daring options:
Nature related names:
I second adding Scout and Nova to the list, I don’t know how I missed those. Consider them added to mine!
How about Valley?
Another outdoorsy option: Alaska
Prairie sounds beautiful and wild and rugged to me.
A friend named his daughter Sedona – not sure if you’re looking for location names? Best of luck!
My immediate thought was Sierra, as in the mountains. There is also Wren, which is a bird and a great name
Michelle Carshalton says
Cova – reminds me a bit of Cora and Nova. It is Spanish for cave.
Jean C. says
I think Sage is nice, and it is a rugged, non-flowering plant. I especially like Abby’s suggestion of Briar. I think Vale could be really beautiful too.
Juniper, Lark and Meadow! And Brenna’s suggestion of Sky is wonderful, too.
I have also recently fallen in love with Jessamine (jasmine), which while a flowering plant, offers Jess or Jessie as nicknames– these would be sweet and unexpected today and also sound playful, adventurous and maybe even rugged.
I love Abby’s list SO much. Meadow is a standout, but really, the whole list is absolutely golden.
A few more suggestions, in case it helps:
Season (I know this one is particularly unusual, but I know a Season and it suits her beautifully)