This is a list of things that can only be done in summer weather. You can do them yourself, but why not get your crew of friends or family together and cross off as many on the list as you can by Labor Day. Good Times Glue cements relationships!
Don’t procrastinate – start right now so you can feel like you’re living life to the fullest. Which one can you cross off your summer bucket list today?
Adopt a pet.
The summer is the perfect time to adopt a pet. The kids are home on summer vacation to watch over them and learn to take their turn feeding them. The weather is nicer for walking the dog and taking it to the dog park for socialization. Your puppy will be more co-operative in housebreaking if the weather is nice, too.
Aquarium or fish hatchery visit.
How long has it been since you visited an aquarium? Put it on your summer bucket list for this year. Watching sea creatures is something we need to do more often. Especially since many are endangered.
Remember when you learned archery at summer camp? Challenge your friends to a little friendly competition.
There are different types of archery ranges. There is the circular target we all know. There are trails in the woods with 3D life-sized foam animals. In some places you can get instruction, others you are on your own. The best way to find what you’re looking for is to ask a local archery club or archery store – which may have its own archery range.
Art & craft sale.
Many towns and the art district of cities hold an art & craft sale where there can be hundreds of vendors with every type of art you can imagine. And every kind of craft you couldn’t imagine. It’s fun to see other people’s creative ideas.
There is something special about have a unique one-of-a-kind work of art in your home and handcrafted decorations. You can even find plants.
Backyard Movie Night.
There are lots of ways to hold a backyard movie night. First, make an outdoor movie screen. Bob Villa shows how. Did you know that you can turn your cellphone into a movie projector? Then decide on a theme: pool party, go with the theme of the movie, pajama party, or a drive-in movie with cardboard box cars. (Ask for large boxes at an appliance store for adults, grocery store for kids.)
At least once this summer, watch a live baseball game. It’s America’s favorite past time! Whether it’s a local team, MLB, or a special game like firefighters versus cops, get enough people together to start a wave.
BBQ cookout in backyard, deck or balcony.
Get your family & friends together for a cookout. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or you can go for the gold if you want to make it one for the memory books this year. It’s all about getting together face-to-face with the ones we love.
Beach bonfire with buddies.
Get together with all your friends to check in and see how their summer is going over a beach bonfire. Do you have a bonfire playlist?
The beach isn’t all about the water or sunning. Have fun in the sand! Play beach volleyball with your friends and use those skills you learned in gym class.
Go berry picking. It doesn’t take longer. The berry fields usually have a supervised play area for children so you can even take the kids. Check your local listings for a berry field near you. There is nothing like fresh berry desserts! Or make some jam this summer.
If you don’t have a bicycle, you can rent one in any city or bicycle shop. If you haven’t cycled for a while don’t worry, it will come back. (It’s just like riding a bicycle. 🤣)
What will be your destination? A secluded picnic? Or is there a bike trail nearby with great scenery? Speaking of bike trails – maybe cycling to the destination is the fastest way to get there with where you’re going as the goal.
Or – many tourist sites have bicycles for 4 with a canopy in their historic area or waterfront.
Bird watching or birding.
Go for a walk in a wooded area and see how many different kinds of birds you can find. Listen to how they each sound different. Can you recognize which bird is making which sound? Invest in a set of good binoculars and a bird guide to tell you which bird you’re looking at by name. (National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of North America* is considered the best book. See Merlin for a phone app bird guide.) If you’re a morning person, set out as early as you can. It’s like a jungle out there with all the morning sounds. Bring your coffee, sit, listen and watch. It’s a great way to begin the day.
Take a chance on a blind date. There’s nothing more exciting than a summer fling. Who knows where it might lead. . .
Blowing bubbles can be done anywhere! (See our impromptu bubbles for proof.) Frozen bubbles in winter are beautiful, but there’s nothing like floating bubbles on the wind. It’s on our summer bucket list every year.
Bubble Gum Blowing Contest
A bubble gum blowing contest is impromptu fun whenever everyone gets restless. Who can blow an Instagram-worthy bubble?
If this is the summer of extreme sport thrills, add bungee jumping to the list. Don’t go to some industrial site and jump off a crane. Do it right! Find a picturesque place where the operators are set up to take photos/videos of you all the way down. The Manawana Blog about outdoor and adventure activities tells you everything you need to consider – and includes a photo of the first bungee jumpers using vines!
Burning Man happens the last week of August every year. Black Rock City is a place you’ll never find anywhere else on earth. But it’s a harsh environment, only for the most hardy of us. See the first-timers guide with the rules, laws, and safety information before you buy your ticket – it is truly unique. This is a lifetime bucket list item!
Bury a time capsule.
What is there about this year that you’d like to remember? Is there something you’d like to remind yourself in 5 or 10 years? Bury a time capsule and talk to your future self. (Or whoever find it first.)
Create a butterfly garden and have a magical yard. The Spruce lists all the different areas and types of flowers butterflies need. And don’t forget water! Put gorgeous saucers around your garden as accents but also as “puddle” drinking water for them. (You’ll fill them with fresh water every morning, right?)
Cabin or cottage on the lake.
If your whole group pitch in, the budget is manageable. Go ahead! Rent a cabin or cottage on the lake for a few days of fun and relaxation. Everyone needs to get out of the city, away from their street, and meet with nature at least once.
Camping with your crew.
Go camping with your friends. Yes, it’s a little grueling but it is a totally different experience than any other overnight or weekend holiday. Everyone needs to rough it now and then to appreciate the comforts of home. And getting back to basics helps us align our emotional and mental selves.
Don’t have a tent? Many campgrounds rent small cabins with bunk beds. It’s not like sleeping on the ground, but not everyone wants the “full” experience.
One summer we put a map of our province on the wall and stayed in as many of the camp grounds and parks as we could, putting a sticker in each place on the map. It was a summer of just camping, but a great memory for the whole family.
Canoe trip with friends.
Remember the fun you had canoeing at summer camp? It’s time to give it another try. Get everyone together and have a blast. (And please wear life jackets.)
Get as many of your family or friends together and play capture the flag. Separate the ultra competitive!
Carnival fun & food.
Carnival rides are totally different than theme park rides. The midway has a thrill all its own. The swings. The octopus. The zipper. The drop. Bumper cars. And fairground food! Snow cones, cotton candy, caramel apples, funnel cakes, turkey legs, and corn dogs. And the games of chance! You’ve gotta try until you win a prize.
Find the closest carousel and go for a ride – take someone special.
The National Wildlife Federation says “Fireflies are found in temperate and tropical regions on every continent except Antarctica. They live throughout the United States in parks, meadows, gardens, and woodland edges. They are most commonly seen on summer evenings.” We lived in a rural area when our children were young. When we were at the pool in the evening, the fireflies would come and fly all around us. It was surreal.
Champagne on the dock.
Greet the sun at sunrise or say goodbye at sunset with a glass of champagne on the dock.
Chase a rainbow.
They told us there was a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, so we always wanted to see for ourselves as kids. Find a rainbow, take a great photo for social media, and then see if you can find the end of the rainbow! It will be an adventure.
Christmas in July
Celebrate Christmas on July 25th. The great thing about Christmas in July is that you have all the fun of decorations but zero expenditure on gifts (unless you want to go there.) Put up the tree and the twinkle lights and bask in the glow of holiday magic. Of course you need Christmas goodies too. That really goes without saying.
Classic car show.
The classic car show usually starts with a parade of cars, and then they park so you can get photos and ask the owner questions. There are vendors with amazing products, sometimes even a midway. Then at night there’s a 50’s sock hop. Practice the mashed potato and find your poodle skirt.
Climb a tree.
Remember how it felt to climb a tree when we were kids?
You felt like you were on top of the world. You could see everything but no one knew you were there.
Even without a tree house, a tree top is a secret place.
Find that freedom again.
Go ahead – climb that tree.
Cocktail & Mocktail Party
Summer weather makes it possible to have a casual cocktail & mocktail party right in your backyard. Or choose a theme to match you favorite cocktails. Fiesta time with mojitos, luau with tropical drinks – have fun with it!
Collect seashells, stones & driftwood on the beach to make a summer decoration.
Of course you need a summer beach decoration.
Go for a walk with friends and collect seashells, stones and driftwood to make a wall sculpture, a bowl or jar of summer finds.
Maybe you also need to go to the flea market to find an amazing bowl or jar to put them in. 😉
Some cities hold their color run or colorfest marathons in the summer months. You begin the marathon wearing white. At each stop in the 5K untimed event they douse you with a different colored powder. By the end of the race you’re a gorgeous and unique combination of colors. Organizers tell us, “Once the race is over, the fun continues at the Finish Festival, a larger-than-life party equipped with music, dancing, photo ops, activity booths, vendors, and more massive color throws, which create millions of vivid color combinations. Trust us, this is the best post-5K party on the planet!” Check the calendar for the one nearest you: USA and International dates.
The International Comic-Con in San Diego happens every July, but every city has their own beginning in April and throughout the summer. Find the date of a smaller Comic Con near you: USA, Canada. There is a Comic-Con Museum in San Diego that is open to the public all year with events.
Many people dress up in homemade or purchased Cosplay (costume play) costumes of their favorite comic book, anime & movie characters. They love it when you ask to have a photo with them! You don’t have to wear a costume, but please show off your fandom and wear a t-shirt of your favorite character.
There are panels with interesting people from the movie and comic book business. (One year my son learned how to sword fight at a panel.) Many TV and movie stars attend the larger ones.
There are hundreds of vendors selling everything imaginable and eateries that are a unique experience. This is an at-least-once-in-a-lifetime bucket list item.
Corn on the cob.
Grilled corn on the cob is summer fare.
But when there’s a cauldron of corn on the cob boiling for a cookout, you know it’s summertime.
Daisy chain crown.
Braid daisies (and buttercups or other flowers you found in the field) until you have a daisy chain crown or bracelet. If you need instructions, Wiki How shows you step by step. (Method 2 is best because you can make it fuller with more flowers.)
Dance in the rain.
You don’t have to twirl around a lamp post like Gene Kelly. Do your own thing. Express yourself in the freedom of dancing in the rain.
Dive into the pool.
There are some of us who have never dived off a diving board. Try it this year. If you’ve been totally fearless and know how to dive, why not learn a new dive?
We are not advocating that you jump off the diving board onto a huge floatation device to bounce someone off. That sounds dangerous, right? (But fun for the jumper.)
Drive in movie night.
Drive in movie theatres may be harder to find, but the technology is definitely better. Back in the day everyone got swarmed by mosquitoes! (They don’t show that in the movies.) Now you listen on your car radio with excellent stereo speakers with the windows up. You’ve gotta go to see a drive in movie this summer, even if it’s just to celebrate the progress we’ve made to be able to sit comfortably in our car to watch a movie. 😉
Dune buggy ride on beach or sand dunes.
Looking for some adventure this summer? Try driving over the sand dunes a smile a minute! Find a dune buggy or ATV tour near you. They are only a couple hours long usually, but quite exhilarating. Off-roading can be addictive!
Eat salad at least once a day.
Vegetables are plentiful in the summer, so it’s so much easier to make an enjoyable salad and have a variety of salads. In winter salads don’t feel as appetizing, but now is the season to increase your veggie intake. (And the season for watching our waistline. 😉)
Explore your own city.
Be a tourist in your own city for a day, for a few hours every week or even the whole weekend and explore the places you haven’t seen. Learn what makes your city great. Share the adventure with a friend. For more tips, see our article How to Explore Your Own City & Have Fun.
Summer is the easiest time to get the extended family together. There are so many venues available for your family reunion: picnic area at a national park, yoga retreat, baseball diamond (when it’s not being used), mini golf, the beach. Keep it easy: have a chili bar and make it a cookoff where everyone brings a different recipe – or another food your family loves.
The farmer’s market is an exciting place to be! There are so many things to see – crafts as well as produce. There’s taste testing and eateries, too.
Feed the swans or ducks.
If there’s a lakeshore where you live, there will be swans waiting to be fed. If there’s a duck pond in your public park, there will be ducks waiting to be fed. Do NOT feed them bread – it is bad for them. (I know, that’s what they feed them in the movies.) Duck Feed Pellets are the best. Or give them bird seed if you feed the birds. If you’ve cut strawberry leaves off for your dessert, they love those. You can give them cooked or uncooked rice. They like uncooked peas. Only feed them corn if there are no fish in the water (they can’t digest it).
Ferris wheel ride.
The summer is time for carnivals, but sometimes you can find a special ferris wheel the overlooks the lake or a special area of the city. One sun-shiny day head out for some fun that only the tourists usually do. Or! Even better. Go at night!
Fishing is a relaxing sport that gives you time for thinking and dreaming, and may give you fish for dinner. Check to see if you require a fishing license in your area. If you don’t have a fishing rod, see where you can rent one for the day. Our local library rents fishing rods.
Fitness routine outdoors.
Enjoy the fresh air and great weather and take a fitness class outdoors. Meet new people! There are so many choices from gentle stretches to yoga. Check your local listings. Don’t want to join a class? Lift weights on the beach, jog at the waterfront, or walk at your local gardens. Take the opportunity to see amazing scenery to lift your spirits as you get into shape.
Flamingo beach or pool party.
Have you ever had a flamingo themed summer party? This is your year! There are so many flamingo themed party decorations available at any dollar store that it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Save your money for amazing flamingo pool floats. That will be the hit of the party.
Why have a milkshake when you can have a freakshake? Turn an afternoon of hanging out in the sun into a memorable day by serving freakshakes. These ones feature donuts, cotton candy and meringue. There are so many more combinations! What flavors do your guests like best?
Frisbee with your friends.
Whether you play frisbee with man’s best friend or your best friends, it’s great exercise and a great stress reliever. If you have 6 or more people together you can play frisbee football.
Geocache treasure hunt.
Go to Geocaching.com, sign up and download the app onto your phone. Choose a geocache near where your location. Before you go, grab a pen to sign the book and some little treasure you can leave behind if you’d like to make a trade. It’s fun and can be quite addictive. There’s a thrill when you find the geocache – especially the small containers!
Golfing tee time.
There are golf courses that are short, and courses rent golf clubs. Ask for a few tips, go golfing with a friend who is a golfer and give it a try. If you’re already a golfer, you don’t need me to put this one your summer bucket list. You know it’s relaxing and good exercise at the same time.
Most of the items on our summer bucket list are things to do. But summer is also a time for relaxation and recuperation. Put up a hammock and have a snooze, read a book or your kindle (that you can see in the sunshine) and chillax.
At the Highland Games there are men in kilts doing feats of strength (women too). You’ll see piping bands, highland dancing, fiddling, Celtic music, Scottish shopping, and tug of war. Of course the heavyweight competition is tossing the caber (pole), shot putting the stone, throwing the hammer the furthest, and tossing the sheaf (20 lb burlap bag with a pitch fork) the highest over a bar.
Hiking is great exercise. One of the best because you’re walking over different types of terrain. But it’s also a great experience. One moment you feel at peace with the world. And one with nature and the universe. And then – you feel awed and humbled by your little part in it all.
Do the tourist thing, and visit historical sites in your area this summer. Feel that patriotic spirit and pride of nationality swell. We all need that.
Homemade ice cream.
Don’t let them tell you that you have to have an ice cream machine to make your own ice cream.
All you need is a mixer, freezer and fresh ingredients to make homemade ice cream. And it will taste better than you can even imagine. Cinnamon ice cream with apple pie, anyone?
How about homemade Cherry Garcia ice cream?
Make your own popsicles this summer. (Then instead of running to the convenience store you saunter to the kitchen.) Once you try making your own popsicles, you’ll never stop all summer long. There’s nothing that compares.
When we think of summer, we remember days splashing in the water and soaking up the sun. You can get lots of both on a houseboat holiday. Get a group together to bring the cost down, pack your swim suit and a sweatshirt and you’re ready to go. (One of you must have a boating license.)
Attend a thoroughbred stakes horse race. (This is where the top horses race. It will be called a derby, a cup or a plate.) The ladies wear their feathered little hat and sundresses. There’s excitement in the air (whether you gamble or not.)
Go horseback riding on a local trail. There’s nothing to worry about. The horses know the trail. You just sit back and enjoy the ride. You have to cross it off your summer bucket list sometime, so why not this year?
Hot air balloon ride.
Everyone should go for a hot air balloon ride at least once in their lifetime. Put it on your summer bucket list this year.
Hula hoop challenge.
Are your hula hoop skills rusty? Or have you never conquered the skill? See this video that shows 3 different ways to hula hoop. For the challenge part: lots of people are challenging themselves to hula hoop every day beginning with 5 minutes and work their way up to 25 minutes in 30 days. Women claim that it makes them lose inches off their waist. (And once you can hula hoop for 25 minutes, challenge your friends to a hula hoop contest. Winner, winner, chicken dinner – for free.)
Hummingbird feeder in your yard.
Put up a hummingbird feeder near your window somewhere that’s protected and watch them in flight. They’re beautiful. For more tips see Simple Tips to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard.
Ice cream from an ice cream truck.
When you hear that musical bell sound from the ice cream truck, it makes you immediately happy, doesn’t it. Well add to that happiness by buying an ice cream cone from them the first time you hear their chimes this summer.
Iced tea crawl.
Invite a couple of your besties to join you on an iced tea crawl. During the summer many restaurants serve signature, special iced teas. Find a few that you’d be interested in trying and go from one to the other, having a relaxing visit with your friends.
Jams and preserves.
The summer is the growing season. Visit your local farmer’s market and pick up fresh fruit and vegetables to make your own jams, jellies, pickles and preserves (like peaches).
Jet skis are the recreational vehicle of the summer. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, this is for you! It’s like flying over the water. You need good coordination and balance, as well as strong arms and leg muscles. And – you need to be able to swim because you will fall off. Boating Beast has all the basics you need to know to ride a jet ski.
Savor the beautiful weather with kite flying. There’s almost always enough wind at the beach.
Kiteboarding is an extreme sport that you don’t just try on your own. Kiteboarding.com tell you what you need to know, including where to fly a trainer kite and take free lessons.
Every summer bucket list has “make a lemonade stand”. But do we do it? How many have you seen? If you’ve seen any, it was probably kids doing it. Did you know that learning how to make the perfect lemonade is the beginning point for learning how to balance the sweet & sour elements as a mixologist? Make this year the time you really have a lemonade stand. Hand it out for free to get to know your neighbors. Sell lemonade and donate the proceeds to your favorite charity. Make a few bucks and buy a sundress. However you choose to do it, have a blast.
Luau in your backyard.
Turn your backyard into the Hawaiian tropics for the day and celebrate a luau with your family and friends.
Don’t want the work of a whole luau? Everyone can wear leis, drink tropical drinks and soak up the sunshine.
Find a quiet spot to meditate outdoors. Do you know a place near a bubbling brook, waves on the shore, singing birds or a breeze in the trees? If you can do the meditation posture, go for it! But if you can’t don’t worry. Just sit with your eyes closed, breathe, and listen. Quiet your soul. Pray.
Mermaid & Merman Pool Party
Themed pool parties aren’t just for kids. Get the crew together for an under the sea pool party mermaid and merman style.
Message in a bottle.
If you discovered a message in a bottle, what would you want it to say? Write that down and put it in a water tight bottle. (It should be a unique looking bottle so people don’t overlook it as trash.) Toss it into a body of water with your prayers and best wishes for whoever finds it.
Mini golf or mini putt.
There are different kinds of mini golf. Some are themed, like a pirate ship. Others are putting challenges. But there’s at least one within a few minutes drive of anywhere! Get everyone together for an hour or so of fun (& frustration 😀) with friends. And then get ice cream because you’ve earned it.
Open air outdoor concert.
It doesn’t matter which genre of music you’re into, there will be an outdoor concert near you this summer. There’s nothing like an open air concert, feeling the vibe with everyone around you. Find one you can all enjoy this summer.
Give paddle boarding a try. If you find you love it, buy your own paddle board. Learn the basics from the REI Co-op’s Expert Advice – they have a video and extensive information.
Summer brings extra fun for paintballing because you can play outdoors. Paintball For All explains the different paintball fields (Outlaw, Woodsball, Speedball, and Scenario) and lists the different paintball games you can play.
Try to visit every park in your area. To make it more interesting get a map of your locale and mark every park you’ve seen. Take a photo and put it on social media, challenging everyone else to park hop this summer too.
(You’ll want to have a picnic and play a few games while you’re there, right?)
Petting zoo visit.
There are traveling petting zoos that visit every little town, and every city has a petting zoo. Make a day of it and get a selfie with every animal in the place.
Flowers bring a special pleasure that we can enjoy all summer. Put picking wildflowers on your summer bucket list and try to create a new bouquet every week.
Picnic in the park.
You absolutely must have at least one picnic in the summer. It doesn’t have to be sandwiches or all the way to a BBQ. Have dessert. A salad. Or even drive thru.
Laying on a blanket – with comfy pillows – on the grass brings back the simplicity of childhood summers. Relax. Listen to the birds. Listen to friends. Listen to music. Feel the wind. Life at a slower pace for just a moment.
Pirate beach or pool party.
Have a pirate themed beach or pool party. Do you want them to show up in costume and swim later? Vice versa and change at the party venue? Or will you supply pirate hats as party hats and that’s enough? Walking & talking like a pirate with a few props can be enough to have fun, but of course the whole enchilada is even better! (How many Jack Sparrows do you think there will be?) 🏴☠️
Play backyard games.
This is the time of year to make good use of the backyard. Get everyone over for a BBQ and some backyard games like cornhole.
Play volleyball in the pool.
If you have access to a pool with a net, use it! Play pool volleyball. Not only is it good exercise for the whole body, but it is a lot of fun. You don’t even need to know how to swim if you’re not in the deep end.
You have to have a pool party! This is on everyone‘s summer bucket list. Don’t have access to a pool? Get everyone to chip in and rent one. It’s one for the memory books. Have a theme or just bring as many flotation devices as you can. It must be done – it will make your summer.
Random acts of kindness.
Get your crew of friends together to wow the crowd where you live. See our Summer Acts of Kindness Bucket List for ideas. We believe that having fun together is the Good Times Glue that cements relationships. Imagine how having a good time doing good together will be one for the memory books!
Recreate an old family photo.
Find an old family photo, get everyone back together today, and recreate the scene with everyone grown up.
Ride a swing.
Summer is synonymous with swing rides. Find a friend, find a park, and swing and sing and laugh and talk like you did when you were little.
Summer is road trip time! Throw some clothes in a bag and off you go with family and friends. Are you the type who has to plan every mile? Or do you ride as free as the wind and stop when you see something interesting? Make the goal of the road trip to be all play all the way. (That kind of trip needs an excellent playlist.)
Of course you can rock climb indoors any time of the year, but summer has the best views for all that work. There are beginner rock faces that you can try. Contact a local rock climbing business near you. Or, check the worldwide map at Rockclimbing.com for routes.
Rodeo & cowboy dance.
Put on your cowboy hat & western boots and head for a local rodeo. Rodeo events include: Bull Riding, Bareback Bronc Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Breakaway Roping, Tie-Down Roping, Barrel Racing, Pole Bending, and acts, bullfighters (clowns) and more. At night there’s a cowboy dance. Practice your partner country western dancing and line dancing.
Roller skating or roller blading.
If you’ve never gone roller skating before, this is the summer to give it a try! It doesn’t take long to learn, it’s great exercise, and great fun. If you do roller skate already, take it to the next level and try a skate park.
You absolutely have to go for a rollercoaster ride in the summer. Pick a day for thrills & chills at a theme park and take all your besties with you. And suntan lotion.
Root beer float.
Here is something that we don’t have as often anymore. But it’s so delightful it is truly worthy of any summer bucket list. A Black Cow, otherwise known as a root beer float.
Rope swing into the water.
Find a swimming spot that has a tree close enough and water deep enough to have a rope swing into the water. (The knot at the bottom is key.)
Run through the sprinkler or under the hose.
Hey, it gets hot in the summer. And why should the kids get all the fun. Yes, you can run through the sprinkler or have a water fight with the hose to cool off. Go for it!
Sail walnut or paper boats.
Make a sailboat out of half of a walnut shell or a paper boat and see who can make the one that sails the farthest/longest.
Sand Castle Competition
This is the perfect time to challenge friends and family to a sand castle competition at your day on the beach. Will there be a prize? What should it be, and who decides the winner? (Maybe you can take a vote from strangers at the beach.)
If you snowboard in the winter, you need to try sand boarding in the summer. Surf the Sand tells you the basics to pique your interest.
Scuba Dive in the lake.
If you have it on your bucket list to take up scuba diving, learning at home is best. The quickie lessons they give you in the hotel swimming pool when you’re on holidays leave much to be desired. Get your diving license this summer and take up a new hobby. If you already scuba dive, try diving in the lake. It is a whole different experience than saltwater diving on holidays. Get to know your freshwater ecosystem – without fear of sharks! When you lake dive you need to take a diving knife though because of all the fishing lines in the water. For more tips visit the Lake Living Guide.
Scavenger hunt outdoors.
A scavenger hunt is fun for all ages. Toddlers can “hunt” for things in their yard or the park from a list of pictures or photos – they love collecting things. Older children can hunt from a written list. Anyone old enough to own a phone can take photos of the items on the list rather than collecting the items as proof. Adults can scavenge a whole forest.
Sidewalk chalk art & signs.
You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy sidewalk chalk. Write your favorite inspirational sayings on every block. If you are an artist, please impress everyone who passes by.
Skateboarding at a skate park.
You don’t have to go all sk8r boi or sk8r grrl. It’s fun to try something new, learn new skills, get exercise and spend the day with friends. (Maybe you will like it so much you will become a sk8r.)
Find yourself some flat, smooth stones with a uniform thinness and corner you can hook your finger on. With your feet flat, facing the water on an angle, pitch the rock sidearm. Before you throw, cock your wrist back and before release flick your wrist forward so there’s a spin on the stone. The stone should be parallel with the water. (The Art of Manliness says a 20° angle is optimal.)
Okay. Maybe this one you’ll want to do on your own! But go skinny dipping (swimming naked) and feel the water against all of your skin. Go on – try it.
Sleep under the night sky.
Sleep under the night sky and watch the stars. Listen to the sounds of the night and snuggle with a friend.
Slip ‘n slide party.
All you need is a humongous piece of plastic, water, a hill, and a few daredevils to have a slip ‘n slide party.
Slurpee run to a 7-Eleven at least once.
There’s nothing that reminds us of summertime as a kid more than running to the closest convenience store to get a slurpee or a slushie on a hot day. Remember laughing at the “brain freeze” and colored tongue and lips? Yes, these memories need to be re-lived.
S’mores & more s’mores.
They’re called s’mores because you can’t eat just one and you always want some more. It’s just not summer without s’mores, especially if they’re cooked over a bonfire. But don’t let the lack of firewood keep you from indulging. You can make them indoors too. (Eat them over a campfire for the full experience. 😉)
Spitting watermelon seeds contest.
Remember when you were a kid and you challenged your friends to see who could spit watermelon seeds the furthest? Don’t you think you need to try it again this summer? You can spit farther now, right?
Sponge water bomb fight.
Tell everyone to wear their swim suits and BYOB. (Bring your own bucket & bombs.) If you have access to a hose, tell everyone to bring a bucket full of sponges and you’re ready to have the sponge water bomb fight of the century.
Squirrel obstacle course feeder.
Your squirrel obstacle course doesn’t have to be as impressive as the one former NASA engineer Mark Rober made. He’s trying (and failing) to keep them out. We just want them to have to work for their goodies.
Stargaze – with a telescope if you can.
Summer is the perfect time to get in touch with nature.
Don’t forget to look up and stargaze, too.
If there are any special astrological events this summer, don’t miss them!
You can find out what’s happening this summer at the Time and Date Astronomy Calendar.
Summertime requires its own special playlist. Create one that brings you joy and make it public to share with the world. See how many likes you can get.
Summer reading list.
Whether you’re sunning on the beach, enjoying the hammock or relaxing in the shade, choose a book from the suggested summer reading list by pros who know: Good Housekeeping. Barnes & Noble NYT bestsellers, Good Reads, and Wired.
Suncatchers are so beautiful. They are also so easy! Kids of any age and people with any art skill level can make them. You can just put a layer of beads of any color in the bottom of a shaped silicone pan and make a lovely suncatcher for your window or back deck. Skilled artists can really get creative, too. They can make extraordinary works of art if they want to spend the time.
Sundae bar ice cream party.
A sundae bar is a fun summer party that doesn’t require as much work as a whole meal or a BBQ, but maybe is even more fun.
Sundae dishes of all sizes and shapes make it more interesting, so don’t worry if you have enough for everyone.
Choose several different kinds of ice cream.
Put out different sauces and toppings and let everyone show their ice cream creativity!
Sunset walk every night.
Challenge yourself to catch the sunset every night. Take the dog for a walk, go for a stroll, sit on a bench by the shore. You’ll become conscious of the waning daylight hours as you do, which will make you want to “seize the day” as much as you can before winter.
All of those sunset photos on your social media look beautiful, too.
Swim in a waterfall.
Find a waterfall for a refreshing swim. It make take a road trip and a hike to get there but it will be worth it, right? Take a picnic too.
Tea party in your backyard.
Invite your friends over for a tea party! Summer dresses, fancy hats, pinkies out. Ask everyone to bring their favorite dessert and spend the afternoon catching up and taste-testing all the treats with fruit teas.
Trade-up-from-a-pen treasure hunt.
Give everyone in the group the same pen. (You may want to group them in pairs.) There is a set time limit of an hour or more. Set a meeting place. The goal is for the participants to TRADE their pens for something better from a stranger. (No cheating – can’t be someone they know.) Then they trade that item that they just got for something better from a different stranger. And so it continues until the time is up. Everyone meets again and compares what they’ve managed to Trade Up to, and the person/pair with the best item is the winner. If your meeting place is a restaurant, the others pay for their meals. Listen – there have been people who have played this game and traded up to a house! A TV! A motorcycle! A junkheap car!
There are several ways to enjoy tubing. You can connect your tube to your friends’ tube and have a fun day floating in the sunshine. You can float down a lazy river. Be pulled behind a motorboat for more adventure. You can even go down a slip and slide on one. (And if you buy a good quality one, you can slide downhill in winter with it too.)
Twister outside – with fun variations.
It’s fun to play Twister outside on the lawn, in the sunshine. Several generations have done so. It’s great fun to play Couples Twister – watching your couple friends take their turns. (Especially new couples or two people who are interested in each other. Blind date game!)
Or – take it to the next level and make it a tad more difficult. Play Twister in your swim suits with the garden sprinkler on the game sheet. (Slippery When Wet sign not required.) Play Twister at the beach covered with beach sand and you have to find the right color before you can bend that way. Play Twister in the mud. You get the idea!
Learn how to play the ukulele. It’s small enough to easily take with you anywhere, and is a great impromptu play idea. Play and sing on a road trip. Around the bonfire. At camp. It’s easy to learn because it only has 4 strings. (Make sure you pick up a soprano ukulele.) Here are 10 free lessons on YouTube for first timers. Once you know how to play those important chords, here is a collection of 35 pop songs you can play with them! And then maybe after more practice you can play like this.
Walk dogs at the SPCA Humane Society.
The dogs at the local shelter need exercise – and so do you. Why not exercise together! Go for an interview on your first visit and after that you can go regularly if you want. Just sign out a dog and go for a walk.
Wash your car & your friends’ cars – or hold a neighborhood car wash.
Get everyone together and wash each other’s car. Yes, there will be water fights! Offer to wash the neighbor’s cars too. It’s more fun to have a car wash afternoon together, right?
Water balloon fight.
There has to be a water fight in order for it to officially be summer. Truly. So let’s make it a water balloon fight! How’s your throwing arm?
Water fight in the pool.
The has to be at least on water fight every summer. And the pool is the perfect place! Whether you use water guns, blasters or just splash, a water war needs to be declared this year.
Water jetpack extreme sport.
Water jetpacking is like skydiving, jet skiing, parasailing and scuba diving all rolled into one.
If you’ve tried water skiing, ziplining, paddle boarding and similar sports but want something new, this is it.
Have an adventure this summer!
Water park fun.
It doesn’t matter how old or how young you are, splashing at a water park is an exciting way to spend a summer day.
A watermelon party is more that just eating a slice. It is watermelons carved like pumpkins. Sugar cookies that look like watermelon slices. Cake & cupcakes that look like watermelons. You get the idea.
Watch a thunderstorm.
Too often we hide away indoors with the curtains closed when the weather is bad. Try to watch a thunderstorm this year – from a place of safety – and be impressed by the power of nature.
White water rafting.
Try white water rafting this summer. You & your crew enjoy a thrill ride down a river in a huge rubber raft. You can enjoy a half-day or full-day trip – or go for the gold and go several days, camping in remote areas along the way. To find the best white water rafting businesses near you, check out Rafting America. They tell you the best places for the type of rafting experience you want (road trip!), or choose your location in their nav bar to find the one nearest you.
Wine tasting or wine festival.
Attend a wine festival. Take a drive to a local winery for wine tasting. There are different types of wine tasting. Some are like classes where you are seated for a seminar to learn about wine. Others are more like a party where you can mill around and taste at your own pace. Wine tasting doesn’t come in levels, so you won’t increase your knowledge. It is to give you a chance to do what it says – taste different wines to see what you prefer. To find a wine tasting event near you, check Local Wine Events. Check with the event to make sure it’s the kind of wine tasting you want.
Wish on a dandelion.
Find a dandelion that has gone to seed – a great big fluffy one. Which way is the wind blowing? Turn so the wishes travel far on the breeze. (And don’t get caught in your hair.) Hold the dandelion by the stem near your mouth. Close your eyes and concentrate on your wish. If you’re making a wish for yourself, it’s a good idea to tack one on for a friend – there’s extra magic that way. Now take a deep breath and blow, moving your head slightly side to side. When you’re out of breath open your eyes. If all the dandelion seeds are gone, you’re wish will come true.
(Our lawyers asked us to add that we are not responsible for wishes that don’t come true. Thank you. 😁)
Write a song or poem about your summer.
Be creative! Use your summer experiences to write an amazing song or poem that touches people’s hearts. Host a poetry blast or an open stage where your family and friends can hear your composition and share theirs, too.
Write words with sparklers at night.
In the winter we’re indoors snuggled in a blanket at night but in the summer we’re outdoors as late as possible. Make it extra fun by writing words with sparklers. Don’t forget to post them on Instagram!
Yard sales or outdoor flea market.
Take a morning and drive around to some yard sales (they usually close around 2 pm) or go to an outdoor flea market. Or both. You just never know what you’ll discover! (And it’s fun to laugh at the weird stuff with friends.)
Yoga sun salutation at sunrise.
It is exhilarating to greet the sun from the beach or peak with the sun salutation. If you aren’t familiar with all of the yoga poses in the sun salutation, you will find step-by-step instructions with photos and a video at Very Well Fit.
National Geographic says a yurt is “a portable, circular dwelling made of a lattice of flexible poles and covered in felt or other fabric. They are a sturdy, reliable type of tent.” Some of them even have a little stove to keep the chill off at night.
Yurts are rented almost everywhere. Check your local listings and book a night or two for a totally different experience. This is a bucket list, after all.
Now is the time to go ziplining! Check for local opportunities, book an appointment and encourage all your friends to come, too.
Want more? See our other summer fun ideas.
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