How to make your own fun this summer

Yellow van driving on highway with giant rock structures and a brush field

There’s typically a ton of stuff to do when summertime hits: family trips to the zoo, aquarium or pool; the big vacation you’ve been planning and saving for; and countless concerts, festivals, block parties and events that come with the sunny season.

This year is different, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait and watch the whole summer fly by without enjoying it! If your community calendar has been wiped clean or put on hold, you’ll have to make your own adventures this year — it just takes a bit of planning.

Take a moment to make a summer bucket list with your family and soak up as much fun as you can. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Take a road trip

Chart your course to the nearest body of water (lake, river or sea), load up your car with a picnic lunch and plenty of car snacks, beach towels and sunscreen, and hit the road! Bring hiking boots or your bike if you want to take on a new trail. Leave time for naps — one of the joys of summer is dozing off in the shade. And remember to enjoy the journey, not just the destination. If you see a scenic detour or the backroad starts calling your name, take it!

Couple camping outside in a camper enjoying the night sky

Learn a new hobby

Classes, clubs and rec leagues might be harder to come by this year, but don’t let that stop you from trying something new. There are tons of free or low-cost online resources for at-home learning, whether you want to master photography or baking, woodwork or chess, cooking or yoga. Try to find one with an online community for encouragement and make a few new friends along the way. Then, put your new skills to the test.

Woman kneading dough on wooden countertop

Become a grill master

There’s nothing like cooking over an open flame, and just about everything tastes better grilled. If your list of grilled recipes begins and ends with burgers, set a goal to get that smoky flavor into everything from pineapple to pizza this year. A gas grill is the easiest to manage, as long as you keep the tank full (most grocery stores and gas stations will swap tanks for a small fee when yours goes empty). But it’s been argued that nothing beats good old charcoal. It might take a bit more practice and time, but cooking over coals adds another layer of flavor. Try it!

People making breakfast on their grill

Channel your inner child and play outside

When you’re a kid, summer is all about soaking up the sunshine, playing hard all day and collapsing into bed at night. Think back to the things you loved doing when you were young. Playing sports? Grab your old baseball glove and call a friend for a game of catch at the park. Swimming? Head to the community pool with a beach towel and a bottle of sunscreen. (If your local pool is closed, there are inexpensive kiddie pools deep enough for relaxing in the backyard — no kidding.) Sleepovers? Find a few rom-coms on Netflix and get the nail polish ready.

There’s no age limit on living it up all summer long! If it sounds fun, go for it — even if you haven’t done a cannon ball since 1999.

Mother and her children laughing on a surf board in the ocean waves

Summer is here!

This time of year, nothing beats the feeling you get from a face full of sunshine. Don’t miss it! What are your best ideas for filling the long summer days?

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