There’s something special about summer. Somewhere in the short spring season, you’ll go from full-on winter hibernation mode to summertime outdoor enthusiast. The weekends are full of outdoor concerts, baseball games, and endless parties and BBQs. Even the sun stays out longer providing more time after work to get in that bike ride or eat al fresco in your own backyard. For some, the ideal summer revolves around their own backyard, porch, and grill, but if you’re looking to do some travel, this may be the year for it. Predictions for 2016 say that the year will bring the highest hotel occupancy levels and room rates, but that flights will drop in cost since airlines have added several new flights, which translates into an excess of seat inventory.
Whether you want to check some items off your bucket list, get in great shape, spend time in the mountains, or take a long road trip, summer is the time to make it happen. Make sure you don’t miss a thing, by adding some of these must-do ideas to your summer to-do list.
1. Host a backyard bash
Have you spent hours laying sod, expanding your back porch, and landscaping your garden? Show off all your hard work and spend time outdoors with friends by hosting a yard party. Whether you’re thinking of hot dogs on the grill and paper plates or want to host an elegant evening dinner party, an outdoor bash makes having a big group of people over easy and low-stress. Visit your local farmers market and take advantage of some of the season’s freshest ingredients.
2. Get in the best shape of your life
The summer lends itself to fitness. Unlike the middle of winter, when the cold and dark may easily dissuade you from getting in an evening workout, the summer sun gives you a no-excuse reason to get outside. This summer workout challenge from BuzzFeed can be done anywhere and includes 25 healthy recipes to give you the tools needed to have the healthiest summer yet.
3. Create the ultimate slip n’ slide
Whether you have kids or are just a kid at heart you’ll have fun creating this summer throwback. On those unbearably hot summer days turn your yard into a mini water park. Throw on the sprinklers, fill up the kiddie pool, and create the ultimate slip n’ slide. Sure you can go buy one for $30 but it will be even more fun if you create this DIY slip n’ slide from scratch.
4. Road trip to a national park
Some of the most beautiful scenery in the country can be found within U.S. National Parks. Pack up the car and head to one of the 58 impressive parks across the country. From the everglades to dessert to mountains, practically every terrain is represented. Check Yosemite off your bucket list or go camping and sand boarding in the Great Sand Dunes in Southeast Colorado.
5. Become a regular at the farmers market
The summer is a great time to eat locally and sustainably. Local farms will be selling their finest goods at the summer’s farmers markets. Nothing compares to a perfectly ripe tomato or a juicy peach that was grown just miles down the road. If you like to cook, let the seasonal ingredients inspire you to create new dishes. Farmers markets aren’t just about the produce, make sure to check out local baked goods, honey, crafts, and food stalls.
6. Explore a city by bike
There is nothing like exploring a city on two wheels. You can zip through neighborhoods, get some exercise, and hop on and off your bike whenever something catches your eye. Several cities have jumped on board by building extensive bike friendly trails and installing inexpensive bike rentals that make exploring by bicycle cheap and easy.
7. Turn your yard into a relaxation zone
Why sink into your couch and flip on the TV when you could be outside enjoying the cool shade of your own backyard? Put up a hammock, grab a book, and sip on some lemonade while you enjoy the breeze. If a hammock isn’t your scene, a lawn chair will do the trick. The key is to create an outdoor space that allows you to completely relax.
8. Catch a game
Even if you’re not a sports fan, there is nothing like sitting in an open, outdoor baseball stadium with friends, eating nachos, cracking peanuts, and enjoying an ice cold beer. Whether you spend your time engrossed in the game or people watching, it will feel great to be outside enjoying one of America’s favorite pastimes.
9. Make drunken gummy bears
The summer’s long evenings lend themselves to BYO booze. You can make a batch of fruit-filled sangria, brew a summer beer at home, or if you have a sweet tooth, try soaking your favorite gummy candy in a bowl of hard alcohol. Throw them in the fridge for five hours and pack them along wherever you go for a crowd-pleasing treat.