Happy Summer Solstice (and full moon)! At least in my neck of the woods, summer‘s been in the air for a while, but now it’s official! Here are a few ways to make sure you’re taking advantage of this fabulous season.

  1. Take a long walk without a pre-set destination. Bonus points: time your walk at dawn or dusk.
  2. Spend a day on a large body of water. Swim, water-ski, fish, wade, or just enjoy the sun shimmering on the surface while you soak up some rays.
  3. Go to a farmers market. Buy a local, seasonal fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried before and find a cool recipe to use it in.
  4. Take a nap in the sun. Just be sure to put on sunscreen first!
  5. Hike a new trail.
  6. When you go out to eat, sit outside and people watch.
  7. Plan one thing to do each week–you get to spend your whole week anticipating it, and you make sure you fit in the fun activities you want to do.
  8. Work out outside. This could mean taking a run around a lake, finding a local outdoor yoga class (they’re more common than you might think!), or just dragging your dumbbells out to your porch. Be creative! The sunshine will boost the feel-good effects you’re already getting from your workout. Just make sure you’re hydrated and don’t go out during the hottest part in the day!
  9. Find a tourist calendar for your city and check out what festivals and events are going on. Near Denver like me? Check out the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, the Renaissance Festival, the Cherry Blossom Festival, the Colorado Irish Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, or the Summerset Festival.
  10. Check out your local county fair! There always lots of fun competitions, booths, and some excellent people watching.
  11. Take a road trip. You can go all-in and plan a coast-to-coast epic, or stay closer to home and do a day or weekend trip to an attraction a few hours away. I’m planning on taking the three hours up to visit the UFO Watchtower for novel research.
  12. Go stargazing. Now that the weather’s warm enough to lay out under the stars, take a trip somewhere with low light pollution (if you live in the city), set out a blanket, and watch the sky turn. If you’re a fan of shooting stars (and who isn’t?), try planning around the Delta Aquarids at the end of July or, more spectacularly for the Northern Hemisphere, the Perseids in mid-August.
  13. Celebrate Midsummer’s Eve. There are lots of cultural traditions around celebrating the longest day of the year (and shortest night).  It traditionally takes place June 24, the day of the solstice on the Roman calendar. Have a bonfire, read the fun monologues from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, get some fresh flowers, or go dancing.
  14. Make some fun summer cocktails or mocktails with seasonal fruit.
  15. Fly somewhere. If you’re willing to brave the historically long security lines, airfare is projected to be pretty reasonable this summer. Take advantage and go see that out-of-state friend you’ve been meaning to visit!
  16. Have a screen-free day — my favorite day to do this is Sunday. Every time you have the urge to check your phone, take special note of the sunshine, or the smell of your cup of coffee, or even just the feeling of taking a couple deep breaths.
  17. Read a whole book in one sitting. Summer can be about indulging your mind, not just your body.
  18. Sign up for a 5k. There are lots of fun, low-pressure, themed races all over the country. Try the Color Run for starters.
  19. Take a class. A lot of community colleges will do summer classes for adults. Try something new, like ASL, ceramics, or French cooking.
  20. Missing your out-of-town friends, and can’t make it out to visit? Put together fun summer care packages instead. Include things like a cute pair of sunglasses, a beach read (or hardcore thriller, or whatever they like), and a heartfelt letter.
  21. Have an outdoor movie night. Find a friend with a projector and watch your favorite movies on the side of your house with good friends and good snacks. No projector? Find a nearby drive-in theater–I promise they still exist!
  22. Make homemade ice cream. It’s way better than the store-bought stuff. You can use an ice cream maker or go old-school and make it in a coffee can. I also love adding fresh local produce, like peaches or raspberries.
  23. Speaking of fresh produce, try picking your own. Find out which local orchards/farms will allow you to come and grab your own fruits and veggies.
  24. Spend an afternoon decluttering your house. I know this isn’t fun, exactly, but the high you’ll get when you throw open all the windows and haul out four bags of garbage and items to donate is totally worth it.
  25. Give back. Summer is an especially fun time to volunteer, because the opportunities are so broad. From working in a local non-profit garden to helping out with local races and counseling kids at summer camp, the possibilities are endless. A quick search for “volunteer + [your city]” will usually give you lots of great options.

What about you? What are you planning on doing this summer? What would you add to our list of must-do summer fun?