Make This the Best Summer EVER with These Activities

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54 Super-Fun Things to Do This SummerMax Kim-Bee

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It's finally summertime! The best time of the year to step outside to enjoy hot weather, long days, and laid-back vibes that says nearly anything goes during the dog days of summer. As our responsibilities wane and the busyness of the rest of the year goes on the back burner, it’s time to start filling our beautiful days with fun things to do in the summer. If you're looking for options to add to your seasonal list, you’ve come to the right place.

When it comes to things to do in the summer with friends, we love music festivals, free events, cooling off while floating down the river, and volunteering. On the rare day where there’s rain or the weather sours, our favorite summer things to do at home include curling up with a great summer book or relaxing on the sofa with a classic summer movie. (Of course, you can also invite the whole gang over for an ice cream social or to get creative with an exciting DIY summer craft.) Then, of course, there are the once-a-year happenings it’d be a shame to miss out on, such as your local state or county fair.

Our favorite summer activities include going for a swim (or even just floating in an inflatable backyard pool), DIY projects and crafts, long driving on pretty backroads with the top down in a convertible, and—no surprise here—spending time perfecting favorite grilling recipes and no-bake desserts. With our handy-dandy summer bucket list as your guide, this season is sure to be your best one ever!

Discover wonderful summer ideas, recipes, and travel guides to plan the best summer ever:

Host a Lowcountry Shrimp Boil

In this season of outdoor dining, it doesn't get any more relaxed than throwing down some newspaper and gathering around a table for a Carolina-style lowcountry shrimp boil. Don't forget the extra rolls of paper towels!

RELATED: How to Cook a Lowcountry Shrimp Boil

a low country shrimp boil chef whitney otawka greyfield inn greyfieldinncom located on remote cumberland island georgia
Emily Dorio

Go Antiquing

Whether you plan to hit up outdoor flea markets or that one backroad antique mall that's always been on your bucket list, summer is the perfect time to start a vintage collection.

RELATED: Go Antiquing Like a Pro With These Designer Tips

summer activities with antique tin display
Shell Royster

Learn How to Hang a Hammock

Enjoy a breezy weekend day with a nap outside in your very own backyard hammock. Follow our easy to follow instructions for how to hang a hammock and you'll be relaxing in no time.

things to do in the summer hang a hammock
Melissa Ross - Getty Images

Grill Fruit

Topped with whipped cream or ice cream, fresh from the grill peaches, pineapples, and bananas are a fun alternative to traditional summer desserts.

grilling, summer desserts grilling, grilled fruit deserts grilled peaches with whipped cream and raspberries grilled pineapple with coconut ice cream, caramel sauce and roasted cashews grilled bananas with hazelnut spread and roasted hazelnuts grilled strawberries with whipped cream, shortcakes, and balsamic syrup
Hector Sanchez

Fly a Kite

Grab a set of pretty kites in a local toy store and make your way outside for a "model flight" with your family or friends. If you have little ones, let everyone select a colorful kite to enjoy plenty of airplay in your backyard or a park.

RELATED: Learn How to Fly a Kite.

summer activities with a young family flying kites in the park
LanaStock - Getty Images

Throw an Ice Cream Social

Set up a serve-yourself bar filled with unique ice cream flavors, toppings, and soda pairings, then invite friends over to create their own root beer floats, banana splits, ice cream sundaes and more.

RELATED: Best Ice Cream Festivals Across America

things to do in the summer ice cream social
Brian Woodcock

Toss Out a Fishing Line

If you're an outdoorsy person, take a weekend day to pack up your tackle box, favorite lures, and fishing poles for some quality time with a fellow outdoor enthusiasts near the water.

RELATED: DIY Your Own Fishing Pole

summer activities with father and son fishing together in a park
Wavebreakmedia - Getty Images

Fire Up the Grill

When it comes to cooking a summer meal outdoors, that usually means grilling. Everyone should know how to make the perfect burger, but don't forget about the best summer sides and even grilled desserts.

an outdoor table set with grilled burgers and other summer sides
Brian Woodcock - Hearst Owned

Create an Easy Craft

Calling all DIY lovers! This exhaustive roundup of fun summer crafts includes dozens of easy-to-make ideas, including this cute and functional multitiered herb stand made from a collection of vintage bowls.

herb stand made out of vintage bowls
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Pick Up New Summer Sundresses

These easy-breezy frocks are the unofficial outfit of warm weather season. Browse sundresses to find new additions for your dress collection.

summer activities with a woman holding sunflowers in the flower field
oatawa - Getty Images

Tackle a Scavenger Hunt

Lovers of interactive challenges, download Country Living's free printable scavenger hunt for your next family trip. The fun and challenging summer game will make time on the road fun! The winner gets to pick a prize at the next truck stop.

RELATED: Go on a Country Scavenger Hunt

scavenger hunt list on clipboard
Becky Lugart-Stayner

Go Camping

Head to a local state park or stay close to home by organizing a camping trip with friends for a fun summer activity. Pack up your tent and best camping chairs, and set out for an adventure in the great outdoors. Try some of these best campfire recipes on a camping stove—you'll be hungry after setting up camp!

RELATED: 52 Unique Camping Gifts For Outdoorsy Folks

summer activities with a family camping near a fire pit
gradyreese - Getty Images

...or Go Glamping

If your ideal version of being outdoorsy involves a cozy bed and a massage, consider adding glamorous glamping trip to your annual travel plans.

RELATED: 32 of the Best Glamping Destinations Across the United States That Are Seriously Gorgeous

best us glamping destinations at sandy pines
Sandy Pines

Take the Karaoke Party Outside

Buy a mobile entertainment setup to host a spectacular karaoke gathering at home with family and friends! Fire up the grill and setup in the backyard or on the deck for a long day of singing, esting, and bonding with your circle.

RELATED: 40 of the Best Karaoke Songs for Your Next Night Out

summer activities group of senior friends having a party
lisegagne - Getty Images

Pack a Picnic

Food just tastes better when you're eating outdoors, whether you're in a park, at the beach, or even in your own backyard.

RELATED: Delicious Packable Recipes to Help You Plan the Perfect Picnic

a group of people sitting in a field

Hit Up a County Fair

Your local county or state fair is sure to provide fun for the whole family. Where else can you eat funnel cake, ride a ferris wheel, and win prizes while playing games?

things to do in the summer country fair
am2photo - Getty Images

Take a Horse Ride

Hit the trails for an exciting summer activity—horse riding. Call local equestrian schools or stables for the schedule of classes. Whether you're an experienced rider or never been on a horse, you're sure to find the right guided experience for an adventure on the trail.

summer activitiess horseback riders talking in forest
Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd - Getty Images

Turn Your Backyard into a Pool

Whether you opt for an inflatable pool or go the stock tank route, a temporary backyard swimming spot is just the thing you need to cool off in hotter months.

three young children play in a small pink, yellow, and green inflatable pool in the backyard, a summer activity you can do at home
monkeybusinessimages - Getty Images

Go for a Hike

Calling all early risers! Morning is often the best time to hit the trails, as your hiking path will be less crowded, and you won't be out for hours in direct sunlight.

RELATED: The 50 Best Hikes in the U.S.

a father and young son and daughter hike along a shady flat trail, a fun thing to do in the summer with kids or teenagers
filmstudio - Getty Images

Swim with Sea Turtles

If your summer plans include heading to a beach destination with a population of adorable water wildlife, add swimming with turtles to your to-do list. Check out Airbnb Experiences and local directories to find safe activities for playing alongside sea animals.

summer activities snorkeling with sea turtles
Ippei Naoi - Getty Images

Hop in a Kayak

If you're near a beach or river, load a kayak and backpack with water and food for an exciting day in the water! Don't forget to also pack a first aid kit and essential supplies for a safe summer excursion.

summer activities with a young girl and her father river kayaking
Ippei Naoi - Getty Images

Surprise Your Friends with a Kind Gesture

Pick fresh flowers from your garden or stop by a floral shop to pick up blossoms to create a beautiful arrangement for a friend that loves nature. From meal trains for a sick family member to bike flower deliveries to a good friend, find unexpected ways to show affections for loved ones.

RELATED: 10 Tricks That Will Help You Arrange Flowers Like a Pro

summer activities with a bike in a garden
Becky Luigart-Stayner - Hearst Owned

Plan a Roller Rink Reunion

Plan a carefree outing that includes rolling across a skating rink with your besties. You'll feel like a kid again while catching up with old and new friends! don't forget to make time for pizza, hot dogs, and soda from the concession stand!

summer activities and things to do with friends at roller disco
Flashpop - Getty Images

Savor Tomato Season!

Regardless of whether you believe this produce is a fruit or a vegetable, tomatoes add a sweet punch of flavor to any dish. Enjoy juicy tomatoes during peak of summer and make some of our favorite tomato recipes too!

RELATED: 37 Best Tomato Recipes for America's Most Popular Produce

rustic tomato galette on parchment paper with a serrated knife and basil
Brian Woodcock

Attend an Outdoor Concert

Whether your taste is country or pop, nothing beats a summer day enjoying a musical festival with old and new friends.

RELATED: Summer Country Songs That Never Get Old

music fans cheering at an outdoor concert
gpointstudio - Getty Images

Make Homemade Popsicles

Making popsicles in the summer is like baking cookies in the winter—something you have to do. Try using the season's freshest fruit for the ultimate flavor profile.

RELATED: 40 Homemade Popsicle Recipes

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con poulos

Go Birdwatching

Admire the beauty of nature with your fellow birders by getting on the trail at a local park or nature preserve for birdwatching. Spend the afternoon or early evening together at the center of idyllic sights.

RELATED: Beginner’s Guide to Birding

fathers and son in summer activities roundup
getty images

Take Dip in a Swimming Hole

The coolest way to cool off this summer can't be found at the community pool. For a true adventure, head to one of America's most scenic swimming holes.

things to do in the summer swimming hole
KeeWeeBoy - Getty Images

Treat Yourself to a Lobster Roll

Lobster rolls may be pricey, but they're definitely worth the splurge at least once this summer. Learn how to make these classic sandwiches with our Classic Lobster Rolls Recipe!

six lobster rolls on parchment paper on a woven tray, a dish you might eat in the summer for a fun activity
Brian Woodcock

Pick a Bundle of Lavender

Come summer, there are plenty of lavender farms across the U.S. that will let pick your own fragrant bundle—or simply offer an ideal photo op for that perfect summer Instagram caption.

summer activities and things to do with a woman in lavender field
Navinpeep - Getty Images

Head to the Park

Load the car with outdoor games, a cooler of cold drinks, and basket with delicious picnic food for an afternoon of summer activities at the park with friends.

RELATED: DIY Outdoor Games for Kids and Adults

summer activities with park games
William F. Dickey - Hearst Owned

Discover a Signature Summer Cocktail

Summer is the best time to sip on a cool, refreshing drink. Try out some new summer drink recipes featuring seasonal ingredients, like this Raspberry and Lemon Rosé Sparkler, and discover a new personal favorite.

two glasses and a pitcher filled with pink raspberry lemonade
Brian Woodcock - Hearst Owned

Make S'mores

There's nothing (and we mean nothing) wrong with a good ol' graham cracker-marshmallow-chocolate bar combo. But if you want to up your s'mores game, we suggest these unexpected, equally delicious s'mores recipes.

a stack of smores
Brian Woodcock

Run Through a Sprinkler

Whether you're 5 or 50, running through a sprinkler is just plain fun! And the best part? All you need is a hose and patch of grass to make this classic summertime activity a reality.

end of summer sprinkler party
Ariel Skelley

Preserve Your Favorite Summer Fruits and Vegetables

When the farmers' market is closed for the season, you're going to wish you preserved all those goodies. Fruit preserves, pickles, and canned tomatoes are a good place to start.

a basket of strawberries
Getty Images

Visit a Botanical Garden

Spending the day surrounded by natural beauty is good for the soul, it's a fact. Browse your local botanical garden for fresh air and gardening inspiration galore. And if your city or town doesn't have one, a stroll through a park has the same effect. Bonus: Kids love it!

10 of America's Oldest Gardens

end of summer botanical garden

Shop Your Local Farmers' Market

Get the freshest, in-season produce grown by nearby farmers. And look for meats, cheeses, honey, and flowers from local vendors too. You might be surprised at all the good stuff you can bring home.

RELATED: 9 Ways to Shop Like a Pro at the Farmers' Market

summer activities and things to do at the farmers market
Becky Luigart-Stayner - Hearst Owned

Go to a Parade

Cue the favorite summer tunes and put on your most festive ensemble to attend a grand parade or event that celebrates Juneteenth, LGBTQ+ Pride Month, or Independence Day.

RELATED: 71 Fourth of July Recipes to Celebrate America

summer activity with children marching in 4th of july parade
Ariel Skelley - Getty Images

Go for a Bike Ride

Take to the trails (or just your neighborhood streets) on two wheels. Also, rent bikes while you're on vacation—it's a great (and affordable) way to explore.

a woman and her two kids ride bikes in the forest in the sunshine
Noel Hendrickson - Getty Images

Pick Fresh Flowers

Make use of the pretty flowers you've grown in your yard, or set out to a nearby flower farm to cut fresh blooms. Arrange them in a pretty Mason jar or make one of our DIY flower Crafts for your home.

a woman holds a bouquet a pink summer flowers she has picked
Getty Images

Drive a Convertible

Even if you have to borrow or rent it, a convertible is hands-down the most fun way to experience the open road. Whether for a day or a weekend (or longer if you're lucky!), consider a family road trip for a summer getaway.

end of summer drive a convertible
Colin Anderson Productions pty ltd

Wash the Car

Skip that drive-through car wash! Pull out the garden hose, fill a bucket with sudsy water, and enlist some little helpers to get your ride squeaky clean. It's a great way to cool off from hot summer temps while being productive at the same time. Reward the car wash crew by taking your clean car on a spin to the ice cream shop!

end of summer wash the car
Cavan Images

Float the River

There's a reason every water park in the country has a "lazy river." Whether you live near the Guadalupe in Texas, the Truckee in Nevada, or the Shenandoah in West Virginia, grab your tube (and your cooler, of course), and spend they day living by the motto "it's not the destination, it's the journey."

end of summer tubing in the river

Go Stargazing

Get ready for a night under the stars! Load a telescope, camping gear and supplies into your car for a stay at camping ground with minimal light pollutions and clear views of the galaxy.

RELATED: The National Park Service Guide to Stargazing

two camping tents all aglow against a dark night sky
Getty Images

Watch a Movie Outdoors

Movie screens in the backyard are certainly trending. Throw down a blanket, queue up the projector, and bring on the snacks (with no worries whatsoever about spilling!).

a couple sits on a blanket in the backyard at night watching a movie on a screen made out of a large white sheet, a summer bucket list idea
svetikd - Getty Images

Volunteer Locally

Give back to your local community by volunteering your time to a cause important to you. Here are some ideas: feeding the homeless, picking up litter, and planting or harvesting at a community garden.

RELATED: 30 Ways to Give Back to Your Community

summer activities with women environmental volunteers
Luis Alvarez - Getty Images

Spend the Day on the Water

Whether you're brunching on a boat, dining on the dock, or taking a dip in the lake, a spot on or near the water is the ideal place to soak in the last days of summer.

an idyllic summer scene features a dog resting on a red chair on a lakeside dock, beside a white rowboat with blue trim
Getty Images

Eat Corn on the Cob

While everyone has their preferred way to prepare this summer delicacy, why not try a new method at your next cookout? Here are 25 scrumptious sweet corn recipes to choose a favorite pick!

grilled corn three ways
Hector M. Sanchez

Read a Book in the Park

Take a break from technology while getting a well-deserved dose of vitamin D.

RELATED: Best Summer Beach Reads

a woman wearing jeans and a white top lies in the grass under a flowering tree and reads a book, a summer bucket list idea
Justin Pumfrey - Getty Images

Make a Scrapbook

Create a new tradition by making a scrapbook to document your favorite summer moments. Take a picture every time you cross something off of your bucket list and add to an album, along with mementos and funny stories.

summer activities with a travel scrapbook
Gary Yeowell - Getty Images

Take a Road Trip

Summer is the perfect time to explore, so hit the open road. Let each passenger pick a place they want to see, an activity they want to experience, or a place they want to eat. Make a rule to always stop at roadside stands!

RELATED: Road Trip Stops in Every State You Need to Add to Your List

two young men strap luggage to the top of a car while two young women sit on the bumper reviewing a map for a road trip, a summer bucket list idea
Getty Images

Catch a Sunset

Even if you don't travel very far, there's nothing like watching the setting sun while surrounded by nature at the end of a long day.

RELATED: Summer Quotes to Help You Celebrate the Season

a women wearing a backpack sits on a rock watching a sunset over the mountains, a summer bucket list idea
Mark Lewis - Getty Images

Take an Afternoon to Relax

Grab a new book from your bookcase and head outside on a sunny afternoon to lounge inside a hammock or chair under some shady trees. Enjoy a healthy dose of Vitamin D in your backyard with a good book, a cold drink, and summer snacks nearby.

RELATED: 15 Best Hammocks for Backyard Naps, Camping Trips, or Anywhere Else

summer activities with a hammock picnic in the woods
Brent Darby

Check Out Free Events

Are you still looking for fun summer activities but on a tight budget? Skip staying at home and find free things to do in your local paper or on Eventbrite and Facebook Events. Don't miss free and fun attractions, exhibits, and festivals across all 50 U.S. states that will leave your wallet unscathed.

summer activities two female friends at a farmer's market
eyecrave productions - Getty Images

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