Not going away this summer? You’re not alone. Many of us won’t be taking a trip this year, for many different reasons. But just because you’re not splurging on a modest vacation doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the warm weather, even in small ways. Here’s my personal list of ideas to enjoy this summer without going away.
- Organize an after-work water balloon fight–Send out that group message or Facebook invite and get your friends together for a friendly water balloon/water gun fight. Check the forecast to make sure it is a hot, sunny evening. You can get some cheap water guns from your local dollar store, and they probably carry water balloons as well. Organize teams or just have a free-for-all. If you need some ideas for water fight games, there’s some here.
- Visit your local park–If hiking is your thing, check online to see which nearby parks have hiking trails (and if you live in a city, check out urban hiking). If you just want some trees and a change of scenery, any size park will do. (Also, if it’s a hot day, don’t be shy about running through the sprinklers. If you’re surrounded by strangers, there’s a good chance you won’t be seeing these people again anytime soon.)
- Throw a beach-themed party–Coordinate with your friends and/or family and pick an evening to relax, eat, and have some fun. Decor can be as simple or complicated as you like–at the very least, buy seashells at a hobby shop for the table and hang some paper lanterns (and there are more ideas here). Get two people to hold a broom, and you have a limbo stick. This is also a good time to break out the Uno cards or any board games you haven’t played in awhile. For background music, check out my Summer Beach Party Playlist over at Nikita Listens! (Note: If you don’t have a yard to use, or if it rains, you can always bring this party indoors!)
- Spend a day at the beach/lake/pool–If you’ve ever been on vacation to an island or a seaside town, you know that the views can be pretty unbeatable (not to mention those nice breezes in the evening). However, if the view doesn’t really matter and you just want to be near any body of water, organize a get-together with family or friends and head over to the closest beach, lake, or swimming pool. It’s even better if you know someone who has a pool in their backyard because then you can spend your time more leisurely without dealing with crowds.
- Visit a museum–Museums are great if you enjoy more intellectually stimulating activities when you go on vacation. Try visiting one you’ve never been to before–you might learn something new, and you can get a few laughs by trying the FaceApp on sculptures, paintings, and photographs (I am curious to see how this app would work on a taxidermied animal…).
- Eat a burger–while you can enjoy a charbroiled burger any time of the year, I always associate summertime with barbecues. If neither you nor your friends own a grill, you can still hop on Yelp and find the highest-rated burger joint near you. (If you’re in NYC, Bareburger serves only grass-fed beef, so you know those cows lived a good and happy life. They also have vegan burgers and gluten-free buns!)
- Read books–As Arthur once said, “having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.” Elementary school teachers lure kids into learning how to read with the promise of being transported to other places through books. Therefore, if you can’t physically go somewhere, you can still read about it and utilize the power of your imagination. If you’re looking for some solid suggestions, this list on Goodreads has a whole bunch of books that take place in faraway lands.
- Go to the movies–Summer blockbuster season is upon us, which means plenty of popcorn flicks and a few sleeper hits. It’s not Oscar season yet, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any highly entertaining films in theaters. Check Rotten Tomatoes before you go if you have trouble deciding which movie you’re almost guaranteed to enjoy–but to be honest, sometimes the best movie critics you can trust are your friends.
- Take a crafting class–Or really, any kind of class. Websites like Meetup and Coursehorse can help you find a class near you, and if there aren’t any, there are so many online options! Utilize the warm weather to do the things you normally can’t do during the rest of the year, like photographing fireworks or painting outside.
- Plan a staycation–Do all your errands and chores during the week so your weekend is entirely free. Tell your friends and family to pretend you’re out of town, fix yourself a nice summery drink, and go relax on your sofa/fire escape/porch. Activities are optional.
I am nearing 27 years of age and I’ve been on 9 family vacations. I’m very blessed to have had those trips, since many people have never even had one vacation. Still, some of my fondest summer memories are from the things I did on a normal summer day, like running through the sprinklers at the park with strangers’ kids, and eating ice cream with my grandma during breezy evenings in the backyard. Enjoying the summer is not so much about where you go, but rather about enjoying the moment, and especially enjoying your time with your family and friends. I hope you have a great summer, no matter where you are. 🙂