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22 Actually Cool Things to Do in Summer 2022

22 Actually Cool Things to Do in Summer 2022

Ah, summer. The days are longer. The cold drinks are flowing. And there’s finally time for that big trip you’ve been wanting to take. While summertime can’t always deliver on those grand adventures you’ve been craving, there’s usually at least a little bit of time for rest and relaxation. Or at least a few days off from work.

Summertime is a great opportunity to reset. We make resolutions at the beginning of the year and traditionally set aside some time for Spring Cleaning but the summer is just as important for resetting and refreshing.

And this summer in particular has tons of promise. While it’s still important to travel safely, places have once again started opening up and there are plentiful destinations for excursions. Whether you feel up for airplane travel or prefer to trek through the country in a car, this summer is the perfect time to finally take the big trip you’ve been waiting for.

So in an effort to help you fill your summer itinerary, we’ve put together a list of things to do in summer 2022. From small activities to large-scale adventures these are 22 cool things to do this summer.

Clean Out Your Closet

While this sounds like more of a chore than a fun activity, cleaning out your closet is, in my opinion, the best way to kick off summer. Your Spring Cleaning should have been your first opportunity to put away all of your winter clothes but, in the event that you still have a parka or two hanging up in your closet, this is your chance to swap out your fleeces for your linens. It’s usually not a bad idea to keep a couple sweaters or jackets for chilly summer evenings, but we’d suggest getting a quality underbed storage container and folding up all of your winter garments. Now you’ll have plenty of space for your camp shirts, linen pants, and light summer jackets.

Go to the Beach

go-to-the-beachThis one is a given but it can be hard to set aside the time for a true beach visit. Avoid the holidays because most beaches will be crawling with tourists and, if you’re on the East Coast, the end of the season will offer much warmer water. But it’s a waste to go a whole summer without hitting the beach. If you live on the coast, you know the drill. Otherwise, combine this with one of the other upcoming activities on this list and plan a road trip. You’ll want to know the rules and customs of whatever beach you’re going to. Can you bring alcohol? Will you need to pay before/after a certain time? Is it going to be packed? Generally, we’d recommend packing a cooler with some water, cold beer, and some sandwiches/snacks. Make sure to bring some towels and a speaker. And then leave a jug of water in your trunk so you can rinse off all the sand before hopping back in the car.

Plan a “Bring Your Own Pool” Party

This idea was courtesy of a friend of mine and is such a great party theme. I picked up this great inflatable pool from Wren, which is perfect for solo hangs in the backyard, but if you want to get a group of friends involved, have them acquire their own inflatable pools and bring them over. You can find plenty of cheap inflatable pools on Amazon, fill them all up with water, grab some beers, snacks, and let everyone enjoy their own individual pool party.

Master the Grill/BBQ

Become-Grill-masterFirst of all, when is the last time you properly cleaned your grill? Set aside a single afternoon to really make it sparkle. Then, become a grill expert. If you don’t have one already, get yourself a grill and then familiarize yourself with how it works. Get a sense of how the temperature fluctuates, because this will have a serious impact on how you cook your food. Create heat zones for actual cooking and then for searing/finishing. And then get creative with what you’re cooking. Burgers and hot dogs are great but I love just chopping up a bunch of veggies and tossing them in some foil on the grill, too.

Travel Somewhere New

As more destinations open up, summer 2022 is a great chance to finally take that dream vacation to somewhere new. You might not feel comfortable flying internationally (or even domestically) but you can try to find somewhere accessible by train, bus, or even a car rental. The New York Times, as always, has its annual list of travel destinations with some excellent options. For the summertime, we’d definitely recommend some national parks and lately we’ve been hearing great things about traveling to the American Southwest. Book your trip and find your new favorite vacation spot.

Travel Somewhere Old

Visit-Somewhere-oldAnd, going hand-in-hand with our previous recommendation, visit somewhere you’ve already been. While this might seem boring, I guarantee you missed something on your last vacation. Once you’ve gotten a taste for someplace, you might think you need to move on to somewhere new. But returning to a destination you’ve already visited can be very rewarding. You’ll have the restaurants, bars, and points of interest you loved from your last trip plus you can discover what new sites have opened up.

Make an Americano

There are plenty of excellent summer cocktails worth having in your arsenal. But, in my opinion, few are better than the Americano. And yet you rarely find bars serving this delicious aperitivo. While the Aperol Spritz had its five minutes of fame, I think it’s time for the Americano to hit the spotlight. Grab yourself a bottle of sweet red vermouth and Campari (or similar Italian aperitivo), some soda water, and get mixing. It’s refreshing, easy, and perfect for the warmer months. 2022 is the summer of Americano.

Go to the Drive-In

Drive-in-movies
Few things are more classic Americana than a Drive-In Movie Theater. Sadly, many of these nostalgic destinations are shutting down but there’s a decent chance there’s one within driving distance. It might be slightly out of the way, but the summertime is perfect for making a trip to the drive-in. Here is a handy resource with every drive-in theater in the country.

Read a Book

There are few better places to read a book than on a beach in the summer. Channel those summer reading challenges from when you were a kid and pick up a few books you’ve been meaning to read. We’ve already compiled a pretty extensive list of books everyone should read at least once, so head to your local library or buy yourself a copy and get reading.

Go to a Summer Music Festival

summer-music-festivalNow that things have begun to open back up, musicians have once again started touring the country. So, if it’s been years since your last concert, this summer is the perfect time to catch some live music. Find an outdoor music festival in your area at sites like this one or check your local venues for some concerts. Live music is great any time of the year but it’s hard to beat those laid-back outdoor festival nights. Bring a few folding chairs, a blanket, and some cold ones and enjoy the show.

Take a Road Trip

If you don’t yet feel comfortable with airplane travel, pick a destination in the United States and hit the open road. The best road trips have stops along the way so plan a route that offers scenic spots all the way to your final destination. It’s a bit of a cliche but the classic American road trip is truly one of the best summer activities. Make sure you have plenty of snacks, good road trip playlists, and a co-pilot to enjoy the grand adventure. Last summer I took a road trip through the state of North Carolina, which was excellent, but I’d also recommend California, Upstate New York, Maine, or really anywhere there’s a national park.

Become a Biker/Cyclist

cyclist-in-summerDepending on where you live, this activity will be very weather dependent. You don’t want to be cycling everywhere in high humidity and scorching heat. But, the summertime is an excellent opportunity to fix up your bike (or get a new one) and cycle around your city. Not only is cycling a great way to experience where you live with fresh eyes, but it’s also a much more sustainable way to travel. If you’re feeling brave, you can embrace the road cyclist lifestyle. Otherwise, a simple bike is a great way to get from point A to point B at a leisurely pace.

Pack a Picnic for the Park

Pick a cool summer afternoon for a nice picnic in the park. Check ahead of time if there are regulations on what you can have (alcohol, grills, etc.) and pack a bag for dinner in the park. Burgers and hot dogs on a portable grill are always great options, as are some easy sandwiches, salads, and dips. Make sure to bring a speaker and invite a few friends to get the party started.

Rent a Boat

rent-a-boat-this-summerGetting out on the water is a perfect summertime treat. While owning a boat poses plenty of challenges, renting one for the day is significantly easier. Depending on your preference, you can usually find some rental options at the beach or a local lake. Additionally, you can go for the simpler option of kayaking or canoeing. Either way, a water expedition is one of the best summer activities.

Catch a Ballgame

Baseball is unequivocally the sport of summer. And the ballpark is a great warm-weather destination. Make sure to apply plenty of sunscreen, hydrate appropriately, and cheer on the local team. If there are no Major League teams, seek out the closest Minor League stadium. Prices are usually significantly cheaper and I find that Minor League games are even more fun than the pro games. (Go Durham Bulls!) If you’re looking for an alternative and willing to try a new sport, summer soccer games are also great options. MLS continues to expand but the National Women’s Soccer League offers some great sporting events and you might even find some amateur teams in your area. Grab some friends and enjoy the summer nights under the lights.

Go on a Weekend Hike

weekend-hiking-this-summerFor those with an adventurous spirit, summer hikes are perfect. Once you have the necessary gear to enjoy the great outdoors, weekend hiking trips can be cheap, fun excursions. Find a trail and map out your journey with some campsites overnight. S’mores are of course a necessity.

Find Your Local Watering Hole

There are plenty of online resources to find a suitable swimming hole, like this janky yet effective site, but the bottom line is you should seek out a local watering hole for a summertime swim. Be extra careful with these natural places – there’s obviously no lifeguard on duty. But, many communities throughout the country have gathering spots for swimming out in nature. So go with a group, exercise caution, and cool off on the hot summer days.

Become a Regular Somewhere

Things to do this summerI think this is a great activity year-round, but it’s particularly fun during the summer. If you haven’t already found a destination in your city where you frequently visit, pick out your favorite bar, restaurant, cafe, or whatever and become a regular. Familiarize yourself with the staff, try out the entire menu, tip generously, and become an expert at your favorite locale. Being a regular means you have a dedicated relationship with an establishment; make sure to bring guests and friends if they happen to be visiting. Make it a habit to return to this spot regularly throughout the summer.

Build or Make Something

My wife has taken up some amateur carpentry this year and has made some pretty impressive tables and chairs. It’s a great activity if you happen to have a sizeable backyard but turn this season into DIY summer. Pick up some crafts, and try making or building something. It can be a small project or you can tackle larger home renovation tasks. As always, be safe but with more free time this summer, it’s a great chance to make something. Spruce up your backyard or your porch, build some simple furniture, try painting, or just pick up a kit at your local crafts store. Working with your hands is incredibly rewarding, so take advantage of the summer.

Grow Your Own Food

plant a herb garden3While it might feel like you need some serious outdoor space to start a garden, as long as you have a few feet to spare, you can try growing something as simple as a windowsill herb garden. Pick a particularly sunny window, leave some herbs to grow, and harvest when you can. There is definitely something special about being able to cook with the fruits of your labor like tomatoes or lettuce in the backyard, but even a bit of mint, thyme, or rosemary as cocktail garnishes or flavor additions to your dishes.

Attend a Wedding

There’s nothing quite like a summer wedding. Obviously it’s great to celebrate love all year round, but the breezy vibes of summer weddings are hard to beat. And of course you can’t guarantee that you’ll have a summer wedding to attend, but if given the chance, we highly recommend you take it. We’ve put together some guides on properly enjoying weddings this summer including what to wear and how to drink so you’ll survive the next day.

Host an Outdoor Movie Night

outdoor movie night in the backyardEnjoying a movie under the stars is a special summer activity. Order in some pizza (or make your own) and find a flick to screen either outdoors or in a local park. And if you don’t have the space or the projector to host your own outdoor movie party, many cities host public ones. So bring a blanket and some snacks.

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