Things to do for what's left of the season
Summer is in full swing. With nine weeks to go for the official end of the season, people are still planning trips and outdoor activities to enjoy the warmest time of the year. But if you’re like me, summer doesn’t necessarily mean vacation. With a 9 to 5 job from Monday to Friday, you won’t even know if it’s sunny outside unless you’re blessed with a window office. And if you live in a place like Florida, summer doesn’t mean sunny all the time either. You wake up to clear skies, only to be drenched two hours later by the likes of a tropical storm. If it doesn’t rain, then it’s so hot, that you can’t just fry an egg on the street, you can prepare a whole meal.
So, what to do to enjoy summer with a full-time job and crappy weather? For us rat-racers, summer becomes the weekends. This means that we need to plan nine activities to take advantage of the remaining summer weekends. In my case, many of these will depend on how moody the day is; with good planning and a peek at the Weather Channel app the day before, I'm sure I can check them all off my list. Since we don’t have much time, let's get right to them.
1. Take a dip: If you’re lucky enough to live near the beach, a lake, a river or any body of water, put on a swim suit if you choose to, and dive into it. Make a day out of it by bringing refreshments, a wireless Bluetooth speaker to play your favorite tunes, an air bag or a beach mat to relax in style after a good swim, snorkeling masks, and a beach tent to guard against the sun, because umbrellas are so last year. That's where you'll find me this weekend, bathed in sun block not to get scorched, with a Piña Colada on one hand and Oreos in the other.
2. Visit a Farmer’s market: Taking advantage of the nicer weather, many cities and towns have farmer’s markets during the weekends, from small ones in parking lots, to big ones hosted in warehouses. Each farmer’s market has its own charm, its own special products to capture your heart and wallet. With the amount of fruits and veggies in season now, make sure to bring a big backpack to take some of these treats home. I particularly get into a state of euphoria when I find ripe mangoes, homemade honey, cheeses and chocolate.
3. Catch a summer blockbuster: If you’re faced with a rainy or an extremely hot day, or if you only have a few hours of leisure, make sure to stop by your nearest theater to enjoy any of the major movie releases. Whether you like to laugh, cry, scream or throw punches, you’ll find something to keep you entertained for a couple of hours. I've already missed most of this year's hits, but I can't wait for the one where Samuel L. Jackson kicks everyone's butt, although, to be fair, that could be any of his movies.
4. A walk in the park: If you're in a city or town that has public parks and it's not blistering hot, plan a picnic day with your least annoying family members and friends. Your outdoor activities could include playing football, soccer, volleyball or any other ball sport you like, riding bikes, reading if your party allows it, and of course, eating. Bring your music, some mats and enjoy a day of doing absolutely nothing. If you can't spend a whole day, most parks offer weekend events for the summer, both during the day and night, which you could take advantage of.
5. Take another dip: This time I'm referring to a pool or water park. If you have a pool at home, mazel tov! Now is the perfect moment to organize pool parties. You could invite the same people you invited to the park, invite new people if the first ones didn't do it for you, or just enjoy the pool by yourself with your significant other or your kids. If you don't have a pool at home, then you need to start making friends with people that do. Some public parks offer low cost or free water parks, or you can search for a water theme parks near your house and make a weekend road trip of it.
6. Drive for the weekend: As mentioned in the previous point, choose a town, city, theme park, national park or any other exciting location near your place of living and drive there. If your destination is 3 hours or less from your house, you could leave Friday night and come back Sunday afternoon. These short trips are fun, not that expensive, and they help you disconnect from your daily responsibilities like no other activity. The road is also a good opportunity to engage in conversation with your family, if you confiscate everyone's cell phone before getting into the car.
7. Set up a tent: If camping is your thing, combine points 1 and 6, by driving to a lake or river and staying a couple of nights. Enjoy the outdoors, hike, swim, light up a fire, prepare s'mores and sing Kumbaya. Make sure you take a comfortable tent, camping tools and lamps, solar chargers for your phone, mosquito repellent and food. If don't feel like driving, camp in your backyard! You’ll be amazed at how different things look once you change your perspective.
8. Run, Forest: For the athletic types, summer is filled with running and obstacle course races. A quick Google search will give you the different options available near your location, from 5k’s to half and full marathons. Many of the 5 and 10k’s are themed, or enhanced with obstacles to test your endurance and how easy you bruise. I personally end up doing at least one muddy obstacle course race a year, even though I “retire” every time I complete one.
9. Fill your head with Art: Museums are always a good place to spend a few hours of your weekend, regardless if they are of Science, Natural History, Art or any other kind. Not only will you be surrounded by timeless masterpieces and interesting bits of history, you will enjoy the peace and quiet usually found in these places, unless they are kid museums. Save this visit for a day when the weather is not favorable for being outdoors.
In many places, the nice summer weather lasts a few more weeks, so repeat the activities you liked best, or come up with new ones, like throwing a BBQ party, learn to water ski, go sky diving, crash a wedding, whatever tickles your fancy! Just be safe, keep yourself hydrated, and make sure you're back to work on Monday.