Happy second day of summer! Yesterday was the longest day of the year, so while the calendar says that summer just started, the days are already getting shorter and we’re still just getting into the swing of the season.
Don’t let summer pass you by. Here are 21 simple ways to squeeze every last drop out of your summer.
1. Drink something summery: When it’s hot outside, exchange your regular beverage for a refreshing summer cocktail, fresh squeezed lemonade, a crisp and fruity white wine or a light summer beer.
2. Eat outside: Somehow everything just taste better better al fresco. So pull out a picnic blanket and head to the park (or even your own backyard) and choose patio seating whenever you can. Stuck at work? Take that take-out outside. You have all winter to eat in that dimly lit breakroom. It’s time for some sun!
3. Bring the outdoors in
If you’re stuck indoors more than you’d like, head to your favorite flower shop — or even your own garden — for a simple bouquet of flowers. It’s an instant pick-me-up. The arrangement doesn’t need to be big or expensive to pack a punch. Even a few wildflowers in a mason jar can wake up a room. Don’t like flowers? Try an easy-to-grow succulent plant or some potted herbs.
4. Take a hike: Take a Saturday and really explore that city or state park that tugs at your heart every time you drive by. Walk along the river or a lake and watch the sun shimmer on the water. Or explore your own neighborhood. And whenever the walls start closing in, set aside 10 minutes to get moving, even if it’s just down the street to grab a cup of coffee. Sometimes that’s all you need to change your perspective.
5. Catch a baseball game: America’s pastime is at its best outdoors. If there’s no professional team near you, check out a minor league or college team or pack a picnic and check out a local Little League game. The game is slow-paced and fairly easy to follow, the people watching is great and you can enjoy something delicious while you soak up the sun.
6. Buy something summery: That cute bathing suit. Those neon Ray Bans. The perfect pair of dock shoes. If an item screams summer to you, just give in and get it. Then make a point to work it into your wardrobe immediately. It’ll make you happy every time you put it on.
7. Put it on the grill: That charbroiled taste is an unmistakeable sign of summer. Keep something you like to grill on hand for when the mood strikes. (Hot dogs, brats and vegetables like corn and asparagus are all easy options.) If you don’t have room for a grill, you can use a table top option to mimic the effect.
8. Get wet: Embrace your inner five year-old and splash around a little. Hit the city pool, the local splash pad or just turn on the sprinkler. The rush you get when that ice cold spray hits you is the most squeal-inducing form of nostalgia around.
9. Go junking: Hit up a weekend flea market or amble over to one of the garage sales that are surely popping up in your neighborhood like wildflowers. Bring cash, don’t be afraid to bargain and allow plenty of time to wander. You might just find a few treasures.
10. Flag down the ice cream truck: Because sticky fingers on a hot summer night is what the season is all about.
11. Hit a farmer’s market: Taking in the earthy smell of dirt and the fragrance of the ripe produce is a pleasure in itself. And when that experience is over, you’ll have fresh, locally grown food that will be a great addition to your table.
12. Catch an event in the open air: Most outdoor amphitheaters and local parks have jam packed outdoor music and event schedules. The tickets are usually pretty affordable — and in some cases, even free. It’s a great way to experience something new without spending a lot of money.
13. Get a pedicure — guys too: Sand, sea and sandals can wreak havoc on your feet. Scheduling a pedicure keeps them looking good and gets you some much needed me-time. If the idea of nail polish makes your shudder, your technician can buff your nails for a totally natural look without any polish.
14. Plant something: Gardening is therapeutic and you don’t have to have acres of space to reap the benefits. Lots of flowers, herbs and vegetables do just fine in containers, so you can start growing something even if you only have a few inches of space.
15. Try something from a food truck: Food trucks run the gamut from bare bones to fancy, but they all offer you a chance to get our of your culinary comfort zone and enjoy eating outdoors. And there’s something fun — and strangely communal — about meeting your neighbors in line that’s unique to the food truck experience.
16. Ride a bike: The world just feels different with the wind in your hair. Bust out your old bike. rent one in a local park or from a local bike shop or try a bike share program, your city is lucky enough to have one.
17. Throw a backyard party: Whether you’re playing lawn games or roasting marshmallows over a fire, entertaining is easy in the summer. Just put some drinks on ice, throw something on the grill and ask your friends to bring sides and you’ve got a party.
18. Read with abandon: It’s time to liberate books from all the arbitrary categories we put them in. Read what you love — period. Read poetry of philosophy at the beach or or sit down with a glass of wine and delve into juicy, guilty pleasure. No judgement here.
19. Watch the stars: There’s something timeless about sitting under a canopy of stars on a balmy summer night. Ambient light is the enemy here, so if you live in a major metropolitan area, you will have to commit to a bit of a drive. Those of us with more rural lives can pull off onto any dirt road we choose and stretch out on a blanket in a matter of minutes. Bring snacks, drinks and an extra blanket or two to cuddle up in.
20. Go fishing: Watching and waiting are meditative — and a nice change of pace from our hectic everyday lives. If you’re far from a lake or an ocean, chances are there’s a river a quick drive from where you’re sitting. Just make sure to check local ordinances and permitting requirements before you head out.
21. Relax and do nothing: Make no plans. Nap in a hammock. Eat popsicles for lunch. Watch the grass grow. Sometimes the best way to spend a summer day is to do nothing at all.