A Summer of Adventure: 75+ Summer Bucket List IdeasMay 27, 2023
It’s almost June, the days are getting longer and the weather (at least in the northern hemisphere) is warming up. For those with school aged kids, the academic year is coming to a close, and summer adventures await. We’ve talked in prior posts about the benefits of goal setting and visioning practices. Setting and pursuing meaningful goals contribute to greater well-being and life satisfaction (Emmons, 2003), and helps ensure we are intentionally spending our time and energy in ways that are aligned with our intention. Having goals can also help boost resilience and tolerance for adversity.
Goals don’t have to be big things (a new home, a new job, writing a book). They can be just as powerful and meaningful in smaller increments. In Laura Vanderkam’s book Tranquility by Tuesday, she discusses her “nine rules” to have more ease, and enjoy life more. One of these rules is for every week to include some adventures to add variety and meaning to each week. She explains that when we’re kids, almost everything is new, and time feels expansive. As we get older, our days and weeks are often repetitive (same routine every day), contributing to time feeling like it is speeding up. She describes a few examples of adventures: going to a local gallery, trying a new hiking trail, going to a salsa class. What a wonderful idea!
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1. Brainstorm Adventures
Have everyone in your family come up with as many ideas as possible of things you’d like to do, places you’d like to go, experiences you’d like to have, ideas you are curious about, events you’d like to participate in, people you’d like to see. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and write down as many ideas as you can think of! Looking for a boost? There’s a starter set of ideas for inspiration below (they are also in the download). At this stage of the process, you are looking for volume. Don’t edit your list at this stage, generating inspiration is the name of the game.
2. Pick your Top Bucket List Items
Try to come up with at least 12 ideas, which is about one a week for June, July and August. Decide how many bigger adventures you want to shoot for in addition to these smaller adventures.
3. Schedule your Top Ideas
Discuss your bucket list with anyone you share your life with. Decide together which ones are “must haves”, and start with those. You can make this fun with smaller kids by alternating who gets to choose the bucket list item for the week, or putting all of your top bucket list items in a jar and pulling one out each week.
4. Make it memorable
The adventure itself is only part of the fun. Looking forward to it (anticipation) and remembering it both enhance the experience. So pick your bucket list item a few days in advance so everyone can look forward to it together. Once it’s complete, have everyone in the family reflect on their fondest part of the experience (there’s a template for this in the download). This can also be a really fun way to create a summer photo album, documenting your adventures.
The Big Bucket List Inspiration List
Here it is, over 75 ideas to inspire you! All of these are in the download, where you can circle your favorites and add your own ideas! Let this inspire you for a summer of fun and adventure. Happy ideating!
- Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it in a nearby park.
- Try a new hiking trail close to home, to work, or a short drive away.
- Attend outdoor yoga or fitness classes, like Yoga in the Park.
- Try a bookclub at a local bookstore, or online.
- Explore a nearby town or city.
- Try a new restaurant for dinner.
- Take a relaxing evening stroll by the beach or a nearby waterfront.
- Plan a self-care day with a massage or spa treatment.
- Attend outdoor concerts or music festivals on weekends.
- Sign up for a painting or pottery class.
- Go on a boat ride.
- Try a new water sport like Stand Up Paddleboarding or Kayaking.
- Have a water balloon fight in the backyard.
- Create an obstacle course and have a friendly competition.
- Set up a lemonade stand in the neighborhood.
- Build a fort using blankets and pillows indoors or outdoors.
- Go on a scavenger hunt at a local park (you can try these ideas).
- Try an escape room.
- Make your own popsicles, trying a bunch of funky flavors.
- Have a movie night under the stars in the backyard.
- Visit a zoo and see the wildlife.
- Watch some fireworks.
- Bake cookies.
- Blow bubbles.
- Try miniature Golf.
- Go fishing.
- Organize a backyard camping adventure.
- Have a campfire.
- Make some s’mores.
- Create a DIY art project using nature-inspired materials.
- Try a family art project.
- Visit a nearby beach, lake or pool for a day of swimming and sunbathing.
- Go on a bike ride along a scenic trail in your area.
- Take a road trip to a nearby national park and go hiking.
- Plan a family game night with board games and snacks.
- Have a snack cookoff (everyone makes their own snack creation)
- Have a family barbecue in the backyard.
- Visit a local museum or art gallery and learn something new.
- Attend an outdoor movie screening in the park.
- Sleep in late.
- Have a sleepover.
- Read a book by the pool.
- Go to a carnival.
- Visit an amusement park.
- Plan a weekend camping trip and explore nature together.
- Go fruit picking at a local farm.
- Make homemade jams.
- Play until the sun goes down.
- Organize a family talent show and showcase your skills.
- Visit local botanical gardens.
- Have breakfast for dinner.
- Go on a walking tour of your town and spot beautiful flowers.
- Go on a nature walk and identify different types of plants and birds.
- Visit a farmers market and try out fresh local produce.
- Go to the ice cream shop and do a taste test of a bunch of flavors.
- Set up a DIY backyard water park with sprinklers and water slides.
- Go on a photography adventure and capture beautiful moments.
- Plan a weekend getaway to a nearby beach town or resort.
- Take a family trip to an amusement park or water park.
- Visit the local library and experience their summer programming.
- Try a cooking class (or an at-home family cooking kit)
- Take a boat tour or go whale watching in the ocean.
- Attend a sports event or concert together as a family.
- Eat corn on the cob.
- Visit an aquarium in a neighboring city.
- Go on a zip-lining or treetop adventure course.
- Plan a family road trip to a destination you've always wanted to visit.
- Build sandcastles at the beach.
- Go rock hunting, start a collection, paint a pet rock.
- Attend a wine tasting or visit a local winery.
- Plan some solo time with a friend, partner or kid doing something they’re excited about
- Attend a local festival and get your face painted
- Make homemade Pizza.
- Go to bed late.
- Do a random act of kindness.
- Try some star gazing (you can identify constellations with an app)
- Buy some mystery ingredients and have a cookoff!
- Have a YES day!
What other ideas do you have for your very own summer bucket list?
Adventure isn’t about the activity, it’s about the attitude
Remember, it doesn’t have to take a long time, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Adventures are about your attitude and your spirit. Even routine things can feel novel when approached with curiosity, wonder and a fresh perspective.
Going to a favorite coffee shop? Try a brand new concoction.
Visiting the local ice cream shop? Try some new flavors!
Checking out a favorite park? Explore it a different way. Look for wildlife or bugs, try a different path.
Going out for a quick lunch? Try a new spot, or a new menu item. Or take it to go and sit in the sun.
There are so many opportunities to infuse adventure into your life, this is your invitation to be intentional about creating a memorable summer! Whether you're planning for yourself, or for your whole family, take the time to dream!
What’s on your bucket list? We can’t wait to find out!
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