The end of yet another school year signals the unofficial start of summer. And now that summer is just about here, it's time to figure out what you'll do to keep yourself (and the family) entertained all season long. Summer is probably the best season for making family memories. From picnics in the park to swimming at the local watering hole to warm bonfires and bright carnival lights, there is an endless supply of family-friendly summertime activities.
Read on to find out which eight activities you must have on your summer bucket list:
Camping trip — There's nothing like getting out on the open road under sunny blue skies with great company. And camping allows you to do just that. It is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors and spend quality time with your loved ones. Get away from the responsibilities of everyday life and get outside to enjoy all that nature has to offer. Enjoy the wide range of family activities that most campgrounds provide, including hiking, swimming, kayaking and fishing. In addition, camping happens to be a relatively affordable family activity, with tent sites going for less than $30 per night at many local camping facilities.
Beach day — Picture it! Your toes in the sand, the warm sun on your face, a light cool breeze and the smell of the saltwater. What better way to celebrate summer then to head to the beach and soak up some sun, waves, and sand. And it just so happens that Marylanders have access to some of the nicest beaches in the country along the coast of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia (although I may be a little biased). The beach is a fantastic place for families to enjoy time together. Put away the technology and instead build sand castles, surf the waves or walk along the beach and gather seashells. If you would rather not fight the crowds, check out some of the local beach areas closer to home, such as Sandy Point State Park, Gunpowder Falls State Park and Oregon Ridge Park.
Family picnic — If you are looking for a great low-key activity, a family picnic is for you. Pack up a cooler, load the family in the car and head to a local park for a relaxing picnic. Picnics are great because the whole family can be involved in planning and preparing. And if you intend to make a day of it, don't forget to pack activities that the whole family can enjoy, such as a Frisbee disc, soccer ball or even bubbles for younger children.
Farmers market — The abundance of fresh produce in the summer makes it easier to eat healthier, fresher foods. And who doesn't want their family to eat healthier? Getting to your local farmers market at least once during the summer is a must. In addition to produce, you most likely will find fresh dairy, meats and even natural home and body products. It's a great way to support local commerce and encourage your family to eat a little healthier.
Attend a carnival — The sights, the sounds, the smells; attending a festival or carnival is truly a sensory experience. The best thing about carnivals is that there are activities for all ages — from rides, to games, to entertainment and unique foods the entire family will enjoy. Look for carnivals throughout the months of June, July and August. And check for them at local churches, organizations, schools, etc.
Swimming — I know that we're not all swimmers, but water can be extremely therapeutic and relaxing. It is the quintessential summer activity. Even if you just dip your feet in a lake or stand in the ocean up to your knees, be sure to explore water this summer.
Outdoor movie — Take advantage of warm summer evenings and enjoy an outdoor movie with the family. You can try a drive-in theater or attend an outdoor screening held by a local organization. While drive-in theaters can be hard to locate, outdoor screenings are common and can be found with a simple Google search. Take the whole family for a summer experience you'll never forget!
Danielle Moser is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.