I’m not trying to give you hives or anything, but I’ve checked the calendar, and (maybe you should sit down) there are only FIFTEEN weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That’s just 30 weekend summer days.

The good news is, the days are long, (try telling my kids it’s time to get ready for bed at 7:30 when the sun is shining directly into their eyeballs) and the best weekends can cram in a months worth of awesome memories.

Packing it all in takes a little planning. Here are 30 things to put on your summer bucket list and get cracking.

1 | Take in a movie at the drive-in

kids at the drive in

Find a drive-in near you!

2 | Run a lemonade stand


Skip the powdered stuff, make it look fancy and be the best stand on the block.

3 | Take a trip to the beach 

little girl beach silhouette

An epic vacation or a day close to home. Just make sure you get some time with your toes in the sand.

4 | Make smores over a fire


Don’t be afraid to break the rules.

5 | Go camping/camp out in the back yard 

beach hut

We’ve been pinning ideas for a trip for months now. (The raccoon couple that lumbers through our yard makes me nervous, however.)

6 | Go to a concert


Outdoor music events are the cornerstone of our summer.

7 | Go hiking


8 | Perfect your bubble recipe

boy blowing bubble

Option one. Option two.

9 | Go fishing


10 | Do some stargazing 


Find a field in the country or even your backyard (the darker, the better) and watch the stars come out. Identify constellations with the kids Star Walk app, or find an observatory that is open to the public and blow their minds.

11 | Watch a fireworks display

ferris wheel lights


12 | Pick your own berries

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Lessons I’ve learned in 7ish seasons of berry picking: strawberries usually come first and go quickly. Blueberries last longer and are easier to pick a lot of fast. Raspberries have thorns and make people cry. 

13 | Water fight! 

little girl with hose

Fill 100 balloons in one minute, or just turn the hose on them. Giant wet sponges make great ammo as well.

14 | Go to a baseball game


Major league, minor league, to kids (and let’s face it, most adults) it doesn’t make a difference. As long as there’s junk food and (relatively) good-natured yelling, everyone is pretty stoked.

15 | Go miniature golfing 

mini golf

Bonus points for going to one of the “craziest courses on earth“.

16 | Go to a fair 

kids on carousel

Go hungry. Leave loathing yourself.

17 | Host a popsicle party

popsicle in hand

A friend hosts an annual end of the school year popsicle party. From this amazing sugar laden gala I’ve learned two important things: Don’t waste time on cute labels and printed die cut popsicle garland because NO ONE NOTICES ANYTHING AFTER YOU SAY THE PHRASE UNLIMITED POPSICLES. Also, liquor freezes. (Pro tip: Borrow a second freezer for the adult popsicles.) Holy recipes.

18 | Organize a giant game of adults vs. kids capture the flag 

little girl fourth of july

We do this with a group of friends every year and it’s becoming increasingly unfair. The kids get faster while the adults, well, let’s just say, it isn’t pretty. Need a refresher on how to play?

19 | Visit a state (or national!) park 

campingwknd2015-17 copy

Find a National Park here. Find a state park.

20 | Watch caterpillars transform into butterflies

little girl with butterfly perched on hand

We found black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars on our dill plants last year and we became caterpillar foster parents for a month. I am not exaggerating when I say it was the highlight of the summer.

21 | Play tourist in a neighboring town 

boys walking

Lunch, shopping, and strolling in an unfamiliar place close to home is an often overlooked but fun way to spend a Sunday.

22 | Hit up a farmers market 

farmers market flowers

Find one near you, or while on vacation via Local Harvest.

23 | Visit a farm 

boy with horse

Cow milking not necessarily required.

24 | Watch a parade 

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Or have your own. Kids love banging on stuff and walking around the neighborhood.

25 | Give a winter kid a half birthday party 

little girl with balloons

As a January birthday, I can tell you there’s nothing more alluring than a birthday party that involves in season watermelon and enjoying the sunshine.

26 | Take a family bike ride 

little girl on tricycle

27 | Build an obstacle course 

Obstacle Course Outside

As a kid, my friends and I took turns setting up challenges for each other for hours at a time. You can use props or simply a playground with lots of equipment and few other kiddos. A few ideas to get you started thanks to Martha.

28 | Organize a talent or art show 

kids art show

Cousins showcasing their singing and dancing skills in the backyard, or a really planned out Porch Idol. It’s up to you.

29 | Set out to master one new skill or talent

little girl hula hooping

Whatever it is- hula hooping, rolling on a skateboard, riding a bike, diving off the diving board, write it down, make it known, and conquer. (Parents, you too.)

30 | Take the long way

family sunset on bridge

Early last summer we set out to scooter toward home for as long as we could go without someone having a breakdown. Instead of catching the bus along the route eventually, as we had intended, the kids got into epic quest mode and did the entire 4 miles. It’s an adventure they talk about weekly. (Which isn’t totally impressive until I mention that one of them was 2.)

What else would you add?