105 Sensational Summer Bucket List Ideas (for adults, kids & teens)
As the days lengthen and the winter gloom begins to fade into the distance, many of us begin to look for inspiration for exciting summer activities. Summer is the time to get out of doors and into nature, to be more active, creative and adventurous.
Whatever your passions and hobbies, the summer season is the time to try something new, whether it be travelling to a place you’ve never been, taking up a new sport, or learning a new skill. It’s also the ideal time to get the kids inspired with new activities, although you may need a few suggestions for how to keep them busy during the long school holidays!
For ideas, inspiration and motivation, check out our list of summer bucket list items, and start building your own!
1. Take a Road Trip
Summer is the ideal time to get out on the open road and travel somewhere completely new. The old cliché still rings true: it’s not the destination that counts, it’s the journey, and a road trip is likely to surprise you and delight you in ways you never expected. Part of the fun of this bucket list activity is the sense of freedom you get from choosing your own path and your own pace, following the road wherever it leads, and stopping when you feel like it. Whether you dream of Route 66, the Amalfi Coast, or the Icelandic ring road, summer is the perfect time to cross this item off your bucket list.
Summer is the time when nature springs to life, as the flowers bloom, and new life emerges from the earth. If you’ve always wanted to have your own garden, this is the perfect time to get started, and it’s even not too late to plant a few vegetables. Salad, rocket and herbs will all come up quickly, and in summer you can even plant root vegetables such as carrots, beetroot and turnips for a hearty autumn crop. Gardening is one of the most therapeutic activities you can do, and it’s always more enjoyable in the summer sunshine!
Summertime is festival season, and all around the world, artists and performers are gearing up to play at some of the world’s biggest music festivals. From Glastonbury to Burning Man, there’s a festival out there to suit every taste, and many of these extravagant events take place in some pretty dramatic locations. Today, music festivals are much more than a series of concerts: come for the epic setting, the diversity of entertainments, the fun of camping and the incredible atmosphere. This is a vacation, camping trip and gig all rolled into one. Here is a list of the top 50 music festivals in the world.
As the weather improves, it’s important to seize the opportunity to get out in the fresh air, and what better way to spend time outdoors than by flying a kite? This is a perfect beach activity, where the sea air blows in and creates perfect conditions for kite flying. You can even design and make your own, a great opportunity to get creative with the kids. Flying a kite can be an exhilarating experience, and for those with a competitive streak, there are plenty of summertime contests for the best design and best flying technique.
When the summer holidays finally kick in, many of us head to familiar vacation destinations to relax and put our feet up. This year, however, why not try something completely new? Instead of revisiting comfortable old haunts, tick something off your travel bucket list and spend the summer in a country you’ve never visited before. A change is apparently as a good as a rest, and you’re sure to return refreshed and with a whole new outlook on life.
Summer brings plenty of possibilities, but for those of us in the northern hemisphere, skiing and snowboarding are not among them. If you can’t wait for winter to get back on the slopes, why not head to the desert and try sandboarding? The latest craze in adventure sports, sand boarding is an exhilarating way to spend a summer break. The principle is the same as snowboarding, except instead of hurtling down snowy mountain slopes, you’ll be gliding over golden, rolling sand dunes. If you’re looking for a new sporting thrill, sandboarding may be just the summer bucket list activity for you.
Technology has given us all the opportunity to be creators, and it’s now very easy to make a movie with nothing more than a smartphone and a computer. Making a short film is an ideal summertime project, allowing you to indulge your creativity and try something totally new. This is an ideal bucket list activity for families, and you never know, you may discover a budding filmmaking talent!
Summertime means sunshine, and for many of us, that means beach. Relaxing on the warm golden sand, and dipping a toe in the cool ocean is an ideal summer activity. If your idea of heaven is spending the summer on the beach, then why not rent a cabin and make the dream a reality?
Take advantage of the long, clear, summer nights, and head to an open-air cinema to watch your favourite movies on the big screen. Many parks and venues offer outdoor cinema experiences throughout the summer, and this is the perfect way to get your movie fix while still enjoying the fresh air. You could even take an evening picnic and crack open a couple of beers as you watch a classic film.
As summer gets into full swing, the trees and berries also burst into colour. Strawberries are the first to emerge in early May, followed by plums, blackberries and raspberries. Foraging for these delicious treats is a fun activity with a juicy reward. Wild berries often grow in the most beautiful spots, so this particular activity combines hiking, foraging and eating: a clear winner in the bucket list stakes. What’s more, you’ll also be able to cook up some delicious treats, provided you don’t eat all the pickings before you get home.
Summer is the best time to head to the coast. However, while many of us long to lounge on a sunny beach, a new coastal activity is making waves in the sporting community. Coasteering is the optimal way to explore the beauty and diversity of coastal regions, and involves a combination of rock climbing, shore scrambling, paddling, cliff jumping and cave exploration. As you traverse the coastline at the edge of the ocean, you’ll get up close and personal with the wildlife of these stunning habitats, in addition to seeing the cliffs and coves from a whole new perspective. However, this sport requires plenty of energy – you may need a beach break to recover!
Summer nights are notoriously short, and before you know it, the sun is peeping over the horizon, ready to beckon a new day. One of the most magical experiences you can have is to stay up all night and watch the sunrise, particularly from a beautiful spot like the beach or a mountain. The moment of calm right before the dawn breaks provides a moment for reflection and peace, before the light streams across the horizon and a new day begins. This activity should be on everyone’s summer bucket list.
Designing and building your own puppet theater is a magical experience, especially for families with kids. Not only is this a fun, creative way to spend the summer holidays, it’s also an opportunity to learn new craft skills, including carpentry, sewing and painting. What’s more, you’ll be left with a stage, set and puppets ready to perform a whole range of plays that are sure to keep the family entertained through summer and well into winter.
Camping is perhaps the most popular summer bucket list activity. There’s nothing better than getting back to nature and camping out in the wilderness, especially after a satisfying hike. Think long walks, campfires, and stargazing – this is the ultimate bucket list experience.
Designing a scavenger hunt is a deeply satisfying activity, requiring creativity and some out-of-the-box thinking. This is an activity that kids of all ages will love, and it’s an opportunity to get them out of doors and learning about nature. Scavenger hunts typically involve teamwork, energy and quick thinking, and designing your own is particularly fun. The reward is seeing the looks of surprise and triumph as participants work out your clues!
Summer is the perfect time to try your hand at horse-riding, when the weather is warm and fine and you can enjoy the best of the outdoors from the back of one of nature’s most beautiful creatures. Beach rides are a favourite summer bucket list activity – what could be more thrilling than galloping across the hard sand in the sunshine, whipping up the surf? If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at horseback riding, summer is the time to do it.
The summer solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year, is the perfect moment to throw a theme party. This ancient festival is all about celebrating nature, and many cultures across the world and throughout time have developed specific rituals associated with this auspicious day. While you might not be able to make it all the way to Stonehenge to watch the sunrise and sunset on the shortest night of the year, it’s always possible to celebrate at home by hosting your own solstice party. Decorate with flowers and fairy lights, enjoy delicious seasonal treats, and take energy from the last rays of the setting sun.
Cave diving is surely one of the most intimidating underwater sports – for many of us, plunging into a deep, dark, underwater cave is no mean feat. However, this incredible sport also offers rich rewards, allowing you to explore hidden underground treasure troves, often glittering with geological riches. Cave diving requires expert supervision and training, but once you’ve got the bug, you’re sure to be back for more. This summer bucket list activity is a reminder that while we may think of the modern world as a small place, there are still endless spaces to explore beneath the surface of the earth.
Summer is the ideal time to cast aside that smartphone and turn off Netflix. We spend the vast majority of our lives glued to our smartphones and computer screens, and sometimes, it’s necessary to take some time off and get back to basics. Use this summer to do a technology detox, and shun the smartphone, social media and endless rolling news cycles of the internet. Instead, go for a hike, meditate, play sports, or just spend some quality time with friends and family without the distractions of modern technology.
Alaska is a truly epic natural site, blessed with an abundance of national parks, rare and beautiful wildlife, and stunning glaciers. A trip here has to be on everyone’s bucket list, and summer is the best time to go. Although Alaska’s summer is short, it offers the ideal opportunity to visit some incredible natural sites, while the long summer days provide ample time to cram in as much as possible. This part of the world is a paradise for nature lovers, so strap on your hiking gear and hit the trail to explore one of the most beautiful states in the US.
Clouds are an extremely beautiful natural phenomenon, but few of us ever really raise our heads to observe the fabulous shapes that fill the skies. This summer, why not take a crash course in cloud spotting, and learn more about the forces that shape these beautiful and other-worldly cloud formations. The Cloud Appreciation Society offers a wealth of resources for wannabe cloud-spotters, and will teach you how to look out for unusual shapes and rare types of cloud. Cloud spotting is a meditative, peaceful activity, and you’ll soon become adept at picking out incredible shapes, formations and textures.
There’s something primal about the warm feeling you get when sitting around a bonfire. Perhaps it’s the smell of the smoke, the convivial atmosphere, and the food, music and conversation that usually comes along with it. Once the summer sun has set beyond the horizon, a bonfire is the perfect way to keep warm through those summer evenings, and creates the perfect ambience for a laid back party.
Summer is the season of abundance, when natural produce comes into its own in many parts of the world. What better time to brush up your skills in the kitchen, to ensure you make the most of all of the delicious treats summer has to offer! Cooking courses with professional chefs are a great way to improve your skills, test your knowledge of ingredients and spices, and come up with creative new approaches to familiar foods.
Summer offers a great opportunity to head down to the beach and get out that surfboard. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at surfing then summer is the time to do it, and you’ll find plenty of beginner sessions down at your favourite beach. Just beware, before long you may find yourself addicted!
For as long as humans have been alive on this planet, they have gazed up at the stars, seeking meaning, knowledge and guidance from these twinkling celestial bodies. The clear, warm nights of summer offer ideal conditions for stargazing, and this is the moment to head out into the wilderness, away from the glare of city lights, to observe the movement of the heavens. Many dedicated sites now offer stargazing tours, where an expert will give you tips on how to make the most out of your evening, and point out those hard-to-spot constellations.
Kayaking offers a great way to see the world from the water, whether you choose rivers, lakes, or even sea kayaking. This is a sport that will keep you fit, as well as allowing you to explore some beautiful terrain around the world. Go sea-kayaking in Turkey to see the hidden remains of sunken underwater cities, head to the Dordogne for the best river views of some of France’s most impressive castles, or even go kayaking through the Grand Canyon. Taking a kayaking course can open doors to a whole host of new bucket list adventures.
Despite the abundance of the natural world that surrounds us, few of us know how to recognise edible treats growing freely in the wild. Summer is the perfect time to forage for fruit, berries, wild leaves, roots and mushrooms, so why not take a course with an expert who can guide you through local flora and fauna? Foraging can be a fun, exciting and cost-effective way to broaden your tastes and cooking habits, bringing you into contact with foods you’ve never tried before.
Hot air ballooning is a real bucket list adventure, and there’s nothing like the feeling of soaring high above the earth in your very own brightly decorated balloon. This is a way to see the world from a birds-eye perspective, and offers a more serene experience than skydiving or bungee jumping! Hot air ballooning is now offered in beautiful spots all over the world, including Cappadocia, Turkey, Angkor Wat, Cambodia, and Bagan, Myanmar. Take a picnic and glide over some of the world’s most impressive landscapes.
Fishing is a contemplative activity, and one that takes you right out into some of nature’s finest spots. If you’ve never been on a fishing trip, summertime offers the perfect opportunity to grab your rod and head out into the wilderness. The serenity of the water will help you forget all your cares, and with a little luck, you’ll catch something for dinner as well.
Everyone has memories of building sandcastles as a child, and this is a fun activity for kids and adults of all ages. However, some artists have taken sandcastle-building to another level, creating massive sculptures of sand in fiercely contested competitions across the world. Learn from the best by attending one of these incredible contests, and see towering sculpture made from only sand and water, depicting strange creatures, city skylines, and epic palaces. Use your summer to get your sand-sculpting skills up to par.
Summer is the ideal time to shake off the cobwebs and clear out those closets and cupboards. If winter is a time for hoarding, summer is the time to make room for the new, and clearing out the things we no longer want or need can be a refreshing, therapeutic activity. If you’re one of those people who finds it difficult to let things go, make it your aim this summer to have a thorough clear out. You’ll discover plenty of things you’d forgotten you had, and get rid of some of the things that are weighing you down.
For thrill-seekers, summer offers the opportunity to get out onto the water and engage in some exciting water-sports. Perhaps the most exhilarating of these is parasailing, where participants are suspended from a sail above the water as they are dragged along by a speedboat. You’ll get a birds-eye view of the beach and coastline, and a real adrenaline rush as you swoop high into the air. This is one beach activity you won’t want to give up.
If the hustle and bustle of the modern world seems overwhelming, perhaps it’s time to go on a mindfulness retreat and practice meditation in a calm, peaceful, natural space. Mindfulness has won over many devotees in recent years, and offers tools and strategies to help you refocus on what’s important in life. Summer retreats all over the world offer the opportunity to disconnect, reflect, and refocus on your goals, hopes and aspirations.
There’s no better feeling than being out on the open water, carried over the waves with the wind in your sails. Learning to sail your own boat is a great way to experience the outdoors in addition to acquiring new skills and knowledge, and it’s also a fun, sociable hobby. Get out on to the water during the summer, when the weather is fine and warm, and experience the sense of freedom that this euphoric bucket list activity can create.
With the boom in mid-range digital SLRs, and the popularity of photo-sharing platforms on the internet, an increasingly number of people are taking up photography. This can be a wonderful creative outlet, and looking at things through a lens can often help you to see the world differently. In summertime there’s no shortage of things to photograph, and you can have fun experimenting with the light and colours of those lazy summer days.
Shinrin-yoku, or the Japanese art of forest bathing, is the perfect antidote to our modern, urban lives, in which we are increasingly divorced from the natural world. Forest bathing essentially means spending time in a forest to reduce stress and improve well being. It is thought that simply spending time around trees can have extremely positive effects on mental health, by tapping into the therapeutic powers of nature. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, make sure to put this on your bucket list this summer.
The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it, and so thousands of people around the world travel to take summer language courses in the destination of their choice. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of being able to speak French? Then head to Montpelier, one of France’s premier university towns, to take a summer language course at the university. You’ll have a summer you’ll never forget and come away able to communicate in a whole new language.
Summer is prime filming season for movies all around the world, and if you’ve got some free time in the summer months, why not sign up to work as an extra? The days are long, but you’ll have fun dressing up as different characters, get paid, and may even run into some famous faces! This can also be a fantastic opportunity to see what goes on behind the camera of your favourite movies and TV shows, and you might even be seen onscreen. Casting directors are always on the lookout for all kinds of different people, and if you fit the bill, this could turn out to be a lucrative piece of holiday work.
Guerrilla gardening is the latest urban trend, and essentially involves small acts of civic generosity by some determined gardeners. These erstwhile, green-fingered heroes come out after dark and tidy up public spaces, removing weeds and rubbish, and planting flowers and shrubs. This is a highly rewarding activity, allowing you to make new friends, contribute to your local community, and watch as derelict urban spaces are transformed by flowers.
Flamenco is a memorising, passionate, fiery genre of Latin music, originating from the south of Spain. Once you’ve experienced a classic flamenco show you’ll be hooked for life – there’s something about this complex, intricate music that speaks right to the soul. In the summer months, venues across Andalucía erupt in a celebration of flamenco music. You can watch this beautiful art form everywhere from humble street shows to prestigious concert halls, or even the lavish setting of the Alhambra in Granada. Make sure you put a summer trip to the south of Spain on your bucket list.
Historical re-enactments are an excellent way for kids to get to grips with the past – literally! These events tend to place less emphasis on historical accuracy, and more on fun and festivities, and so they offer the perfect way to get kids interested in history whilst having a good time. Whether you prefer the fun of a Viking festival or want to recreate a civil war charge, check out one of the many thousands of historical societies to see what’s going on in your area this summer.
There’s no better way to learn about animals than by seeing them roaming freely in their natural habitat. If you’re an animal lover, then the next best thing could be to visit a safari park this summer. Unlike a zoo, where animals are caged and often kept in small pens, safari parks allow animals bred in captivity to roam over large areas, as visitors walk or drive among them. This is a great opportunity to learn about different animals and birds, and to discover important conservation efforts for endangered species.
Wild swimming has emerged as a key trend in recent years, as increasing numbers of people take to the sea, rivers and lakes instead of their local public pool. This is a great way to get fit, as swimming in natural currents forces your body to work harder and burn more calories. Swimming in the wild will bring you closer to nature, and creates a sense of freedom that you won’t find swimming lengths in an indoor pool. Get out while the weather is fine, and take a refreshing dip in your local river or lake.
Instead of throwing out those old chairs and tables, why not convert them into unique and interesting features for your house or garden? Upcycling is a great way to breathe new life into your old, tatty furnishings, and it’s amazing how many things can be smartened up to create new and interesting features. Use an old ladder as an unusual support for climbing plants, or convert that old crib into a cute desk when the kids get older. Upcycling is the perfect summer project, and you’ll also be doing your bit to avoid unnecessary waste.
County fairs offer a great day out for families, with plenty of things to see and do, delicious foods and fun entertainments. This is also a wonderful way to support local businesses, and engage with your local community. County fairs occur all over the United States in the summer months, and feature animals, local foods and crafts, music and carnival rides. This is the ideal bucket list activity to get you in the summer spirit!
If you liked this huge list you might like 101 Bucket List Ideas You Must Try at Least Once in your Lifetime
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