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8 Fun Outdoor Activities to Have a Great Summer Staycation

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The author lives in a quiet rural community in lower Puna on the Big Island. He's an avid gardener, traveler, and photographer.

Enjoy an endless staycation summer!

Enjoy an endless staycation summer!

How to Have a Great Staycation

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines staycation as “a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.”

A summer staycation is a less stressful and more affordable alternative to traditional summer vacation plans. Here are some great ideas to kick back and relax in your own backyard, explore the great local outdoors, and make the best of this summer—right where you live!

8 Fun Activities for Your Summer Staycation

  1. Hit the Water
  2. Go for a Hike or Bike Ride
  3. Enjoy Alfresco Dining in the Garden
  4. Take a Walk at Sunset
  5. Pitch a Tent in the Back Yard
  6. Take Weekend Road Trips
  7. Go to a Farmer's Market
  8. Start a Garden Project
Canoeing on quiet golden pond at a local State Park.

Canoeing on quiet golden pond at a local State Park.

1. Hit the Water

Splash! Summer is not complete without a dip in the water! If you live near a beach, you are so lucky! However, a lake, river, or creek also does wonders. When was the last time you plunge into the clear, cool water of a pond from a rope swing?

Both kids and grownups enjoy a day on the water—swimming, fishing, canoeing, or floating on an inner tube. After frolicking in the water, you could unwind on dry land, catching a nap, daydreaming, or getting lost in a mystery novel.

Tip: Consult a map or research online to find the nearest swimmable body of water. Pack a big cooler, beach chairs, towels, sunscreen, and off you go!

Hiking an urban trail - Camelback Mountain - in the City of Phoenix, AZ.

Hiking an urban trail - Camelback Mountain - in the City of Phoenix, AZ.

2. Go for a Hike or Bike Ride

Summer is a great time to step out and enjoy nature again. Most towns and cities have designated hiking and/or biking trails. Sometimes these trails are within the city limits.

Otherwise, drive out of town and find some lone country roads, picturesque farm fields, or enchanted forest pathways to hike or bike. Set your own pace, enjoy the surrounding landscape, listen to the sounds of nature, breathe in the fresh air, and feel grateful that you are alive and healthy.

Tips: If you ride a mountain bike or road bike, wear a helmet for safety! Bring plenty of water and some energy bars. First aid kit, rain gear, flashlight, and insect repellent are also great to have in your backpack.

Alfresco dining at home can be fancy or simple—it's up to you!

Alfresco dining at home can be fancy or simple—it's up to you!

3. Enjoy Alfresco Dining in the Garden

The balmy summer weather beckons you to eat every meal outdoors, and your garden is the perfect place for alfresco dining! You will need a table beautifully set with dinnerware, wine glasses, candles, and flowers. Or make it simple picnic style with a blanket on the lawn and some comfy throw pillows to lounge on.

Put up string lights or tiki torches to create a festive mood. Let your imagination run wild! Maybe re-create your most memorable meals from past vacations: steak-frites at a sidewalk café in Paris, red curry chicken from a street food cart in Bangkok, wood-fired pizza on the terrace overlooking a vineyard in Tuscany.

Tips: Don’t have a garden or patio? No problem, just pack up a picnic basket and head to the nearest neighborhood park, riverside, or lakeshore. Or go up to the rooftop terrace of your apartment building. Keep it simple. Get take-outs from restaurants if you don’t have time for cooking.

View of sunset over San Jacinto Peak from a neighborhood street in Palm Springs, CA.

View of sunset over San Jacinto Peak from a neighborhood street in Palm Springs, CA.

4. Take a Walk at Sunset

There is something romantic about going for a walk at sunset. Summer daylight lasts longer, allowing you to go for a leisurely stroll before it gets dark. The air is also much cooler at dusk. Whether you walk with your loved ones, with a pet, or by yourself, enjoy the magical hours before sunset!

If you live in the city, take your walk at some large open spaces like a golf course, baseball field, or a city park. If you live out in the countryside, you may encounter some wildlife like rabbits, foxes, or owls on your walk as they become more active in the early evening.

Tips: Avoid rush-hour traffic when you go for a walk. Stay on the sidewalks and, if necessary, wear light reflective clothing so drivers can see you. Don’t forget to bring your camera or smartphone to capture that spectacular sunset!

Camping under sparkling night sky.

Camping under sparkling night sky.

5. Pitch a Tent in the Back Yard

Set up a campsite in the backyard and pretend you are on a camping trip in the wilderness. Who doesn’t like the idea of tucking inside a cozy sleeping bag under the starry night sky? Kids can sleep in the tent for one night or more as they wish. Parents can pitch their own tent nearby.

Build a campfire, roast some hotdogs, make chocolate and marshmallow s’mores, and tell scary stories. Explore the Milky Way constellations with a telescope. And if you are lucky enough to live where there are fireflies, you are in for a magical summer night!

Tips: Don’t own a tent? You can easily make one with some ropes, bamboo poles, and bedsheets. Be sure to check with your local officials/ordinances regarding having a campfire or bonfire due to wildfire concerns.

The road less traveled is all yours.

The road less traveled is all yours.

6. Take Weekend Road Trips

Hop in your car and take a cruise to the countryside for a much-needed change of scenery and fresh air. Visit an old farm, sleepy hamlet, historic homestead, castle ruins. Drive past rolling meadows filled with wildflowers. Or hillside pastures dotted with grazing sheep. Or breathtaking sunflower fields as far as the eye can see. Explore the road less traveled. Who knows—you may stumble upon one of Mother Nature's best-kept secrets along the way!

Tips: Consult your map or smartphone GPS to find scenic backcountry roads with sweeping vistas. Pack some food and drinks and a blanket in case you decide to have an impromptu roadside picnic.

Heirloom tomatoes and fresh herbs for sale at a farmer's market.

Heirloom tomatoes and fresh herbs for sale at a farmer's market.

7. Go to a Farmer's Market

Summer is the perfect time to visit your local farmer’s market. Stalls packed with sweet, juicy summer fruits like peach, strawberry, cherry, apricot, and melon. Freshly harvested vegetables like squash, tomato, bell pepper, and eggplant are also bountiful.

In addition, there may be vendors selling handmade soaps, candles, honey, wine, cheese, and jams. Some markets also have a “flea market” section where you could find vintage clothes, old books, collectibles, and antique houseware.

Tips: Find out the location, date, and time when a farmer's market is held in your hometown. Go early to avoid the crowd. Bring your own bags to carry fruits and veggies.

Growing your own vegetable garden is both a relaxing and rewarding experience.

Growing your own vegetable garden is both a relaxing and rewarding experience.

8. Start a Garden Project

Perhaps you have always wanted to plant an herbs garden so you can make your own teas and herbal remedies. Or maybe install a goldfish pond with waterlilies and a bubbling fountain. Or build a treehouse in the backyard for your kids.

Gardening is great for our physical well-being. It also has many excellent mental health benefits, like reducing stress and anxiety! So be creative and make it a fun summer outdoor project for the whole family.

Tips: Contact your local garden club/plant society for tips on how to start some of these projects. Most likely, there are hundreds of Youtube videos with step-by-step instructions to get you going.

Comments

Viet Doan (author) from Big Island, Hawaii on August 06, 2021:

That's fantastic, you go Mary! I love dancing too. Floating on the water is really fun and relaxing.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on August 04, 2021:

Great ideas to enjoy. We had so much fun last weekend, dancing with our neighbours and friends, having fun and the next day, lounging on floaties on the lake.

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