H.A.G.S.

Summer bucket list inspiration

First+day+of+summer+polaroid

First day of summer polaroid

Charley Thomas, Publication Editor

Though an overly scheduled summer can defeat the purpose of a break, it doesn’t hurt to have a few fun activities you’d like to do, things you’d like to see, or places you’d like to go before your three-month vacation comes to an end. Below are the bucket list items I found to be the best parts of my last summer. They may not all be unique or once-in-a-lifetime adventures, but they were key contributors to a summer I know I’ll never forget. Here’s to an even better break ‘22, complete with a tried and true bucket list by yours truly 🙂

1.Go on drives

Novel idea, I know, but one no summer would be complete without. My advice is to find a driving route better than 151st or 135th — find a road through the country that allows for music to be played at maximum volume and heads to be out windows. That way, you get loud music and few stoplights, and the people in the more suburban areas of town don’t have to be disturbed by your noise or potentially suspect driving speeds. It’s a win-win. The night before school’s back in session, go on one last drive and listen to a playlist of you and your friends’ favorite songs of the summer to kick off the next year.

2. Find a new spot in town

Whether it’s a café, coffee shop, park, or shopping mall, take advantage of your free time by trying out a new place. You never know, maybe it will become your friend group’s new signature spot. In our case, it didn’t, but we did get some cool pics for the photo album and some delicious coffee drinks that, I’m fairly certain, were 80% sugar. Either way, scoping out a new spot is a good, fun, and different use of your time in the beginning weeks of break.

3. Play beach volleyball

I might be biased, but in my mind, beach volleyball is a key contender for best summer recreational sport. Having played with fellow club volleyball athletes and some friends who haven’t touched a volleyball since middle school PE, I can testify that both ways lend themselves to fun afternoons and summer nights. Another fun aspect of beach volleyball is your opponent; whether you’re playing an overly competitive game against friends or meeting total strangers, there’s sure to be as many laughs, if not more, as points on the board.

4. Lake trip with friends or teammates

Far away vacations aren’t always possible with large groups of friends or teammates, but everybody can usually get onboard for a weekend trip to the lake. Swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking, and tubing are among the water activities, but lake trips also provide lots of downtime to spend with friends that you may not get with a busy schedule during the school year. For example, at home, I don’t get to sit down for a homemade spaghetti dinner with all my friends and watch forensic files while we regroup after a day out in the water and sun, but on lake trips, this is a daily occurrence. Long story short, quick getaways with friends have value in both the big and little things, and they’re the source of many of my fondest summer memories over the years.

5. Work a camp

Need money? Need volunteer hours? Don’t want to work a job with unpredictable shifts that spans the entire summer? Work a camp. Last summer, I worked a few days here or there with a kids camp alongside my best friends, and it didn’t feel like work. All I had to do was keep them entertained outside for a couple hours with games, exploring, sidewalk chalk, or some other outdoor children’s activity. Fortunately for me, I like playing games outside with my friends anyway, so adding in a few preschoolers wasn’t too much trouble. Working a camp is an easy way to acquire spare cash and/or build up volunteer hours while you have free time, and you don’t feel like you’re wasting your summer by overworking yourself because the reality is, you’re not.

6. Make a photo album

Disposable and polaroid photos are a trend right now for good reason — they can help you create a physical collection of summer memories that doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of your camera roll. Additionally, phones crash all the time, so it’s nice to have a book of pictures that can’t be deleted in a software malfunction. Polaroids and disposable cameras also reframe the purpose of a picture — you’re not taking 346 photos in hopes that one or two will be suitable for Instagram, you’re simply capturing fun, authentic moments. Pro tip: take a polaroid or disposable picture while doing every summer bucket list item you come up with, then make an album complete with the pics and the original list you can keep for years to come.

Last night of summer drive
Beach volleyball at Zephyr Cove, Lake Tahoe.
Kayaking at Table Rock Lake with volleyball teammates
First time at “Jinkies” coffee shop
Kids camp at Ironwoods Park
First day of summer polaroid