With the arrival of summer, the only thing left to do now is to figure out how to make the most of it. Try these 12 ideas for a jumpstart on summer fun.
Kayaking is an activity packed with something for everyone. Bask in the sun, spot Florida wildlife and receive a killer arm workout when you cruise down the river in a kayak. If you don’t own a kayak, Silver Springs State Park offers rentals for a fee starting at 8am every day. Get out there early to finish by the time the sun comes out in full force, and remember to stay hydrated.
Try a new popsicle flavor.
Popsicles are a hot weather necessity. Here in Florida, you can find them in the freezer aisle at the grocery store, or at walk-in spots like The Hyppo, which boasts a wide selection of gourmet ice pops. Many websites also offer DIY popsicle recipes, listing combinations like coconut chocolate chip, strawberry basil and ginger peach. Branch out from your standard cherry freezer pop, and treat yourself to one of the mango-lime or cinnamon-blueberry variety.
Have a sleepover.
Blanket forts, popcorn and board games know no age. The classic sleepover can include friends and family alike, and depending on who’s involved, can range from a girls’ night with wine and face masks to a full-on bedtime extravaganza with cookie-baking and slime-making. Pop in a movie or play hide and seek for a fun-filled night, and stock up on pancake toppings for the morning-after breakfast.
Go to a beach you’ve never been to.
Florida is known for its beaches. There are tons of them, and the best part is the variety. Some with soft sand, bleached white and finer than sugar, and others with rough, ground-up shells packed tightly. Shorelines with large rocks, piers, huge sand dunes, soft lapping waves, powerful crashing waves. If you frequent the east coast, try the west coast. Explore what beaches South Florida has to offer. You might just discover your new favorite.
Cool off your dog.
Just like us, our furry friends become drained from the heat. Those with thick, heavy coats require more attention than other dogs in order to ensure they’re cool enough, so next time you have the hose running, let your pet play a little. Always offer shade and water, and brush your dog to help along the shedding process.
Have a water balloon fight.
All it takes is a trip to the store to pick up those flimsy little balloons to start an afternoon water balloon fight. The whole family can get in on it, and you might want to add water guns or get creative by playing a game like water balloon toss, where players toss the water balloon across to their partner and move further apart until it bursts.
Make a smoothie.
A smoothie is a simple delight that requires a blender and the tastiest ingredients you can find. Fruit, greens, yogurt and even protein powder can be mixed and matched to create a healthy and colorful drink that will deliver frosty relief on even the hottest of days.
See a summer movie.
The Ocala Drive-In offers a getaway on warm, summer evenings. Pack blankets and pillows to bring along to showings of new movie releases enjoyed from the comfort of your car. Ocala’s Regal Hollywood 16 also provides $1 family-friendly movies every Tuesday and Wednesday from June through August.
Have a picnic.
Whether poolside or under the shade of a tree at your local park, sprawling out on a blanket and snacking on picnic food is a great way to spend time outside. Bring a book or radio, or simply take in the views.
Watch the sunrise.
There’s something special about viewing this daily occurrence at dawn while most others are asleep. If you choose to watch the sunrise on the beach, you can enjoy the shoreline when it’s at its most peaceful, without any beachgoers and filled only with the sound of the waves. The effort to find an unobstructed view and wake up early might seem like a struggle, but the experience is one that can’t be adequately encapsulated in pictures.
Host a bonfire.
Turn up the music, and gather family and friends for a bonfire. Roast hot dogs, and enjoy the messy goodness of s’mores. With little preparation required, the fun will keep going long into the night.
Take the trails.
Florida trails are lined with native plants and an abundance of wildlife. Some offer viewing areas to lakes or springs. Smaller trails can simply be walked and finished in an hour or two and are great for family outings, while experienced hikers will take interest in the longer trails. Another option is to bike. Rainbow Springs State Park is home to the Rainbow River, which many boat, kayak and tube in, and a picturesque walking trail.