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14 Ways to Make the Most of the Last Days of Summer

Someone stands in a tent, a girl uses sidewalk chalk, and a family walks on the beach

It’s been a crazy year so far, but we can always rely on summer changing into fall. Life tends to slow down as kids go back to school and our lives become a bit more predictable. If you’re starting to get bummed about moving on from the longer days and warmer temperatures, here are some ideas for making the most of the last few weeks of summer.

Summer always seems to fly by, but the first day of fall isn’t until Sept. 22 this year. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can still enjoy the sunshine, long days, and extra free time before they’re gone. Savor the remaining few weeks of summer with these activities.

Go to a Farmers Market

A woman buying veggies from another woman at a farmer's market.
AYA images/Shutterstock.com

Farmers markets are a great way to support your community. You’ll always find an abundance of local produce and usually a few vendors serving fresh meals. Buying your food this way allows you to taste fresh, local foods that are in season. Fruit and vegetables are often more ripe and flavorful than they would be in a grocery store.

Some farmer’s markets even have small businesses selling goods at their tents. While websites like Etsy allow people to sell their handmade goods, a local market is often a more cost-effective way for those business owners to share their goods. It also gives you the opportunity to interact with them and learn more about why they are sharing their talent.

You can find markets near you by searching the USDA National Farmers Market Directory.

Have Dinner Outdoors

Few things feel more like summer than enjoying a meal outside in the cool evening weather. After a long day at work, outdoor dining lets you get some fresh air and relax in a fun setting. Depending on the location, you can also spend the meal being entertained by the people walking by outside.

Check local restaurants for options that have outdoor seating. If you have a restaurant in mind, you can call and ask about their outdoor policy or see if that information is listed on their website. You can also search for restaurants that have outdoor dining on sites like OpenTable.

When making a dinner reservation, schedule dinner about an hour before sunset. You’ll be able to enjoy a delicious meal during “golden hour” that will offer the perfect ambiance for the experience.

Make Some Summer Cocktails

Frozen green cocktails next to lemons and mint
What Should I Make for …

Before we enter pumpkin spice latte and hot chocolate season, pull together an icy and refreshing drink that tastes like summer. Fresh-squeezed juice is always a good option, but a more involved homemade drink is hard to beat.

If you like rosé, check out Ina Garten’s rosé sangria, which is packed with fruity flavor.

Step up your citrus game with this pomelo mojito from Simmer + Sauce, which is bright, light, and refreshing.

Or, whip together an icy drink that will cool you off on even the warmest of summer days. This frozen cucumber lemonade cocktail will have you wondering why you never mixed mint, cilantro, and cucumber with vodka in the first place.

No matter which drink you choose, enjoy it on a warm afternoon out on your patio, deck, or porch.

Head to the Beach

A family walks along the beach near a large beach blanket

Nothing says summer like the beach, right? Early September often holds onto hot weather, so plan a beach day over the weekend if you live close enough. If you aren’t able to visit a beach or lake, find a nearby water park instead. Even an afternoon with a kiddie pool in the backyard will do!

This extra-large beach blanket will keep the whole family comfortable. It’s 10 x 9 feet, so it will keep everyone and their things off the sand. It also comes with stakes to keep it from blowing around and it has four corner pockets to store small items. Unlike a typical towel, the nylon fabric won’t cling to sand. One shake will make sure you aren’t lugging half of the beach home with you.

Go to an Outdoor Concert

A woman sits on a picnic blanket outside

Some climates host outdoor events year-round, but many things in the United States move indoors in the fall and winter. Summer concerts are popular in many cities and often finish up in September, so see if there are any remaining dates in your town. You can browse events in your area on websites like Eventbrite and Ticketmaster.

Outdoor events often have rules about what you can and can’t bring to the venue, but you should be able to pack enough things to stay comfortable. Bring a blanket or chair to stay comfortable, some snacks, plenty of water, and bug spray to keep the mosquitos away.

If the concert is happening during the day, don’t forget sunscreen and a sun hat. If it’s happening in the evening, bring. a sweatshirt or jacket to protect against chilly evening temperatures.

Go for a Long Bike Ride

If you live somewhere that gets rain and snow in the fall and winter, bike rides become increasingly difficult as the year progresses. On a weekend morning or weekday evening, jump on a bike and go for a long ride.

Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the scenery around you, whether you’re biking in the city or countryside. Just don’t forget to wear your helmet! This one comes in a variety of sizes and colors, so you can find the perfect fit for everyone in the family.

If you’re not sure where to go for a bike ride, check out TrailLink. This website offers comprehensive guides about designated bike trails in your area. It also offers photos, descriptions, and reviews of the trails so you can find one that is ideal for your experience level.

If you have young children, this bike trailer is a perfect way to carry them along. It can carry two children (or pets) with a maximum weight recommendation of 80 pounds.

Visit Your City’s Local Pool

People hold pool noodles over their heads and a girl plays in a pool
Fix Find/Neutrogena

Pools often close down in the fall and don’t reopen until the following spring or summer. If you or your kids enjoy the public pool, give them one last chance to splash around with their friends. Pack some pool noodles, sunscreen, and enough snacks to keep everyone satisfied all day.

This five-pack is affordable and comes in bright colors so you can easily spot your child while they’re playing. They’re durable enough for intense pool sword fights, but soft enough that they won’t cause any real damage.

This kid-friendly sunscreen has SPF 70 protection and is designed for wet skin. It can be easily reapplied as your children are jumping in and out of the pool all day.

Browse Outdoor Events in Your City

Every city has outdoor events available to the public throughout the season. The end date of these events will vary by city, but it’s not uncommon for things like concerts, public library readings, and art walks to run through Labor Day.

Visit your town’s event directory and see if you can squeeze in an event or two before cooler weather hits.

All Events in City is a website and app that provides dates, times, and locations of events happening near you. It also offers ticket links and lets you sync information to your calendar.

Download on the Apple App StoreGet it on Google Play

You can also check for local events on Facebook. This is great for free meetups or events that don’t require a ticket to attend.

Play with Sidewalk Chalk

A large kit of sidewalk chalk and a girl draws with sidewalk chalk

Who says sidewalk chalk is just for kids? This art project is easy to do and won’t make a mess. Playing with chalk can also lead to a variety of other activities like hopscotch, tic-tac-toe, and even Pictionary. It’s a great activity to do in the evening alongside some snacks and cold drinks.

This chalk kit comes with 18 different colors for unlimited potential. Each piece is about four inches long, which is perfect for the hands of little artists. Plus, the pack of 144 pieces of chalk will last for years.

Get Lunch or Dinner from a Food Truck

Some food trucks operate year-round, but no indoor seating makes this food option less-than-desirable when the weather is cold or rainy. Before cold weather hits or your local food truck closes down, grab lunch or dinner from one of these locations.

Food trucks are often known for inventive and unique food options. You can support a local business and have a delicious meal while enjoying the warm weather outside.

Roaming Hunger is a cool website that lets you find food trucks in many cities around the country. Where’s the Food Truck is an app that operates in a similar fashion while offering exclusive discounts to customers.

Download on the Apple App StoreGet it on Google Play

Hit Some Local Yard Sales

A man and woman looking at a shirt at a yard sale.
Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock.com

Summer is an ideal time for garage and yard sales because there’s an increase in foot traffic and plenty of sunny weather. Take a stroll through your neighborhood and see if you can snag some last-minute deals before everyone puts their stuff into storage or donates it.

You can find nearby sales by searching websites like Yard Sale Search, checking community Facebook groups, or asking around your neighborhood. These sales are popular over the weekend, so keep your eyes peeled on Saturdays and Sundays when you’re taking your morning walk.

Go to a Carnival or Fair

What feels more like summer than tearing into a bag of cotton candy at your local carnival or fair? These events will sometimes run into September as people take advantage of cooler days out in the sun. Check on local events in your area to see if any of these events have another weekend or two available for you to attend.

FestivalNet lets you find craft shows, music festivals, craft fairs, home and garden shows, arts and craft shows, fine art shows, and street festivals in your area. They also have a blog with tons of information about becoming a seller at any of these events, if you’re interested in that aspect.

Have a Campout in Your Backyard

A large red tent

Camping trips are quintessential summer activities, but multiday trips are harder to plan when kids are already in school or the first day is quickly approaching. Instead of loading up the car for several days in the woods, set up camp (literally) in your backyard.

Make hot dogs and smores in the kitchen, stargaze after the sun goes down, and enjoy some screen-free time together.

This tent is huge and will leave plenty of room for everyone in the family, which means you’re less likely to experience a tantrum that ends up with at least one kid heading back inside before morning. Stuff it with every blanket and pillow you own and you’ll create a fun, cozy family experience.

Make Some Homemade Ice Cream

Scooped ice cream on a table and a bowl of chocolate ice cream
Foodie Crush/Joy Food Sunshine

The only thing better than eating ice cream is eating homemade ice cream on a hot sunny day. This easy no-churn recipe by Foodie Crush doesn’t require an ice cream machine and only requires three ingredients for the base. It also leaves plenty of room for customization so you can make whatever flavors your family most enjoys.

For a super-decadent treat, tackle Joy Food Sunshine’s chocolate ice cream recipe. The flavor is super rich and perfect for all the chocolate lovers in your family.

This recipe does require an ice cream maker to make the ice cream incredibly smooth. If you don’t yet have one, this model is highly rated and easy to use.

Summer isn’t over yet! Take advantage of the final days of the season with these fun activities. If you’re still not ready to transition to fall, that’s okay—you can keep those summer vibes alive through autumn and beyond.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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