Summer Bucket List

The greatest summer bucket list of all time

Whatever you're into -- oceans, cars... chess? -- it's better in summer. That's why we put together this most summery summary of all the most kickass things to do, see, eat, climb, ride, or whatever makes "summer you" happy as a clam. Some are events you should get up off your butt and travel to, and some are general activities that won't be nearly as fun in December. We'll be stacking this list with 10 new entries every week, so start off with what's below, and keep coming back for more.

Those crunchy bits are the best

Preferably fudgie the whale. Cookie Pus will do in a pinch. Nutty The Ghost? You, friend, have stumbled upon a rarity! Chow with gusto. If there’s one of those cool 3D racecar cakes at the store, remember that it was probably meant for some a child’s celebration -- pay the cashier the extra $10 it’ll cost to claim it instead and relish the thought of ruining a kid’s birthday, too!

An arcade's leaderboard

“They say he was eight feet tall”, they’ll whisper, crowded around the cabinet now more monument than machine, “and his words hung in the air like smoke, stinging the eyes.” They’ll say a lot of things about you, and think many more. The players, the legend will change, but the name will not. For there, enthroned in sweat, and blood, and circuitry, will stand a champion. There will stand ASS.

Scandalized victims of a prank call
Everett Collection/Shutterstock

What with caller ID, it’s almost impossible to prank call people these days, so go the extra effort and find the one pay phone left in your city. Call up a friend and then hang up because they're not going to recognize the number and send it straight to voicemail. Repeat this the 50 times it will take them to actually answer the phone, then hit them with the classic, “is your refridgerator running!?” Epic, dude.

He's gonna be a contender

For real, though. Go to the Guinness World Records site and run a quick search. It’s surprising how many records are up for grabs. Furthest distance an orange has been thrown? Most belts owned? Most time spent on a tractor? That stuff’s all ripe for your bragging rights.

A whittler
Erica Minton/Flickr

Everything is better on a breezy porch overlooking a sweeping pasture. Think about it: playing cards, shouting at children, blowing across the opening of an empty jug and pretending it’s an instrument: all better. With summer winding down, you should wind down, too. Grab some porch time to practice whittling (Mom loves novelty figurines) or take up a stringed instrument, because nothing impresses a future date like ridiculous banjo skills.

Todor Rusinov/Shutterstock

There are few things in life as permanent as a tattoo. Except maybe having never gotten one, and spending eternity full of bare-skin regret. Go ahead and not make this summer the summer of regret. Instead, make it the summer of that obscure Springsteen lyric weaving its way up your left arm. Will it hurt? Yeah. Will it be erasable? Absolutely not. But it’ll definitely look better than a farmer’s tan.

She's been pooled
Harsha K R/Flickr

Listen to the cries of “Wait, no, I have a cell phoooooo—” and care not a single whit. Just because ubiquitous pocket technologies are not waterproof doesn’t mean this classic summer institution has to die… though you might after that dude gets out of the pool. He looks pissed.

Going for their fifteen minutes
Aktiv I

The good thing is that, whatever your life goal -- be it world travel, finding a soulmate, founding a Utopia, making yourself into a world class cook, becoming famous for nothing, or just being a dick to near strangers -- there’s a show that will help you achieve it, and it’s waiting for your magnetic, unique snowflake of a personality. That bad thing is that, apparently, nobody will be there to make friends. Sometimes, achieving your dreams can be lonely.

Preparation in action
Yeko Photo Studio/Shutterstock

Like a popular TV show often says: “Winter is approaching”. What better way to get ready for the inevitable arctic vortex sequel than by gaining a massive amount of weight? Added layers of whale-like blubber insulate the body from cold. And while water heaters, boilers, clothes, buildings, and about four million other human developments have obviated the need to use fat to stay warm, eating three pizzas a day is really fun.

Here comes the sun...on your windshield

Less dangerous than walking away from an explosion without turning around to look at it, more satisfying than sitting on a pier at dusk and staring into the middle distance, driving into a sunset will be a perfectly cinematic end to a summer filled with all kinds of adventure (especially if you decided to follow this list). Be sure not to forget the clever quip said directly into the camera before sliding over the hood and flooring it.

Dune surfing
Eric Hood/Flickr

Do you really want to learn regular surfing? Anyone can be unoriginal and catch a tube in the ocean -- a real badass goes inland to find some towering piles of sand, say, at the aptly named Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve in Colorado. Plus, when you take fiberglass down a dune, you get the added bonus of not having to deal with umbrellas everywhere and judgmental beach bums.

A greased watermelon
Clay Larsen/Flickr

Something awkward happened at the beginning of any summer camp or poolside field day. The group leaders encouraged all the children to hop in the water, and then they immediately slathered a watermelon with Crisco, tossed it in, and told participants to pass it around. Obviously, laughter ensued, because you can’t even hold a greased watermelon on solid ground, let alone treading water. All of this was done under the guise of an “ice breaker”, because nothing helps you get to know new friends like greased fruit.

People wearing white
Healthe Bay/Flickr

Wearing white after Labor Day is a cardinal sin according to people who allow other people to dictate their lives, so get the last of your white in now. But don't just throw on a little white -- go full white, from the socks to the stellar white headband you're going to be rocking. Time to whip out that white ascot you've been hankering to "debut". Pro-tip: don't spill!

A game of flashlight tag
Neon Tommy/Flickr

Let's face it, most people prefer the lights off. So head on over to your best friend's giant mansion or a wooded area or any area that can be dark (anywhere) and rally the troops for a game of flashlight tag. Remember: you have to shout the person's name once you flash the light on them. Also remember: batteries, since flashlight tag is a ruthless decimator of power.

Advertiser Content From

The best Labor Day EVAR

Just because the summer's winding down doesn't mean you have an excuse for not getting turnt up. Don’t let the party go sour with the same old lame drink cocktails. Instead, serve drinks that are as sparkling and spicy as you are –like Malibu Sparkler and Malibu Spiced. Get recipes and start prepping right here.

Crazy riders
Schlitterbahn Kansas City/Facebook

Whatever it is that causes man to render works of engineering that scrape the very firmament itself -- the hubris of the rational animal, the steel fist of stymied fury raised in opposition to its cosmic insignificance --  its result is dang fun to ride. Standing 168ft tall, Verrückt at Kansas City’s Schlitterbahn Water Park is the tallest waterslide in the world, outfitted with multiple drops, top speeds of up to 70mph, and uncountably many test runs to make sure you’re going to be okay riding it.

A hole digger
Alexi Ueltzen/Flickr

Find a splotchy bit of land, grab a shovel, and start digging. While digging might not build character, as suggested by the Warden in Holes, it can build muscle. And, if you're incredibly lucky, could result in you finding a million dollars, some lost buried treasure, or a lifetime's supply of earthworms.

A tub fulla ice

You’ve all seen 468 of your closest online friends videotaping themselves dumping ice water on their heads (which is really superfluous to the actual cause of donating to the ALS Association to aid in research). But rather than throwing water on yourself, why not throw your own little spin on it? Jump into a frozen lake in Ontario. Pipe intricate frosting flowers onto your head. Whatever you do, if you donate to the cause, the action beforehand is probably negligible.

School supplies

Eagle eyed readers might have noticed that, yes, we have extolled the pleasure of never having to do back to do back to school shopping again. But do those very same erudite scholars of this list deny the enchanting sweetness of pencil freshly sharpened, the thrilling snap of a trapper keeper first opened, the pristinely unblemished profile of an eraser never used? Surely not. Also, the deals are, like, really good.


There’re a lot of things that are really excellent about growing up: people come to you for advice, you can take care of yourself, nobody tells you that dinner != cookies. But even the best days days, new music can be indistinguishable from noise, and a tidbit of slang might float by on twitter that you can’t decipher. Lean in and let the hate flow through you... and why not inform the neighborhood kids that, no, that frisbee’s yours now?

He'll never forget his head again

Ahhh summer, the season of the buzzcut. Or at least it was every summer between the ages of three and eleven. Today, your grooming repertoire consists of pomades and fancy beard clippers, but this year you’re taking things old school (no, not “hipster mustache” old school. Actual old school.). Go to your local barber, admire the spiraling door ornament, and proudly walk in asking for the good old number one with a dash of “Brian” on the sides. Bonus points if you just do the whole thing yourself at home and your name isn’t really “Brian”.

A giant friggin' baby

If buzzcuts aren’t your thing and you want to take things to an even older school, shear those locks all the way down and relive your golden years. After all, nothing gives you summer cred likes walking around looking like a giant infant, sans shirt and all. Just make sure you stock up on the sunscreen; there’s no way a scalp burn feels good.

Summer fun
Lawrence Lazare/Flickr

There’s something about summer that sends you traipsing through the unlikeliest of places: remote trails, old sheds, closed-to-the-public morgues. So, naturally, you’re bound to come across a strange thing or two. And whether you report it immediately, poke it with a stick or practice your best Rust Cohle impression with a super thick detective’s notebook, finding a dead body will certainly make for an epic story. Keep your eyes peeled.

A homemade smoker
Gabriel Bucataru/Flickr

You don’t have to be a (Big Green) egg-head to sample smoked meats all season long -- the low and slow can be put together quick and dirty. Got a ceramic flower pot, hot plate, and pie tin? You’ve got a smoker. Got an oil drum and some grill grates? You’ve got a smoker. Got a shovel to dig a hole, bamboo shoots to elevate meat in said hole, and palm fronds to cover? You might be on a deserted island, but rejoice because, yes, you’ve got a smoker.

Skippin' stones
Robert Park/Flickr

Find the skinniest rock flakes and throw them at the nearest body of water at an obtuse angle. This produces the effect of “skipping”, which means the rocks will flit above the water like majestic and magical missiles (thanks, physics!). Alternatively, throw rocks at water because f&$@ you, water.  

Mount Monadnock
Michael McDonough/Flickr

While Fuji might still be the world’s most summitted mountain (though if you drive your car to the top of a mountain and say that you’ve summitted it, you’re bad and you should feel bad), New Hampshire’s Mt. Monadnock is the world’s most climbed. It might not be the tallest peak in the US -- hell, it’s not even the tallest peak in New Hampshire -- but its 40+ miles of hiking trails along the 3,000ft elevation will make for an afternoon that’ll make your fist-shaking at Fuji car-summitters all the sweeter.

An open fire hydrant

Ready to waste 1,800 gallons of potable drinking water a minute while simultaneously lowering the water pressure for surrounding buildings? Sure you are! Why? Because sprinklers really, really suck.

A boxcar in action

Maybe you have fond memories of being a downhill speed demon in your youth, or maybe you have a simmering but decidedly hostile disagreement with one of your neighbors (pants are NOT “OPTIONAL”, when mowing your lawn, RALPH), or maybe you’re just pissed that they didn’t have a soapbox in GTA V, but if you’re so… inclined (heh) you’re just four wheels and a rickety deathtrap away from owning your neighborhood.

A bike making some noise
Ramon Espelt Photography/Shutterstock

VROOOOOOFPFPFPFPPFVVVV. Hear that sound? It’s the sound of a baseball card cleverly close-pinned to your bike spokes while you barrel down a hill at dangerously blistering speeds just so you can A)beat your pals to lookout point and B)pretend your Huffy is actually a bona fide motorbike.

An ice cream truck
Ezra Wolfe/Flickr

A beautiful thing happens when a freezer truck heads down your block playing “Camptown Races”. No, not the Doppler Effect, though that is technically true. What’s really magical is that it means you can sprint at top speeds -- preferably at the expense of small children -- in order pay the damn reasonable price of $2.75 for a gumball frozen into an ice cream ninja turtle. Stay frosty.

Tamera Clark/Flickr

True story: nothing is more American than grilled pizza. Invented by accident in 1980 by two secret genius restaurateurs in Providence, Rhode Island who thought “wood-fired brick oven” meant “grill”, throwing a ‘za on the barbie is now something you can do without having everybody ask “uhhh, you do know what a wood-fired oven is, right?”. The result will be crisper and smokier than anything your oven can produce, and will also give you the chance to use the phrase “‘za on the barbie”.

Iakov Kalinin/Shutterstock

Do nothing. Seriously. This is the for which summer was invented. Look at a tree. Listen to a bird. Enjoy the fact that you never have to do back to school shopping ever again. Every other entry on this list is a suggestion -- this is a demand.

Rock out

Lover of Neil Patrick Harassment or The Curdled Milk Incident? You likely would be if they existed but, sadly (maybe not sadly) they don't. Still, commemorate their non-memory by taking the time to memorialize them on a t-shirt. Always wanted to start a band but lack the ability to sing, play an instrument, or get up in front of strangers without letting out uncontrollable amounts of pee? Now's your chance to pretend you're just like Trent Reznor.

Old Onliner/Flickr

We’ve all seen those movies. Dad of the year (probably played by Steve Martin) builds dimple-faced Johnny his very own, 16-story, fully finished mansion home in a massive, ancient oak behind the blue-shuddered palace that little prince calls home. But if you’re a normal human, that never actually happened in your life, even though you totally asked. But this summer, you should grab your adult life by the hammer and forge a treehouse your-damn-self. And because you’re totally capable of paying your electric bill, you’re definitely (probably) also capable of building a structurally sound hang pad in a tree somewhere.

Dominika Baczek/Flickr

As far as summer camp staples go, tie-dye is definitely in the top five. But no more of this “white t-shirts only” rule. As a full-grown person, you can tie dye whatever the hell you want. Old tube socks? Go for it. Your chemist friend’s lab coat? Color away. Rented formal wear? Sure thing (but kiss the deposit goodbye). But of course, the real trick to tie-dye is going big. So get a whole slew of dye colors, mess around with some super intricate rubber band twists and go to town -- but maybe don’t actually go into town, because you’ll probably look absurd wearing this stuff.

Shoe golf
Jake Wild/Flickr

Golf-golf is for monocle owners and frisbee golf is for when your hacky sack is in the shop. Shoe golf is the real sport of kings. All you need? A few “holes” (trees and bushes and people standing really, really still), some shoes, and the ability to swing your leg. Just unlace and loosen your kicks, aim, and fire away. If you wait until fall or winter, deadly frostbite turns this into stump golf a little too quickly.

Mihai Simonia/Shutterstock

Make sure it’s a really big one. No thunderstorms? How about a dust devil? Hail? Basically, when any meteorological event occurs somewhere near you, make sure you whip out your phone and start recording (and definitely in portrait mode). Between lightning strikes or whatever definitely add in a few exclamations like, “Whoa!” or “Didja see that?” or “World Star!” for a real professional touch. Once you’re finished, load that bad boy to the Internet and title it something like…”CraZY StORM///OUt Of ContrROL MUST seE!” You’ll be Internet famous in no time.


The only reason this entry took so long to appear on the list is that we figured you would have gone out and done it already unbidden, but just to be safe, DO IT ALREADY. Go see the world’s largest ball of twine in Cawker City, Kansas, or the Cabazon Dinosaurs (you know, the ones from the Very Serious movie about videogames, The Wizard?), or floor it on Highway 130 where the speed limit is 85. Why are you still reading this?

Romina Campos/Flickr

Hopefully the wavy smell lines coming off your newly baked creation will lure a wolf or similar animal who, thanks to the power of your pie, can now float. Cartoons are real, right?

A junk car
Georg Sander/Flickr

Maybe it was one too many perfectly looped explanations of how pistons worked on r/educationalgifs, or maybe it’s how secretly ignorant you felt when joking about your car running “on magic”, but either way there’s now a classic convertible in the garage and your cuffs are rolled up to your elbows. Except, wait, what’s that stuff pooling ominously and rapidly? And didn’t this...thing...have five screws? And was that the parking brake that just disengaged? OH GOD IT WAS THE PARKING BRAKE.

A high diver
Penn State/Flickr

Now that the chance of being surrounded by bitter, hateful children screaming “JUMP! JUMP!” is significantly less, there’s a decent chance that leaping from the highest heights might be something other than scarring (which is to say, fun). Climb that ladder and leap forth with the grace and poise of an eagle diving out of the sky...or just cannonball.

Movie tickets

Between the tickets, the upgraded price for both IMAX and 3D, and the very-necessary blue raspberry Slurpee with just a little cherry at the top, movies can easily render you, a person who once had a little bit of money, into a person who now has no money. This summer, be a total hooligan: grab one ticket then spend the rest of the day bopping from one theatre to the next. Just remember to run when the usher approaches with that oversized flashlight -- his scrawny teenage legs are no match for your movie popcorn butter-fueled thunder thighs.

A hammock
Camil Tulcan/Flickr

Building a treehouse is complicated, what with needing a tree, materials to build a house, and the energy to put said house up in said tree. Hanging a hammock is less complicated. Find a space, any space, indoor, outdoor, by a door, and secure your hammie. Latch it onto a pole, a tree, or even have two strangers stand and hold it, then lay back and enjoy the indubitable thrill of a gentle sway.

A gigantic slip 'n slide
Gordon Tarpley/Flickr

Slip 'N Slides were inarguably the best part of childhood, easily besting sprinklers, and narrowly outclassing the Super Soaker. Get all kinds of nostalgic while also getting creative and buy a minimum of six Slip 'N Slides. Do whatever you need to do to affix those bad boys to one another, find any space that’s not flat and isn’t considered trespassing, then just add water and let the slippage/slideage begin.

A pickup game of beach volleyball

Nothing says “new friendship” like spiking a volleyball into your new companion’s face. After all, competition is the foundation on which all good things are built (right?). So, next time you’re looking for an impromptu summer beach game, don’t bother putting all the legwork into organizing your own group of friends for a beach outing, an exercise which always ends up being just like herding bathing-suit-laden cattle. Just head to the beach with your game face and find a friendly looking game of volleyball (or ultimate Frisbee, or cornhole, or competitive book reading) and hop right in.

A food-eating contest
David Gallagher/Flickr

Take advantage of the absolute smorgasbord of food-eating contests taking place all throughout the Americas. Head to Kansas City in August for the Kosher hot dog-eating contest at the city’s Kosher BBQ fest, or get crazy in PA at the National Fried Mushroom Eating Championship in September. Clearly, there’s a contest for everything. So find your niche, then eat it.

A cotton candy machine

There’s really nothing worse than waiting those endless months for the delightfully rickety town carnival to come back and set up shop. But sometimes the best way to cure your impatience is to just do the damn thing yourself, so get ready to take your block party to insane levels. Rent yourself a bouncehouse (bonus points for one of those sweet obstacle course things) and grab some snow cone and/or cotton candy machines. Of course, no carnival would be complete without games, and standby classics like bottle ring tosses and milk bottle pyramids are as easy as finishing off a couple 24-packs. Plus, your neighborhood will finally start calling you “‘Ol’ Carny Wilson” like you’ve been wanting for years even though your name isn’t Wilson.

A gym, unused

What if joining a gym was all it took to reap the benefits of actually going to the gym? Well, pretend it does by doing the absolute easiest part: joining one. Act like this is a really difficult process: compare prices, do Internet research, take a tour and say things about like "Does this gym have a Lever Jammer Press?" and “Hmmm, not sure about the tension quad buffers on this squat rack, bro” until you ultimately settle on the gym closest to your pad. Then join it. Then never visit it ever again. Excellent.

Advertiser Content From

A summer night party

Summer is the time for late night gatherings and even later-night cocktails. And since there’s plenty of summer evening fun on this here bucket list, we’re teaming up with Malibu Black and Malibu Red to fill the accompanying cups with some of the best nighttime drinks. Just to start, try mixing Malibu Black with Ginger Ale and lime for an epic take on a Dark & Stormy. Or, throw Malibu Red over semon soda and ice for a super simple (but super fresh) taste they’ve dubbed “All The Right Moves”. Check out some more drink recipes right here.

A boozy watermelon
Magalie L'Abbe?/Flickr

Take the ultimate summer fruit, cut out a convenient bottleneck-sized hole, and dump in your favorite fifth. Why? Because doing this in winter is weird, fall would be foolish, and spring is just stupid. See, that’s the power of alliteration. Once you’ve embarked on this epic summer quest, make sure you keep adding more liquor until it’s all soaked into the fruit. The biggest mistake you can make before eating this boozy treat is to not give it enough time to marinate. Rinds up, people.

Canoe drinking
Sarah Cady/Flickr

Fishing? Communing with nature? On set at the Deliverance remake? Whenever and however you find yourself out on the water, make sure you seal the deal with a can of river cooled beer or a sip of your flask --  a stern piece of advice worth bowing too, oar else. But seriously, canoe drink. It’s a thing.

Thomas Hawk/Flickr

As a city, Memphis is better when it’s hot and disgusting. After all, seedy authentic blues is best paired with an equally seedy environment. But of course, paying homage to a music mecca of this caliber wouldn’t be anywhere near complete without a stop just outside town to Graceland, Elvis’ 14-acre estate, which essentially serves as a palace to rock ‘n roll opulence. And while it might seem a little touristy, with 23 rooms, almost 18,000 square feet of space, and a “Jungle Room” complete with indoor waterfall, this place is like 400 times cooler than you think it’ll be.

Your parents' vacation home
Jo Ann Snover/Shutterstock

Do you fondly remember that sweet vacation home mom and dad used to take you to? While they probably kicked you out long ago, the reclaimed wood floors and pool are still as good as ever. Combine your love for your parents with your love for their love of luxury and visit them at their vacation home. Don't even worry about calling and telling them in advance; just show up. Sure, they hate surprises, but you're their progeny, so it should be fine, right? (And they totally won't mind if you bring Bandit, right? Right?).

Daisy Dukes

Everybody and everything wants to be more than what they are: that single scoop cone wants to be a sundae, that cheeseburger wants to be a bacon cheeseburger, and those jeans you are inexplicably wearing in the middle of summer want to be shorn. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, take the scissors to a pair of tux bottoms for a formal pair so you’ll fit in when you…

Wedding crashers
Rubin Starset/Flickr

Vaughn and Wilson did a decent job of it back in '05, but they also left a wake of destruction in their path. Not you. You're going to get in there, nab a few appetizers, get some glasses of champagne, and definitely get in on that cake. As for how you're getting in, that's simple: you've been dispatched by [mumble] to fix a broken speaker. No one at a wedding says no to someone offering to fix something, even if it's not broken. So go forth. Just remember to wish the happy couple a lifetime of success.

The Great Horror Campout
Great Horror Campout/Facebook

The one thing horror movies don't effectively do: reach out at you in an attempt to mangle your innards. That's why there's the Great Horror Campout, a 12-hour, overnight, interactive "horror camping adventure". Sounds terrible? More like terribly awesome. You can be a "chicken" and engage in roasting marshmallows and ghost story telling, or you can be "fair game" and partake in the "Hell Hunt", where you'll be bathing in the "Blood of a Popelick" (ram-headed man-monster) and engage in voodoo rituals. The safety phrase is, naturally, "I want my mommy!".

A 48 hour film

This two-day short film showdown is the quickest way you’ll climb to moderate notoriety, short of a viral lip sync. At the beginning you’re presented with a random genre and a few plot requirements, and at the end you’re expected to submit a fully realized (and completely epic) short film for judging. The tour will come to a city near you, so check the sched for your entry and get your directing chops ready.

Beer brewing
Adam Jackson/Flickr

Brewing your own beer isn’t anything too out of the ordinary anymore -- everyone’s got a friend who does it. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s pretty much the freshest, most delicious way to throw back a few. And if your hunt for the perfect shandy is coming up dry, then it’s also the perfect way to make a delicious summer brew to your exact specifications. If you want an oregano quintuple hopped IPA, you do it, big guy.

Air guitar in action
Stuart Brown/Flickr

While the jury is still out on whether or not it’s one of the longest running jokes of all time, the Air Guitar World Championships are returning for their 19th consecutive year this August 27th, and while the guitars might be invisible, the showmanship certainly isn’t. A true international affair, the 2013 AGWC had representatives from every continent save Antarctica, though it should surprise no one that a yank took the title last year. USA! USA!

An award winning sandcastle

Entering a sandcastle competition is one of the most summer-y things you can do, but to win will require your A-game. So here are some pro-tips: Firstly, dry sand definitely won’t work, but overly wet sand won’t hold either; build up your blocks with damp sand after letting excess water drain off. Secondly, you’ll need to make some tool decisions. Other than buckets and shovels, make sure you bring everything you’ll need to be creative, like interesting cake molds and full-on carving tools (painting trowels are your best friends). And finally, think big. No one turns heads with a two-story ranch house.


Picking from the oodles of available music fests is tough (never mind actually getting tickets). But there are some lesser known gatherings that can hang with the big boys, and Bumbershoot celebrates the tunage in a big way. Head over to the Seattle Center (originally built for the ’62 World’s Fair) this year with 100,000 of your closest friends and check out one of the summer’s most eclectic lineups. Some highlights: Wu-Tang Clan, Foster the People, Elvis Costello, The Head and The Heart, plus Ted Leo and Aimee Mann’s new project The Both.

A progressive in action
Anthony Humphreys

Beach bodies occupy the beach, sure, but where are the rest of us supposed to catch our rays? Leave your shirt behind and walk around the city in a half-birthday suit, because... summer. Whether you're just shy of your goal weight, large and/or in charge, or have a gravitational mass that NASA is deeply concerned about, nothing beats the accomplishment of freeing your mind and body.

A Super Soaker fight

The gun that launched a 1,000 soaks: the majestic Super Soaker 50. The very first weapon in a line that was (no joke) designed by a rocket scientist, the 50 is the benchmark of sleek design, ease of use, and vaguely erotic pumping action. Current Soakers and other water cannons are so heavily modified with gizmos and gimmicks you might as well be firing a high-pressure fireman’s hose, e.g. cheating. With the 50 and other earlier models, it came down to skill, careful pump timing, and knowing where to properly house refills. While an anniversary edition briefly hit the market in 2009, you’ll have to look to eBay to get any of the originals or the re-releases. Still, totally worth it.

The Bonneville salt flats
Eric Ward/Flickr

Salt flats, for the unversed, are flat expanses covered with salt and other minerals that allow you to go ridiculously fast. The Bonneville Salts don’t disappoint, spanning an impressive 46 square miles of northwestern Utah. Open to both professionals and amateurs, every summer this becomes a speedracers wet, albeit salty, dream. While you probably won't be breaking records like Craig Breedlove did with his Spirit of America -- Sonic 1 -- getting that guy up to 600mph -- nobody's going to stop you from trying (warning: they might stop you from trying).

A bonfire
Moyan Brenn/Flickr

Bonfire? Fireworks? Cannon? If you can get your hands on it -- even if it take several hands, like a whole town’s worth of folks -- light it on fire. If only for the nostalgia factor of your bygone youth. If for certainly about how freaking amazing it is to see something burst into flames. If it explodes into magically choreographed light in the night sky, that’s just gravy


Summer, hot. Upper atmosphere, cold. Why chill off from the seasonal heat with the usual kiddie pool/sneaking into your neighbor’s much more awesome inground pool when you could jump from a freakin’ plane? At 3,500ft (the average sky diving altitude), you’ll be at about 10 degrees cooler than the ground! That’s so much cooler. Sure, it’s only for the couple of minutes it takes you to get to the ground, but boy -- what a refreshing (and terrifying) few minutes!

A tent
Nick Bramhall/Flickr

It’s about time you got in touch with nature, and we all know the best way to get in touch with something is to sleep with it. So take that summer camping trip to super rustic levels and post up on a nice mossy patch in your favorite stretch of woods. But make sure you bring everything you’ll need to brave the elements. If you’re forgoing the tent (like a badass), a nice quilt and a mosquito headnet will keep out the flighty pests and keep you looking real stylish. Though, nothing says “sleeping outside” better than a hammock, and with a few ropes/bungees and a nice tarp, you can make one just about anywhere.

An outdoor movie
Brian Fountain/Flickr

If you can’t park your car in a drive-in, park your butt in front of one of the hundreds of free outdoor movies that are playing across screens all over this great nation of ours (and, in some cases, abroad). Ready that picnic basket and see what flicks are screening in your city this summer right here.   

Mt. Hood skiiers

Since 1936, Oregon’s Timberline Lodge has been making your air conditioner look BTUseless with miles of snow-covered ski trails that never got the memo about it being summer. Be forewarned: during the summer, beginner trails are closed, so be prepared to cut some blues and blacks, or just trade your soul for the perfect iced hot chocolate in their lodge... which you might recognize as The Overlook Hotel from The Shining.

Some excellent road BBQ
Renee Suen/Flickr

Tennessee. North Carolina. South Carolina. It doesn’t matter what state you choose, what matters is you head to one of America’s BBQ capitals and feast your way from border to border until you can definitively say who’s got the best everything. Then pick another state and start the process all over again.

The glory of the State Fair

Drink this in: the Minnesota State Fair has butter sculptures. They make sculptures out of butter. This cannot be emphasized enough. State institutions insanely genius enough to make art of food are ready, willing, and able to deep fry anything barely resembling food for your gastric enjoyment -- Twinkies, Oreos, Ice Cream, Soda… they can literally deep fry liquid, that’s how far deep frying technology has advanced. Putting your life into the hands of scurrilous carnies on shoddy rides is just a bonus.

Burning Man
Julia Wolf/Flickr

Hanging out in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for this festival of art, community, free expression and giant edifice burning is probably the most spiritually freeing thing you can do this summer…or at least the most clothing-freeing thing you can do. Whether it’s the no-money-allowed “gift economy”, or the crazy hand-made, recycled torso junkyard statues you’ll definitely see everywhere, or the fact that it’s a city of freaking tents where manual labor and dubstep dance parties go hand-in-hand, this is something you have to do at least once. And then get addicted and do, like, 17 more times.

Getting crazy at The Gathering

Seminars! Open mic nights! Performances from relatively mainstream acts (like Method Man & Redman)! This five-day carnival of insanity has all manner of legit entertainment value… even if you don’t necessarily want to paint your face like a terrifying clown. In its 15th year, the Insane Clown Posse’s crowning achievement is happening for the first time in Legend Valley, Ohio and performers include Cypress Hill and (holy #*&@) Gilbert. Gottfried. Yes, there are a million reasons you should not go to this, so overcome them all and just go already.

Iced coffee genius in action
Mirona Lliescu/Flickr

The only thing worse than not having an iced coffee is having the remnants of what was once an iced coffee. You know, that strange mixture of water, thinned out milk and virtually undetectable coffee flavor. Solution? Freeze a bit of extra coffee into ice cubes and use those when you make your 2:00p cup of energy, and you’ll be the caffeinated toast of your office. Nailed it.

S'mores, deconstructed
Andrew Zimmer

The best part of s’mores is how easy they are to make: a little choco, a little fluff-o, some grahams, add a little fire, and boom, deliciousness. But what if you went rogue subbing out the chocolate for fudge or the graham cracker for shortbread? Or, what if you just dipped the whole thing in the deep fryer (when does that not improve on a food situation?). WHAT IF YOU DREAMED UP SOMETHING AS AWESOME AS THE S’MORES FRIES YOU SEE IN THE PICTURE ABOVE? YES THOSE ARE S’MORES FRIES!

Advanced porch hangouts
Duncan Rawlinson/Flickr

Sometimes the best thing to do is to do no thing at all. So relax, kick your cares to the curb (it's nearby anyway) because tonight the farthest you'll be venturing is not very far. Bonus: if you make it from 7pm to whatever time the bars close in your town, in the future you'll be able to say things like, "Remember that time we spent the whole night on the porch?" and "We should make Porch Night an annual thing".

Chess park action
Shawn Harquail/Flickr

Even though NYC’s Washington Square park may have the lock down on the literal game of kings, that doesn’t mean your burg doesn’t have a hot spot worth check (mating) out. Chicago’s North Avenue chess pavillion, Boston’s Harvard Square, LA’s Plummer Park, and Seattle’s Pioneer Park all attract sharp players who are more than happy to take your money while doing the indoor thing outside.

A water jetpack
Jetpack America/Facebook

One word: jetpack. Well, two words (water jetpack), but still: JETPACK. Regardless, strap it on and you won’t care how many words describe the 420 foot-pounds of force that will be propelling you up to 30 feet above the water at one of JetPack America’s Honolulu, Newport Beach, or San Diego locations.

A Cruisin' Cooler crew
Cruzin Coolers/Facebook

The ice box with wheels and an engine had its five minutes of fame six years ago and one of those earlier, lesser models is probably sitting in your neighbor’s garage right now. Luckily for you, you’re going to purchase a brand new edition with 1000W of power, tougher wheels, and some badass flame decals (badass flame decals not included). Prepare to take your cooler to the streets, 5Fast7Furious Style.

The Calgary Stampede
Chris Bolin/Courtesy of Calgary Stampede

Part parade, part concert, part rodeo, part holy crap the entire city of Calgary becomes an ode to cowboys for 10 days every year, the Stampede is everything you dreamed Alberta could be and more. Just some of the highlights of this year's July 4th-14th affair: a 60,000 person pancake breakfast, party tents holding over 20,000 people apiece, and chuckwagon races. Do yourself a favor and join the million+ attendees. Or try and enter yourself into the rodeo -- you could win a chunk of the $1 million up for grabs. At the very least you’ll get to ride a horse, aka "nature’s car".

Fun at the swimmin' hole

From the East Coast to the West Coast; from abandoned and flooded rock quarries to fish ponds to farmer Jeremiah’s swimmin’ hole, it’s not a proper American body of water unless there’s a rope swing dangling precariously from a tree that’s clearly about to crack in half. And it’s not a proper American summer until you ululate like a deranged orangutan and risk terrible bodily injury as you leap into the air while grabbing said rope swing. Just hope that there aren’t many proper American rocks waiting under the water.

Enchanted Rock
J.B. Hill/Flickr

An easy drive from Austin, Enchanted Rock is the largest pink granite monadnock in the U.S. Why would you want to climb an unimpressively costumed alien creature who’s spent thousands of years trying to kill Dr. Who? You wouldn’t! A monadnock is actually a rock hill that rises sharply from its mostly level surroundings -- 425 feet in this case. Once you’ve completed the relatively simple ascent, you’ll find yourself standing atop what seems like another world.

Enjoying the hell out of some lobster
Courtesy of Maine Lobster Festival

Midcoast Maine pretty much owns its seafood game, and the Lobster Fest in Rockland at the end of July is probably the best way to sate your need for ocean grub. This four-day ode to New England's finest offers live tunes, niche competitions (speed knitting!) and pretty much the most crustaceans you’ve seen anywhere, on a roll or otherwise. Break out the bib.

Show the water the what for on a Quadski XL
Courtesy of Gibbs

Part jetski, part ATV, all “WOOOOOOOOOO!”, the Quadski XL is the perfect way to affront both Poseidon and Gaia. Outfitted with a 1300cc BMW 4-cyclinder engine, the newfangled mutant can get up to speeds of 45mph on both land and water, and takes only four seconds to make the switch. Best of all, it fits two, so everyone on the beach will be jealous that you have the coolest whip around, and a lady.

The gross kind of European tourist
Nicki Dugan Pogue/Flickr

European tourists will be all over America this summer, and not just in New York and San Francisco. From Minneapolis to Houston, this country is filled with a shocking amount of hostels packed with sexually liberal international vagabonds just waiting for someone like you to show them that they didn’t make a mistake by randomly deciding to travel across an ocean in order to visit Minneapolis, or Houston. Treat them to a night they’ll never forget, and maybe they’ll treat you to a night you’ll never shut up about!

A drive-in
Scott Audette/Visit Florida/Flickr

Nothing says summer like a balmy evening under the glow of the moon… except maybe a balmy evening under the glow of a massive movie screen playing not one but two sweet flicks. Go ahead, collapse those backseats, spread out that old quilt, lay back with your date (or, like, tons of snacks), and snicker at all those fools stuck in a musty, impersonal theatre.

The Gathering of the Vibes
Courtesy of gathering of the Vibes

Founded in 1996 as a celebration of Jerry Garcia, Vibes has evolved into a 4-day, end-of-July festival that covers every kind of jam band/band that draws from a billion influences, plus reggae. This year, their lineup includes Edward Sharpe, Widespread Panic, White Denim, Trombone Shorty, Rusted Root, Ziggy Marley, and a ton more, all taking over Bridgeport, CT’s Seaside Park.

The Hotel Monteeone
Courtesy of Hotel Monteeone

Running two days longer than your mind can possibly handle (July 16th-20th), the massive annual spirits convention draws hundreds of the best bartenders in the country to showcase their skills, compete against each other, and stay up ‘til 8am every morning doing what bartenders do. There are at least eight million spirit-focused events, from afternoon pool parties, to lavish dinners, to midnight pétanque matches on full-on sand courts in the middle of the French Quarter. Also, there are booze seminars -- whether or not they’re also boozy seminars is up to you.

A proud fisherman
Latham Jenkins/Flickr

Long before the days of specialty supermarkets selling cleanse-ready pressed juices and sunflower seed butter (also known as sunbutter... to some people), folks apparently ate to survive. So grab a fishing hook, get to the nearest body of life-supporting water, and spend a few hours testing your patience. Still have that gourmet hankering? Try turning your catch into sushi (but really don't, it's way too complicated; just grill it up and eat the guy).

Come back next week for more. In the meantime...

Advertiser Content From

Hidden Beach
David Varga/ Shutterstock

No matter how awesome this is, there’s no summer bucket list like your own summer bucket list. Malibu rum wants you to create one by choosing from hundreds of ideas, from “Discover a hidden beach” (brilliant) to “Shout ‘all the drinks are on me!’” (brilliant unless you’re at a hotel bar!). Build your itinerary right here, help @maliburumus flood the Internet with awesome by tweeting and instagramming your list with #MalibuBSE, and don’t forget to tip your bartender a lot.