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Raise your hand if you’re ready to turn social distancing into a distant memory.
When I heard that my daughter’s school was closing for two whole weeks last March, I thought that was an eternity. I honestly didn’t think we would make it through.
Fast forward one year, and we’ve spent more “quality time” together than either of us were prepared for.
If you’re in the majority, I’ve got some good news. Recent results show that Americans are starting to get out, following the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only are more people engaging in social interactions by visiting with friends and family, the number of people who are self-quarantining is steadily declining.
And, with summer coming, people are starting to make big plans to get out and escape the far too familiar four walls surrounding them.
Just as we make New Year's Resolutions for the beginning of each new year, we are upon a new beginning of a different kind–one unlike what we experience on an annual basis.
This is a new beginning where everyone is eager to get up, get out, and get moving.
One of the best ways you can be sure to maximize the time during the upcoming summer season is to set some summer goals.
So in this article, we will look at 35 summer goals you can create for yourself to help you finally escape the confinement of social distancing and spread your wings.
Let’s take a look.
35 Summer Goals: A List to Set for 2024
1. Go on a Road Trip
There’s no better time than the summer to pick a spot on the map, grab your friends, and drive. You’re guaranteed to have a fun adventure travelling where the wind takes you with your closest buddies.
Make a list of things you want to do on your trip, and leave the rest up to chance.
2. Go to an Outdoor Concert
Going to concerts is one of the most sought-after activities in America. Find a venue near you, grab a lawn chair, and lay back as you’re listening to the live music.
3. Take a Picnic to the Park
Go all out with a picnic blanket and basket and bring your favorite lunch foods to enjoy in the park. This is a great way to enjoy the summer sunshine while you people watch with your picnic partner.
4. Swim a Mile
Now that the pools will be back open, a lot of people will get their exercise through swimming laps.
One fun goal to have if you like to swim is to swim a mile. But you don’t have to stop there, aim to swim two, three, or four miles if you’re up for it.
5. Catch Fireflies
This is a classic summer after-dinner activity. See who can catch the most! Plus, you’ll get a little exercise while you’re doing it.
6. Cross Something Off Your Bucket List
Get out your bucket list (or start making one with this list of over 500 bucket list ideas) and get to work! Make a goal to conquer some of the larger items, like skydiving or traveling cross-country.
7. Meet a New Friend
It’s about time to get out there and start talking to others who are outside of your “safe” zone. If you’re looking for an easy way to start a conversation with someone new, try these “this or that” questions.
Or, for a longer conversation, ask these hypothetical questions to get a good conversation going.
Not sure how to meet new people? Check out these social hobbies that will have you interacting with new friends in no time.
8. Adopt a Dog
One way to be sure that you get out a lot this summer is to adopt a dog. Plus, adopting a dog has health benefits in addition to the exercise you’ll get from walking him. Studies show that adopting a dog can help reduce stress and give you a sense of purpose and companionship.
9. Have a Family Reunion
It can definitely be a challenge to find a time and a place for everyone to travel and come together, but when is the last time your whole family was able to reunite?
You don’t need to have a big reason to plan a family reunion, it may just be a great excuse to take a fun vacation with all of your relatives who have spread out throughout the years.
10. Make a Positive Change
It’s a new beginning–and a great time to work on making positive changes in your life to set yourself up for living the life you want.
Maybe you want to start waking up earlier so you can use those valuable, quiet hours to be productive before the sun comes up, or maybe you want to work on decluttering your living area to help simplify your life.
You will probably be surprised at the impact one or two small changes can have.
11. Go to a Water Park
Get some thrills on the water while doing everything from flying down exhilarating water slides to jumping through waves in the wave pool.
You’ll definitely feel the adrenaline rush–but you can also be sure that you’ll be safe because there will be trained lifeguards there watching you have the time of your life.
12. Bond with Your Partner
If social distancing has left you and your partner a bit…confined, make an effort to get that spark back with these fun hobbies that will strengthen your relationship. Sometimes all you need is a change of pace and a break from your daily routine to reconnect with your partner.
13. Make a Lemonade Stand
If you have kids, holding a lemonade stand is a great way to teach them about business, making a profit, and teamwork. It will also help you interact with neighbors and passersby who you may not have touched base with in a while.
14. Go to the Drive-In Theater
The coronavirus has made movie theaters feel like a thing of the past. However, the idea of drive-in movies has come back to life as a way to get out and enjoy something on the big screen without having to navigate your way through a strip of people to get to your seat.
Drive-in theaters are popping up around the country and are a great way to spend a night out of the house and around other movie-goers without having to get too close.
15. Ride a Ferris Wheel
If you’re riding a ferris wheel, you’ve obviously gotten out of the house to have a fun night to remember. Make it a goal to go to a carnival of some sort or a beach destination where they offer ferris wheel rides overlooking the city.
16. Grow Your Own Food
Growing your own food in your yard is not only fun, it’s a great way to teach your kids about living a healthy lifestyle. Your family will have fun planting seeds and watching the seedlings grow as you water them. You don’t even need a big yard, a small wooden crate will do for smaller plants!
17. Go Whitewater Rafting
How thrilling does it sound to take a rough ride down the river with some friends in tow, battling the water and dodging the rocks? This extreme sport does require some guidance if you’re a newbie, but it’s an activity that will create a day that you will never forget.
18. Do a Technology Freeze
I bet you’ve spent more time over the past year watching movies, participating in virtual meetings, and scrolling through your smartphone than ever before. It’s time to get away from digital technology and get out into the real, tangible, world.
Set some technology freeze goals where you go 24 hours at a time without watching television or wasting time on your smartphone, and instead, get outside and interact with other people.
19. Host a BBQ
Get your friends and family together, have everyone bring over a dish, and host a BBQ in your backyard. It’s time to reconnect with old friends and enjoy a summer meal together.
The key to hosting the perfect BBQ is to keep it casual. There’s no need to go overboard–just focus on grilling some summer BBQ basics and being with your loved ones.
20. Go to a Farmer’s Market
Get outside and shop for some local favorites–and not just food! You can find some unique gifts and locally-made crafts at farmer’s markets in addition to food that’s been grown locally. This activity also helps support local small businesses, and you’ll probably run into a few people you know!
21. Run in a Race
Find a 5k or 10k race in your area and sign up! Whether this is something you do a lot or you’ve never run a race before, signing up for one is a great way to get outside, be with other people, and get some healthy exercise into your routine.
Races are largely a social event, as the crowds who are cheering the runners on are really enthusiastic and the energy of the day is full of excitement.
22. Go Hiking
Going hiking can be a great way to get some exercise and get out into nature during any time of the year, but it’s especially fun to do during the summer when you can take a break from the norm and even sleep comfortably under the stars if you want to plan an overnight trip.
Setting a hiking itinerary can provide you with a concrete goal to focus on this summer. This goal will help you commit yourself to getting exercise on a routine basis and it will allow you to get out with your friends and enjoy the sunny weather.
23. Watch a Fireworks Show
This doesn’t just have to be on the 4th of July. If your city has a baseball team or other big events, they will often have a fireworks show at the end for spectators to enjoy. Nothing feels more like summer than laying on a blanket in the grass and watching fireworks with friends and family.
24. Catch a Fish
Being out on the water is fun in and of itself, but add in the anticipation and excitement of waiting for a fish to tug on your bait, and you’ve got a great summer goal.
Whether you’re aiming to catch your first fish ever, or you want to catch a fish bigger than you did last summer, having this goal will guarantee that you will get to spend some time doing something positively engaging while enjoying the breeze, sunshine, and sound of the water.
25. Learn a New Skill
This summer is a great time to get out there and learn something new! Check out these skills that you can start learning today and this list of outdoor hobbies. And, if you need some help, here are some fun tools you can use to learn something new every day.
26. Have a Date Night
It’s about time the two of you get out! Find a babysitter and have a night out on the town. Or, if you have kids but can’t find a sitter, you can always plan a fun date night for after they go to sleep.
There are a lot of great ways you can volunteer your time this summer to help others. Volunteering is a great way to feel good about yourself and give your life a deeper sense of purpose.
Whether you do something for an hour a week at the local animal shelter or you sign up to help with disaster relief, you can make a positive impact on the world.
28. Create a Vision Board
It’s a new beginning, and a great time to think about the future. Create a vision board this summer to help inspire and motivate yourself to conquer some of your bigger goals in life.
29. Go Camping
Whether it’s just in your backyard or you want to go all out with a hiking trip and a campout in the wild, going camping is a fun way to bond with those you love. Create a fire to make s’mores and tell ghost stories under the stars this summer–you’re sure to make lasting memories no matter what.
30. Make a Time Capsule
This is a very interesting and unique point in history to document. Leave your personal mark by creating a time capsule of the things that have represented the past year for you.
Whether that’s a favorite book that you read multiple times while you were distancing yourself from the public or some of your favorite masks that you collected, preserve (and bury) your experience with the pandemic by creating a time capsule.
31. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
What makes you nervous but also piques your interest?
You’ve probably spent a lot of time over the past year stuck in your comfort zone to avoid the threat of the coronavirus, so try to do a few things that will challenge you mentally so you can get out of that everyday routine rut.
32. Go to a Baseball Game
Another way to enjoy the crowds and do something no one’s been able to do for a while is to go see a ball game.
Forget the recorded crowd-cheering that we hear now on TV when watching sports games, get out and go see and experience the real deal this summer. Get a hot dog, a giant pretzel, and a foam finger and have a blast!
33. Go Wine Tasting
You’ll probably have to travel a bit to go to a good winery, and summer is the perfect time to do this with your friends and family!
People who own or work at wineries are there to inform and educate tasters about the wines they make and sell–and since wine can be such an important component of a meal, it can be great to have that professional opinion and help.
34. Go to the Beach
This is just a must for summertime. Join the crowds while you listen to the surf and the seagulls and relax by the water.
Collect as many unique seashells as you can find or try to make the biggest sandcastle on the beach!
35. Try a New Food
Have you ever eaten a raw oyster or a soft shell crab? Trying new foods often requires exploring new places and interacting with new people. And be brave, you may be surprised when you find an odd delicacy that you love!
36. Do Cloud Watching
As a kid, you probably did some cloud watching on lazy summer afternoons. Recapture that lost art with a trip to the park where you can spread a blanket or lie on a park bench and let the sky and fluffy white clouds fill your gaze. Set your imagination free and enjoy mother nature’s spectacle.
It’s even better to travel outside the city to an open space where you can sit under a tree and gaze at the fluffy storm clouds without any visual interruptions. This is also a great activity to do with your friends or family, and you can call out the shapes you see and watch these change before your eyes.
37. Go Strawberry Picking
Summer is synonymous with juicy and ripe strawberries. While you can get these at the grocery store or market, why not support local business and find a strawberry farmer near you who opens to the general public?
Some farmers have capitalized on eco-tourism, and they offer days when the public can go and pick their own basket of lush berries, right from the fields, to enjoy. A strawberry picking day is a great way to get out in nature, load up on some vitamin-sun (#VitaminD), and breathe fresh air.
Ask around for someone who teaches classes on preserving fruit as jams and jellies, and make the most of those delicious berries by preserving them. You can spread the taste of summer on toast all season long.
38. Clean up a Beach
What better summer social responsibility initiative than to go clean up a beach? Summer and lazing in the sun on the beach are almost synonymous, but the world’s beaches are facing heavy pollution from plastic and other litter that collects on the shoreline with the tide.
Take the summer time to go and clean a beach with some buddies. Use this as an opportunity for fun, sun, and good deeds. Sorting through the beach trash for useful or recyclable materials is another way to take the project even further. Who knows, maybe you’ll even find a message in a bottle?
39. Go City Slicking
Remember the 1991 hit comedy, City Slickers? The movie, featuring Billy Crystal, was about a bunch of city people who go to a “dude ranch” where they learn to ride Western style and herd cattle across the countryside on horseback.
What an amazing idea to make a summer break away goal? There are several ranches that capitalize on the city-market, teaching some good old-fashioned cowboy skills to individuals and groups. These ranches even offer team building activities and corporate retreats.
40. Declutter Your Home
Winter is when we hibernate and slow things down. Chances are you’ve been falling behind on clearing clutter. Why not set a thorough home declutter as a summer goal? Use the warmer weather when you feel more energized to clear out all the things you’ve been holding on to for too long.
When you prepare for a whole home declutter, it may take some planning and emotional preparedness. Start by noting what you have hoarded and collected in your home. Decide what you need, what you are holding on to, and what you can easily let go of.
After clearing out your home, you may progress to making decluttering your mind a goal during summer. Doing some journaling, visualization, and meditation is a great way to sweep your mental cobwebs.
41. Attend an Arts and Crafts Fair
Summer is time for an open air fair or two. Attending an arts and crafts fair is a great summer goal because it will give you something to do other than the usual activities of summer.
At an arts and crafts fair, you can buy beautiful artwork, chat to artists, and also attend little impromptu workshops where you can learn a new art skill.
An arts and crafts fair is a great way to indulge in a culture boost, stimulate your senses, and learn about the way the world looks to other people.
Music fairs are also a great chance to learn new things, see new musicians in action, and stimulate your creativity and tastes with the associated stalls and music paraphernalia on offer.
42. Take up an Extreme Lifestyle Challenge
Taking up a hobby is fun, but a real summer goal can be to take up a lifestyle challenge that really gets you out of your comfort zone.
Find something that excites you like buying rebound boots (jump boots) to run (bounce) around the block. Use the energy of summer to create a new and exciting challenge that you can add to each day.
A few great lifestyle challenges include:
43. Foster a Child
Summer is about nurturing and giving, and there can be few things as giving or nurturing as setting it as your goal to foster a child.
While adoption is a long-term commitment, and few people feel open to this, you can still make a difference by fostering a child from a local orphanage or children’s home for the summer.
Think of it as an opportunity to share your life wisdom with a child, help mold them for their future, and add value to your own existence.
This could be the summer that a child who feels abandoned and forgotten gets to feel loved and appreciated. What’s more, you will feel a warm glow from doing the right thing and adding to another life.
44. Do Some Landscaping
Dig into the earth this summer with some landscaping work. Redesign your garden, and set it your goal to create a meaningful ecosystem in your garden and create a haven for wild birds and other critters.
This is also a great opportunity to learn about sustainable gardening and different forms of cultivation.
You could start an aquaponic garden in the abandoned koi pond you’ve got in the backyard, or you may even decide you want to build a greenhouse to sprout some seedlings and grow a neighborhood garden.
Your summer goal could be to plant flowers that nurture and attract honey bees, helping to save an important insect species.
If you don’t have your own yard or garden, why not find out about community initiatives you can join where there are charity gardens that provide meals to the needy? Otherwise, you can always help an elderly couple care for their garden or donate some plants to a local community center.
45. Ground Yourself
When summer draws to an end, it’s very easy to fall back into winter’s habits of crawling into a thick fleece blanket and forgetting about the world and all your summer goals. Grounding yourself is a life-long habit that can become your goal this summer.
Grounding is what it sounds like—placing yourself, your life, and your spirit into the ground. Now, you don’t have to contemplate a live burial to do this. Instead, simply slip off your shoes, walk on some green grass or in a garden bed.
Dig your toes into the earth, letting your weight sink just a little deeper into your heels. Grounding anchors you to the earth, brings balance, and relieves stress. Make anchoring your goal this summer and continue it for all seasons, no matter the weather.
Final Thoughts on Summer Goals
What is your favorite thing to do in the summer? Pick a few of these goals and start making plans to get out this summer, meet new people, and experience new things.
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.
Connie Mathers is a professional editor and freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her daughter and two dogs, running, or working at her full-time job as a social worker in Richmond, VA.