An illustration of various summer activities.

Create a Bucket List To Get the Most Out of This Summer

With the limited time between semesters, planning out all the things you’ve been wanting to do will make this season one to remember.
May 21, 2022
11 mins read

Wise Alice Cooper once sang, “School’s out for summer! School’s out, forever!” While one can dispute the claim that school can truly be out “forever,” Cooper is right. School’s out for the summer, which leaves us the potential to start having fun. It’s been a stressful school year for everyone, with COVID-19 still looming and the traditional stress that accompanies being a student. Now it’s finally time to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy the warm weather coming our way. With a few months stretch, there’s plenty of time to do what we want and to make this summer one to remember. After two summers somewhat soiled by the pandemic, the summer of 2022 is the closest to normalcy we’ve been in a while, which is all the more reason for you to create a summer bucket list!

A summer bucket list is something pretty fluid, though you’ll ideally have mapped out at least a few activities before your summer begins. Think of it as something you can work on between your last finals; the best part is it doesn’t have to be complete. You can have snippets of what you want to do, and you’ll have time to build on them as the summer goes on. Make it a group project: Text your friends and ask them what they want to do this summer. Take their ideas as inspiration, using them to build a plan that can be executed with a group or by yourself. You can also always consult Pinterest, which is the No. 1 guru for everything; whether you’re pursuing crafting projects or looking for activities to do, Pinterest is bound to inspire you.

You might be under the impression that this bucket list means traveling and going on vacations, but it doesn’t need to. A summer bucket list just incorporates the little things you want to do, and these things don’t need to involve breaking your bank. There are many different ideas that can cost a little bit or nothing at all. For example, if your goal is to spend more time outside, you can plan out walks around your area or scope out some nearby trails. There are recreational parks where you can purchase a yearlong pass; with that pass, you’ll have the chance to visit multiple times, not only during the summer but throughout the year. If your goal is to read more books, that doesn’t have to mean racking up bills at your favorite bookstore; you can become a regular at your local library.

The best part about the summer is that there’s so much time to spend doing whatever you want, however you want. It may sound daunting simply because there’s so much you want to do, but keeping track of your ideas will ensure you remember everything. A way to start is to create a few different goals. What do you want to get out of your time? Do you plan to rewatch a TV series? Or to watch a TV show for the first time? Do you want to spend more time being creative and doing arts and crafts? Start thinking about different ways you want to do those things and write down what you want to do.

Summer bucket lists not only let you keep track of your dreams for this summer but also fight summer boredom. Summer can lack the routine found during our time in school, which can result in less motivation and a lack of direction — you might ask yourself, what now? If you’re also working during the summer, it means so much more to have a list. A list ensures that you’ll remember what you want to get done and will remind you when you have free time. While we’ve talked about the list, it still might be hard to think of things to add. To help get the ball rolling, here are the top five summer bucket list ideas everyone might enjoy:


1. Drive-ins

Drive-ins are a fun blast from the past, a unique summertime activity. You can go with a group of friends or your significant other, making the back of your car as comfortable as can be with blankets and pillows. You can also avoid those expensive concessions by bringing snacks of your own; bring a cooler, and you can stock up on plenty of drinks for everyone (though most if not all drive-ins prohibit alcohol, so stick to alcohol-free). Additionally, most drive-ins offer a double feature, so you pay one price and get to view two movies. If you want to embrace the full experience, there’s nothing like getting a few classic staples like soft pretzels, nachos and buttery, salty popcorn.

And, if you’re unfortunately a bit too far away from a drive-in, you can always opt to venture out to the theater, which is still a fun way to get out of the house!


2. Mini-Golfing

I’m not the best at mini-golf and I still love going, if that means anything! Mini-golf can be a fun early afternoon or early evening activity. You can enjoy the sunshine and try to putt your way to the top whether you go with one friend or bring a whole group along with you. There are also several different mini-golf themes that are fun to discover, all at a fairly cheap price for a night out on the town. You might also find a mini-golf place that offers more; some mini-golf places have extras like go-kart tracks, which might also be fun. To top it off, you can visit the local ice cream parlor to cool down after leaving your fellow competitors in the dust.


3. Pop-up Fairs

Pop-up fairs are wonderful phenomena and sacred summer festivities. Whether you’re still able to ride the spinning rides or need to stick to the Ferris wheel, there are still fun things you can’t find any other time of the year. With rigged games you can’t resist spending a few dollars on and delectable carnival delicacies like elephant ears or freshly squeezed lemonade, pop-up fairs can be fun places to spend with friends or maybe even a first date.

In line with pop-up fairs/carnivals, county fairs are also a fun tradition. If your county has one planned, check it out and see as the activities might be different each day, and you might find something you’re really interested in.


4. Paint a Canvas

Express your creative side by going to your local craft store and picking up some paints and canvases! You can invite your friends and sit around at home to decorate to your heart’s desire! If you’re of age, you can even hold a do-it-yourself “Paint with a Twist” from home — all you’ll have to do is buy your own wine. Let your creativity run wild; don’t be afraid to pick up a few more canvases in case you make mistakes. These canvases can become new decorations for your next year in the dorm or a wall hanging for your new apartment. In any case, it’s fun, cheap, and you might fall in love with what you create.


5. Enjoy the Weather!

This one kind of encompasses multiple activities, but the main idea is to enjoy the weather. Get outside in the sunshine, and don’t forget your sunblock! You can walk your dog around the neighborhood and explore the nearby park. Go for runs, or if running isn’t your thing, take a friend and walk around town. Recreational offices might offer classes you’d enjoy. Try your hand at kayaking by signing up for rentals; sign up for a yoga class; ride your bike to get ice cream; learn how to fish or swim. It can be as simple as reading a book outside on your patio.


Summer is the time of year that is up to our design. While we have some responsibilities, most of the stress from school is absent, leaving us more time to do whatever we want. By creating a summer bucket list, you can ensure that the fun things you want to do will get done. There’s no need for pressure — it simply serves to remind you of the possibilities awaiting you.

Aly Walters, Michigan State University

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Aly Walters

Michigan State University
English With a Creative Writing Concentration

I am a senior at Michigan State University who also works at MSU’s Writing Center. In my free time, I love working on my latest writing projects!

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