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Your Ultimate Summer Adventures Checklist

It’s about that time! Come check out our list of ultimate summer adventures for families and adults to find your next heat-beating excursion.

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For some, summer break is a time of rest from the chaos of the school year. For others, it’s a constant battle against boredom and an excuse to get out and explore! If you land in that second camp, this guide is for you. We’re diving into the ultimate list of summer adventures, and we’ve got something on the list for everyone! Save this guide to your phone, and pull it out when your crew is bored this summer.

Exploring With Adventures From Scratch

Here at Adventures From Scratch, we’re dedicated to helping your crew have a good time and strengthen your bonds at the same time. That’s why we created three scratch-off adventure books to add creativity, spontaneity, and deep connection to your summer adventures. We’ve got a book for dating couples, one for family fun, and one for adult friends. Check out the full collection, and fill your summer with strategically designed outings focused on fun and connection!

The Ultimate List of Summer Adventures

Our goal for this guide was to create a bucket list of the best summer activities you can partake in no matter where you live. We’ve collected ideas for outdoor adventurers, bookworms, crafters, and explorers of every category. Whether you’re a mom of littles or a group of adult friends looking for adventure, you’ll find plenty of ideas here!

Summer Outdoor Activities and Community Events for Families

1. Explore your city on a scavenger hunt.

If you want a fun and inquisitive way to explore your city, check out a sightseeing scavenger hunt from Let’s Roam. Our innovative hunts introduce you to all the must-see sites, fill you in on interesting trivia facts, and present you with fun photo/video challenges. You and your crew will solve riddles, find facts, and collect points to see if you can hit the top spot on the citywide leaderboard. Let’s Roam has hundreds of hunts in both large cities and small towns all over the world. For a summer full of fun, download the Let’s Roam Scavenger Hunt app, and start exploring!

2. Go swimming in a natural spot.

The community swimming pool is great, but for a bit of adventure, take a day to go swimming in a natural environment. This could be a stream, a local pond, or a nearby lake. Natural swimming holes are a great place to practice your snorkeling!

3. Climb the tallest peak in your area.

If you live in Washington or Oregon, climbing the tallest peak in your region might not be possible for the general family. However, in many states, the tallest peak is really a glorified hill and can be accomplished by most fit families. Find the best climbing spot in your area, and tackle it as a family!

4. Get to know your state bird.

Summer is a great time to go birding. Do a deep study on your state bird or another feathery friend that is prevalent in your area. Find out what they eat, their migratory patterns, their preferred habitat, etc. Then, go on a hunt and try to catch a photo of one!

5. Study your state flower.

Like with local animals, you can also take a deep dive into local flora. Pick a prominent flower in your area. Go to a local botanical garden, flower garden, wild field, or even plant store, and see who can find the flower and photograph it first!

6. Create a local flora book.

If you loved the state flower challenge, dive a little deeper into the world of botany! Collect as many leaves, buds, and petals as you can. Hang them upside down to dry. Then, press them in a book with a few notes on what you’ve learned about each flower. There are some beautiful floral pressing kits available on Amazon.

7. Go backyard camping.

Camping is one of the quintessential summertime activities. However, packing up the whole household and transferring it to a campground 50 miles away is a lot of work. Backyard campers can get much of the same experience and still be able to pop in the house to go pee. Start by setting up a tent in the backyard and cleaning up the firepit. When the sun sets, make s’mores and hot dogs! Sing songs, tell stories around the fire, or play card games. Then as it gets later, look for constellations, and fall asleep under the warm summer night sky.

8. Go stargazing on the roof.

If your crew is old enough to climb a ladder safely, plan a night on the rooftop. Bring a blanket, lay on your backs, and use a stargazing app to find as many constellations as you can. This is a great way to learn basic astronomy and have deep conversations with your favorite peeps. If you want to take your stargazing to the next level, check out “Astronomical Adventures: The Best Places to See Stars.”

9. Find a vista for a sunset.

If staying up for the stars sounds too exhausting for your littles, then enjoy the majesty of a fantastic sunset together instead. Whether you view it from the top of the local park’s monkey bars, a rooftop, or from the top of a high hill, watching the sun go down is a relaxing activity and one of life’s simple pleasures.

10. Perform a volunteer service for a neighbor.

You might as well use your extra time in the summer to make a difference. Check on your elderly neighbors, and see if they need a chore completed. Pick some weeds, mow the grass, or plant some flowers for a neighbor in need.

11. Go on an urban art walk.

Museums are great, but not all worthy art is contained in cultural institutions. You may be surprised at how many mind-blowing pieces are dotting the back alleys and nooks of your very own city. For a fun way to explore the urban art in your area, check out the art walks from Let’s Roam!

12. Start an ant farm.

Collecting bugs is a favored pastime for small children all over the world. Send the kids outside with a magnifying glass and some modified containers, and let them hunt! You can also order a bonafide bug-collecting kit and farm online if you want.

13. Collect locust shells.

If you live in an area where locusts frequent, you know that during the summer months, the trees in your neighborhood are loaded with the discarded exoskeletons of cicadas. Why is collecting them fun? Who knows, but it seems to be something that most kiddos love. Have them collect as many as they safely can, and then take some time to learn about exoskeletons and cicada molting.

14. Go creek fishing.

Fishing is another one of those traditional summer activities, but to make it more adventurous, get everyone some water boots. Set off to a local creek (just make sure it’s not too deep), and explore the creek by foot. Get wet as you splash through the stream! Look for crawdads, try to catch perch with a net, and enjoy the cool, calm waters of the creek.

15. Draw what you see in the clouds.

Head outside on a cloudy day for a picnic, and take a drawing pad and crayons with you. Encourage your little artists to look for formations of animals, plants, or random objects in the clouds, and challenge them to draw what they see.

16. Visit a local farmer’s market.

Farmer’s markets are awesome outings for families. Not only do you get your hands on fresh, healthy food, but they often have activities for kids, as well. Some have mazes, arts and crafts, carnival-style games, rides, etc. Stop by the ATM for some cash, and go explore the local foods and handicrafts at your local market.

17. Attend a vacation bible school or church camp.

If your family follows a specific religion, check your local houses of worship to see if they have summer programs for families or children. These programs vary widely. Some are day camps with a morning religious study and afternoon activities like swimming, Putt-Putt, or hiking. Others occur at night and involve plays, games, and teachings. Pick out a few churches in your area, and check out their websites to see what they’re offering over the summer.

Travel-Oriented Summer Activities

18. Take a themed road trip.

Most families take their yearly vacation in the summer months after school has ended. If Airfare is still wildly expensive in North America, you might be resorting to a road trip this year. For some of you, hanging out with your family in the car for hours sounds like literal torture. To make it a little more fun, consider building your trip around a theme that fits your ultimate destination. This could be a Wild West Frontier adventure, a Princess Party on your way to Disney, or a 1950s-themed drive down Route 66. For more fun ideas, check out “20 Remarkable Road Trip Theme Ideas.”

19. Search for local waterfalls.

No matter what age you are, there’s something magical about a waterfall. Load up your crew, and head for the closest falls. Make sure to do some research on the site, though. You may need to hike through a forest trail or kayak a short way, or you may be able to drive right up to the site. Some waterfalls allow swimming, and some don’t. Do a little reading, and pack appropriately.

Waterfalls aren’t the only natural wonder to hunt. Think caves, canyons, gorges, sinkholes, rock formations, etc. The options are endless!

20. Attend a day camp.

Thankfully, local organizations often host summer adventure camps for children. Day camps could be related to sports, focused on outdoor adventures and skills, or centered on religion. Whatever interests your crew, find a place to get involved. Local churches, YMCA, Girls or Boys Clubs, and amusement parks all offer summer adventure programs.

21. Take an educational field trip.

Completely turning off your brain during the summer is probably not advisable. But during the break, learning should be dosed with a big shot of fun. Consider taking a trip to Washington, D.C., for an education field trip full of U.S. history, civics, and some of the best museums in North America. Other options would be to visit a nearby Native American heritage site, attend a lecture at your state park, or participate in the Junior Ranger Program at a national park. Check out “Educational Family Vacations Your Kids Will Love” to find more scholastic summer destinations.

22. Send the teens on a service trip.

Service trips are an excellent way for your teen to get some autonomy over the summer. Teen travel agencies specialize in providing all-inclusive trips that combine an educational experience with volunteer opportunities and touristic exploration. They are generally targeted at older middle school children or high school students. If this sounds interesting to you, take a look at our guide to “The Top 12 Service Trips for Teens.”

23. Take a ride on the closest train.

There’s something nostalgic and even romantic about a train ride. While the United States is certainly lacking in commuter trains across the board, there are still some excellent sightseeing trains in regions all over the country. From character-themed rides for small children to landscape tours through the Rockies, train rides are fun adventures for the whole family. If you’re considering traveling abroad this summer, definitely check out “The Most Incredible Train Excursions in the World.”

24. Take a riverboat cruise.

From Savannah to New Orleans, the Upper Mississippi to the Hudson, river cruises are available in almost every state and in international destinations across the globe. They often include a narrated tour, multiple land excursions, and nightly entertainment shows. Cruising the waterways is an excellent way to explore new territory or to get a new perspective on somewhere you’ve been a million times.

At-Home Summer Activities for Families

Unfortunately, most of us can’t go out and spend money on the daily just to be entertained through the summer break. In this section, we’ll tackle activities you can do at home to pass the time and fight off boredom.

25. Make a scrapbook from the former school year.

You probably have a box or a pile of school paperwork, newspaper clippings, and ribbons from the previous school year. Head to Hobby Lobby, and let everyone pick out their own scrapbook. Spend an hour a day working on the books, allowing each family member to create something that reflects their personal style. It’s a great activity for reminiscing about achievements, talking about difficult times during the year, and weaving in some advice for next year.

26. Do an in-home scavenger hunt.

Did you know that Let’s Roam has a series of at-home scavenger hunts for kids of all ages? These hunts don’t require any preparation on your part or supplies. Just sign up, and set them loose to hunt, solve riddles, craft, and work towards a goal together. We also have scavenger hunts for adults for date nights and virtual game nights! Download the scavenger hunt app for a full list of activities and pricing options.

27. Learn life skills.

Summer is the ideal time to master a few adult skills under parental tutelage. You could spend an afternoon making a budget and discussing how to monitor your spending. Learn to balance a checkbook or credit card app. Or work on basic sewing skills! You could teach your child to do laundry, make their favorite meal, change the oil in the car, pump gas, mow the lawn, change the filters in the air conditioner, correctly use a tape measure, read a map, or test the pH in the swimming pool. Whatever adult job you need to do, make a concerted effort to include the kiddos, and make it an educational moment.

28. Try your hand at woodworking.

Participating in woodworking builds several skills at once. It encourages creativity, teaches them to use power tools, and establishes confidence. Choose something simple like a jewelry box or small bookshelf at first. Work your way to bigger and more intricate projects. By the end of summer, they’ll be able to see how their skill increased over the weeks!

29. Work in the flower bed.

Getting your hands dirty has proven to be good for your health and immune system. Plus, after the spring rains, there are likely plenty of weeds to keep the whole clan busy for a day or two. It’s one of the home projects that makes a big impact in a small amount of time!

30. Redecorate a room in your house.

Another fast way to change the feel of your home in a short amount of time is to remodel one room. A little paint goes a long way, but you could also pick out new throw pillows, change the flooring, or hang new curtains. Even something as small as changing the artwork or moving the furniture around can make things feel fresh for summer.

31. Cook a meal from a different country.

Cooking supper every night is a pain in the butt… unless you find a way to make it interesting. Pick one night a week, and make an international meal from another country. Make it fun by blindfolding a family member, spinning the globe, and having them put their finger on a spot. Or throw a dart at a map! Whatever country it lands on, look up a traditional meal for that place. Go shopping for the items you need, and then create the meal together as a family.

32. Play sidewalk games.

Bust out the sidewalk chalk! It’s time to make a hopscotch board or build a four-square court. Bring out some hula hoops and jump ropes, and spend the cooler hours of the morning making the most of your driveway space.

33. Create a lemonade stand.

Need a Saturday project that will take up the whole day? Set the kiddos loose on building their own lemonade stand. They can design the logo and the sign, make the lemonade, work on a business plan and decide pricing, and man the stand. Not only does it teach valuable entrepreneurial lessons, but mom and dad get to read a book and sip lemonade while the kiddos work!

34. Make homemade ice cream.

Nothing beats the heat like a giant bowl of homemade ice cream! Unlike when you were a kid, most ice cream makers are motorized now, so no arm-numbing cranking is necessary.

35. Rent a vintage video game system.

Whether you want to introduce your kids to the games you played as a youngster or you’re a group of ’90s adults who are having a Mario craving, most video game stores will rent you a Nintendo 64 or Super Nintendo. You can Mario Kart, Duck Hunt, and Donkey Kong to your little heart’s content!

36. Have a dance party.

Shake off some steam with a DIY dance party. This is a great one for a Friday night at home. Pop some popcorn. Put on your pajamas. Crank up your favorite playlist, and turn the living room into your very own dance party. It’s free. It’s fun, and the whole family will love it.

37. Create your own obstacle course.

There’s no kid on the planet who doesn’t love making a maze out of your barstools and couch cushions. Make it a family affair, and create some epic obstacles in your living room, down the hall, or out in the backyard. Get creative with jump ropes, hula hoops, boxes, furniture, or whatever else you have lying around.

38. Recreate your favorite character, and have a fashion show.

Now that you’ve already mastered basic sewing, have each family member use some spare fabric and craft supplies to make their own costume. It could be a movie hero, a favorite book character, or a creation from their own imagination. When everyone is done, put on a little fashion show, and decide the winner. Make sure to record it!

39. Challenge your crew to make an outfit from trash bags.

If you want to make the challenge even harder or you have older kids, encourage them to make a fashion design out of nothing but two black trash bags. Finish off the evening with an Instagram photo shoot.

40. Build a toothpick bridge.

Challenge your crew to build a bring with nothing but toothpicks or popsicle sticks and Elmer’s glue. The bridge must span a two-foot gap, and the person whose bridge holds the most weight is the winner.

41. Start your own art gallery.

Got a wall you just aren’t sure what to do with? Maybe you should create a gallery of wall art. Have each person in the family create something inspired by a theme. Limit the colors to the four or five you want in your space, and set them free. Once finished, take the best pieces, and frame them in a white matted frame. Blank-wall problem solved!

42. Grow an herb garden.

With the price of groceries skyrocketing everywhere, you might as well grow as much as you can on your own. The great thing about herb gardens is that they don’t take up much space. They can be cultivated in a windowsill or a few small pots. We’ve even seen them hanging in cute pots from a fence or side wall of the house. They act as food and home decor, so it’s an endeavor worth an afternoon!

43. Make cards for the local nursing home or hospital.

Our elderly population suffers from high levels of loneliness. Take some time this summer to make cards and deliver them to your local senior citizen’s home or hospital. It’s an easy way to spread a lot of joy!

Summer Adventures for Adults

44. Try your hand at mountain biking.

Mountain biking is an awesome adventure for a group of adult friends. Rentals are available in most cities near a path. Just make sure to research your trail wisely and make sure it corresponds to your ability level. For some ideas, check out this list of “The Absolute Best Places to Mountain Bike on the Planet.”

45. Go camping in your nearest national park.

For outdoor adventurers, nothing beats a weekend in the nearest national park. From epic hiking trails to river kayaking, natural wonders to white water rafting, volcano watching to rock climbing, America’s national parks are a go for adventure! Just remember that some parks require backcountry permits for wild camping!

46. Gather the crew for a bar crawl.

If your summer nights need a little more pizazz, check out one of the epic bar crawls from Let’s Roam. Part scavenger hunt, part night at the watering hole, these adventures escort you to some of the best bars in town, allowing you to get a taste of what the city’s nightlife has to offer while challenging you to fun photo and video shoots. Check out the full list of cities, and find a bar crawl near you!

47. Go whitewater rafting or kayaking.

Whitewater rafting is the ideal activity for a group of five or six adventurous friends. Not only does it provide a serious adrenaline rush, but the wicked cold river splashes are a welcome retreat from the heat. Take a look at our adventure guide highlighting “Where to Find the Best Whitewater Rafting in the U.S.

48. Explore the nearest cave.

Spelunking is becoming a massively popular sport among the adventurous crowd. From stunning show caves that take no skills to explore to technical climbs meant for a team of dedicated cavers, you can find your cavern excursion in “Exploring the Largest Caves in the World.”

49. Take a cooking class.

Gather the girls for a night of grub and vino. You can check out the huge assortment of online classes from Cozymeals. Once you sign up for the class, you’ll receive a recipe and shopping list in your email. The class is guided by a professional chef from start to finish, so if you’re the kind of cook that burns cereal, you can still play along.

50. Throw a summer barbecue.

Nothing screams summer like a backyard barbecue! But you don’t have to throw the same old shindig you did last year. Check out this list of “20+ Sizzling Summer Party Themes” to ensure that your party is as unique as your crew!

51. Get dressed up for a fancy night out.

Pajama parties are nice. Casual pizza nights are, too. But every once in a while, it’s nice to go out looking good. Pull the suit out from the back of the closet, and book some tickets for the symphony or opera. Or reserve a spot at a black-tie restaurant!

52. Take a long weekend to Traverse City, Michigan.

Traverse City is a fantastic summer mini-vacation destination. Enjoy stunning beaches at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the National Cherry Festival, and an incredible wine trail that can be done by bike!

53. Visit a food truck festival.

If you want a laid-back night out with the gang, hit up the nearest food truck park or festival. It’s the perfect solution for the “what’s for dinner” dilemma. Everyone gets exactly what they want, and you all gather back at the picnic tables for some live music and good eats.

54. Road trip to a music festival.

From the Electric Daisy Festival to Lollapalooza, almost all of the major music festivals in the United States are in the late spring to summer months. Pick your poison, pack the car, and head out on a road trip to remember!

55. Find a Renaissance fair.

Lastly, if you’re looking for something totally out of the box to do this summer, consider visiting a Renaissance fair. Since the crazes of larping and cosplay have grown so much in recent years, more and more folks are flocking to these medieval galas. You’ll enjoy traditional costumes, medieval workshops, and fun booths with period-appropriate food and ales.

Closing Thoughts

Whew! That was quite the list! We hope you found a few summer adventures to add to your itinerary this year. For more amazing ideas, remember to grab your copy of Adventures From Scratch and add some spontaneity to your usual date nights, family fun days, or friend-cations!

Frequently Asked Questions

What activities are best for summer?

For fantastic summer activities, check out the 50+ spontaneous excursions in Adventures From Scratch. We’ve got editions for couples, friends, and family to fit the vibe!

What are some summer activities for kids?

Summer activities for kids include visiting the farmer’s market, going on a scavenger hunt, or taking an urban art walk. Summer is also a great time to teach life skills!

What can I put on my summer bucket list?

If you’re looking for something new to do this summer, try your hand at mountain biking, visit a music festival, or throw a backyard barbecue. You might even try to climb the nearest, tallest peak!

Where can I find unique summer adventures for my family?

Looking for fun summer activities? Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition contains more than 50 scratch-off activities ranging from in-home crafts to excellent weekend adventures!

What are some summer activities for friends?

For some summer fun with your buddies, take a cooking class, visit a Renaissance fair, road trip to a music festival, or hang out at a food truck festival!

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