As a Southern girl at heart, I love summertime. The heat is grating, sure, and you’ve got to make sure to hydrate a lot, okay. And yes, there are more pesty mosquitoes than you ever thought possible. But the days are long, the air is warm, and it’s S U M M E R.  

Though I love summer as much as I do, I wish I could enjoy it more like I did when I was younger. Now as a young professional with no summer vacation, I’ve had to get creative on how I enjoy my summer. Here are 70 fun summer bucket list ideas for adults to help you do the same. Make these items fun summer goals to do with friends and family, and 2021 will be a summer to remember!

a group of summer holiday items on a blue background

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How can I have an amazing summer?

An amazing summer depends little on the weather, but mainly on you. What memories will you cultivate? How will you take advantage of the longer days and warm weather? 

As we usher in the summer months, change your mindset not to think about what you don’t have. Too often we focus on that the fact that we don’t have a lot of time, or a lot of money, or a lot of friends, or a lot of ideas for a summer bucket list.

But use what you do have. You have some time and some money (or none is fine too 😉 ) and some friends and family around and these 70 bucket list ideas for adults. 

An amazing summer isn’t defined by money or time or scheduled activities. An amazing summer is made of memories, a healthy amount of spontaneity, warm weather, family and friends. 

What should I put on my summer bucket list?

When building your summer bucket list, be ambitious. Think outside the box. Revisit the summer memories that you enjoyed as a child and brainstorm which ones you could recreate. Put items on your summer bucket list that give you joy and allow you to enjoy the warm weather and the longer days, like a relaxing day at the pool, a beach trip, or an evening barbecue to enjoy with friends and family. 

Celebrate the fourth of July. Watch a summer movie. Venture downtown to your favorite restaurant. Have a picnic in the park.

These are just a couple of ideas of what to put on your summer bucket list. Just because we work through the summer now doesn’t mean we have to enjoy summer any less.

Summer Bucket List 2021 – Ideas for Adults

Which brings me to my summer bucket list for 2021, full of ideas for adults, young professionals, or anyone else not fortunate enough to have an 8- to 12-week break. (Had to grow up sometime, didn’t we?)

  • Eat summery foods like salad, fruit salad, watermelon, smoothies, and ice cream desserts
  • Make a fresh batch of cold iced tea, iced coffee, or your other favorite iced drink
  • Read a book in the evening or early morning on your porch or balcony
  • Go to the library and check out the new summer releases
  • Clean out your closet – now that the winter season is over, it’s time to give away the things that you didn’t wear
  • Go swimming (or take swim lessons)
  • Treat yourself to ice cream and enjoy it in a park
  • Shop at the local farmer’s market or flea market
  • Try a New Hobby – sowing, crocheting, writing, blogging, running…if you hate it, you can give it up at the end of the summer
  • Travel – visit a national park, go to a new city, fly to another continent, have a lazy day at the beach
  • Be a local tourist – visit all of the famous places in the towns nearby you. Live like a tourist.
  • Host a summer themed party (Hawaii Aloha themed party anyone?)
  • Be active – bike ride, go on a walk, play a sport, fly a kite, buy chalk and play hopscotch…
  • Revisit your alma mater and think about all of the ways it’s changed
  • Write letters to friends—near and far
  • Learn a new skill – a foreign language, how to code, how to swim or do a handstand

Related: Personal Goals Every Woman in Her 20s Needs in 2021

Summer Bucket List with Friends

  • Picnic in the Park – complete with lawn games, frisbee, or another outside game
  • Go pick strawberries, berries, or apples
  • Have a movie marathon
  • Go to a skating rink
  • Have a pool day or go to a water park
  • Take a road trip
  • Go hiking or walk on a new trail nearby
  • Attend a summer festival – check the homepages of the cities nearby you to see if there are any coming up
  • Visit a theme park and ride all the rollercoasters
  • Have a board game night and have everyone bring their favorite game
  • Host a barbecue in your background or apartment courtyard – make it a potluck and invite friends
  • Go see fireworks for the fourth of July or do some a fireworks display with sparklers
  • Do a volunteer project that’s outside, like planting trees in your local neighborhood
  • Reflect on the past few months with journal prompts and do a reflection activity

Best Friend Summer Bucket List

Are you making your summer bucket list with a best friend or a partner in crime? Here’s some specific summer bucket list ideas for best friends:

  • Make a photo album or collage of all your favorite bestie memories
  • Do a DIY project together – make frames, knit something, decorate notebooks, paint a picture, make a homemade face mask or scrub, make friendship bracelets
  • Do each other’s nails and give each other a makeover
  • Plan a road trip or a week abroad
  • Read through your old journals or notes together and reminisce (Remember that guy I liked in the 7thgrade? What was I thinking?)
  • Go see one of your favorite old movies at a drive in theater
  • Have a dance party to your favorite songs (old and new!)
  • Play a who-knows-who better game like in Friends

My Summer Goals List

In addition to a summer bucket list, I also like to make summer goals. With the cold winter days behind me, I’m usually more motivated to do things.

The longer days also give me the illusion of more time, which motivates me further. My colleagues seem to relax during summer as well, wanting to spend more time with their family and kids who are out of school. I take advantage of the slightly lighter workload to cross somethings off of my summer goals list.

  • Read more! Make a list of all of the books that you’ve wanted to read but have been putting off. Use summer to read some and knock them off of your list.
  • Catch up with old friends
  • Revamp an old skill – this could be picking up an old hobby you used to enjoy or investing time to get better at something, like a foreign language
  • Do something out of your comfort zone – perform music at a coffee shop, submit a story to a fiction publication, sing in front of people at karaoke, go ziplining…
  • Research your next career move. Thinking about going to grad school? Want to network more in a certain industry? Make a plan to do it this summer.
  • Grow in your relationship with the Lord. Make more time to pray, read the Bible daily, journal prayers and reflections, or something else. If you’re really ambitious, try doing this Every Word study where you read the Bible in 90 days (or one summer). I just finished, and I highly recommend!
  • Make time for myself. Plan some “Me-days” where you focus on resting and taking care of yourself.

You may want to borrow some of my weekly goals and focus ideas to add to your own summer goals list.

Summer Goals with Friends

Summer goals don’t have to be all about you! Here are some additional summer goals for you to do with friends.

  • Run or walk a race together – find one near you, train together, and then run together.
  • To help everyone read more, start a book club. Each person can pick a new book every two weeks and then meet at someone’s house to discuss.
  • Conquer a Fear – no one likes to face their fears, but it’s always less scary with a group of friends nearby.
  • Watch a TV series or movie series together and discuss over dinner or dessert.
  • Clean out your closets and host a joint garage sale.
  • Support a local organization by volunteering for a service project or raising money for the cause.

Out-of-the-Box Fun Summer Goals

Now it’s time to get creative. Up to this point, we’ve done the run of the mill summer goals and summer bucket list ideas. What about if you’re short on cash or have to stay put the whole summer? 

What can you do on a hot day with no money?

A lot of the ideas I mentioned above can be done with no money or clever timing.

  • Play frisbee in the park
  • Board Game Night
  • Stargazing and Cloud Watching
  • Borrow books from the library
  • Have a movie marathon of old movies from your childhood
  • Write letters to your friends
  • Clean out your closet and do other summer cleaning (isn’t it time to flip your mattress?)
  • Call an old friend and catch up
  • See if any museums have a free admission day during the summer – be sure to attend!

How can I make summer fun at home?

Summer isn’t just about traveling. You can have fun at home and still make the summer amazing. Here are a couple of ideas for stay-cations and summers at home:

  • Eat breakfast in bed (it always feels extravagant)
  • Have your own spa night (a nice bath, a face mask, nice candles, and soothing music)
  • Drive a scenic route near your house
  • Do an escape room with a group of friends or family 
  • Make your favorite summer foods – desserts, iced beverages, fruit salads, etc.
  • Attend a local festival, see if any venues nearby are hosting concerts, be a local tourist
  • Spend a day at the pool or in the park
  • Watch the sunrise or sunset
  • Do a home DIY project to spruce up your home
  • Start an herb garden or flower garden
  • Spend time with family and friends — playing games, sharing a meal, trying a new restaurant

What should I do with my friends in summer 2021?

Make your friends apart of your summer 2021 adventure. Take turns suggesting activities from this summer bucket list, maybe pick some at random. Just laugh a lot and don’t take yourselves too seriously. 

Friends make summer all the better. 🙂

Download the Summer Goals List and Summer Bucket List Template

Before you start your summer adventures, download the summer bucket list template. It have some ideas from yours truly and space for you to fill in your own. I hope this summer you have some amazing memories and that these bucket list ideas make it all the merrier!

Summer Bucket List Template

How can I make the most of summer 2021?

While the summer weather is out of our control, how we spend our time and who we spend it with is. Think back to your time in grade school or at university, what are your most favorite memories? 

For me it’s spending time with family, playing games with my siblings, seeing fireworks, eating barbecue, and sipping sweet tea or a cold coke after a long walk. These are all things I can do now as a twenty-something. 

Enjoy the long days, make new memories, and focus on what you do have—summer.

What I’ve learned from being a twenty-something-year-old is that time is passing quickly. Let’s savor each moment, keep adulting with flair and faith, and make the most of summer 2021. That’s the last item on this summer bucket list for adults, young professionals, friends, and anyone wanting this summer to be amazing.

What are the top 3 things on your summer bucket list?

Leave me a comment below!

Don’t miss this! More posts in the Living & Adulting Category

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