Whether it is too hot, there aren’t any activities, or the kids are bored, it can be all too easy to stay inside during summer break or vacation. Let’s face it sometimes it just feels nice to sit in the air-conditioning and watch a movie. But as we all know, staying inside can cause everyone to get on each other’s nerves. We share some of our favorite things to get your family out of the house and outdoors. Some are even things we did as kids growing up. Round up your family or some friends and try them out.
- Go to an outdoor concert or theater. The summertime is great for an outdoor concert or theater with family or friends. From a jazz concert to a local-version of a Broadway show, outdoor theaters are a great way to expose your family to the arts. We like it because you can usually pack a picnic, spread out a blanket and the younger kids can roam or play if they need to. Plus, it is a lot less expensive than a trip to New York and tickets to Broadway! Make sure to check the venue’s website in regards to the show or concert to make sure it is age-appropriate for your group and what their guidelines are for bringing food into the venue. Many offer packages where you can buy a series of tickets too. We recently visited Moonlight Amphitheater for their production of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida. We were blown away by the performers. We have seen several productions on Broadway in New York and the leads at Moonlight could hold their own! We can’t wait to go back to see the rest of the summer series including Little Mermaid, Sunset Boulevard, and In the Heights. After the concert or production, ask your family what part or character they liked or if there was a song they found interesting.
- Park hop. Grab your friends and plan a park day. But instead of staying at one park the entire time, rotate to several different parks. You can decide the amount of time and how many parks you want to venture to, but the goal is to keep the group guessing. It gives you a great opportunity to check out new parks and get out of your neighborhood. You can even have each family pick or research a different park. This was something that we did with our group of friends growing up and we all used to look forward to doing it. And now that some of the group have kids, we continue the tradition with our own kids.
- Take a day trip. Sometimes, we run out of options of things to do in our hometown and we need to travel to a nearby city or town. It can also be a fun excuse to see or do something new as a family. Plan a day or even a weekend away. There might be a fun museum, aquarium or theme park that your family wants to check out. Get it on the calendar so that it gives your family something to look forward to. You know your family best. With older kids, a whole day can be easy to do. Whereas, with toddlers a few hours can sometimes be all that they can manage. We recently took our family on a day trip to Julian, CA and visited Fort Cross. It was an old-timey, down-home fun kind of day! We had a hoe down where we learned how to square dance and play the jug and spoons. The daddies got to throw hatchets and we all enjoyed a hayride and learning about mining. We finished off the day with a trip to the Julian Apple Pie Co for a piece of their famous apple pie and some ice cream. It was the perfect day trip for our group with toddlers.
- Relax under the stars. Pack a picnic dinner and take your family to a place where you can view the stars and enjoy nature. It might mean driving away from the city lights, but sometimes slowing down and spending time together as a family is just what is needed. It can be a great time to reflect. Some parks even offer movies during the summer, which are a great way to get know other families in your neighborhood and to get out and enjoy the fresh air.
- Splash around. We love going to the pool and doing the sprinkler in the backyard. To switch it up, plan a day at a local lake, ocean or bay. Whether you just splash in the water or you try something adventurous like kayaking, stand up paddle boarding or going out in a motor boat, there are so many different options for all different ages and abilities. One of our favorite things to do is to take the local ferry across the bay. It is inexpensive and then we splash on the beach of the bay. Remember that many states have regulations on children needing to wear a life jacket if they are under a certain age. But don’t let that stop your fun! In many states, they have locations where you can borrow a life jacket, like this one in California.
We were invited to the Moonlight Amphitheater and Fort Cross, but all of the thoughts and opinions are our own.