Classic Summer Activities for Families

Summer is a time for fun, relaxation, and making memories with your family. With longer days and warmer weather, it’s the perfect season to engage in activities that everyone can enjoy. Here are some of the best family activities for summer that will bring joy, laughter, and quality time together, including some unique and uncommon ideas for extra fun.

Be sure to download the printable summer activities pack for kids at the bottom of the post!

I know I’ve been talking a lot about bringing back an old-school summertime with classic activites and a slower pace that these days seems almost elusive. But I know that even with the faster pace of life our society seems to encourage, as wives, mothers, and homemakers we get to choose how our families spend their time. Choosing a slower pace in the summer is a great way to take a step back, rest, and rejuventate before school and fall sports take over.

Classic Summer Activities for Families

In my opinion, there’s nothing like the slow days of summer. Having some go-to classic activities to enjoy with your loved ones is a great way to make memories and so many of these ideas are ones our family have always loved.

15 Classic Summer Activities for Families

1. Beach or Lake Day: Nothing says summer like a day at the beach or lake. Pack a picnic, bring your swimsuits, and enjoy swimming, building sandcastles, and playing beach volleyball. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Hannah (right) and Laura on the lake

2. Backyard Camping: Turn your backyard into a campsite for a night. Set up a tent, make a campfire, and roast marshmallows. Tell stories, stargaze, and enjoy the experience of camping without leaving home.

Here’s some ideas for backyard camping you’ll love:

3. Outdoor Movie Night: Create a cozy outdoor theater with a projector and a blank wall or sheet. Gather some comfy chairs and blankets, pop some popcorn, and enjoy a family movie under the stars.

4. Nature Hikes: Explore local trails and parks with a family hike. It’s a great way to get some exercise, enjoy nature, and spend time together. Bring along a field guide to identify plants and animals you encounter.

Most areas have places to get out in nature and hike near by. Hiking is one of my all-time favorite activities – even now that my kids are grown I still love hiking! A couple years ago we did an urban hike in a nature preserve in downtown Chattanooga. Opportunities to hike as a family are every where!

I love the All Trails app for ease of use and reading the reviews are a great way to know what to expect on the hike.

Family Hike

5. Visit a Farm or Petting Zoo: Many farms and petting zoos offer family-friendly activities during the summer. Kids can learn about animals, enjoy hayrides, and even pick fresh fruits and vegetables.

The last time I was in Florida visiting my grandbabies down there, we went to the zoo. This is always such a great experience. If you live near a zoon, I highly recommend getting an annual pass. That’s what we did when my kids were younger too. When my son was little his favorite animal was the giraffe!

6. Water Balloon Fight: Cool off on a hot summer day with a water balloon fight. It’s a fun and active way to enjoy the outdoors, and it’s guaranteed to bring lots of laughter.

This year at campmeeting we had a HUGE family waterballoon fight and it was a blast! We decided it needed to be an annual event. 🙂 My son picked up a set of 500 instant water balloons – Bunch O Balloons from Walmart and we went to town throwing them at each other. It derailed into buckets of water also being thrown lol.

7. Gardening Together: Start a family garden and plant flowers, vegetables, or herbs. Gardening teaches kids about nature and responsibility, and you’ll have the added bonus of enjoying the fruits (and veggies) of your labor.

8. Visit a Local Festival or Fair: Summer is festival season! Check out local fairs, carnivals, and festivals. Enjoy rides, games, and delicious fair food. These events often have activities and entertainment for all ages.

9. Family Bike Ride: Explore your neighborhood or nearby trails with a family bike ride. It’s a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors together.

10. DIY Art Projects: Set up an outdoor art station with paints, markers, and craft supplies. Encourage creativity with projects like painting rocks, making friendship bracelets, or creating a family mural.

When my girls were young, they loved doing tie-dye every summer. It was a lot of fun and made for good memories!

11. Day Trip to a National Park: If you live near a national park, plan a day trip to explore the natural beauty and participate in activities like hiking, fishing, or bird watching. Many parks also offer educational programs for kids.

When my kids were little we got each of them the National Park Passport so we could stamp them everytime we visited a park. This was one of our favorite activities to do with the kids.

12. Visit a Science or Children’s Museum: On particularly hot days, cool off indoors at a science or children’s museum. These museums often have interactive exhibits that are both fun and educational.

13. Create a Summer Reading Challenge: Encourage a love of reading with a summer reading challenge. Visit the library, choose books for each family member, and set goals. Celebrate with a special treat or outing when goals are met.

14. Cook Together: Spend a day in the kitchen preparing a meal together. Choose a theme like homemade pizza night or make-your-own-taco bar. Cooking together is a great way to teach kids about food and enjoy a delicious meal as a family.

15. Explore a New City or Town: Take a mini road trip to a nearby city or town you haven’t visited before. Explore local attractions, try new foods, and experience different cultures and environments. We do this quite often and it always makes for good memories! You don’t have to go far to have a lot of fun and try new things!

Less Common Summer Activities You Can Try

These activities might be less common, but they aren’t any less fun!

1. Geocaching: Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt using GPS devices. It’s a fun way to explore new areas and enjoy the thrill of finding hidden “caches” placed by other participants. My daughter-law’s father loves to go geocaching and he does it on a regular basis. I think it could be a lot of fun!

2. Bird Watching: Grab a pair of binoculars and a bird guidebook and head to a local park or nature reserve. Bird watching can be both educational and relaxing as you learn to identify different species.

3. Berry Picking: Visit a local farm that offers berry picking. This activity is not only fun but also rewarding as you get to enjoy fresh, hand-picked berries afterwards. This is actually an activities that my kids and I love to do every year. Later this summer we also have plans to go peach picking in Georgia with my mom!

4. Photography Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of items or themes for a photography scavenger hunt. Family members can use cameras or smartphones to capture photos of the listed items, adding a creative twist to the adventure.

5. Kayaking or Canoeing: Rent kayaks or canoes and explore a nearby river or lake. It’s a great way to enjoy nature and get some exercise while having fun on the water.

6. Attend a Drive-In Movie: Experience the nostalgia of a drive-in movie theater. Pack some snacks and enjoy a film from the comfort of your car under the stars.

7. Visit a Lavender Farm: Spend a day at a lavender farm, where you can pick your own lavender, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and even participate in lavender-themed activities and workshops. We did this last year and it was soooo fun!! The girls loved it and so did I!

8. Host an International Night: Choose a country and spend the day learning about its culture, cooking traditional dishes, and participating in themed activities. This can be a fun and educational experience for the whole family.

9. Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding: Stand-up paddleboarding is a fun water activity that can be done on lakes, rivers, or the ocean. It’s a great way to enjoy the water and challenge your balance.

10. Visit a Sunflower Field: Find a local sunflower field and take a family trip to enjoy the stunning views and take some beautiful photos. There may be places like this close to your home that you don’t even know about! They bring instant joy and happiness. 🙂

11. Attend a Renaissance Fair: Look for a local Renaissance fair where you can experience historical reenactments, enjoy live entertainment, and participate in themed activities.

12. Explore a Cave: If there’s a cave system or cavern nearby, take a guided tour. Exploring caves can be an exciting adventure and a cool escape from the summer heat.

13. Create an Outdoor Art Gallery: Set up an outdoor art studio where family members can create paintings, sculptures, or other artwork. Then, display the creations in an outdoor art gallery for everyone to enjoy.

14. Try Kite Flying: Find an open field and spend an afternoon flying kites. It’s a simple yet joyful activity that can be surprisingly relaxing.

My son, James, flying a kite with his little boys, Summer 2024

15. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride: For a truly unique experience, book a family hot air balloon ride. Enjoy breathtaking views and create unforgettable memories.

16. Learn to Fish: Spend a day at a local pond, lake, or river learning to fish. It’s a relaxing activity that can also be quite rewarding if you catch something. When I was growing up, my dad and I used to go fishing all the time. So many quiet days spent sitting by the lake or river, waiting for a bite.

17. Visit a Ghost Town: Explore a nearby ghost town or historical site. It’s a fascinating way to learn about local history and enjoy a day of exploration. When we lived out west we visited several ghost towns and it was so interesting! We also loved visiting ruins and other historial places.

Tips for a Successful Summer

  • Plan Ahead: While spontaneous adventures are fun, planning ahead can ensure you make the most of your time and avoid disappointment.
  • Stay Safe: Remember to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and follow any safety guidelines for activities.
  • Get Everyone Involved: Involve all family members in planning activities to ensure everyone’s interests are considered.
  • Capture the Moments: Take photos and videos to capture the fun memories you’re creating. These will be wonderful to look back on.

Summer is a wonderful time to bond with your family and create lasting memories. With these activities, you can make the most of the season, enjoying the beauty and fun that summer has to offer. Whether you’re exploring the great outdoors or enjoying a cozy evening at home, the important thing is spending quality time together.

I hope this list of fun summer activities gives you ideas to use this year!

Members Only: Printable Kids Activity Pack

Sometimes you need a quiet indoor activity for your kids to enjoy in the summer. Here’s a printable activity pack you can use.

Summer Activity Pack for Kids

How to Download

If you are a member of the Homemaker’s Society, just click on the button below to download. You’ll find this and hundreds more printable pages for your home and family in the Resource Libraries linked above!

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