Summer Fun – Ideas Beyond the Beach

by Guest Writer

With summer halfway over, it may be time to start looking for new things to do. After a while, there are only so many times you can go to the beach before it gets old. I’ve been looking for something different to do with my kids, and I’m finding there are a lot of great things that nature has to offer, as well as my town.

Parks- If you’re looking for a unique park experience, then check out Family Circle’s article, “10 Unique State Parks.” The article lists parks throughout the United States, ranging from Dinosaur State Park in Connecticut, where your kids can track dinosaurs to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, where you can actually dig for diamonds. The National Park Service  has a wonderful resource on their website allowing you to search for parks to visit using a number of quantifiers including: park name, location, activities, and topics (Civil War or volcanoes, for example).

Larger Events- Try visiting your state’s website for Travel and Tourism. Each state in the US, has one and it can give you a multitude of ideas for places to visit and events that are taking place. You’ll find everything from free concerts, plays and musicals in the park to festivals taking place in your area. Since most of these events are local in scope, you won’t have far to go– think, less time in the car means less gas used and minimal time listening to the children ask, “are we almost there?” My children especially like any type of theatre events.

Go Local– On an even smaller scale, you can look into what your individual town offers. Where I live, we have lots of family festivals– a few weeks ago, there was a family safety day that allowed children an up close look at police cars and helicopters, fire trucks and ambulances. We also have regularly scheduled “movies by moonlight,” where just like it sounds, they show a popular family movie on a big screen on the park. Any event that gets the family together and outdoors is worth a try in my mind. And, since there are bound to be a few rainy days in the summer, I think it’s worth looking into any events offered by your local library. Ours offers everything from magic shows and showing afternoon movies to story time and craft time. Definitely give your local library a look on the next rainy day. The change of scenery will do everyone good.

When looking for something different to do, make sure you check your mail and sign up for email updates from all of the resources available to you. At the beginning of each season, I always receive a calendar of events from county, town, village and library. I try to highlight events of interest and mark them on my calendar, as well. In addition, I also sign up for email updates. Often times new events will be added after the calendars have been printed and it’s a great way to stay in the loop.

While hanging out at the beach or a nice (saltwater) pool is a great way to spend the summer, it’s also a nice to change things up a little. Hopefully, you’ll have a good start to finding what your local area has to offer that you might not have known about previously.

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