10 summer bucket list ideas for the best summer ever

By Andy Austin, adventure travel guide at Austin Adventures

Before spring hits, I find myself cooped up inside dreaming of warm summer nights more than I like to admit. These usually include any of the following: Too many s’mores roasted over a campfire, hiking and/or biking, climbing mountains, and general outdoor shenanigans here in my home state of Montana. But the end of summer always finds me before I’m ready, along with the feeling that I’ve left a few things unchecked on my summer bucket list.

Which, until now, has been more of a mental checklist (that needs more places and less food, but, I digress). So, I present my official summer to-do list for you and I to have the best summer yet.

1. Unplug for the weekend

This is becoming more and more difficult, which is why it’s more important than ever to power off from the tech world for the weekend. Turn your phone off, or maybe just leave it at home and see where your intuition—instead of your GPS—takes you.

2. Take a spontaneous road trip with no destination in mind

Speaking of no GPS, grab a friend, turn up those throwback jams, and hit the open road. Maybe you’ll find a quaint little mountain town serving the best pie you’ve ever tasted, or maybe you’ll stumble on a backcountry waterfall you’ve never even heard of. Who else is craving pie?

3. Sleep under the stars

Watch the weather report and look out for a night with a clear sky and new moon, then take it outside to sleep under the stars. Bucket list bonus points if you can point out some constellations.

4. Watch the sunset from a mountain top

Break a sweat and make your way to the top of a mountain to watch the last light touch the valleys below. Don’t forget to pack your favorite summit beverage. For me, it’s always a local Montana microbrew.

5. Try something you’ve never done before

Whether you’re feeling like something extreme (hello, skydiving), or like adding a new hobby to your life, like fly fishing, push those boundaries.

6. Build a bonfire on the beach

Nothing gets those summer vibes going quite like a night spent on the beach, telling stories around a campfire, and dancing until the sun comes up. The dancing might not be pretty, but the scenery will make up for that.

7. Have a water balloon fight

No age limit here. Let your inner child out and challenge your friends to a water balloon fight. Nothing beats the summer heat quite like getting hit with a frigid water balloon. And trust me, it feels better than it sounds.

8. Take a backcountry “shower” in a lake or stream

So, you’ve spent the weekend hiking? Sounds like it’s time to break out the biodegradable soap and hop in some frigid snowmelt waters (or, you know, wonderfully temperate lake) to cool off. Bucket list bonus points if you enter the water with a majestic cannonball or not-so-majestic belly flop.

9. Attend an outdoor concert

Cue up the summer soundtrack that can always bring you back to the summer of 2018. Grab your best dancing shoes or lose the shoes altogether at an outdoor concert.

10. Have a backyard BBQ for your neighbors and friends

Do you know your neighbors’ names? No? Pass out some flyers, ask the neighborhood dad band to relive their glory days, and fire up the grill. You’re about to make a few new friends.

There you have it, my ultimate summer bucket list. Follow my summer of (mis)adventures on Instagram @andyaustinphoto and tag me and @lifeisgoodco as you live out your bucket list.