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Group of children wearing swimsuits throwing water balloons

Summer Bucket List Ideas

Ah, summer! Time for family fun and simple pleasures. Don’t let it slip away without making some memories. Here are a few ideas whether you’re in the mood for fun in the sun or soaking up some air conditioning.

Family carrying camping supplies in forest next to body of water

Outdoor fun

  • Splash around. Summer is all about swimming. Pools are fine, but there’s nothing like a sandy beach or natural swimming hole. In Ohio, head to Lake Erie’s Headlands Beach State Park in Mentor. Or check out the gorgeous blue waters at White Star Quarry, a diving resort in Sandusky County, and enjoy the swimming area for a small fee. On the road? Find one of these epic swimming holes. Don’t feel like driving? Have an old-fashioned water balloon fight, or just play in the sprinkler.
  • Go fishing. It doesn’t have to be expensive or require a motor — and you might catch dinner! With more than 50,000 lakes and ponds to choose from in Ohio, you’re sure to find a good spot close to home. Unless you’re on private property, you’ll need a fishing license.
  • Sleep outside. Whether you’re into roughing it or glamping, it’s great to get a little closer to nature — and think of the selfies! Visit a state park or find a secluded hideaway. Not so adventurous? Pitching a tent in the backyard is fun for kids — big or little.
  • Attend a festival. Summer is festival season across the United States, and here in Ohio, there’s plenty to choose from — from Old Fashioned Farmers Days in Van Wert to the Annie Oakley Festival at the Darke County Fairgrounds. Take your pick here.

Two children reading a book together at a library

Keeping it cool

  • Visit a museum. Whatever your interests, you’ll find a museum to appeal to them, from the National Museum of the Great Lakes, including the S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker, to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Got a gearhead to please? The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Northeast Ohio is a can’t miss.
  • Go to the library. Ohio has 251 public library systems with 481 branch locations, so there’s bound to be one near you. Besides checking out books and movies, you can take a class, attend special events or browse a digital gallery of art or photography. And a little peace and quiet is good for the nerves.
  • Check out a cave. Try the Ohio Caverns in West Liberty, billed as “America’s most colorful caverns,” or Seneca Caverns in Bellevue, “the caviest cave in the USA.” You might even need a light jacket — both caves are a refreshing 54 degrees year-round.
  • Just stay home. Have a family game night, create an art project, make homemade freezer pops, or put together a scrapbook full of summer photos and memories. Sometimes the best memories are made at home.

Make your list

Remind yourself to make the most of your family’s summer. Download this Summer Bucket List form, and keep it on the wall or fridge. If you don’t get it all done, don’t beat yourself up — save your list and get it out next year. Just make sure you have a great summer!


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