Summertime is synonymous with beach time to most people. This is even more true when you are living on the coast or anywhere else with easy accessibility to the beach. While the appeal of spending day after day doing nothing but sunbathing and flirting with good-looking lifeguards is totally understandable, there are a ton of other ways to spend your precious and limited free time this summer. For those who cringe at the idea of spending the summer covered in itchy sand and living in constant fear of an unbearable sunburn, take a look at this list. You’ll find some much more exciting things you can do this summer instead of becoming a semi-professional beach bum.
Whether you have the opportunity to study abroad in some exotic place or just take a road trip with your friends to go camping a couple hours outside of town, traveling is traveling. It's always exciting to visit somewhere new and experience new things and new cultures. If you have the means to do so, get a one-way ticket to another country and explore until there is nothing left to find. If money is a little tight, take a weekend road trip to a nearby town you’ve never been to and pitch a tent with your best friends. You’ll create memories that will last a lifetime and get a breath of fresh air from your usual routine.
There are so many amazing music festivals and summer concert tours going on during the sweltering months of summer. Get crappy seats that cost $20 for a band you’ve never heard of or front row seats for your favorite singer. Either way, you’ll end up having a great time.
3. Amusement parks
Most cities are within an hour or two of an enthralling and fun-filled amusement park. While the cost of a ticket can sometimes be a little steep, a lot of parks have deals for in-state residents or large groups of people. Do some research and find out what kind of opportunities are available to you.
Wherever you live, chances are there is a decent museum somewhere around you that you can easily get to. If you live in or near a major city, this is an even better idea. If you’ve never taken the time to visit the local art or history museums in your area, now is your chance!
Getting a job has its obvious perks—sweet, sweet cash flow and something to occupy you every day. Apply for jobs at local restaurants, ice cream shops or stores, and see what happens. Worst case scenario, you hate your job but go back to school with a huge wad of cash to spend at happy hour.
A lot of internships are unpaid, but the experience that you will gain is payment enough. For all of the Type A planners out there, it is never too early to get a foothold on the professional world and start training for you future career.
6. The gym
Let’s be real here, all of those pizza binges during the school year didn’t help your figure very much, and you probably didn’t have a ton of time to spend at the gym. It’s okay—it’s college and we’re all busy. Now that it's summer, you have enough free time to work out whenever you want. Whether you join a gym or sweat it out in your living room, now is a great time to get active and get in shape.
No matter where you volunteer, the feeling that you get from doing so is unlike any other. Being able to improve your community or help a person in need is one of the best things that you can do with your free time.
There are a ton of ways to get involved in volunteering. If you are a serious do-gooder, check with your school about service trips that are going on this summer. You could help people across the world. If you’d rather just get your toes wet when it comes to service, consider visiting your local animal shelters, nursing homes, preschools or any other service opportunities that bring a sparkle to your eye.
8. Your favorite reading spot
One of our favorite things to do over the summer is read, read, read. During the school year, most students don’t have a lot of time on their hands to read for pleasure, and if you're anything like us, you have a number of books on your to-read list. Summer is the perfect time to kick back and make a dent in your reading bucket list.
9. Have your friends come to you
Everyone has a stash of barely used board games buried somewhere in their house. Have a nostalgia night and invite over all of your friends to play a board game that no one has thought about in years. You might be in your twenties, but you are never too old for a full-fledged Uno battle.
10. Visit your school friends
Being home from college for the summer can be strange. You go from spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with your best friends to spending three full months without seeing each other’s faces outside of FaceTime. If you have friends from school that live within a few hours of you, go visit them or have them visit you. If they live a little bit too far to drive, scour the Internet for cheap plane tickets and make a week of it. Let’s be real—three months is way too long to go without your school family.
11. On a picnic
Find a picturesque park, a large wicker basket and a plaid tablecloth, and you are good to go. Picnics are an iconic summertime activity for a reason, so why not join in on the fun? Get some fresh air, bask in the sunlight and enjoy some delicious homemade sandwiches and lemonade with your closest friends.
12. The lake
If you aren't the biggest fan of the beach scene, maybe a lake trip is more your speed. Lakes offer a wealth of opportunities when it comes to entertainment. Boating, tubing or just floating around are some of lake-goers' favorite pastimes.
Related: 13 Beach Problems We Know Too Well
Millennials are literally obsessed with brunch. Without the worries of an impending paper deadline or upcoming physiology exam, you can don your cutest sundress, grab your pancake-loving friends and enjoy your bottomless mimosas in peace.
14. Stay in
So maybe this isn’t the most productive use of your time, but at least you will finally be able to join in on conversations about House of Cards or Orange is the New Black without looking like a fool.
15. Your bed
College is hard and time-consuming, and if you want to succeed academically and still have some fun, chances are you spent the past nine months doing just about anything but sleeping. Don’t feel bad about sleeping for sixteen hours straight or spending a day doing nothing but lounging around—you deserve a break.
Forget the beach; there are so many other places you can go this summer!