Are you a victim of the couch-inertia epidemic running rampant in collegiette summers? Are you and your friends glued to the couch like zombies, ordering the same Domino’s pizza and watching the same Netflix shows every weekend? Break the cycle! Let Her Campus help you concoct some easy yet memorable summer adventures that you’ll never have time for during the school year and that you’d never think of while watching the last episode of Friends for the 10th time.
1. Try all the new food trucks in your area
Best to do with: the friend who always complains that you’re always eating at the same places
If you’re tired of the same old restaurants in your town or you don’t have the money to pay for an expensive fine-dining experience, switch up your usual pizza-and-Netflix routine to go chase down some delicious food trucks! Eat outside and sample a bunch of food. Food trucks are awesome because they’re usually not quite as expensive as a restaurant would be, and they’re fun to visit because the people who run them tend to be super friendly. The Great Food Truck Race, anyone?
If you live somewhere like Boston or San Francisco, there may be food truck schedules for you to peruse before you head into the city. Before you go, be sure to see where the trucks are, which ones you want to go to and how much they cost. Try taking public transportation instead of a car so you don’t have trouble parking in the city.
2. Visit the farmers market and have a picnic
Best to do with: the friend who always asks if the apples are organic
Check out a farmers market and tailor your Sunday brunch to exactly what you and your friends want! Look online to find a farmers market near you—you can use websites like LocalHarvest to find one. If it’s in a remote place, it may even be worth a longer drive! You can bring a blanket and disposable plates and silverware, find a sunny spot to sit at and have an Instagram-worthy picnic. Definitely get a baguette, fresh cheese, lots of berries and some fresh veggies.
Sophie Dodd, a senior at Middlebury College, had a great experience going to a farmers market. “We picked up some amazing fresh avocados and [I made] homemade guacamole, which we enjoyed with chips on my deck,” she says. “It was so nice to catch up with an old friend and try out my skills in the kitchen, and there's something about getting your produce from a farmers market that makes it even better!”
Farmers markets are a great place to meet local vendors, support sustainable farming and enjoy the undeniably fresh environment. Don’t forget to ask for free samples and bring back some fresh flowers for your room!
3. Take a roundabout road trip
Best to do with: the group of friends who never has enough time to catch up
Now that you have the guide to the perfect road trip and these road-trip apps you won’t want to leave home without, spice up your traditional there-and-back road trip with this idea: pick four destinations in a doable distance from your home—one to the north, south, east and west. Next, hop in the car, pick the perfect Songza playlist and have a circular road trip that’s more interesting than just a there-and-back ordeal. Use Urbanspoon to find some new, interesting places to eat and check out if there are any beaches or bodies of water nearby to swim or tan. Don’t be afraid to go a little farther than usual or to get lost—the point is not the destination!
4. Go on a hike and pack your own trail mix
Best to do with: the active friend who feels trapped at her desk job this summer
Hiking doesn’t have to be as hard as a 10-day trek through the wilderness or as commonplace as a walk around the reservoir; make it short, intense and not without pictures of you and your friends overlooking the gorgeous view at the top of the hill. Pile your friends in the car early in the morning and use the day to its full potential.
“Early on in the summer, my sister and I decided to go for a hike/jog on the local trails by my house,” says Kasia Jaworski, a senior at Villanova University. “It was really fun to explore some of the trails that I hadn't been to before. We took fun pictures of us doing yoga poses in nature (Instagram-worthy of course... I did ‘tree pose’ on a fallen tree trunk). It was really fun to just catch up with my sister, put away our phones and enjoy the nice weather!”
You can find trails (and reviews of trails) on websites like AllTrails. Try looking for a trail with a waterfall, a gorgeous overlook or a beach at the end. Make sure you wear hiking boots or sturdy sneakers, and get plenty of sleep the night before—a day hike can be exhausting!
Before you set off on this adventure, pack up some homemade trail mix: Try a mixture with nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit and, of course, a few M&M’s for sweetness! Before you leave, be sure to eat well with snacks like these. A hike is the perfect way to get that glute workout you’ve been wanting during bikini season and enjoy the weather you crave during fall, winter and spring!
5. Go rock climbing
Best to do with: the friend who’s always willing to ride the roller coaster
Nothing gets your blood flowing like the thrill of touching the highest point of the rock and looking down to see the ground far below you. Indoors or outdoors, rock climbing is a great workout and an awesome skill to learn for an active, healthy lifestyle! It builds full-body strength and gives you a rush when you finally reach the top of the wall. You and your friends can learn to belay one another together—your friends will save your life. Literally. Check out this website for places to climb. Who knows—if you really love it, you could join a climbing gym or start climbing at your college when you go back in the fall!
6. Learn a new skill and volunteer for a good cause
Best to do with: the one always trying to do good
What’s more adventurous than volunteering to build someone’s house? A free, rewarding adventure for you and your friends could be learning the ins and outs of building houses and knowing that you’re dong good for a family in need. You can even do a Women Build with Habitat for Humanity, where you can build with other women. If there aren’t any Habitat for Humanity projects near you, look into volunteering at an animal shelter or making dinner for a local homeless shelter. There’s no adventure like learning a new skill and helping others in the process!
7. Try a totally new activity on the cheap
Best to do with: the friend always hunting for the best sales of the season
Try something totally new—whether it’s painting, sailing, skydiving, kickboxing, fishing or paintball! Look on Groupon to find deals for fun activities and adventures to do near you with your friends. The new experience could be worth the amount of (already discounted) money you have to pay! Who knows what new passions you’ll find, people you’ll meet or experiences you’ll have?
Collegiettes, summer can get a little boring if you run out of things to do. Make the most out of your summer by taking advantage of everything around you and keeping an open mind to new experiences. You might be surprised by how much you can do in one place this summer without traveling anywhere exotic or spending lots of hard-earned pocket money.