Molly Horan
June 19, 2014 8:00 am

When you were a kid, the three months of summer meant a giant break from school and seemingly endless days to loll and splash and run around, but as an adult, the time is much more fleeting. Plus, if you don’t have (and can’t afford) an exotic getaway or a week’s long beach trip planned, the season could only mean sweatier commutes to work and then freezing-in-air-conditioner days at the office. Even if your rest-of-summer fun is restricted to nights and weekends you can still get in some important, Instagram-able moments and feel like you’ve made the most of the hottest months of the year.

1. Knock a big book off your bucket list.

Has a copy of Infinite Jest been sitting on your bookshelf, mocking you since high school? Or may you’ve always wanted to be able to say “I’ve read War and Peace.” With weekend days spent in nearby parks or beaches, summer is the perfect time to make your way, gradually, through some literally heavy reading.

2. Try a crazy hair color

Whether it’s a temporary purple streak or a whole head of pink, take your time away from the office as an opportunity to get a little wild—with your hair anyways.

3. Try a new diet—for a day.

Be a 24-hour vegetarian, vegan, raw, macro, Paleo, whatever! It’ll force you to try new foods, maybe even break out the mini grill and learn some new recipes you’ll return to even when you go back to being an omnivore.

4. See an outdoor movie

Drive-thru or lawn flick, seeing a film under the stars is the best way to take in a movie. Just remember bug spray and the picnic blanket.

5. Go to a tag sale.

Even if it’s just to snap pictures of the craziest things you can find. You might not want to bring home the three-limbed teddy bear, but you could end up bringing home an idea for your next short story or narrative Vine.

6. Volunteer

Sometimes everyone’s good will gets spent up during the winter months and we forget soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and dog rescue centers need love during the summer too. And you can get creative, maybe your local summer school needs tutors or a community garden needs a little TLC.

7. Create a dream vacation list.

Even if you can’t afford to globe-trot this summer it could be fun to draw up what European (or Asian or Middle Eastern) adventures you’re going to go on some day. Make it specific-do you want to see the seven wonders? Or maybe just hit every gorgeous bookstore in the UK.

8. Make plans with an old friend.

Summertime can be a great time to reconnect with that person you always see in your Facebook feed and think, “We should really get together.” Use one of the activities above to make new memories with them!

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