The laziness of college summer break usually sounds great – for a week or two. Once you get tired of sleeping in and watching TV, however, you’ll probably get bored very quickly. Instead of slogging through a boring summer break, get up and do something! You’ll have more fun than sitting on the couch, and you’ll head back to college life in the fall with a fresh perspective.
Finding your own things to do is great – but sometimes all that free time can be intimidating. Here, we’ve put together a list of some simple, fun and off-the-couch ways to pack as much interest as possible into your college summer break.
1. Go to an Amusement Park
Regardless of where you are, there’s probably one nearby. If it’s a considerable distance, make a road trip out of it! Bring some friends and make a day (or several) of it. Don’t think you’re too old – it’s impossible to outgrow thrill coasters and water rides!
2. Join a Summer League
Community centers, non-profits, faith-based organizations and bars offer tons of league sports during the summer, and even if you’re not old enough to drink, most will let you play. Volleyball and softball are the most common, but virtually any warm-weather sport can be found with a bit of digging.
3. Get Charitable
Chances are your closet at home is stuffed with things you’ll never use again – those trendy pieces from high school, for instance. Gather everything up, pack it into a box and donate it to charity – you’ll be helping others and giving yourself more space at the same time.
4. Prepare for Graduation
Okay, so thinking about school may sound like no fun at all, but if you’re graduating next year, getting a head start can be a huge help and cut down on college life craziness. Try interning, networking, setting up a professional online presence, or anything which will help in your chosen field.
5. Read Something Fun
You’ve spent the past year of your life reading textbooks – give your brain a break! Pick up the latest blockbuster or anything that interests you – it’s great way to remind yourself that reading can actually be fun when it doesn’t involve studying!
6. Learn to Cook
The dreaded ‘freshman fifteen’ is usually the result of eating too much unhealthy food. Who can blame you, though – there’s no time to learn to cook in college life! Take advantage of your summer by learning how to prepare some healthy, basic and fast dishes at home – seek out recipes that can be cooked in your dorm room using a hot plate. Ask your parents for help if you like, or check out one of the many beginners’ cookbooks out there. When fall arrives, you’ll be saving yourself money and avoiding extra pounds!
7. Get Outside
Whether you go hiking, biking or anything else that involves being outside, summer is a great time to shake off those stale-air blues. Gather some buddies together and make a day of it!
8. Camp Out
Think about it – the last time you camped out, you were probably a little kid! Thankfully the fun never wears off, so grab some friends and a tent, head for the nearest state park and have an awesome night under the stars.
9. Go Extreme
Always wanted to para-sail? Bungee jump? Skydive? Now’s the time! Grab a friend or two and take on an extreme sport that scares you to death – the rush you’ll get from conquering your fears will give you loads of new confidence!
10. Be a Tourist
No traveling necessary for this one – explore your hometown through fresh eyes! Check out your town’s website, which will have loads of activities, attractions and events. It’s incredible how fun those same-old streets can look once you change your perspective!
11. Work a Gig
Gigs are temporary jobs with (usually) no contracts and an extremely short time span – think selling fries or beer from a cart. These jobs can be found on Craigslist and there are tons of them available during the summer. Some pay extremely well (look early!) and you usually get free passes to the event you’re working. You’ll earn pocket money, meet new people, see some great shows and events for free and – best of all – if you hate the job, it’ll be over in a few days!
12. Find a Film Festival
Usually outdoors, free (or extremely low-cost) film festivals are a great way to relax. Some show the latest blockbusters, but old-school festivals can be even more fun. The effect is very much like a fifties-era drive-in, and many of the same movies are shown! Take a trip back in time – just remember to bring your own snacks!
13. Have a Movie Day
Another great boredom-buster for movie fans is to hit a local theater and see every movie – literally. Grab a fellow film buff and vow to see each movie playing – even the ones you think you’ll hate. You might be surprised at what you find entertaining, and it’s a great way to kill a few rainy days!
Want to do something community-minded during your summer? Check out online volunteering websites. Plug in your information, and you’ll find loads of interesting opportunities. You can serve up meals at a homeless shelter, build homes for needy families or give shelter animals some much-needed playtime – the opportunities are virtually endless. If you’re really dedicated, you may even want to take a group volunteer trip abroad!
15. Take Off
With all the last-minute travel deals online, this is a great time to pack up and go see a relative or friend who’s moved away. Watch those websites closely, as the best deals are gone in a flash.
16. Try Solo Vacationing
If you’ve never taken a trip on your own before, now’s the time! Book a few days in a city you’ve always wanted to see, or take an adventure vacation such as kayaking. You’ll meet interesting people, have incredible experiences and gain a new level of independence!
17. Foodie Road Trips
A quick online search will reveal tons of hidden-jewel eateries in your area, and some sites even have them already mapped out for the ultimate foodie experience! Grab a few friends and vow to ignore any and all diets for a few days.
18. Haunted Road Trips
For the more adventurous, a haunted road trip can be just the thing! Plenty of road trips can be found already mapped out online, or purchase a ‘true hauntings’ book specific to your area and create your very own spooky adventure! Stay in a haunted hotel, visit a ghost town, explore old cemeteries – the possibilities are endless. Just be sure to bring along some brave buddies!
19. Find a Fair
The old-fashioned county fair seems like quickly disappearing relic of bygone days. However, you’d be surprised at just how many of these old-school events are still held in small towns! Regardless of where you live, you’ll be able to find one nearby – simply type your area and ‘fair’ into a search engine. Sample the food, watch the exhibits, even visit the petting zoo – you’ll feel like a kid again! Be sure to stay after dark for the fireworks!
Okay, this one seems obvious – but far too many students ignore its importance. You’ve just completed a hard year at school, and summer can seem filled with so many fun things to do that you end up working just as hard! Take at least one day each week to just chill – relax at home, at a park, anyplace you can really rest and recharge. If you’re social, bring friends – if you’re more of an introvert, take off solo. There are no rules and the only goal is relaxation!