101 Delicious and Memorable Summer Bucket List Ideas for 2023 - Plate & Compass (2024)

Can you believe it’s nearly summer? I don’t know about you, but I’m extremely ready! Los Angeles had one of the rainiest seasons we’ve seen in years, so I’m counting down until it’s time to dust off the flip flops, grab my sunnies and make my favorite iced beverages.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a laid-back homebody, I’ve got you covered with the ultimate Summer Bucket List Ideas for 2023.

101 Delicious and Memorable Summer Bucket List Ideas for 2023 - Plate & Compass (1)

This post is all about Summer Bucket List Ideas for 2023.

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Why You Should Make a Summer Bucket List

Now, let’s talk about Summer Bucket List challenges. Isn’t life more fun when it’s spontaneous?

A bucket list is not just a list of random activities; it’s a carefully planned list of experiences that help you break out of your normal routine and make core memories (any Inside Out fans?).

Sometimes planning with a checklist goes a long way in pushing you a little further past your day-to-day routine. Instead of sitting around thinking about what to do, you pull out your bucket list and get on your way.

Here’s an example… hiking Half Dome has been on my husband’s summer bucket list for years. But that’s not something you can just wake up and decide to do on a whim! Making a bucket list and talking about it with your spouse of your friends keeps you in the “adventurers” mindset and gives you even more motivation to make things happen. We ended up hiking the Half Dome Cables last summer and it was one of my absolute favorite memories! You can read all about it here.

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It’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone, trying new things, and challenging yourself to find new ways to enjoy the simple blessings of life. Summer goes away faster than it comes, so this list will help you make the most of it!

What I’m Focusing on This Year

Of course, tasty food is ALWAYS a focus of mine. So I made sure to include plenty of fun recipes and tasty summer co*cktails.

Some of my favorite summer memories are centered around food. Plus, you can find gorgeous fruits and veggies that are in season during the summer like watermelon, peaches, pineapple, citrus and heirloom tomatoes. I grabbed these photos of tomatoes and pomelos from LA’s Hollywood Farmers Market, which I highly recommend.

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Oh, and don’t worry, I’ve thought of a little something for everyone. Whether you’re a crazy adventurer, a foodie, a teen, a couple, a family with kids, or making plans with friends, these Summer Bucket List Ideas have got you covered.

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Summer Bucket List Ideas for 2023

For All Ages

  • Get a fire pit and make s’mores. For extra fun, use your favorite chocolate candy like Reese’s peanut butter cups or York Peppermint Patties instead of Hershey’s chocolate.
  • Go biking on a warm sunny day.
  • Create an outdoor movie theater in your backyard. We use this outdoor pop up screen from Amazon with a projector and it stores really compactly when not in use. You can put it together in under 5 minutes.
  • Pack a blanket and go stargazing.
  • Go ice blocking down a grassy hill.
  • Volunteer at a local non-profit.
  • Celebrate Christmas in July.
  • Drink from a coconut, a carved out pineapple shell or a mini watermelon.
  • Buy a pack of mini drink umbrellas to use all summer long for beach vibes no matter where you are.
  • Keep a 90-day gratitude journal all summer long.
  • Go kayaking or stand up paddle boarding.
  • Go camping or “glamping” in the woods.
  • Get off the grid and spend one whole day without your phone.
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101 Delicious and Memorable Summer Bucket List Ideas for 2023 - Plate & Compass (8)
  • Snag a free slurpee at Seven Eleven on July 11th.
  • Go to a bookstore and pick out a book to read for the summer.
  • Start a summer workout challenge. I’m currently doing the Game Changer challenge from Les Mills, and loving it! There are plenty of other options on YouTube as well.
  • Watch the sunset.
  • Dance in the rain.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Spend a day geocaching for hidden treasure.
  • Go all out for 4th of July! Buy a red, white and blue outfit. Plan 4th of July snacks. Get fireworks or sparklers. Decorate. Find a 4th of July playlist. Be thankful all day for the freedom we are blessed with every day!
  • Make cookies for your neighbors. If you don’t know them, it’s a good chance to say hello and do something nice. You’ll be amazed how much it can make someone’s day. And yours!
  • Go shopping and add new items to your summer wardrobe. To make things more fun, go with your spouse or friend and buy an outfit for each other.
  • Be a tourist in your own city with a Go City pass.
  • Visit a farmer’s market. I enjoy this year-round, but let’s be honest, it hits just right in the summer!
  • Visit a state park and spot as much wildlife as you can.
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With Friends

  • Have a summer “Chopped” challenge and work in teams to create dishes from a basket full of ingredients. If you want to make a full meal of it, designate one team to make an appetizer, another for the entree, and another for dessert.
  • Gather friends and hold a pickle ball or volleyball tournament.
  • Take a board game or deck of cards to a brewery.
  • Test your skills at an escape room.
  • Do a scavenger hunt in your city.
  • Go to the beach and have a sandcastle competition.
  • Float in tubes on a lazy river.
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  • Have a BBQ potluck. Fill a wheelbarrow or inflatable kiddie pool with ice and have everyone bring bottled drinks to share.
  • Host a summer color game night. Assign everyone / every couple a different color and ask them to dress in that color and bring a food board in that color.
  • Go to a karaoke night, or have a backyard karaoke party.
  • Have an ultimate water fight with super soakers, buckets of water and obstacles.
  • Host a terrarium party and create your own succulent gardens. Of course you can pair this with amazing summer drinks and snacks!
  • Have a paint and sip night. Everyone can paint whatever they want on blank canvases, or you can order these pre-drawn canvases. If you want to paint your pet or favorite scene, send in photos to Artist By Number and they’ll send you a custom paint by number canvas!

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For Foodies

  • Take a cooking class.
  • Make the dish I’ve been craving for summer… peach, burrata and fresh basil salad.
  • Do a food crawl at your favorite restaurants, or new restaurants you want to try. Have an appetizer at one place, dinner at the next, and dessert somewhere else.
  • Add fresh mint to every single smoothie you make this summer. Or even your water or iced coffee. It’s a game changer!
  • Buy fresh strawberries and use them in a summer dish like strawberry shortcake or in a salad.
  • Try a new brunch spot every month this summer.
  • Pack a picnic and take it to the beach or a park.
  • Make homemade pizzas. Get creative with your toppings! Trader Joes sells great ready-to-cook dough.
  • Make homemade ice cream. My eyes are set on this recipe below for Fresh Peach and Goat Cheese Ice Cream.
  • Make a homemade berry pie. Bonus points if you go berry picking at a local farm to get the berries!
  • Grill kabobs on the grill incorporating summer foods like grilled peaches, pineapple or corn.
  • Cold brew iced tea at home.
  • Make a big batch of fruit water to sip on all day.
  • Make your own sushi. I bought this bamboo mat set from Amazon and it works great.
  • Buy fresh peaches and incorporate them into your favorite summer drink.
  • Make a panzanella salad with fresh heirloom tomatoes.
  • Make a colorful summer fruit cookie pizza. I used to love these as a kid!

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For Adult Foodies

  • Make your own frose.
  • Make a batch of Rosemary Palomas.
  • Visit a winery and have a picnic with a bottle wine.
  • Make a pitcher of Summer Sangria.
  • Make a flight of different mint julep recipes.
  • Look for a local craft run club in your city. You get to stay active, drink beer and meet lots of cool people.
  • Go to a tiki bar.
  • Perfect your at-home margarita recipe.
  • Whip up a lemon drop martini with fresh lemons from the farmer’s market.
  • Try a new spot for happy hour every month this summer.
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Summer Bucket List Vacations

  • Yosemite National Park – go glamping at Autocamp!
  • Book a summer Alaskan cruise.
  • Visit an all-inclusive resort.
  • Drive the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) along the California Coast.
  • Plan a road trip along Route 66.
  • Visit the world-famous Napa Valley. I’ve got the best Napa weekend itinerary ready for you!
  • Visit distilleries on the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky.
  • Visit San Francisco. Ride the trolley, bike across the Golden State Bridge and eat lots and lots of amazing food.
  • Take one of these amazing day trips from Los Angeles.
  • Plan a trip to the famous San Antonio River Walk.
  • Stay in a resort on the strip in Las Vegas.
  • If you don’t already have a travel rewards credit card, get one this summer so that you have plenty of points to use for an epic trip next summer. We use the Southwest Rapid Rewards card with companion pass and haven’t paid cash for a single flight in three years!
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Did you know mid-late August is one of the cheapest times to travel in the summer?
Check out the Best Cheap U.S. Places to Visit in August.

For the Crazy Adventurers

  • Swim with manatees in Crystal River Florida.
  • Buy an annual national park pass and visit as many as you can.
  • Hike the Half Dome cables in Yosemite.
  • Go skydiving.
  • Go whitewater rafting.
  • Hike Angel’s Landing or the Narrows in Zion National Park.
  • Drive a Jeep along the Road to Hana in Maui.
  • Zip line in the jungle of Maui.
  • Put three adventure options in a hat and do whichever one you pick out first!
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Great for Kids

  • Put a sprinkler in the yard and run through it. Yes, this is fun for adults too!
  • Make your own creative popsicles at home.
  • Go to a baseball game. Most MLB teams have a Kid’s Club with special offerings for kids and a chance to run the bases. Of course, the nachos and hot dogs are a must!
  • Tye-die something.
  • Give each kid their own YES day, where they can pick what to do all day long.
  • Buy fun summer sipper cups to use all summer long.
  • Go to a museum.
  • Draw with chalk in the driveway.
  • Start an adventure journal or scrapbook for your memories.
  • Host a lemonade stand for charity.
  • Have a water balloon fight with reusable magnetic water balloons all summer long.
  • Make a time capsule of your favorite things and bury or hide it for later.
  • Plant flowers in the yard.
  • Make root beer floats, or use your favorite soda like cola or orange soda.
  • Find a summer pen pal

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How Many of These Summer Bucket List Ideas Will You Do?

Summer is definitely my favorite season. I was made for sunny weather, so it’s my time to thrive!

I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly inspired to cross as many of these Summer Bucket List Ideas off the list as I can!

Drop me a comment with your favorite summer foods/activities below if they aren’t on the list. I love hearing your favorites and learning new amazing things from you too.

So let’s make this a happy, memorable and unique summer that you’ll always remember.

Happy travels, friends!

-Hannah

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