Your Grown-Up Summer Bucket List

"How I Spent My Vacation" essays are long gone for most of us, but the urge to squeeze every drop of sunshine out of the most glorious months of the year never gets old. Consider this your extracurricular inspiration for 2018.

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Catch a movie outdoors.

Major bonus points if you make your way to a drive-in (search by zip code for the one nearest you, here). Feel like sticking closer to home? Create your own backyard screen, get your hands on a projector and cozy up on the lawn.

Find your swimming hole.

It doesn't have to be a literal swimming hole (although this one in upstate New York is awfully magical, wouldn't you say?), but you need to cannonball into something this season.

Clink glasses at sunset.

The balcony and beverage are up to you, but the pairing itself is a must: On at least one long, lazy summer evening, propose a toast for Daylight Saving Time.

"Pack" a picnic.

With all due respect to public beaches and parks, you don't have to wear pants when you picnic at home — and you don't have to hide your cocktails. Gather up all that glorious summer produce, assemble your favorite finger foods and (don't) go to town.

Get away for the weekend.

Vacation time and funds are precious, to be sure, but it's worth your while to pack a bag and aim for a quick change of scenery. Studies have shown that trips don't have to be exotic or luxurious to recharge us: The break in routine is what matters. (Now, hit the road!)

Light your fire.

If grilling's your thing, grab some tongs and get cooking. Prefer snuggling under the stars? We'll award credit for that, too. Summer hasn't really happened if you don't endanger your eyebrows at some point, is what we're saying.

Go camping (or, okay, glamping).

Speaking of snuggling under the stars, there's no summer like this summer to get up close and personal with Mother Nature. From humble sleeping bags all the way up to full-fledged cabins, there's outdoorsy accommodation to suit everyone these days.

Crack an old-school beach read.

No, an e-book does not count: Find a pulpy, mass-market thrill ride with a cliffhanger at the end of every chapter, or a gargantuan novel that'll smell like your sunscreen by the time you're through with it.

Unplug.

Ease your grip on your devices by stashing them in a "tech time out" spot (or a drawer) for a designated period of time each day. When you're ready, work up to a full 24 hours — or, gulp, a whole weekend — off the grid.

Celebrate a summer storm.

At New York City's Delacorte Theater, a little rain doesn't faze Shakespeare in the Park performers — in fact, the box office sells ponchos for audience members so that the show can go on. Thunder and lightning are signs to head for shelter, of course, but pausing to appreciate a gentle shower (when it's safe to do so) is more than worth your while.

Follow the music.

Take a seat in your town square when a local band performs in the pavilion. Buy those festival tickets you can't stop thinking about. Summer concert season is already in full swing for 2018, and it's high time you caught up.

Find your summer jam.

Nothing immortalizes a season like the sunny songs that spill out of the stereo for months on end. Ready to meet your next personal anthem? Find contenders here.

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