Your (Socially-Distant) Summer Bucket List for 2020

This year, we’re doing summer a little differently. We’re taking the time to slow down, spend time with close family and friends and really make the most of these lazy days. But “lazy” doesn’t have to mean “boring.” Presenting the new summer checklist: A list filled with socially-distant outdoor activities that you and your kids can do whether you’re looking for ways to spend an afternoon or an entire weekend. Get out of the house, see new vistas, get some exercise and—most importantly—wear a mask (more on that below). Here, seven socially distant summer activities to help you make the most of this last summer month.

First, Stock Up On Masks

Masks have become the surprise accessory of the summer, but they don’t have to hide your personality. It’s time to stock up on stylish face coverings that match every outfit. Old Navy has the whole family covered (um, literally), with 3-ply, woven, 100-percent cotton masks in 50 surprise prints. They come in variety packs of three or five or ten, and are designed per CDC recommendations on non-medical-grade masks with comfy over-the-ear loops. Just pop one on before you try any of the activities below, then toss it in the washing machine and it’s ready to use again. OK, now onto the list...

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outdoor mural summer bucket list
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Hunt For Outdoor Murals

If you happen to live in a city, change up your afternoon walks and turn them into a scavenger hunt. Museums might be closed, but there is plenty of art to see outdoors. Instagram is a great resource for discovering local murals, but a quick internet search can also help you map out a route that you and your kids will both enjoy. Bonus points if the colors of your mask match the mural.

kids looking in backyard garden

Eat Local (like, Really Local)

Wanna know the easiest way to get your kid to eat (and love) carrots? Let them grow ‘em themselves. There’s never been a better time to start a backyard garden, and the whole family will love getting their hands dirty planting fruits and veggies together. Late summer is the best time to grow broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, cabbage and our all-time favorite, cauliflower. Don’t have access to our own plot of land? Chances are there’s a community garden in your area. Grab your masks and scope it out.

trail ride summer bucket list
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Go On A Trail Ride

Hiking is great, but if you’ve nearly exhausted that option (re: your kids are no longer excited by their walking stick or your paths are just too crowded), consider looking for a trail ride in your area. These open-air jaunts let you enjoy the scenic views and observe wildlife while doing something totally different—riding on horseback. Most stables and companies offer beginner sessions and all are typically led by an experienced rider, so make sure to bring your masks even though you’ll be outdoors.

puppy competition summer bucket list
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Hold The First Annual Backyard Pet-lympics

The Tokyo Summer Olympics have been postponed, but the first annual Pet-lympics is on in your backyard. Invite the neighborhood pets to come over and each perform a signature trick for the judges—aka your friends (with masks, of course) sitting at a picnic table. The pet with the highest score wins ear scratches galore (or better yet, some homemade treats).

paddleboard summer bucket list
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Try A New Water Sport

If you have older kids, or are just looking for an activity you can do by yourself, head out on the water. Kayaking and canoeing are great options in groups or solo, but we’re also big fans of paddleboarding. Want to take things a step further? Grab your mask and head out to a paddleboard yoga class in your town or city. The effect of the wobbly board under your feet makes Warrior One pose more challenging than ever before, but the Savasana at the end of class has also never been so relaxing, since you're laying supine, listening to the lightly lapping waves. Can’t you just picture it now?

drive in movie summer bucket list
Erin Slonaker/Getty Images

Watch A Drive-in Movie

There’s been a resurgence of drive-in theaters since the rise of COVID-19 and for good reason—you get the movie theater fix right from the comfort of your own car. In fact, there’s even a boat movie theater coming to New York City this September. Make sure everyone brings along their masks, just in case bathroom breaks or a quick stop for snacks are in the cards.

camping trip summer bucket list
apomares/Getty Images

Take A Family Camping Trip

Your week-long beach vacation in Ocean City may have been postponed, but that doesn’t mean all family getaways are off the books. If you’re comfortable, a good socially-distant alternative is camping. In recent years, millennials have been drawn to camping (or, occasionally, luxury camping with added amenities, also known as “glamping”) in greater numbers, but these outdoorsy activities have new appeal in a world where we’re encouraged to remain six feet apart. The best part? It’s relatively inexpensive—especially for families with multiple kiddos. Check out our list of essentials to get you started (and don’t forget your mask).

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Freelance Editor

From 2015-2020 Lindsay Champion held the role of Food and Wellness Director. She continues to write for PureWow as a Freelance Editor.