It’s actually very close; it may not be quite as obvious here in St Andrews as it is further south, but summer 2014 is just over a month away. The approach of warm sunny days is slow but sure. Wondering how to occupy the next three months of your time? Here is a list of suggestions that will guarantee your fair share of sunshine, golden tans and summer fun:
1. Beach day
In summer, the quest for the great beach town becomes a national passion. If you don’t live in a coastal country, take a trip to the nearest seaside and relax beneath an umbrella with the sound of the waves in your ears. Stroll on a boardwalk or comb the sand for shells, and get a beach chair ready. Nothing says summer like a day by the sea.
2. Road trip
When the urge to travel hits and your pocket isn’t as full as you’d like, a road trip is the best way to get your fix. Fantastic roads are never far – routes that meander through forests, cruise along the coast and climb over mountain passes. Once you find the right route, it’s easy to rediscover the exuberant freedom of the open road, served best with good company.
3. Adventure park
Places like Disneyland, Europa Park, Legoland Windsor or even Johnson’s Amusement Arcade in Dunfermline are never too far away. Though they are not always the cheapest way to occupy one’s time, amusement parks are designed with the aim to please, so a good time is almost certain.
4. Go to a state fair
Particularly relevant to those of you spending your summer in the USA, attending a state fair is a unique but enjoyable experience. Livestock, vegetable-growing contests, and recipe showdowns are major draws. Fairgoers can sample the fattiest, most questionably edible, strangest state fair food – much of which falls into one of two genres: ‘deep-fried’ or ‘on a stick’ – and then participate in some wacky state fair contests.
5. Take a dip in a swimming-hole or lake
In summertime, when the mercury reaches the tip of the thermometer, the best place to cool down is an old-fashioned swimming hole. These often-secluded natural pools are the perfect antidote to crowded pools with sunscreen-slathered, screaming children. They offer a dose of classic fun, with sunny days measured by cannonballs and good friends. So grab your swimsuit, a towel and a pair of water shoes and jump in. For an interesting change, try it when the moon is out.
6. Visit a national park
How many of you have actually been to protected nature reserves in your home country? This is the time to see some amazing sights and gain some new cultural knowledge. There are many underrated national parks that offer glorious views, landmark lodges and terrific wildlife spotting.
7. Attend a music festival
With so many all around, ranging from T in the Park to Glastonbury to Rockwerchter, a good music festival is not hard to find. Often featuring an incredible line-up, a festival offers a chance to see a range of musical acts all in one place, during one concentrated weekend of fun.
8. Go to a renaissance fair
Capping off the list is one of my personal favourite activities, an outdoor weekend gathering emulating a historic period for the amusement of its guests. Chicago journalist Neil Steinberg said (of the Bristol Renaissance Faire) that “Here are more beer and bosoms than you’ll find in all of Disney World”, and you can’t really go wrong with that conclusion.
I was going to add ‘do an internship’ to the list but then I thought better of it – summer is for fun. So make the most of it and enjoy three months of no deadlines, no exams and no reading to the maximum.