Last summer was a strange and uncertain one—a season defined by, among other things, social distancing, ongoing anxiety, and a stark absence of joy. But as more and more Americans get vaccinated and states around the country begin to fully reopen, the summer of 2021 is set to feel dramatically different, characterized by long-awaited family reunions, gatherings with strangers, the prospect of international travel, and above all, fun.
But while it’s high time to start planning, it’s also understandable if you’re feeling, well, a little rusty when it comes to figuring out activities that go beyond compiling a Netflix watch list. Which is why we’ve put together our definitive guide to having fun this summer, with the hope that it will help steer you through the coming months—and get you excited about what the future holds once again.
There is plenty of inspiration to dive into—101 ideas on how to have fun, to be precise—but there’s also an abundance of intel for you to bookmark. Spent the past year watching roller skating TikTokers? We tapped the pros for their tips on getting into the sport IRL (and the retro-cool gear to wear while you do so). Dreaming of a belated birthday get-together in the park? Chefs from around the world have spilled on how to build the ultimate global picnic basket. Craving both water and wilderness after too much time in a concrete city? We’ve rounded up the best swimming holes across the U.S. to cool off in.
Keep scrolling for all of these stories and more. And if you’ve discovered that you actually quite like staying at home, don’t fret—we’ve got an entire story on how to make your backyard vacation-ready, too. —Lale Arikoglu
101 Ways to Have Fun This Summer
From taking up rock climbing and glamping under the stars to using all those points and miles to leave the country again.
Nostalgic Drive-In Movie Theaters to Visit
Pull up and tune in for a piece of Americana.
What Super-Travelers Always Have in Their Beach Bags
We asked professional surfers, resort staffers, swimsuit designers, and other beach aficionados how they fill their bags.
How to Build the Ultimate Picnic Basket, According to Chefs Around the World
Snack like you’re in Mexico, France, or Japan.
Everything You Need to Make Your Backyard Feel Like a Vacation
Make the most of your outdoor space this summer with patio furniture, grills, hammocks, inflatable pools, and more.
Our Favorite Roller Skaters on Everything Beginners Need to Know
Tips, tricks, and gear recommendations to help you master the sport this summer.
Stunning U.S. Swimming Holes to Cool off In
Natural oases in New York, California, and more that are just begging you to dive in.
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