Tag: summer

Tips to Throw A Memorable End-of-Summer Soirée

One last bash as summer winds down is a great way to send off a season that’s synonymous with recreation and leisure. And end-of-summer soirée also provides an opportunity to get together with friends and family before a new school year begins and families’ schedules fill up.

As August inches closer to September, hosts can consider these tips as they plan a memorable sendoff to summer.

Avoid Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer in many places, but hosts may want to avoid choosing this popular three-day weekend for their end-of-summer soirée. A survey from the travel experts at The Vacationer found that roughly 137 million people had travel plans over Labor Day weekend in 2022. Travel is undeniably popular on Labor Day weekend, and hosts likely won’t want to contend with guests’ travel plans. The weekend before Labor Day may produce a greater turnout, which undoubtedly makes for a more enjoyable affair.

Pick A Summer Theme

An end-of-summer party should have a theme that evokes the season’s special vibe. A beach theme with some sand in the backyard, some specialty cocktails served with mini beach umbrellas and, of course, some water play for adults and kids can help to establish a vibe that’s synonymous with summer.

Serve Traditional Fare

Though hosts who already hosted a handful of backyard barbecues this summer might have had their fill of hamburgers and hot dogs, an end-of-summer party is the last time many people will eat such foods until next spring. So while it’s alright to offer some alternatives, such as meat cooked on a smoker or grilled fish, be sure to offer the standard hamburgers and hot dogs as well.

Invite The Neighbors

It’s tempting to throw a season-ending bash that lasts into the wee hours, but that can be problematic for hosts whose neighbors are within arm’s length. That potentially sticky situation can be remedied by inviting the neighbors to the party. Neighbors won’t be upset by a little extra nighttime noise if they’re living it up as well. If that’s not an option, hosts can just remember to turn the volume down a notch once the sun sets.

Create A Contingency Plan

August can be a bit on the rainy side in many areas, particularly those where hurricane season hits full swing as summer winds down. Though summer storms tend to come and go in the blink of an eye, it’s best to have a contingency plan in place. If possible, ensure outdoor entertaining areas can provide some respite from the elements if need be. A well-placed pergola can keep guests and food safe from the rain and a retractable patio awning can provide an extra layer of protection. Hosts also can clear out part of their home interior and have some backup games at the ready to accommodate guests if the party has to move inside for a little while.

An end-of-summer soirée can be the perfect way to say so long to a beloved time of year.

Prepare For A Family Day At The Fair

County fairs, state fairs and country fairs dot the landscape in late spring, summer and fall, offering fairgoers plenty of attractions and rides to fill warm days and evenings. Families who plan ahead for the festivities may be able to improve their experiences.

Purchase Passes In Advance

Some fairs enable visitors to purchase entry tickets, parking passes and even game vouchers online. There are advantages to doing so, such as bundling discounts. Buying tickets in advance also cuts down on time spent waiting in line.

Devise A Basic Plan

Look over the list of attractions and activities to gauge what you want to get out of the fair. Some fairs post their calendars online. With kids in tow, you’ll likely want to check out any children’s rides or animal exhibits and interactions. Create a generalized plan, but be flexible, especially when going with other families.

Think About Safety

Fairs attract thousands of people and that can lead to confusion if children become separated from their parents. Write your mobile phone number down and put it in your child’s pocket or bag, so he or she doesn’t have to memorize it. Consider finding the tallest attraction at the fair (perhaps the ferris wheel), and make that the meeting point if anyone becomes lost. Snap a photo of youngsters when you arrive so that you’ll have a recent image and know exactly what they are wearing if you need to engage law enforcement. Some parents tell their children to find another parent and ask them to help them contact security.

Time Your Visit

If the fair runs during the week and into the weekend, weekdays are likely to be much less crowded. Also, while not ideal, a cool day or one with a slight drizzle will cut down on crowds and improve the ability to see more things and get on more rides.

Factor In Food

Fair food is an indulgence to enjoy when fairs come around. Rather than go overboard, pick one meal or item that the family will enjoy. Bring a backpack, if permitted, and fill it with bottled water and other light snacks so that you can tame hunger pangs and not bust the budget at the food court.

Understand Game Odds

Fair games are largely designed to earn the event money and not to cash out prizes to all participants. The chances of winning the grand prize, which may be a giant stuffed giraffe, usually are low, so it’s best if children do not become overly concerned with winning a prize. Play the games for fun and memories and not to walk away with the biggest prizes.

In addition to these suggestions, parents can make sure they bring insect repellent and sunscreen to the fair. Dress for comfort and not fashion.

These strategies can help families make the most of the county fair this year.

Summer Fun That Is Close To Home

Summer is prime vacation season when travelers take trips to every corner of the world. While faraway destinations abound, those looking for fun can also find enjoyable activities much closer to home.

Many communities come alive during the warmer weather, hosting an array of locally driven events. People looking for a day of entertainment or an evening of excitement may be able to find an event that’s just a short car ride away. Pick up a local newspaper or log on to your town’s official website to browse a listing of events in your community this summer. Here are a few events you’re bound to find.

Carnivals and Fun Fairs

Open land or empty parking lots can be transformed into bustling carnivals in a matter of days. Carnivals or fairs may be sponsored by private businesses or local religious organizations looking to raise funds. Some fairs are established by the county and attract participants from near and far. Carnivals often boast a wide array of entertainment, from amusement park-style rides to games of chance to music.

Summer Concert Series

Summer concerts series typically begin when the weather warms up, and music may not stop playing until Labor Day. Concerts may range from more intimate affairs that attract a few dozen people to a town square to larger events at beaches and boardwalks that draw thousands of visitors.

Food Festivals

Various towns close down their Main Streets from time to time to accommodate food festivals that feature a variety of cuisines. Some food festivals may feature one ingredient, such as garlic or cheese, while others may delve deeper and offer broader menus. Food festivals allow visitors to sample many different treats and may serve to advertise for neighborhood eating establishments.

Street Fairs

Street fairs also may close down thoroughfares in town. These events usually bring together a variety of vendors selling their wares in an open market setting. You can make a day of touring all of the vendor booths and buying handmade items from local artisans.

Outdoor Movies

Local parks frequently host summer movie nights when participants can view a movie on the big screen while under the stars. This can be an informal way to get the entire family together for a fun flick. Films are typically family-friendly and schedules are available well in advance. Bring a blanket and some snacks and enjoy an inexpensive evening together.

Many people need not travel far for a little summertime fun, as many communities host fun events throughout the warmer months.

Great Summertime Leisure Activities

A warm breeze on a summer day embodies the spirit of this beloved season for millions of people. Seen by many as a season to relax and recharge, summer, not coincidentally, goes hand in hand with leisure.

With more time on their hands due to vacations from school and work and less hectic activity schedules, particularly for families that include school-aged children, individuals often find summer affords more time for leisure. With that in mind, people from all walks of life can consider these summertime leisure activities.

Relax By The Water

Whether it’s a pool, lake or even the ocean, the water beckons each summer. Simply sitting on a beach or beside a lake or pool is a great way to pass the time without much stress. Nothing needs to be scheduled when relaxing poolside, lakeside or on a beach; simply enjoy some time to relax by the water.


Paddleboarding is another leisurely way to spend a summer day. Paddleboarding requires physical exertion, so this might not be the ideal activity for those looking to relax without lifting a finger. However, paddleboarders typically take to the water when it’s at its most calm, making this a great activity for those who want to capitalize on peaceful, serene summer vibes.


Few activities may be more relaxing than fishing. Though there are many different ways to fish, some of which require considerable physical effort, casting a line and waiting for a fish to bite is a relaxing way to spend a day in nature. That might not seem like much to novices, but spending time in nature has been found to reduce stress and lower heart rates, which the U.S. Forest Service notes are both risk factors for cardiovascular disease.


Books make for great companions on warm summer afternoons. Reading is such a popular summer pastime that many bookstores set up displays featuring books that make for great beach reads, providing inspiration for individuals who aren’t sure which book or books to dive into this summer. And much like other summertime leisure activities, reading has been linked to reducing stress. A 2009 study from researchers at the University of Sussex in England found that reading can reduce stress by as much as 68 percent.

Visit A Museum

On summer afternoons when it’s raining or too hot outside or individuals simply want to spend some time indoors, a museum makes for the perfect place to visit. Museums do not typically draw crowds in summer, making this an ideal season to visit. Many offer discounted prices to individuals like seniors and students, so this is a great way to relax without breaking the bank.

Summer is a season of leisure, and there are many activities that align with that spirit of relaxation.

Make The Most Of The Summer Camp Experience

Summer camp season will soon be here, and throngs of children will board buses each morning or pack their parents’ cars full of essentials to survive a few weeks away from home.

Looking back, many adults who experienced summer camp have fond memories of their adventures – whether they all went according to plan or there were some hiccups along the way. Parents want their children to make their own summer camp memories. Even if the canoe capsizes or the cabin leaks during a summer thunderstorm, such experiences can build character and strengthen friendships.

According to RegPack, an online registration software company, more than six million American children participate in some form of camp each year, including sleep-away camp or day camp. The American Camp Association says that number is closer to 14 million, with the most popular camp session length around one week or less. Families getting prepared for camp can follow these guidelines to ensure the experience is one kids won’t soon forget.

Search For An Accredited Camp

Accredited camps must meet more than 300 standards related to program quality, safety and health, according to the ACA. An accredited camp will likely give parents the most peace of mind.

Consider Children’s Readiness

There’s no magic age when a child may be ready to go to camp, but generally kids who are ages seven or eight may be fine to start a resident sleep-away camp. Day camp kids can begin as early as age three, the same age kids often begin preschool programs. Gauge whether the child has spent time away from home at friends’ or family members’ homes to decide if a resident camp will be the right fit or if a day camp is more appropriate.

Connect With Fellow Campers

If possible, attend a meet-and-greet prior to the start of the season. Neighborhood day camps tend to draw kids from local communities, so there’s already a chance kids will know a few fellow campers.

Get To Know Camp Counselors Early On

Campers can introduce themselves to camp counselors and other program directors and are urged to ask questions about specific programs. Counselors can direct campers toward activities they may enjoy.

Make The Most Of All Situations

Much of summer camp will likely be smooth-sailing, but it’s reasonable to expect some bumps along the way. Campers shouldn’t expect perfection, but use the situations that may go awry as learning experiences on how to handle adversity – trying to find the fun in them anyway. Even a medical situation can be overcome, particularly because camps staff qualified medical personnel to ensure campers are safe and well.

Summer camp can be a great experience, especially when families take some pre-camp measures aimed at ensuring kids have a fun season.

How to Protect Nature When Enjoying the Great Outdoors

Few getaways can reinvigorate the mind and body like a day spent in the great outdoors. The rewards of a day spent outside aren’t just figments of the imagination. The online medical resource WebMD notes that exposure to the great outdoors can improve sleep cycles, boost self-esteem, reduce anxiety, help people focus, and bolster the immune system, among other benefits.

The relationship between people and nature is not a one-way street. Just as nature takes care of people, people must do their part to protect nature. Whether nature lovers are hiking, relaxing at the beach or engaging in another outdoor activity, the following tips can help people protect the serene settings and landscapes they love so much.

Leave nothing behind

Anti-littering campaigns have been prevalent for decades. Despite that, litter remains a significant problem. A 2020 study from Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing litter, found that there are nearly 50 billion pieces of litter along roadways and waterways across the United States. Each piece of litter that finds its way into nature can be prevented. When spending time in nature, individuals can commit to brining out whatever they bring in. Leaving nothing behind reduces the issues associated with litter, including the negative effects it has on wildlife and marine life, and helps to maintain the idyllic look of natural settings like forests and beaches.

Reduce reliance on plastics and recycle the plastics you do use

Plastics adversely affect the health of the planet in various ways. But a staggering percentage of the plastics humans use are never recycled. A 2108 study published in the journal Science Advances found that, of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics that have been produced since 1950, only around 9 percent has been recycled. Plastics take roughly 400 years to degrade, so much of the plastics that have not been recycled are ending up in the world’s oceans. In fact, projections from environmentalists suggest that oceans will contain more plastics than fish by the middle of this century. By reducing reliance on plastics and recycling the plastics they do use, nature lovers can do their part to combat this significant threat and protect the natural settings they enjoy so much.

Plant trees

Planting trees could help combat the issue of rising carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. According to Greenpop, an organization devoted to urban greening and forest restoration projects, trees absorb CO2, removing it from the air and storing it as they release oxygen. A day outdoors planting trees is a fun activity for people of all ages, and it’s also a highly effective way to help the planet.

The great outdoors is a respite for millions of people across the globe. Taking steps to protect nature is a great way to ensure it’s accessible and there to enjoy for generations to come.

Tips for Labor Day Getaways and More

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. Even though summer officially ends a few weeks after Labor Day, a new school year begins for most students by Labor Day, and the lazy, hazy days spent on the beach give way to a new school year.

It’s no wonder that so many people want to capture the last of the summer magic before it’s gone for another year; Labor Day getaways help people hold on to summer just a little longer. Explore these tips to make Labor Day trips a bit more safe and convenient.

Leave extra time

Roadways are bound to be busy with other Labor Day weekend travelers, particularly for those headed to seaside locales or campgrounds. One way to avoid some of the traffic is to depart from home in the wee hours of the morning or late at night. Leave plenty of time to get to your destination so you won’t be tempted to speed or drive erratically. Utilize GPS and mobile phone mapping apps to identify routes that can help you avoid traffic.

Be cautious of the weather

Extreme temperatures can be a concern even this late in the season. The American Red Cross urges travelers to remain hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids while en route to destinations or while engaging in Labor Day fun. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. Strong storms can blow through in an instant, so keep track of weather alerts and find shelter if a thunderstorm approaches while on the beach or in other areas where lightning strikes occur more readily.

Plan ahead

Labor Day vacationers number in the millions. Hotels and motels will be in demand, driving up rates, and airfare prices could soar. Book early to secure the best prices available and to guarantee you have accommodations.

Consider a bundled vacation

Package deals at destinations can save you a considerable amount of money. Fly.com allows users to search the site for destination-appropriate packages that can combine airfare with hotel and car rentals to save money.

Look for lifeguards

If the plan is to swim in a lake, river or the ocean, select areas that have lifeguards available. Always swim sober and with a buddy. Even strong swimmers can be caught off guard by the power of water, which can include rip currents or rushing rapids.

Watch alcohol intake

Never drink alcohol while operating a vehicle en route to and from Labor Day festivities. Have a designated driver available if need be. Also, vacationers must recognize that alcohol can contribute to dehydration. Choose non-alcoholic and decaffeinated beverages to stay hydrated in warm weather.

Consider smaller airports

It may seem more convenient to utilize larger airport hubs for travel, but driving a little further to smaller, regional airports can help you save money on fares. Plus, these airports may be less crowded, helping to calm stress and make the overall trip a little easier.

Labor Day travel is about to heat up, and a few tips can make plans go more smoothly.

Explore These Budget-Friendly Destinations

Many people equate travel with high prices and some overindulgence. After all, for a lot of people, vacations come but once or twice per year. While it’s true the “go big or go home” mantra is never far from the mind while on vacation, ensuring a fun trip does not require emptying one’s wallet. The world has plenty of affordable destinations for those willing to do their research and think outside of the box. Plus, even locales billed as expensive can be made more affordable with some smart travel tips.

North American national parks

National parks across North America are budget-friendly destinations. These parks boast incredibly scenic vistas and plenty of activities for outdoors enthusiasts. Most feature modest entrance fees and affordable adjacent lodging. The trip can be even more frugal by camping on park lands.

Chattanooga, TN

The draw of Nashville may be strong, but nearby Chattanooga also can be an entertaining place to enjoy some southern hospitality. Chattanooga is centrally located to many areas in the United States. Chattanooga hosts the Tennessee Aquarium, which has a large freshwater aquarium and an opportunity to touch sturgeon, which is an ancient fish species.

South America

When seeking warmer climates and sandy beaches, many travelers immediately think of the Caribbean islands. But for the budget-conscious, countries like El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Costa Rica may be more affordable. These countries are home to rich jungles and ancient ruins as well.

St. Augustine, Florida

Theme parks may be a big part of Florida’s tourist draw, but such parks can be expensive for families. Looking elsewhere in Florida for dream destinations that are easier on the pocketbook doesn’t take a lot of work. St. Augustine in Northern Florida is America’s oldest city and is packed with historical monuments, quaint shops and great dining. The city also sits a mere five miles northwest of St. Augustine Beach, which offers miles of shoreline to explore.


Plenty of people flock to the relaxing shores of Spain or enjoy the culture and nightlife of France. Nestled nearby, Portugal has its own beautiful beaches, delicious food, historic cities, and locally produced wines without the inflated prices of nearby countries.

Quebec City

Quebec City’s rich history makes it a must-see Canadian destination. It is particularly vibrant in winter when the snowy landscape creates picture-perfect memories. Accommodations also are very affordable.

Traveling doesn’t have to cost much when budget-friendly destinations are on the map.

How To Make Grilling Healthier

Summer is synonymous with many things, including family vacations and relaxing days at the beach. For foodies, perhaps nothing evokes the spirit of summer more effectively than grilled foods.

Grilling is a beloved tradition, but it’s not necessarily the healthiest way to eat. Traditional backyard barbecue fare like hot dogs and hamburgers likely won’t make physicians’ hearts flutter, but there are ways to enjoy the flavor of grilling without compromising a nutritious diet.

Replace burgers and hot dogs with healthy proteins

The occasional hamburger or hot dog won’t do much damage, but people who regularly grill should skip these summertime staples and replace them with healthy proteins. The American Heart Association reports that fish and skinless chicken breasts are healthy alternatives to hamburgers and hot dogs. Burger devotees can still enjoy their go-to grilled food, but replace ground beef with lean ground poultry, which contains less saturated fat than red meat.

Avoid overdoing it

Most people have overindulged at a backyard barbecue at one point or another. The relaxed, party-like atmosphere of the backyard barbecue makes it easy to snack on chips and other unhealthy fares before moving on to burgers and hot dogs. Hosts can do guests a favor by replacing snacks and sides like chips and potato salad with healthier fare like celery, fruit salad or chickpea salad. Keep portions of grilled fare as close to a healthy size as possible. The AHA notes that a healthy portion of meat is around three ounces and no more than six ounces.

Create a salt-free rub

There’s no denying salt makes food more flavorful. But that flavor comes at a high cost. The health care experts Piedmont note that excessive amounts of salt can contribute to inflammation from fluid retention and increase a person’s risk for hypertension, or high blood pressure. Salt may be a go-to for many grilling enthusiasts, but it doesn’t have to be. A salt-free rub made with chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and/or other spices is an effective and salt-free way to add flavor to meat, chicken, and fish.

Grill more vegetables

Grilled vegetables, whether they’re part of kebabs or simply grilled alongside the main course, add significant flavor and provide all the health benefits of veggies cooked in more traditional ways. The AHA notes that coating vegetables in a healthy oil like olive oil makes it easy to grill them directly over an open flame without sticking. Cooking in this way imparts that signature smoky, grilled flavor to vegetables.

This summer, grilling can be as healthy as it is flavorful. All it takes is a few simple strategies to make the menu at your next backyard barbecue one any doctor would love.

Free Up Your Summer With Simple Time-Saving Tips

Summertime is all about enjoyment, whether that means taking a vacation, spending time on the beach or enjoying the company of family and friends at parties and on patios.

With so many fun things to do, who wants to stay cooped up indoors with housework and a to-do list? Make sure you’re able to take advantage of everything the season has to offer with these tips that can help you spend more time under the sun.

Avoid shopping on weekends. If you work a typical nine-to-five schedule, you probably do your grocery shopping and home renovation store visits on the weekend because it’s when you have more time on your hands. Since that’s true for most people, you’ll face longer trips and more crowded spaces. Try to carve out some time on a weekday evening, especially Monday or Tuesday, and you’ll free up precious weekend time and avoid long lines.

Simplify meal prep. Don’t sacrifice eating healthy, nutritious food when you’re pressed for time. Instead, look for low- or no-prep meal options like Mann’s Nourish Bowls at the grocery store. These ready-to-eat single-serve meals feature superfood veggies like sweet potato, kohlrabi and kale. Developed by chefs, the bowls are ready in just a couple of minutes in your microwave. Serve as a standalone meal or as a base with your favorite protein.

Clean as you go. When it comes to keeping your home clean and organized, it pays to do a little bit at a time rather than spend a whole day or weekend on chores. Wipe down your shower after each use to avoid the build-up of mold and mildew. Dust surfaces in your closet regularly to keep items and clothes clean longer, and wipe kitchen surfaces while cooking. Regular maintenance goes a long way towards keeping your home tidy and ready for spur-of-the-moment summer gatherings.