Summer days are endless and beautiful. It's a time for fun, friends, and adventures when the warm sun-filled days make it seem like anything is possible. You get to watch as your neighborhood comes alive: In mine, people hang out on their stoops chatting into the late evening, children play on the sidewalks, and the basketball courts are filled with kids and adults playing pickup games and HORSE. The parks, which were cold and grey during the long winter, are suddenly filled to the brim. People are lounging in the grass, swinging on the swings or enjoy a frozen treat with loved ones. There's simply no shortage of things to do in the summer because it seems unbearable to spend too much time cooped up indoors. But if you're a movie buff like myself, you're probably looking to take it up a notch and get into some movie-inspired summer activities.
There's nothing like a summer movie, or like some of my favorite films are, movies set in the summertime. If ever there was a place to get ideas, it's from movies like Dirty Dancing, Wet Hot American Summer, and The Notebook. From adult summer camps to low-key walks, here are ten summer traditions that you can steal from some classic summer films.
1. Dance All Night
Film: Dirty Dancing (1987)
There's nothing better than dancing all night — literally all the way to breakfast as the sun comes up. Since I'm not much of a club goer, I forget how much fun a night of dancing can be. All you need is the right music and the perfect dance partner.
2. Road Trip
Film: National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
I'm not much for long, cross-country trips. But, road trips can be fun if you are going a reasonable distance — but hey, if you wanna drive from Boston to San Diego, go for it! As a city girl, I always find it relaxing to leave the concrete jungle and to slow down just for a moment; wherever you live, get out of your element. You won't regret it.
3. European Vacation
Film: EuroTrip (2004)
If the opportunity should present itself, take a trip out of the country this summer. The United States is such a small fraction of what the world has to offer — there is so much more to explore. Be sure to let your travels take you beyond the touristy stuff; the best traveling experiences happen when you venture off the beaten path.
4. Go to Camp
Film: Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
Apparently, camp isn't just for kids. Though I never got the opportunity to go to a real sleep-away camp, I've watched The Parent Trap enough times to get a general idea of how it may have gone. If you loved going to camp as a kid, or if you're never experienced it; a couple of days at adult camp would be an epic experience. Alcohol is allowed!
5. Theme Parks
Film: Adventureland (2009)
Now I'm not really one to get on roller coasters, but I do enjoy a good funnel cake like everyone else. For those of you who are thrill seekers, a day at a theme park with twisty, turny rollercoasters and plenty of steep drops is a perfect summer adventure.
6. Picnic In the Park
Film: 500 Days of Summer (2009)
I know this sounds cheesy, but I promise you it's super fun. Picnics in the park don't have to be romantic; you can drag a group of your friends to enjoy a yummy meal. After all, why eat inside when you can eat outdoors?
7. House Party
Film: House Party (1990)
Assuming that you're the one who pays the rent in your abode, a house party is a fantastic way to kick-off summer. Plus, house parties are the best, especially if you access to some outdoor space as well. Even bigger plus: When you throw a house party, you can almost always expect friends to BYOB and leave you the spoils. All you have to do is string up some twinkly lights, turn on Spotify, and have a blast.
8. Fall In Love Or Have A Fling — You Do You
Film: The Notebook (2004)
Some of the best summer adventurous are spent with people that you love and care about. Leave yourself open to being swept off your feet by a summer love (or like!). Be free and see where the warmth and sunshine take you.
9. Go To A Drive-In
Film: Grease (1978)
I love things that make me feel nostalgic for a past time, and drive-ins are no exception. Though there aren't many left across the country, I would definitely suggest going if you can find one nearby (or maybe combine it with that road trip plan I mentioned earlier). And if there are no drive-ins to be found in your neck of the woods, grab a blanket and hit up your city's "Movies in the Park" program — they're all the rage these days.
No matter what you do, just make sure you get outside and soak up that summer before it's time to don winter coats again. You can thank me later.
Images: Miramax (2); Vestron Pictures; Warner Bros; Dreamworks Pictures; USA Films; Fox Searchlight (2); New Line Cinema; Paramount Pictures; Giphy (1)