5 Activities to Do This Summer if You're Not Going on Vacation

By George Nolting on May 17, 2017
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When it’s summer and you’re stuck at home while everyone else is on vacation.  Image from The Simpsons, owned by Fox.

Summer is finally here! The weather’s getting warmer, school is wrapping up, and everybody is getting ready for vacation. Except you. You don’t have any money. So while everyone around you is visiting Europe or relaxing on luxury cruise liners, you’re probably going to spend your summer taking more hours at your job.

It can be disheartening to listen to people gush about their elaborate summer plans when you don’t really have any. You’re hardly alone though. In fact, a lot of college students are probably gonna be stuck in their hometown this summer. But that’s okay. There’s actually a lot of stuff you can do to make your summer an exciting and memorable one without having to spend a fortune on plane tickets! Here are five things you can do this summer that you can do while staying at home.

Check what kind of events are happening by you

NYC’s Jazz Age Lawn Party. Taken by Luciana Golcman.

If you take the initiative to search for them, you’ll find that there are actually a lot of events that are probably going on right by you. This is especially true if you live close to a big city such as NYC. Simply google “events near me” and you’ll find websites that can direct you to all sorts of parties, festivals, and conventions that are happening near your area. There’s almost always a guarantee that you’ll find something that you’re interested in, and if you don’t, simply refine your search to include an activity you like (“music festivals near me” for example) and your search will be narrowed down.

If you’re feeling nervous about feeling welcomed in a new environment, don’t be! These types of events advertise themselves intentionally to attract new people. They want you to feel welcomed right away. If you’re still worried, bring a friend with you. You can have a lot of fun trying something new.

Go to a state park

Babcock State Park, West Virginia. Taken by nature photography team ForestWander.

If you’re looking to become one with nature this summer, a great place to go to is a state park. These parks are government protected and can be found all over the USA. What there is to see and do often vary greatly. Forests, lakes, waterfalls, hiking trails, fields, mountains, historic monuments; state parks can have virtually anything. Regardless of what your closest state park offers, it is a great way to spend the day. One cool idea I recommend is grabbing a bunch of friends and packing a picnic lunch. Enjoying the great outdoors is something that you can do regardless of where you live.

Get into a new show or game

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Owned by Nintendo

Okay, so I realize hiding out at home in front of the TV doesn’t exactly sound like the greatest suggestion for the summer. But for many people, myself included, we need days like that to unwind from everything else that is going on, whether it is to escape from stress or to relax after spending the previous day out in the sun. So I say that there’s no harm in dedicating at least a few days for some at-home relaxation.

A suggestion I have to make these days seem more productive is to get into something new, such as a show or a video game. One of my annual summer rituals is that I go out to either GameStop or any other used video game store and buy a game. Used games are often much cheaper than having to dish out 60 dollars for a new one, so stocking up on older games is a good way to save money while still being able to play new games. If you’re not into video games, that’s fine. Instead, check out that show on Netflix that you’ve had your eye on. You can also read a book, if you want to avoid electronics altogether. As long as you don’t let it become your entire summer, taking a mini at-home vacation can be relaxing and meditative.

Host a barbeque

Image by thecitycollection.org

This spring, my housemates and I decided to give hosting a barbeque a shot. I was initially worried that there was some sort of secret to barbeques in order to make them successful that I wasn’t ready for yet. But this turned out not to be the case. It was surprisingly easy. We didn’t even need a grill! All you need is food, drinks, utensils, and a bunch of good friends and you now have a fun way to spend the day with friends.

If you’re worried about fire or other safety hazards while you’re cooking, have some friends man the grill with you so they can look out for you and swoop in to help you if things go wrong. Besides, who wants to be left cooking by themselves while everyone else has a good time? If you want to just skip the cooking altogether, that’s fine. Instead, have you party catered and have a picnic! Either way, sharing a meal with friends and family is a classic summer activity.

Explore an unfamiliar town

Clinton, New Jersey. Taken by John Bohnel.

It only occurred to me recently that this is something I like doing. Traveling to an unfamiliar town or city is actually a great way to spend the day, and is a lot of fun. The truth is, a lot of people don’t actually leave their hometown all that much, so they’re not even fully aware of what there is to do even five minutes away from where they live. You might find some really interesting stores, museums, or parks that were nearby you all along.

A few years ago, one of my friends invited me and some other friends to meet up with her for lunch in Clinton, New Jersey. While I had been to Clinton before when I was little, it had all but vanished from my memory by the time I was a young adult. It was only twenty minutes from where I lived, and I hardly even knew it existed! I am very glad that I rediscovered it though, because Clinton is a beautiful town. It has a very rustic and quaint feeling to it. The main street has a lot of interesting stores and coffee shops to check out. And the small businesses helped give the town its own identity. Not every town in the perfect place for sightseeing, but if you don’t bother checking them out at all, you may be missing out!

I wish I could give you some things to do that don’t involve any money, but unfortunately, everything I listed probably involved money to some degree. I guess it’s one of the burdens of being an adult. However, if you take advantage of what is nearby you, your summer can be just as rewarding as the people going away on vacation.

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Hi there! My name is George Nolting. I am currently a senior at Rutgers University with a major in English and a minor in Gender and Media. I particularly enjoy writing about issues in regards to gender, race, and sexuality and its portrayal in media. When I'm not sitting on the couch focusing on a video game or marathon-ing a television show, I'm probably spilling my thoughts out onto a Word document or notebook page.

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