My Summer Bucket List and 5 Tips to Make Your Own

My Summer Bucket List and 5 Tips to Make Your Own

Every summer for the last few years, I’ve made a summer bucket list. It’s a way I practice intentionality with my how I spend my summer months. Because if you’re like me, you make grand plans in the dead of winter, fantasizing about all the amazing things you’re going to do once it warms up. Then, before you know it, summer starts, and then BAM; it’s August and you haven’t done any of what you wanted.


Cue a summer bucket list. It’s a way to hold ourselves accountable, making the most of the summer months, creating opportunities for joy and adventure. It’s also the perfect antidote to those weekends without plans, kids who say they’re bored, or weekday evenings with a few extra hours of sun. I’ve included my bucket list for this summer below, as well as five simple tips for how you can maximize your own bucket list.



My Summer Bucket List

Pick blueberries in Michigan

Kayak the Chicago River

Picnic with friends

Mix a cocktail with herbs from our garden

Visit the beach in Chicago

Make homemade popsicles

Go to a drive in movie

Splash at a water park

Go on a hike

Paint a piece of furniture

Make pizzas on the grill

Go to an outdoor concert

Drink frosé

Host a crawfish boil

Read a book in the backyard


Ready to make your own list?  Here are a few simple tips to help you get started!


1. Write your list down. Trust me on this, a summer bucket list is so much more effective when we write it down. Writing it down provides accountability, as well as a tangible prompt when you find yourself asking, “What should I do this weekend?”


2. Have a range in time. Challenge yourself to have a range in terms of the time required for each activity. You may find it easier to come of with activities that takes several hours or a full day, but try to include a few activities that are just an hour or two. This will help make your list more doable, also reminding yourself to find opportunity in small moments.


3. Include some freebies. While it’s easy to come up with activities that cost money, include some things that don’t cost a dime. Summer fun doesn’t have to be fancy or formal; in fact, some of the best moments are the simplest.


4. Get outdoors. Nature has an incredible way of prompting mindfulness, giving us all sorts of beauty to appreciate. If nothing else, think of ways that you can do ordinary activities outdoors. (See my point of reading in the backyard!) Taking a simple activity outside makes a big difference.


5. Share your list with friends. Help each other have the summers you want. Sharing your list allows for mutual inspiration and accountability, as well as inclusion. You and your friends will probably have different things on your lists, and tagging along for a few adds an extra layer of summer fun. If you have kids, I also encourage you to try this activity with them!


So what are you waiting for, get planning! Summer bucket lists help us be intentional with these precious months. And remember, this bucket list is yours, meaning the only person it needs to make sense to or resonate with is YOU. The more tailored and personal, the better. I’d love to hear what’s making your summer bucket list; please share!


PS: Did you enjoy this post?  If so, check out this post as well!


  1. Will

    Dr. Allison,
    This is such a great post! I tend to get at the end of the summer and realize that I didn’t do much. I like your suggestion of having the rest of the family come up with a list.
    My sons like to kayak so that is definitely going on my list (but not the Chicago river).
    Please post if you go to a drive in movie; not too many around!!

    1. Dr. Allison

      I’m so glad you liked this post, Will! I totally feel you on the “end of summer and what the heck did I do” moment, so I’ve found summer bucket lists really helpful! Also, I’m launching a brand new series on the site today called LIVE on the weekend, and I think it will resonate with you! Thanks for commenting!

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