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Last Days of Summer Checklist: 6 Sun-tastic Things to do before Labor Day

by SmartyPants Staff

Everyone craves an endless summer. Sadly, all good things–like outdoor concerts, beach trips and dining al fresco–must come to an end.

But don’t start pulling out the cardigans quite yet. You still have a good month to pack in as many warm-weather adventures as possible.

Here’s our last days of summer checklist for six healthy and happy things to do before Labor Day (or until the warm weather disappears in your neck of the woods).

On your mark, get set, summer!

    1. Catch Some Tunes Outside

      Catch a summer concert

      An outdoor concert sounds good in theory. A steel band in the sand, jazz in the city park, an acoustic jam at your local amphitheater.  

      However, there’s always the fear that the reality may not be as dreamy as you made it out to be.

      Will the sound be off? Too crowded? Overly hot? Uncomfortable? Thankfully, there is an app for that. Sofar Sounds reimagines the live event experience through curated, intimate performances in 413 cities around the world.

      According to their website: “A Sofar gig is an intimate show held in an unique venue, like someone’s living room or an antique shop. It typically features three artists, playing four songs each. Every lineup is specially curated to give our audiences a diverse show.”

      Although you won’t know what artists are performing until they’re literally onstage, you will know which shows are held outdoors. Which means you could end up anywhere from the backyard of a brewery to the rooftop of a private home.

      So grab a sweater, a blanket, a bottle or two (most shows are BYO), an open mind and enjoy!

    2. Pick Some, Eat Some

      Head to a nearby orchard this summer

      Here’s a fun and filling way to spend the day! A PYO (pick your own) farm is the perfect outing for the entire family.

      Find a farm near you and pick what’s in season, like nectarines, strawberries, and summer squash.

      Besides getting to enjoy the literal fruits of your labor, you can teach your kids how food goes from the land to the supermarket to their plate. And a lot of these farms have other fun family-friendly activities, including petting zoos, tractor rides, and more.

      Tip: Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, plus extra clothes for the car. Berry stains are infamously unforgiving.

    3. Pitch a Tent

      Summer camping trip

      There are two types of people in this world: those who love camping and those who would rather get a cavity filled/be audited/fly cross-country in a center seat/[insert worst case scenario here].

      For the former, reserve a spot at a campground near you, pack your sleeping bag, and get ready to rough it. For the latter, you may want to give glamping a go. It’s kinda like camping…if camping included  wi-fi, room service, and a feather bed. Sentimentalists, rejoice—you can still sleep in a (fancy) tent.

      But, for those who prefer an upgrade, Glamping.com has yurts, airstream trailers, shipping containers, teepees, wagons, and even a treehouse for you to rest your weary head.

      Remember, just because you’re staying in a tent that’s nicer than your home, camping isn’t camping until you’ve made s’mores…even if these ones are made from Belgian chocolate, handmade marshmallows and freshly-baked graham crackers. Yum!

    4. Dine Under the Sun… Or Stars

      Dine al fresco this summer

      Gentle breeze…bright sky…munching…mosquitoes?! Yup, al-fresco dining season has arrived.

      If a beachside bistro or buzzy rooftop bar isn’t in your budget, have no fear—you can always recreate the Lady and the Tramppasta scene at home. Or throw a casual dinner party. The key to carefree outdoor eats is to keep it simple.

      Decor: String up some sparkling white lights, pick a few flowers from the yard, and scatter some citronella candles.

      Food: A salad, grilled veggies and fish, and a summer pasta can be made ahead of time. Serve them on chic single-use plates and tablecloths from l’entramiseand you’ll score major bragging rights.

      And finally: Don’t forget the blankets and/or sun umbrella, remember to download an awesome playlist, and let the sparkling wine—or sparkling water—flow.

    5. Shop Back to School ‘Til You Drop

      Start your back to shopping early

      As a teenager, this long-awaited annual event was right up there with your birthday.  Back-to-school shopping as a parent however, can be a major drain on your time—and wallet.

      From notebooks to lunchboxes to sneakers to socks, there’s A LOT to buy. So why not save your sanity and start shopping now?

      Rather than wrangle your 9-year old into a dressing room, shop from e-tailers that offer long return windows and free returns.

      Gap and Old Navy offer free 45-day returns and continuous sales all year long. For shoes, try Zappos.com.com. If you order via their app, they’ll overnight your shoes FOR FREE, and they have a 365-day return policy (not a typo).

      And there’s always good ol’ Nordstrom. The customer-service legend automatically price-matches online, and offers free shipping and returns (which are notoriously lenient).

      Plus, you can buy online and pick up in-store, reserve online and try on in-store, or even pick up curbside! It can’t get any easier than that.

      If traditional shopping is more your speed, hit up a one-stop shop like Target. Their exclusive Cat & Jackapparel line is adorable, affordable, and guaranteed to last a year, plus where else can you load your cart with shoes, school supplies, shampoo and Lunchables?

    6. Have a Beachin’ Summer

      Have a beachin time this summer

      Near the coast? Then you have no excuse but to hit the sun, sand, and surf STAT. Land-locked? A lake with a sandy beach will do (we’re looking at you Chicagoans).

      But if you want your day at to beach to feel like, well, a day at the beach, here’s are a few tips.

      1. Load all your stuff into a pop-up wagon or rolling cart so you don’t end up schlepping 10 bags.
      2. Take a pop-up tent for much-needed shade.
      3. Swap your bulky beach towel for a giant duvet cover that won’t blow away.
      4. Use a spray sunscreen for the body and a solid stick for the face to prevent the dreaded sticky-sand body.
      5. Pack pre-portioned foods (e.g., quartered sandwiches and cut fruit) so that if one piece falls into the sand, there’s (literally) more where that came from.
      6. Don’t stress and have fun.

Whatever you decide to do, do it soon, as school will be back in session before you know it.

Oh, and if we can recommend one summer-time challenge: Try leaving the phone at home—ok, in the car for “emergencies”—so you can truly be in the moment.

The summer may fly by, but the memories will last a lifetime.

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