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20 Things Every Canadian Should Do At Least Once Before Summer is Over

Don't let the last warm, beautiful weeks of the season go to waste!

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summer bucket listPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

1. Flag down the ice cream truck

The catchy jingle, the delight of choosing one of the novelty treats, and, of course, the cool satisfaction of eating said treat on a hot afternoon—nothing says summer bucket list quite like an ice cream truck. Could you buy an entire box of ice cream bars at the grocery store for the same price as one from the truck? Sure, but where’s the fun in that?

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2. Walk barefoot in the grass

Strolling barefoot through soft grass is the perfect way to get out of your daily bubble and smell the roses (literally!). The smells, sounds, and feel of nature will soothe your work-weary soul and melt away stress. It may even offer some unique health benefits; according to proponents of “earthing,” walking barefoot can help with insomnia and other afflictions. In case you need more reasons to get off the couch: Here are 5 effective resistance band exercises you can do absolutely anywhere.

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3. Read under a tree

Unplug and take a fun novel, gossip magazine, or other light-hearted read outdoors. Set up under your favourite tree and enjoy the stillness and tactile pleasure of reading a real paper book.

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4. Visit a farmer’s market

Many cities offer a farmer’s market on summer weekends, allowing you to support local farmers and up your health game in the tastiest way possible. Come for the fresh veggies but stay for the interesting crafts, bright flowers, sweet honey, hand-made sausages and new friends.

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summer bucket list

5. Go to a concert or play in the park

From Shakespearean classics, local bands and movies to music festivals, your park entertainment options are endless in the summer. Check out your neighbourhood Facebook page or city website for dates and times. Even better, many of these events are free or very low-cost.

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summer bucket list

6. Run through a sprinkler

Think playing in a sprinkler is just for kids? Adults can play this refreshing game too and it doesn’t even require a swimsuit. The next time you see a sprinkler watering the grass in the park or at your neighbour’s house, take a few running leaps through it. Skip. Laugh. Frolic. You’ll dry, we promise.

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7. Catch fireflies

If you’re lucky enough to live in a place still frequented by fireflies, bring back happy childhood memories by capturing a few to put in a bottle. Their gentle flicker speaks of warm, summer nights. (And then let them go… seriously! They’ll die if you leave them in the bottle. And no, “feeding” them grass doesn’t work, even if you thought it did when you were a kid.)

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8. Play the cloud game

Finding shapes in the clouds is a simple way to take a break and have some fun. And all it takes is a grassy spot with an unobstructed view of the sky, where you can lay down and look up. When’s the last time you looked up at the sky? Only rule is you can’t say “bunny”—you can be more creative than that.

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9. Stargaze

If you think clouds are fun, the night sky will blow your mind—especially if you can get far enough away from city lights to see the milky way. It’s worth the trip to the mountains or out to the countryside. Seeing the vast expanse of eternity laid out on a clear summer night will change your life.

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10. Go camping

Camping is the quintessential summer bucket list activity yet so few of us actually head for the hills. Being outdoors (and away from cell service) is a great way to reset and get in touch with nature. Note: keep these hiking routes in mind when planning your next camping trip.

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summer bucket list

11. Build a sandcastle

Having sand in between your toes (and in your hair and down your swimsuit) is must on your summer bucker list. But don’t just settle for laying on the beach, get dirty the fun way by building a sand castle complete with turrets and a moat.

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12. Eat at a food truck

Food trucks and outdoor dining go together like… restaurants with no seating? What they may lack in chairs they make up for in taste, offering a wide variety of new flavours and old favourites at a good price.

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13. Have a bonfire and roast s’mores

Sticky fingers, smoke-scented hair, and a smile are the signature style of summer. So invite your neighbours and light (a small, well-maintained) bonfire. Add to the fun by roasting marshmallows for s’mores, everyone’s favourite sticky treat. If you just can’t swing a real fire, try making one of these healthy dessert recipes in the comfort of your own home.

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14. Watch a street performer

Warm evenings turn every street corner into a stage and you’ll be amazed at the talent in your community. Dancers and musicians are staples but in many places you can also find living “statues,” contortionists, and magicians, among others.

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15. Get new sunglasses

New sunnies can take your look to the next level as well as protect your eyes. And pretty soon they’ll all be on end-of-season clearance! Not sure which ones to pick? Check out our handy guide for buying the best sunglasses for your face shape.

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16. Go to a drive-in movie

Popcorn? Check. Speakers on? Check. Awesome double feature? Double check. Stay up late and watch a movie from the comfort of your own car.

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17. Count your freckles

Who says you have to cover up your freckles with makeup? Wear your summer sun-kisses with pride. Count them and remember all the fun in the sun that got you each one. They, along with your memories, will fade all too quickly when fall comes. And while you’re examining your skin, make sure you check these sneaky spots you can get skin cancer.

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18. Wear beach-scented sunscreen

Going to the office and not the beach? No problem. Dab some sunscreen on before you leave and all day you’ll be reminded of summer weekends. Plus, you know, it’s sun protection—something you need regardless of the season. Oh, and don’t miss these easy-to-forget places!

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19. Pull some weeds

This is the perfect time to spruce up your garden and get it ready for fall by cutting back plants, pulling weeds and fertilizing. Sounds like more work than play? Just try it. There’s something so zen about gardening, plus it has so many health benefits.

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20. Try an outdoor fitness class

Forget resolutions, this is about fun: If you’ve ever wanted to try a different workout, this is the best time. Outdoor offerings include stand-up paddleboarding, yoga in the park, guided night hikes, bootcamp, fishing excursions, and many other activities. You’ll be having so much fun you’ll forget all about the sweat.

Summer bucket list completed? Next, learn what essentials a cottage-country expert recommends you bring on your next visit up north.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest