Here in the U.S., the first day of summer, June 21, is officially the longest day of the year. That means that you’ll have more sunlight that day than any other day of the year!
How will you spend all the extra time you have on this year’s first day of summer? We have some ideas to get you started on the right track.
Sunbathing seems like the obvious past time of choice for the first day of summer, right? After all, if you’re going to see more sun than on any other day of the year, why not take advantage of it?
If you choose to soak up some sun on the first day of summer, make sure you stay safe:
- Use a sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF
- Don’t let your skin reach the point of “burning”
- Consider avoiding peak UV hours between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
2. Make flower crowns
Flower crowns are in the midst of a “fashion moment” in pop culture, but flower crowns or “wreaths” are actually rather traditional. In Swedish celebrations of “Midsummer,” it’s a tradition to make flower crowns.
Luckily, flower crowns are rather easy to make at home. You can even get kids or friends — or both — involved in the gathering or contracting process! Enjoy the warm weather and sun rays by picking flowers and making a beautiful fashion accessory!
3. Build a sunflower fort
This idea can’t be completed in just one day since it requires growing sunflowers to full-size. But you might think about using the first day of summer to get started on this fun and easy project! Sunflowers need to be planted in early summer, so you should start right away.
Once full grown, a sunflower fort provides a great place to read a book outdoors, take a cat nap or just enjoy the fresh air while having a bit of privacy. Sunflower forts can be made even more special by planting climbing plants in between the stalks to fill in any gaps. Morning glories or ivy are both great choices.
4. Tidy up your home
You probably know about spring cleaning, but depending on your schedule, you may have slacked a little bit this year. The first day of summer being the longest day of the year provides an excellent opportunity to recoup some lost time!
5. Have a picnic
Nothing says summer more than a picnic outside with your closest friends and family or special someone. If you live in an apartment community, you might even have a communal space to host this right outside of your home! Take some time on the first day of summer to enjoy good friends and even better summer food.
6. Go camping
Camping is basically “extended picnic-ing,” so it’s natural that it’s our next suggestion for pastimes on the first day of summer. Nothing feels better than fresh air and beautiful weather with no responsibilities or places to be.
Plus, camping is flexible. If you’re up for it, you can go all out and plan a backpacking trip to a remote forest. Or, you can pitch a tent in your own backyard (or even your living room) and have just as much fun. Make sure to include all of the classic elements of camping like s’mores, ghost stories, stargazing and, of course, lots of fun activities.
7. Read a book
Most of our suggestions thus far have been fairly intensive and would likely take up at least the entire first day of summer. But maybe you’re looking for something simpler to enjoy the first day of summer.
Reading a book is always a good idea because it’s relaxing and helps expand your intellect. Take a look at our recommended summer reading list and maybe you’ll find something that sticks out.
Remember to find the obligatory cozy reading nook in your home or maybe even think about taking your book to a local park or other outdoor space.
8. Make a kite (then fly it!)
The first day of summer has a sort of whimsy to it. This summer, lean into that whimsical side and build your own kite!
Kites are actually pretty simple to make, so you can easily get children involved — although any adult would have just as much fun doing this. Then, all you have to do is find some wind and open space for a full day of enjoyment.
9. Pretend you’re a mixologist
Summer is characterized by the images of drinks it conjures just as much as it’s characterized by hot weather. Probably because the drinks we prefer in the summer are specifically intended to cool us down.
This year, on the first day of summer, get creative with blended drinks. We have a number of recipes that will be a hit with any crowd, young or old. Plus, if you do have adult friends over, these recipes can easily be modified to contain alcohol.
10. Book a midnight tee time
OK, so this only truly applies if you’re in Alaska. However, if you are, you can really fit a lot into the longest day of the year as many parts of the state get more than 22 hours of sunlight on the summer solstice. Cities north of Fairbanks actually receive a full 24-hour day of sunlight during this part of the year.
This allows for some pretty unique late-night celebrations like rounds of golf at any hour, sky diving in broad daylight, yoga/raving under the late-night sun or even ski-jumping at midnight!
11. Make a bucket list
Summer is a great time for trying new things. The days are long and the weather across most of the U.S. is warm. Why not take an opportunity for the first day of summer to make a list of all the new things you want to try?
Maybe even use a fun online “bucket list creator” that will remind you periodically to start checking off items from your list.
12. Plant a tree
Summer is a season of new growth and the first day of summer is a perfect day to bring some new life to your own yard. If you have space, consider planting a tree on this year’s first day of summer.
Shade trees will not only add aesthetic benefits to your yard, but they can also help keep your home cooler during the day and they offer huge environmental benefits.
Use the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Map to find out what can grow in your region of the country.
13. Go for a hike
Hiking is a great way to exercise without even really realizing you’re doing it. Plus, on the first day of summer, you have the opportunity to hike long into the evening.
Use an online trail database to find trails near you or think about taking a short road trip out of town to explore a new part of your state.
14. Make sundaes
Ice cream is an absolute quintessential part of the classic summer experience. You shouldn’t eat it every day, but the first day of summer is a great time to splurge a bit.
On the longest day of the year, treat yourself and your friends or family to a full-on ice cream sundae experience. Get all the right toppings and ice cream flavors and send out some invites. You can even make this a dairy-free sundae extravaganza if you’re vegan.
15. Start a small business
This should be relaxing, so not an actual business. Maybe this summer is the time you open up your very own neighborhood or apartment community lemonade stand or bake sale. This is especially fun for kids if they get to make the goods they’re going to sell.
Don’t waste the longest day of the year
The first day of summer only comes once per year, meaning if you don’t take advantage of the longest day of the year this time around, you’ll have to wait another year!
Summer is a beautiful season with tons of opportunity for leisure and fun. The first day of summer is just the gateway to this season. We hope that this year you celebrate the longest day of the year and continue that celebration throughout the season.