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New Ways to Get Outside This Summer

Summer—which is by far the superior season to spend time outside in—is finally, finally coming. Though it is easy to get caught in the loop of doing the same things outside all summer to the point where they get boring. Swimming until you are sunburned gets old after the hundredth time, and finding new and exciting ways to spend time outside can help restore that much needed Vitamin D while still bringing back a sense of adventure. Here are a few ways to be outside this summer that are not just going for a walk or laying out to tan.

Food, Dock and a Sunset

One of my favorite things last summer was to get take out with a very small group of friends and go sit on a public dock off of a lake and just enjoy the sunset. Our food options, which started as chinese takeout, more often ended up being McDonald’s ice cream and fries or sometimes no food at all as the summer continued and our budgets got smaller. That was the beauty of it though, because it could cost as much or as little as we wanted.

Car Rooftops and Nightime Stars

Similar in nature, finding a place to park a friends car or van and climbing on top to watch the stars on a warm night is always fun. For my friends and I, this was usually accompanied by McDonald’s chicken nuggets and a large Diet Coke to share. Disclaimer: cars with already dented roofs are recommended!

Bonfires in Places Other Than a Backyard

Friends with fire building skills are special, so keep them close! Finding beaches without laws against beach fire rules or going to places like Como park or Hidden Falls Park where there are public fire pitsfree to use are great alternatives to a neighborhood bonfire. The appeal of not having children running around and keeping quiet for the neighbors after dark adds to the fun of actually enjoying nature rather than just green grass and fenced-in yards.

Tubing, But Down a River

There are two (relatively) local places that offer river tubing—Two Rivers Campground near St. Cloud and River’s Edge in Somerset, Wisconsin. Tubing down a river is an experience like no other. Though the river is mostly slow moving, it is never dull trying to keep yourself afloat when it picks up a bit or when the water gets so shallow that you are just barely brushing over the rocks. In theory, taking a cooler of food and drinks to float along with you, tied to your tube, is great and fun, but in practice, your food will get soggy and that cooler will definitely get tossed around quite a bit. In my two experiences, I would suggest bringing as little as possible—one big water bottle to share that everyone can take turns holding, a rope to tie a tube to each other and nothing else.

Though taking pictures of the trip is fun and cute, the stress of holding onto a phone, even if it is water resistant, does take away from the experience because it is one more thing to manage and make a lazy ride down the river a little more challenging. Also, sunscreen! Going down the river takes hours, so sunscreen and water are so important to make sure you’re not miserable afterwards.

As always, other great ways to get outside are to hike, bike or even canoe down the St. Croix.

After this brutal winter, it is important to soak up as much sunshine and warmth to last through the next winter. I hope you consider these conventional new twists to classic summertime activities, and make this summer into a summer like no other!

Molly is currently a junior at Hamline University who is studying English, Professional Writing and Communications.
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