By Laura Serino

Published on June 8, 2015

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Photography by Olivia Rae James Photography

listen to music…outside

Outdoor concert season is here. If rocking out to a popular band isn’t in the budget, check the itinerary for local parks or organizations in your town that are offering free shows.

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Photography by white shutter photography

pack a picnic

Take your weekly ladies dinner from your favorite sushi haunt to someone’s backyard. Make it a potluck, spread out a blanket and don’t forget the box of wine.

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Photography by four seasons

weekly trips to the farmers market

Make it a point to get to your local farmers market every week. There’s nothing like a basket brimming with summer’s bounty of fresh berries and leafy greens.

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Photography by better homes and gardens

lawn game olympics

If you take a game of Croquet very seriously and you’d happily skin a knee diving for a birdie, then host your own backyard matches. Set up multiple games and rotate teams. Dole out cheeky medals to the winners—and the losers.

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Photography by pinterest

get in the car

And drive with absolutely no plan in mind. Unplug the GPS and hit the back roads to see what you might stumble across. Stop at tag sales and ice cream shacks along the way. Just don’t leave the GPS behind entirely, since you might eventually need help getting back.

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Photography by Above & Beyond Catering

concoct a signature cocktail

Since backyard entertaining will be at an all-time high, why not perfect your pouring skills? A signature drink will have guests expecting to have a glass of your now infamous Lavender Gin Fizz the moment they arrive.

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Photography by Nina Holst for stylizimo

clean your closet

We admit that the fun doesn’t come until after you’re done purging. Invite your friends over for a summer swap session. You’ll be instantly amped for warmer weather with a free new-to-you sundress.

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Photography by livesimply.me

make your own bug spray

An increase in outdoor time means your skin will be more prone to bug bites. Keep a homemade concoction in your tote at all times. Start with a soybean oil base and add drops of insect repelling essential oils like catnip, citronella and lemongrass.

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join a biker gang

You don’t need a leather jacket and a Harley to be a biker. Plan to go on a weekly bike ride with friends to a new location. Make sure you give your group a cool moniker like “Hot Wheels” or “The Let’s Get Lost Girls”. You can probably come up with a better one…

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Photography by anthropologie blog

host an outdoor movie night

Drive-in theaters have seen a steady decline since the rise of digital, but you can keep the magic of outside movies alive by hosting your own viewing party. Buy an outdoor projector (you can find many for under $100 on Amazon), hang up a sheet and create your own pick-a-mix station. If it all goes well, you might even be able to start charging.

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Photography by onceuponachef

perfect the burger

Whether it’s in the form of bean or bison, everyone loves a grilled burger in the summer. Dabble in different recipes, tweak them to your liking and settle on a favorite that you’ll use for many summers to come.

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Photography by Mary Costa Photography

get your arranging on

Pick your favorite petals and practice arrangements at home. If you’ve ever doubted the power of fresh flowers, make sure your home is filled with them all season long and then let us know what you think.

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Photography by lovelyindeed

tie-dye something

The best thing about summer camp was always the tie-dye station. Create your own by picking up dyes from your local craft store. We love using Indigo on white cloth napkins and pinks and yellows on an old canvas beach bag.

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act like a kid again

Dust off that skateboard. Practice that hula-hoop. Heck—break out the Skip-It if you’ve still got one of those around. Give in to your inner child and do something silly that helps you break a sweat.

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make a new tradition

Kick off summer right every single year by starting a tried-and-true tradition. If you need some inspiration, some of our favorites include a plunge into the ocean, a trip to the ice cream parlor or a backyard dance party with a playlist of songs with the word ‘summer’ in the title.