Editor’s note: As the pandemic continues to evolve, it’s important to remember to stay safe and healthy as you enjoy your summer. Some of the below suggestions might not be conducive to current safety guidelines. Make sure to check current CDC recommendations.
Summer is officially here, and that means the party is just getting started. We asked our Instagram followers what they were doing to stay safe and sober this summer—and the answers absolutely blew me away.
From volunteering at animal shelters to making homemade desserts for friends to lounging by the pool with a podcast on “play,” you were filled with great ideas. So we decided to put them together into this extensive (though still not complete) list of ways to enjoy your summer without booze. We all already know that life is better without alcohol but sometimes we need ideas on how to enjoy our sober life. Below, are our favorite 25 tips on how to have some sober summer fun!
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1. Go to the Movies or Simply Netflix and Chill
Whether you’re going to be watching the second season of Never Have I Ever or are rushing to see Natasha Romanoff kick ass in the new Black Widow, spending some time indoors is always a good option during the hot summer months. It’s totally okay to not take advantage of the sunny weather all of the time, so don’t feel guilty about being indoors on occasion.
2. Spend Some Time Outside with the Pups
Of course, the other way to go is by actually pushing yourself to be outside more often than not. If you have a dog, that should be pretty easy. Don’t just do the usual walks you do though. Instead, head to the great outdoors with your dogs. Go to a nearby park or hiking area to really enjoy your summertime with them.
3. Take Your Little Ones Out for Face Painting
If you have kids, this is a tip that comes straight from one of Tempest's members. It seems like there’s always somewhere to get your face painted over the summer, so find that place this weekend and go there with your kiddos. It might just be the most creative fun you’ll have all year—and don’t shy away from getting some face paint yourself.
4. Bake a Little Something with Your Friends
Plenty of us love baking… But even if you don’t, you can still easily make a sweet treat to share with friends (or just drop off on their doorsteps) thanks to the power of boxed mixes. But whichever you choose, just know that a homemade treat is always going to beat anything you buy at the store.
5. Try Going Backpacking or Hiking
This is something that we often forget about, especially if you live in a city, but it’s a great thing to do in the summer months when there is no snow on the ground. Of course, it all depends on where you live, but trying something like hiking, especially if you’re not a regular hiker, can be a great new challenge this summer.
6. Go to the Beach or Local Pool for Some Swimming
Swimming can be a great form of exercise but it can also be a fun leisure activity. That’s probably why so many of you said you were heading to the beach or local pool over the summer. It’s a great activity if you’re looking for something fun to do with your family and a way to spend the entire day together, outside, without sweating bullets.
7. Reading, Writing, or Journaling (or All of Them!)
A major part of my personal recovery journey has been journaling. But sometimes just taking the time to enjoy a good book or indulge in some creative writing yourself can be a good break. Often, we forget to indulge our creative sides and doing something like this can be a real boost to your summer.
8. Get Yourself to the Gym or Try a New Workout
There’s nothing quite like exercise to get your blood pumping. Whether or not you love the gym (and I know not all of us do, myself included), working out your body can be a good boost to your mental state. This summer, why not try a new workout if the gym isn’t your thing? I’m going for Pilates and belly dancing this summer through YouTube videos, but other suggestions include CrossFit, yoga, and hip-hop dance.
9. Check Out the Local Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shop
Who doesn’t love ice cream in the summer? One of the things that make ice cream really special, though, isn’t the stuff you’ll find in the grocery store. Instead, try visiting a local old-fashioned ice cream shop. Not only will you be helping your local economy but the ice cream is sure to be the best around. And yes, this is your excuse to finally get that double fudge banana split.
10. Find Out About Your Local City’s Summer Festivals
It seems like every city has summer festivals and activities, and I bet that wherever you live is no different. I am always surprised to find what my town has going on in the summer. From art walks to jazz fests to food truck meet-ups to kid-friendly adventures, there’s always something to do that I bet you’ve never tried before. So try it now!
11. Carve Out Some Time to Do Some Meditating
Meditation can be a great asset to anyone’s sobriety, since any mindfulness practice can take you out of harmful thoughts and help you focus on the present. But many of us have it on our eternal “To Do List” as something that never actually gets done. This summer, though, you can start forming that meditation habit you’ve always meant to do. Maybe try some visualization exercises if you’re not that into just sitting still?
12. Invite Friends Over for Face Masks and Pedicures
Okay, so it doesn’t actually have to just be face masks and pedicures. Really, it can be anything that counts as self-care and that you would enjoy doing but with a twist: Invite your friends! Self-care can be that much more fun when you also use it as a tool to connect with your loved ones.
13. Take a Nap. No, Really
Do you remember how wonderful naps are? I bet you don’t. Although they were not my favorite thing in school, they’re most definitely my favorite thing now. Sometimes all you need to do in the summer is rest, especially if you’re otherwise busy running around and doing fun things, so don’t forget that it’s okay to spend a day doing nothing… including napping. Napping is now my personal favorite way of doing nothing.
14. Go Spend Time Outside in Your Own Yard or Garden
It’s easy to forget that many of us have access to the outdoors much closer than we think. Even if you live in a big city apartment complex, you probably have a community garden nearby where you can do a little bit of gardening or yard work. Even black thumbs like me can learn to love gardening by investing in growing plants that are easy to take care of or, better yet, growing herbs that you can then use in your cooking or mocktails.
15. Head to a Local Concert of Music Festival Outdoors
There’s nothing quite like a local concert or a music festival to get you to enjoy the place where you live once more. One of the best parts of checking out a local music show or venue is that many of them have things to do outside during the summer months. Just be sure you do this one with a sober buddy or otherwise protect yourself from the alcohol that will most likely be everywhere at a concert. But, hey, you can do it!
16. Check Out the Nearby Park for a Barbeque
I always seem to forget about my local parks but the fact that they exist is something that can be a wonderful surprise when I do remember they’re there. And guess what’s something easy to do at most local parks? Barbecue. Many of them have picnic tables and grills set up so that you can arrange for a family get-together or friend meet-up to enjoy the day, and your local park, while munching on some perfect-for-summer hot dogs.
17. Listen to a Podcast by the Pool
You might not want to head to the pool with your family or friends sometimes, and that’s okay. You know what can be a really great solo activity? Listening to a podcast (or audiobook!) while by the pool. So don’t be afraid to indulge in some solo water time this summer by exploring how relaxing it can be by just doing a good old-fashioned pool hang.
18. Reading a Book on the Beach
On the other hand, if you have access to a beach, another fun solo activity this summer may just be to go to the nearest beach with your new summer read and just do that all day. Don’t forget the sunscreen (and the snacks), though. But spending a day reading outside is sometimes just the simplest but most treasured thing you can do all week.
19. Buy a New Chess Set or Other Game
When was the last time that you played chess or a board game? Well, now’s your chance! The best part about this summer fun activity is that it can be done outside during the warm months and then you can take it inside when it gets cold. So, invest in your favorite games, call a few friends to join you, and get to it.
20. Volunteer at the Local Animal Rescue
This is something that you can do, especially on nights when you know fireworks are going off in your town (whether that’s on July 4th, New Year’s Eve, or just every Friday night in the summer) because dogs often get frightened and stressed out, and therefore need some human comfort. However, you can make it a point to help take care of local kitties and pups any time of year, too, and it just might be your favorite way to spend your summers from now on. I mean, who wouldn’t want to cuddle cute animals for fun?
21. Have a Morning Coffee and Farmer’s Market Date
I love farmer’s markets but, to be honest, I always forget to get up early enough to actually make it to the one in my hometown. Every week, I tell myself I’ll do it, and then I sleep in, but a recent suggestion from a friend has me inspired to try it again. Want to catch up with a friend? Then why not invite them to an early morning coffee date and then a trip to the farmer’s market together? This one is kind of genius because it hits two birds with one stone since you get to hang out with a loved one AND get some fresh veggies to cook up that week.
22. Don’t Forget the Simple Joy of a Summer Picnic
Any time you want to spend time outdoors, can I suggest a summertime picnic? This is a great way to get everyone together without you having to spend time at the grill (not that there’s anything wrong with that). So, head to the beach, your local park, or even your own backyard with a group of friends and everyone armed with a delectable goodie they made the night before (or that morning). It’s a perfect way to spend some time together AND get to enjoy the weather.
23. Head to the Beach Solo with Nothing but a Sandwich (and some SPF)
Solo time at the beach can be just as great as a summer picnic with friends. Of course, you can always bring your book or podcast there, but why not take the time to spend some time with nothing but yourself and your own thoughts? You can meditate, journal, or simply bring a sandwich to enjoy. Then, soak in Mother Nature and just… relax.
24. Spend a Day Cuddling with Your Loved Ones
Sometimes, all you need is some cuddle time. This is a great way to get some more oxytocin and dopamine into your system, naturally. I love nothing more than a day where I spend some time cuddling with my husband and our fur babies. You can do the same with any of your loved ones. Don’t forget how powerful touch can be as an instrument to improve your mood and, let’s face it, just plain old feel better.
25. Make ALL of the Mocktails
Mocktails and other non-alcoholic drinks are really on the come-up lately, which is elevating store-bought drinks for those of us who are sober. Of course, any time of year is a good time for a mocktail but summer might just be the best time to indulge since you need something to keep your hydration levels up anyway, so why not do it with some seltzer and interesting non-boozy mixers? Yeah, sign me up!
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Whatever you decide to do this summer, just remember: Being sober is going to make it all that much more fun. So when your friends or family who still drink ask you what exactly it is that you do for fun, point them to this list as just one of the many, many examples. Or, better yet, just look at them, sip on your La Croix, and say “whatever I want!”
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About the Author: Irina Gonzalez is the Content Marketing Manager at Tempest. She is also a freelance writer covering parenting, recovery, and Latinx culture and host of the Pandemic Mama podcast. Her work has appeared in over 50 publications, including The Washington Post, O! The Oprah Magazine, Parents, and more. She is a new resident of Denver, where she lives with her husband, spunky toddler, and their fur babies. Follow her on Instagram at @msirinagonzalez.