11 Bucket List Ideas to Inspire Your Best Summer Yet

Check, check, and check.

By Isabelle Eyman

Ah, summer. The start of the warm-weather season is brimming with possibility and every day feels a bit shiny and new. Even the anticipation itself is enough to inspire a sense of revitalization, renewal, and change. While this is true for the shift to every season, the start of summer is particularly salient and ripe with potential. And sure, I may have a few big-ticket trips in mind, but after a year of travel and moving about, I’m ready to slow down and let my summer bucket list inspire a commitment to the healthy habits, supportive practices, and the activities that help me connect with my best summer self.

And while the adventures to come fill me with excitement and anticipation, there’s a consistent intention woven throughout the summer bucket list below: presence.

In a world that’s often hard to make sense of, I’m choosing to ground my summer days with gratitude and connection. Don’t get me wrong, summer is definitely the season where I kick back, relax, and prioritize rest. But as the days dip into sunset-dappled nights and I spend more and more time in the company of loved ones, I’m not letting a second of it pass me by without learning to cultivate a consistent, deep appreciation for all the good.

With this gentle approach guiding our summer bucket list, let’s dive in. The following ideas will inspire you to make the most of every moment and welcome a little transformative growth into your life. Oh, and they’re also super fun. Did I forget to mention that?

Featured image by Belathée Photography.

11 Summer Bucket List Ideas for Your Most Transformative Season Yet

Dive Into the Biggest Summer Beauty Trends

We all have a bit of a (healthy) obsession with beauty. There’s little more satisfying than finding the best tips, tricks, and products for glowy, hydrated skin, a brighter complexion, and glossy hair. And I’d be remiss not to call out the inspiring joy of going behind the scenes of our favorite founders’ and beauty influencers’ morning routines.

But because things are constantly changing in the world of beauty, it’s helpful to get a sense of what’s to come. Enter, the best summer beauty trends of 2022. Experts and pros give a comprehensive overview of the top 17 hair, makeup, and skincare trends that’ll be dominating this season. Are we saying buh-bye to beach waves? Read and find out.

Fall in Love With a New Hobby

It’s a sad, but significant force in our culture: the push to always be producing. A powerful antidote? Do things just for fun (yes, fun!). While hobbies are often wrongfully written off as activities without an end goal, finding and working at one has been shown to reduce stress, help build confidence, and improve overall mental health. If you don’t have a hobby yet in mind to add to your summer bucket list, we brainstormed our top favorites to help you get started.

Shanika Hillocks reading_summer bucket list
Image by Michelle Nash

Envelop Yourself in a Story

The wording here is intentional—envelop. Let yourself get *so into* a story (whether that’s fiction, memoir, or personal growth) that you can’t think of anything else. The key to making this happen is bringing this intention to every part of the reading journey. From selecting the book to the very first pages to its pinnacle peak where you don’t want it to end.

Many people have the misconception that they just “aren’t a reader” or there isn’t enough time in the day to make it a habit. But, if you let yourself get lost in a good book, there’s endless beauty and inspiration to be found within its pages. Not sure where to start? Consult our list of the best written-for-summer novels, self-help reads, and short books that can be read start to finish in a single sitting.

Find a New Way to Express Gratitude

As a writer, you’d think I’d have a die-hard, tried-and-true journaling practice. But try as I might, I just can’t get the habit to stick. What I have found that works? Speaking my gratitudes aloud. While this might sound like affirmations, it’s a bit different. Instead, the practice involves shifting how I speak about the things I love and feel gratitude for in my life.

While it’s all well and good to say, I like something, shifting to, I’m grateful for… positions these things in a new light. Yes, there’s a lot to be said for the muscle memory that journaling helps build, (and if it works for you, great!). But if you want to hop on the happiness-boosting bandwagon, don’t sleep on this accessible approach. It might just change your life.

Image by Michelle Nash

Cook With What’s in Season

When it comes to food, there’s something special about every season. Crisp, crumble-ready apples in fall, all the comforting squash come winter, and spring’s inevitable bumper crop of asparagus, peas, and mint. But summer’s a springboard for all the inspiring, in-season ingredients, and there’s no weekend activity I love more than perusing my local farmers market or heading to the fields for an afternoon of berry picking.

Ever the al fresco-eating enthusiast, Camille rounded up her favorite recipes for warm-weather, outdoor dining. There’s a classic Apérol Spritz that’ll quench your fruit-forward thirst, the best bruschetta in the history of bread, and a Double Chocolate Skillet Cookie that we’ve all been known to sub in for dinner—and, of course, plenty more. Consider this your definitive guide to cooking in June.

Treat Yourself to These Tried-and-True Cookbooks

We’ve covered cooking and we’ve covered books—now it’s time to dive into the best-ever cookbooks for every meal, appetite, and occasion. Sure, there’s a lot to be said for the energizing joy of diving into dishes that’ll get you to practice new skills and challenge your palate. But to be sure you’re taking on a new-to-you recipe that’ll deliver a delicious result, it’s handy to keep a few standbys on hand in your culinary library.

Camille credits her entertaining abilities, impressive knife skills, and flavor-profile aptitude to 10 cookbooks that she turns to again and again. Want a preview of the round-up? Every Day is Saturday by the champion of casual-elegance cooking, Sarah Copeland, Joshua McFadden’s revolutionary Six Seasons, and everyone’s go-to, Cannelle et Vanille by the forever-inspiring Aran Goyoaga. Get the list here.

woman walking in Austin Texas_summer bucket list
Image by Riley Reed

Develop a Walking Routine

Whether you call it a hot girl walk or not, if there’s one thing quarantine taught us (actually, it taught us plenty), it’s this: Walking is one of the best things you can do for your mental, emotional, and physical health. I’m thankful that my mom instilled in me the simple pleasure of a morning, afternoon, or post-dinner walk as a kid, but that practice became all the more important during the pandemic when I had nowhere else to go besides the grocery store.

And even now that we’re able to connect with friends, family, and the world beyond our homes the habit has stuck. You can certainly pair your stroll with a playlist or podcast or opt to catch up with someone over the phone. Personally, though, I’ve found that my walks bring me the most joy when I have nothing in my ears but the soft, ambient silence of nature working her magic.

Switch Up Your Date Night

Whether you’re with a partner, dipping your toes into the dating pool, or looking for new ways to have fun with your friends, this list of creative date ideas is certain to help shake things up. Aside from adventures aplenty, there are also dates that lean a little more low-key and impromptu ideas for the spontaneous at heart. While winter might be the season to stay bundled and warm, summer is all about getting out, exploring nature, and taking advantage of the long summer days.

Learn to Romanticize Your Life

While I’ll definitely be trying the summer date ideas above, I’m also committing to showering myself with a healthy dose of self-love this season. And though the concept might seem elusive, there are concrete ways you can start showing yourself kindness and compassion today. Get ready to own your main character energy—and let our guide to romanticizing your life lead the way.

Camille Styles lilacs_summer bucket list
Image by Michelle Nash

Connect With a Workout That Serves You

Yes, you! Not only your body, but your mind, soul, and entire being. Because of how we’ve been conditioned to think about exercise, many of us have met fitness with dread. But a simple, powerful mindset shift—one that sees movement as an opportunity instead of a chore—can make you fall in love with fitness. For inspiration, try one of these 17 fun workout ideas. Adventure awaits.

Give Your Inbox a Glow-Up

When summer comes around, you can bet my screen time goes waaay down. This honestly isn’t because of any self-discipline on my part—I just want to spend as much time outside as possible. But work goes on, and our inboxes are still a fixture in our everyday schedule. An idea for making email a little more enjoyable? Subscribing to thoughtful, beautifully-composed newsletters. From sustainability to self-growth to the secrets of behavioral science, our list has it all.