After roughing it through winter’s deep freeze and the rainy, muddy days of spring, seeing summer on the horizon feels like a welcome break from what feels like a lifetime’s worth of less-than-stellar weather. In fact, if you wait around all year just itching to spend days outside sipping cocktails and catching concerts, you’re not alone.
Even science backs up our obsession with summer: researchers at the University of Michigan have found that warm weather actually boosts our mood and even helps us alter how we view the world around us. If you’re eager for the season to get into full swing, we’ve got you covered. We’ve rounded up 20 images that will make you so excited for summer—you can practically smell the sunscreen from here. And for more reasons to love the season, check out the 30 Best Things About Summer!
Street Fairs and Farmers’ Markets
There are few things that make us happier in the summer than getting outdoors, smelling the sweet perfume of the fresh flowers in bloom, and enjoying a great meal. Luckily, the farmers’ markets and street fairs that take over cities and small towns alike on weekends are great places to do all three. However, before you pick up some new outfits, make sure you know the 30 Best Way to Save Money on Clothes.
Is there anything better on a hot summer day than taking a dip in a lake or pool? We’re dying to beat the heat this summer with some regular swimming. And when you’re ready to get into bikini-ready shape, start with these 100 Motivational Weight Loss Tips for Summer.
Watermelon Ice Cream
Watermelon is one of summer’s greatest treats. The only thing better? A slice of watermelon that’s also loaded with ice cream, of course.
Street fairs aren’t the only seasonal excitement to light up the summer evenings. Local carnivals, loaded with performances, rides, and games make summer nights so worth waiting for. And if you want to create your own summer soundtrack, Here Is Every “Song of the Summer” for the Past 50 Years.
Lounging at the Beach
There are few quintessential summer experiences as enjoyable as taking a day to lounge at the beach. Whether you’re catching up on beach reads, taking a dip in the water, or just enjoying a blissful summer Friday away from the office, there are few things that will reinvigorate you more than a day spent in the sun and sand.
Moscow mules and hot toddies have their place, but there are few things more refreshing on a hot summer day than a mojito. It’s amazing how a little mint, lime, rum, and sugar can instantly make you feel like you’re on an island escape.
Relaxing in a Hammock
After yet another winter spent cooped up indoors, there’s nothing better than getting to relax and enjoy the sunshine in a hammock. And if you happen to have a cocktail in hand, all the better. And for more ways to enjoy a more blissful summer, try out these 30 Easy Ways to Fight Stress.
Of course, mojitos aren’t the only refreshing cocktail we wait all year to enjoy. A frosty frozen margarita is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.
Summer can make any grown-up feel like a kid again, thanks in no small part to exciting celebrations like state fairs. Whether you love the thrill of the rides, the livestock competitions, or just wait all year to indulge in something deep-fried, there’s no beating the excitement that comes from hitting up the state fair each summer.
Driving With the Windows Down
While you may have had the heat cranked up to high all winter, summertime is all about feeling the wind in your hair. That means night drives with the top back or the windows down and the music blasting.
Even if you couldn’t make it to Coachella, the summer provides ample alternatives for catching your favorite bands. From the Governors Ball in New York, where acts like Travis Scott, Halsey, Post Malone, Eminem, and Sylvan Esso will take the stage, to the All My Friends Music Festival in LA, featuring Jhené Aiko and Gucci Mane, the summer is the perfect time to see your favorite bands live.
Appreciating the great outdoors isn’t always easy when you’re freezing your tail off in the winter. However, when the warm, long days of summer roll around, camping is on the table again, letting you once again enjoy the majesty of mother nature.
If you like a slightly more elegant alternative to sleeping on the ground, there are also plenty of glamping retreats where you can indulge your inner nature lover without forgoing creature comforts like wifi and a big bed.
The smell of a crackling campfire is summer’s unofficial perfume. There are few things more exciting than that first summer evening when you and your friends gather on the beach or in your backyard and kick the season off right with a cozy campfire.
Of course, what’s a campfire without s’mores? These sweet treats tend to only make appearances during the summer months—and luckily, they’re well worth the wait.
There are few things more enjoyable than hitting the water and feeling the summer breeze blow through your hair. Luckily, summer is the perfect time to brush up on your sailing skills—or, at the very least, lounge by a lake in your docksiders.
A trip to the movies may be fun no matter what the weather, but summer offers us the unique experience of getting to catch our favorite films outside. Better yet, for those who live in areas that still have drive-ins, you can catch a blockbuster underneath the stars.
It’s not summertime along the eastern seabord until you’ve had your first lobster roll. While countless restaurants go for gourmet versions of this delicacy, some of the best lobster rolls out there come from the hole-in-the-wall locations you pass on your summer road trip.
After working out indoors all winter, it feels nothing short of amazing to stretch your legs with a long hike in the summertime. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert hiker, there are few things more satisfying that enjoying the view from a summit you’ve just climbed.
Summer’s so stunning that even watching the day end is awesome. And luckily, unlike those depressingly-short days during the rest of the year, when the sun’s down before you even leave work, you get to enjoy sunlight well into the evening during the summer months. And if you want to make the most of your summer, check out these 20 Crazy Summer Camps That Actually Exist.
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