Summer time: it is the classic time of the year for beaches, bikinis and boredom-breaking binges. Each is synonymous with American summers and has been for as long as anyone can remember. Even back to the turn of the 19th century, men were on the beach in their tip hats and women were uncomfortably bathing in the sun in heavy wool outfits that only exposed the barest minimum. The beach is not for everyone however, and the sun is not always shining. While the beaches are full of tanning bodies and the roadways are filled with adventure seekers, leaving the rest of civilization yours for the taking. Here are a few underappreciated ideas for summer places where you can stay cool while not having to deal with the crowds and traffic.
These little treasures are in nearly every state. Some are mines and some have stalagmites or stalactites, but all are cool year-round. Many states have guided tours, and there are underground caverns with their own ecosystems. There are many caves and caverns around the country that have fossils still in place, and there are many caves that have petroglyphs and other remnants of summer fun from civilizations’ past. Though not typical summer fun, underground caves and mines are an interesting alternative.
Every town worth its weight in salt has at least one play house or summer concert series. What better time to witness Shakespeare’s brilliance than in the summertime? The lights. The drama. The suspense. The laughs. The near complete quiet and appreciation for art that you will never get in a movie theater is something that is hard to find elsewhere. This decade is a wonderful time to be a fan of the theater, as there are many new, progressive, and well-written plays and productions available to see. If you are new to the theater, it is a treat to behold for the first time. There is nothing like being in the audience for a modern play. Sometimes actors will bring you into the play and many Shakespeare fight scenes revolve around running in and out of the audience. Do not forget musicals either. They are a great way to pass the evening away with friends and you will find yourself singing memorable songs for days. These are great nighttime activities to partake of while everyone else is worn out from volleyball at the beach.
Botanical Gardens and Zoos
Though not nearly as cool as being underground or sitting in an air-conditioned theater, the botanical gardens in most states are a wonderful family activity. Going during off peak hours and during the day in the summertime is suggested, as there may be many kids on vacation visiting. Botanical gardens and zoos are places to spend time with the family and enjoy the majesty of the outdoors together. Animals are in full display and the opportunity to learn and educate your children is an opportunity you do not want to miss. If you are looking for a different place to take a date, try the zoo or botanical gardens as well. The different sights, sounds and smells will stick with you for a lifetime, and there generally are not as many people as the beach. Laid back and fun, you can be casual, take the tour, and walk through both at your own pace.
Hopefully you’ll be able to add your own ideas for summer and share them as well.
Diane Johnson writes about a number of her interests including shopping, continuing education, and traveling.