Unpack your summer bucket list

From amusement parks to fireworks shows, there’s plenty of activities to enjoy this break

Erica Dembrowicz, Photographer

Summer is right around the corner and everyone is planning what they want to do over the two-plus month break. 

While it’s nice to sit around for a little while after the school year ends, that can get tedious and boring, but that’s what a bucket list is for. Here are a few ideas to add to you summer to-do list.

1. Head to Santa Cruz – The top 10 things everyone should add to their summer bucket list starts with going to a seaside amusement park. There are many of these in California that are easy to drive to, but the closest one is the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

The beach is easily accessible and is always fun, and at Santa Cruz there are other lively activities such as mini golf and arcades. At some of these places there are also photo booths, which is always a warm reminder of the memories made there and can add another thing to do.

2. Travel Out of State – The next thing for someone to try is to travel out of sunny California. Going to new places and trying new activities that aren’t around San Ramon can be refreshing. Whether it’s experiencing another state or being a tourist in another country, exploring or revisiting other places are always exciting when getting to take a break. Senior Kelton Lowther went to Athens, Greece and Rome over spring break and has plans to go to Sweden with his friends this summer. 

“I like seeing new places because [the] culture is so different everywhere else,” Lowther said.

A lot of people already have a list of places they want to visit soon. 

“I really want to go to Washington, D.C.,” sophomore Anisha Bhat said. 

She also wants to travel to visit her family in England sometime. 

If there is a chance to go somewhere and experience something new, cross California state lines and take that chance.

3. Take in a County Fair 

If there isn’t the option for traveling, there are a lot of other activities that are doable, such as going to a county fair. 

The closest local fair is the Alameda County Fair, which runs from June 17 – July 10 at the fairgrounds in Pleasanton. Fairs can be exciting to attend because of all of the rides and attractions, but they’re also a great place to hang out with friends. There is also the amazing fair food, such as funnel cake, which is always delicious, and many other tasty treats.

4. Visit an Amusement Park – If someone’s looking for something that induces adrenaline, going to an amusement park is definitely for them. 

At  parks such as Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Great America and even Disneyland, there are intense roller coasters that give people a big thrill. Exciting and fast rides are a sure-fire cure for summer boredom.

“I want to spend time with my friends and make memories,” said junior Megan Nguyen, who is going to Six Flags with her friends. 

Amusement parks also have themed rides and shows for when someone might want a small break. Six Flags has dolphin, tiger, and otter shows, and Disneyland has a ton of themed rides for family entertainment.  

5. Catch a Fireworks Show – When at an amusement park, baseball game or even county fair, people often want to see a firework show. There are tons of places around the Bay Area that have fireworks, including the county fair, some Oakland A’s games, and even Lions Wayside Park in Pleasanton.  

Looking up and seeing firework designs in the sky is an experience you won’t get anywhere else. They always bring a wave of excitement, and if someone doesn’t see fireworks at least once during the season, they are definitely missing out on some cheerful summer feelings. 

6. Check out a Farmer’s or Flea Market – For those who want to stay local and do something to help them relax and feel happy, a farmer’s or flea market is the place to be. 

Browsing and looking at fresh fruit or miscellaneous items can be a calm and bright experience. Usually the people selling have friendly personalities, and finding something interesting or sweet is always a bonus. 

They won’t always have the same items, so coming back to them every so often is also refreshing. There are flea markets in Berkeley and Livermore and farmers markets in Dublin, San Ramon and Danville.

7. Go Swimming – Another thing that can be fun and relaxing is swimming at the beach or a lake. 

Beating the rising temperatures during summer makes going in the cool water feel even better. Shadow Cliffs and Don Castro regional recreation areas in Pleasanton and Hayward, respectively, are both excellent lake areas that people can visit. Lounging around in the sun with friends drinking lemonade and jumping in the water can be a fun thing to do when feeling like lazing around.

8. Visit the Conservatory of Flowers – For a more specific place to go and walk around that provies one with a relaxing feeling, visit the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco. 

This indoor botanical garden features tons of different plants in a beautiful, serene setting. There is so much green going on and the setting is comforting. The whole area is enjoyable, plus outside, there are walkways along with more flowers to admire.

9. Create a Home Drive-In Movie – If you are looking to stay at home, an at-home movie with a projector and white sheet outside in the evening is a great way to create your home drive-in move experience. 

A TV just doesn’t  make the setting feel as eventful and summery. Plus if it’s outside, throw blankets, pillows and fairy lights add to the coziness. 

10. Take a Day Trip to San Francisco – There’s so much to do in  San Francisco. From the Museum of Modern Art to Ghirardelli Square to Pier 39 there are plenty of awesome choices. Bringing a disposable camera can be fun to use for documenting the memories. 

During the day, you can stop at one of the many parks and relax with a picnic before continuing on for the rest of the day. Remember, summer should be a fun and restful time for those who were busy during the other seasons. 

 “A break from everything is really nice,” Lowther said. 

Little plans and events can brighten up the idea of summer and give it so much more of a radiant memory. 

And after adding these items to your bucket list, make sure you check every box for the best summer you can possibly have.