Spring may have barely begun, but now that it’s April it’s time to get focused on summer plans. Depending on your age, you may remember summertime being the season of carefree living, with no plans made at all until the moment you thought of them. Summer used to mean spontaneity, with road trips to unknown destinations, last-minute visits to the zoo or the swimming pool or a pick-up softball game organized with the kids on your street. These days, it can be tough to find kids with free time, hotel rooms that aren’t booked or a sightseeing venue that isn’t packed with tourists, but with a little creativity and planning you can make special summer memories for your family.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Book your vacation. Last minute travel deals can be a bargain but planning ahead can often reap even bigger benefits. If you’ve got a big vacation budget you can start perusing kayak.com, tripadvisor.com and hotels.com for flights and places to visit and stay, but if your budget is smaller you can still get away. Look for deals on Airbnb.com or homeaway.com to rent someone else’s home for a few days or a week – even if it’s not a luxury waterfront place you can get that vacation feeling by exploring a different area within driving distance.
- Make a list of day trips to take. Fulfill your travel desires by visiting local sites and towns. People travel from all over the country to visit Washington, D.C., Annapolis, Virginia’s wine country and Maryland’s Eastern Shore – there are certain to be places you haven’t seen or new exhibits to enjoy at dozens of museums. It’s easier to actually take a day trip if you have a list reminding you where to go,
- Sign your kids up for camp. The Charles Country Parks and Recreation Department has a variety of summer activities to keep your kids busy and entertained this summer. Go to https://www.charlescountyparks.com/recreation/summer-camps for details.
- Go to free concerts. All summer long you and your family can enjoy weekly free concerts in St. Charles. Go to http://www.stcharlesmd.com/summerconcerts for the schedule.
- Go to a Southern Maryland Blue Crabs baseball game. The team plays right in St. Charles. Visit http://www.somdbluecrabs.com/2016-promotional-schedule for the schedule.
- Check out the Farmer’s Market. Whether you just want to pick up local fruits and vegetables or come up with new recipes based on the freshest ingredients, visit the weekly Farmer’s Market for summer refreshment. http://www.stcharlesmd.com/farmers-market-whole-family
- Take full advantage of the library. St. Charles has two branches of the Charles County public library where you can check out books and movies and you’re your kids to special library programs. Visit https://ccplonline.org/ for the schedule.
- Learn something new. It’s not only kids who can try out new activities in the summer – longer days and slower schedules make summer a great time to teach yourself to paint or knit or play chess. Or try out new recipes, take tennis lessons or learn to play an instrument.
- Write a family story. Whether you want to dig into your family history, ask relatives (near or far) about their past or write a fictional story starring your family members, long summer evenings are a great time to spend talking, writing or making a scrapbook to preserve family memories.
- Get outside. Parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, tennis courts, playing fields and walking trails are all available in St. Charles – don’t forget to take full advantage when the weather’s nice. Even if you’d rather not run around yourself on the basketball court or play softball, it’s great to watch your neighbors and their kids at play. Or try out camping – in your backyard or farther away.
- Relax. Of course, some of the best parts of summer are times when you can just relax. Blow bubbles with your kids, read a novel on your front porch, catch fireflies, play board games or just daydream.
Michele Lerner is a freelance writer with more than twenty years of experience writing articles and web content for newspapers and magazines on topics related to real estate, personal finance and business. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, NewHomeSource.com, Realtor.com, Bankrate.com, Insurance.com, HSH.com, The Washington Times, NAREIT's Real Estate Portfolio, and numerous Realtor association publications. Her latest book, "New Home 101: Your Guide to Buying and Building a New Home" and her first book, "HOMEBUYING: Tough Times, First Time, Any Time" are available now at Amazon.com or from MicheleLerner.com.