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Summer Bucket List (for 2022)

After two summers spent navigating a global pandemic, the time has finally come to embark on your ultimate summer bucket list. But before you pack your bags and head out the door, you might want to plan for where you’ll explore. So what fun ideas can you add to your summer bucket list, and how can you protect your trip from unexpected hiccups, like flight cancellations or a positive COVID test?

From a fun summer bucket list for adults and families to high school summer bucket lists for teens and older kids, here’s what you need to do to foolproof your 2022 summer bucket list.

The Benefits of a Summer Bucket List

What is a summer bucket list? A bucket list is a checklist of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.” You can tweak it to fit any timeframe, like before you retire or before the New Year. A summer bucket list is a list of activities to complete before the summer ends.

The general concept of a bucket list has many benefits, namely that it helps you discover what’s most important to you. In addition, when you write out a list of things that you want to dedicate your time to rather than need to dedicate your time to, it’s easier to identify the activities that bring you joy. In other words, a bucket list can help you remember the people and activities you value most.

Likewise, a bucket list can serve as a fantastic reminder of both your goals and your desire to get out and experience the world. Since a bucket list is tied to a timeframe — whether years from now or within the next few months — it’s simpler to track your progress on goals over time and still not lose sight of the adventures you dream of experiencing while working on your goals.

Not to mention, fun summer bucket list ideas help you break out of your comfort zone and magnify your creativity and focus. After two summers spent worrying over a public health emergency and keeping others safe, a summer bucket list for adults can help break you out of that 9-5 mindset and instead motivate you to figure out how to make those travel plans work once and for all.

How Does the Pandemic Impact Your Bucket List?

Even the most promising summer bucket list ideas are not immune to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While international travel is permitted amongst most countries, there are many third-party factors to be aware of while planning your summer bucket list. One of the most prominent ways the pandemic is impacting travel (and travel costs) is flight cancellations.

For instance, when travel began picking up again last summer, American Airlines was forced to cancel nearly 300 flights and delay hundreds more due to a pilot shortage. More recently, one-third of United Airlines staff at Newark Liberty International Airport called out sick in a single day. So just because you’re vaxxed and travel-ready doesn’t mean your airline will be able to staff your flight.

Similarly, just because you’re vaccinated against COVID-19 doesn’t mean you’re immune to every other illness, like the common cold, the flu, or even motion sickness. So don’t let your summer bucket list become ruined and rack up extensive fees for no reason — instead, opt for reliable travel insurance, like a Choice Plan, to protect yourself from canceled flights, illness, and even getting stuck abroad.

Now that you know how to safeguard your plans, let’s jump into some fun ideas for summer travel.

Fun Best Friend Summer Bucket List Ideas

Everyone should make and complete a best friends’ summer bucket list at least once in their lifetime. So why should you travel with your best friend? Well, if you haven’t seen the iconic 2002 blockbuster Crossroads with Britney Spears or 1991’s infamous Thelma & Louise with Susan Sarandon, you know that no one knows you better than your best friend, which is why they’re the best travel buddy.

Plus, travel is an experience that can bring two people closer together. Whether you’re sharing an Airbnb or camping out in the car, a friend’s vacation is practically like living with one person for a bit of time, and it’s a great way to learn more about little things about each other, like how the other likes their coffee in the morning. Just be warned, a best friend summer bucket list is best planned together — especially when traveling with adult friends who may have different budgets.

Attend an Outdoor Concert

Who doesn’t love an outdoor concert in the warm weather? Take advantage of the beautiful summer months to adventure to an outdoor music venue where the tunes are only rivaled by the spectacular views. Here are a few fun ideas to inspire your friends’ summer bucket list.

  • Dalhalla, Sweden: If you’re looking for optimal opera acoustics, head to this former limestone quarry turned epic amphitheater deep in the Rättvik forest, which hosts 20 to 25 events between June and September each summer.
  • The Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Athens, Greece: Described as “the finest building of its type,” the Odeon of Herodes Atticus open-air theater (known locally as Herodeon) has hosted artists from Frank Sinatra to Greek National Opera since its opening in 174 AD.
  • Théâtre Antique D’Orange, Provence, France: If you’re craving Ancient Roman culture but love the appeal of France, adventure to the heart of the Rhône Valley, where the Roman Theatre of Orange stands as the best-preserved theater in Europe.

Take a Road Trip

The music blasting from the radio, feeling the breeze from the open windows — there’s nothing like a good road trip to ramp up any best friend summer bucket list. But where should you travel? Consider going international with these locations for a fun summer activity.

  • Ring Road, Iceland: You and your best friend can visit Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions in one road trip when you take the Ring Road, Iceland’s main motorway that loops the entire island in one full circle.
  • Amalfi Coast, Italy: Check a UNESCO World Heritage site off your summer bucket list with friends when you tour the Amalfi Coast, which is 34 miles of coastal cliffs and 13 scenic seaside towns.
  • Great Ocean Road, Australia: Explore the southwest coast of Victoria like never before on the breathtaking Great Ocean Road, which careens around soaring cliffs, empty beaches, and quiet trails.

Go to a Farmer’s Market

No summer bucket list with friends can lack a good farmer’s market, especially an international farmer’s market rich with foreign cuisines and culture. If you and your bestie are true foodies, be sure to remain mindful of any food allergies and protect your food-filled trip with travel insurance.

  • Organic Market, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica: Arrive at 3 p.m. on the dot to score the best, freshest local produce, honey, and chocolate from this outdoor farmer’s market located in the heart of Santa Teresa on the west coast of Costa Rica.
  • Riverside Farmers’ Market, Cardiff, Wales: If you’re not feeling tropical, head to the Riverside Farmers’ Market on the banks of the River Taff to experience the largest food attraction in the Welsh capital, including local pastries and distilleries.
  • United Nations University (UNU) Farmers’ Market, Tokyo, Japan: Not only is the Farmers Market at United Nations University (UNU) one of Tokyo’s best-attended markets, but it’s also the longest-running for fresh produce and hand-made goods.

Young happy couple traveling in the city with backpacks and a map

What’s on Your Summer Bucket List for Couples?

A summer bucket list for couples is your key to limitless adventure over the summer months. What are the benefits of traveling as a couple? You and your partner set goals and a budget together, identify your favorite shared activities, and get to experience new parts of the world together. You’ll get to learn more about one another while also learning more about the cultures around you.

Even more, couples that travel together destress together. Finally, after two straight pandemic-fueled summers, it’s time for you and your partner to unwind and relax. So what should you add to your summer bucket list to relax? A beach trip, backpacking excursion, and romantic Ferris wheel ride are all on the list — just be sure to set an agenda first, so you don’t arrive on vacation to learn that one of you wants to spend the afternoon at the beach bar and the other wants a day of watersports.

Going to the Beach

From the soft sand under your feet to the crystal clear waters ahead, the beach can serve as the ultimate summer activity. Here are a few locations where you can take advantage of the warm weather to plan the ultimate summer bucket list for couples.

  • Algarve, Portugal: If your main goal is relaxation, book your ticket to Algarve in Portugal’s southernmost region, which is known for stunning Atlantic beaches, calm waters, and quaint golf resorts.
  • Alif Dhaalu Atoll, Maldives: The Maldives is home to hundreds of small coral islands and sandbanks called atolls, namely Alifu Atoll, which consists of 105 islands and luxury accommodations surrounded by blue waters.
  • Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand: Escape to Phi Phi Leh, an uninhabited island accessible only via boat, to hide among awe-inspiring cliffs (just opt for Single Trip Plan insurance before leaving, as travel to and from the island is limited).

Going Backpacking

This might be a summer bucket list for adults, but what’s summer without a bit of adventure? Grab your backpack and load up on the essentials for summer fun on the road. Take a look at three destinations you and your significant other can travel around this summer.

  • Long Range Traverse, Newfoundland, Canada: Long Range Traverse gains its name from the multi-day hike that takes travelers through unmarked and rugged Canadian backcountry, making this destination better suited for experienced hikers.
  • Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru: For a backpacking trip that’s just as rewarding with culture as it is stunning views, head to the Cordillera Huayhuash trek, which is widely regarded as the best alpine trail with pristine glacial lakes and traditional Andean culture.
  • Kepler Track, South Island, New Zealand: Experience New Zealand landscapes like never before on the Kepler Track, but aim to visit between October and May when there are more facilities and fewer hazards for less experienced or less equipped hikers.

Riding a Ferris Wheel

Besides an airplane or helicopter, a Ferris wheel is the best way to see the world from a bird’s eye view. But not just any old Ferris wheel can be added to our summer bucket list for couples… Instead, we’re talking about the tallest and most impressive observation wheels across the globe!

  • The Singapore Flyer, Singapore: The third tallest Ferris wheel in the world, the Singapore Flyer measures an incredible 541 feet tall and has 28 air-conditioned capsules, each the size of a small bus with a passenger capacity of 28 riders.
  • Wiener Riesenrad, Austria: Dubbed “moving tradition,” the Wiener Riesenrad in the Austrian capital of Vienna measures 212 feet tall and offers “gourmet wagons” with authentic cuisines, like a Viennese tidbit buffet, that fit six to 15 people.
  • Bohai Eye, China: Known as the “Eye of the Bohai Sea,” this magnificent Ferris wheel at the mouth of Bailang River measures 475 feet tall and allows travelers to overlook the entire Laizhou coast, which is even more brilliant at night.

Group of teenagers camping in forest, sitting by the open fire, cooking and playing guitar.

Great High School Summer Bucket List Ideas

Of all the summer bucket lists with friends, high school summer bucket lists are arguably the most fun. So why should you travel with your high school friends? Your high school friends capture everything you love about being young — your humor, the inside jokes, the unforgettable parties, and of course, the unavoidable fact that one day you won’t be as free as you are in this very moment.

High school is the golden age before all of life’s responsibilities come knocking at your door. Whether you’re a recent graduate who’s looking for the ultimate college send-off with friends or alumni planning your 10-year high school reunion, the fact is that a high school summer bucket list is likely just what you need. Before diving into these ideas, be sure to send out an invite to all potential guests to nail down exact travel dates for the best ticket prices, hotel deals, and more.

Go to a Baseball Game

From the delicious snacks to the infectious energy, everyone loves a baseball game. During the summer months, when the baseball season is in full swing, and the weather is right, plan a trip for you and your high school friends to enjoy a baseball game at an iconic stadium.

  • Fenway Park, Massachusetts: Home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park is the oldest baseball park in the United States and saw baseball legends among the likes of Babe Ruth.
  • Wrigley Field, Chicago: The stomping grounds of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field is also more than a hundred years old and is a short drive to the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory.
  • Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles: Though it is the third-oldest ballpark behind Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, Dodger Stadium opened much later in 1962 and hosts the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Visit a Historical Site

What better way to mark the important role your high school friends played in the history of your life than by visiting a historical site with your crew? This great activity for your summer bucket list with friends can take you across the United States if you’re also up for a group road trip.

  • Mount Vernon, Alexandria, Virginia: If you’re looking for that Bridgerton feel, head to George Washington’s home of Mount Vernon, where charming colonial buildings, lantern-lit brick homes, and stone sidewalks line the streets.
  • Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: If you’d rather put that AP US History knowledge to the test, plan your friends’ summer bucket list around Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were both signed.
  • The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas: If you’re ready to venture a bit more south, head to the Alamo, previously the Mission San Antonio de Valero, to experience the very ground where Texas became a self-governing republic.

Go Camping

For those with a more restful high school summer bucket list, you’ll probably love the idea of camping as a fun summer activity. Gather your closest high school friends, pack a cooler of delicious snacks and smores supplies, and head to one of these bucket list camping destinations.

Little girl on a merry-go-round at an amusement park having fun

What’s on Your Summer Bucket List for Kids?

What good would summer bucket list ideas be if they neglected our little ones? Of course, when summer break rolls around, kids are just as excited as adults to indulge in fun activities like exploring nature or heading to an amusement park. But why is traveling with your kids so important? For one, travel exposes your child to different cultures and cuisines they wouldn’t get at home.

Travel vacations also allow children to build their confidence and independence. They’ll begin to learn what they like and dislike, what they feel comfortable doing, and potentially where they’d like to visit next, all while on the road with you. So here are some fun ideas for your summer bucket list for kids, complete with both educational and entertaining activities. Just be sure to travel with one of your child’s comforts from home, like a stuffed animal, to help them navigate new environments.

Going Fishing

There’s no better way to soak up the warm weather during summer break than with a fun activity like fishing. Fishing provides little ones with a good dose of vitamin D (just wear sunscreen!) and can even help improve hand-eye coordination. Take a look at these fishing destinations fit for kids.

  • Bear Lake State Park, Idaho: Located in southeastern Idaho near the Cache mountain range, Bear Lake State Park offers tons of family-friendly activities, from fishing and boating to hiking and camping.
  • Walnut Creek Lake, Nebraska: Situated just south of Omaha, the Walnut Creek Lake and Recreation Area is home to a 105-acre reservoir that features smooth waters ideal for little ones and less experienced swimmers and anglers.
  • Lake Tahoe, Nevada: Located along the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is a massive freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that offers dozens of family-friendly activities year-round.

Going to an Amusement Park

An amusement park is an excellent idea for older kids and younger kids alike. From splashing around the water park to having a blast on a roller coaster or merry-go-round, these summer bucket list destinations pack so many exciting activities into one convenient location that typically also offers family lodging.

  • Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH: Enjoy an amusement park like no other along the Lake Erie Shore at Cedar Point, which boasts a mile-long sandy beach, family-friendly water park, kid and adult-friendly roller coasters, and free parking.
  • Magic Kingdom, Orlando, FL: Magic Kingdom is often a child’s favorite attraction at Disney World, with unforgettable character experiences, colorful parades, child-friendly rides, and even firework shows.
  • Story Land, Glen, NH: Located in the heart of New Hampshire, Story Land has multiple attractions and restaurants for kids, while the adults in the group can head to the 21+ Nostalgia Nights once the kids are in bed.

Visiting an Aquarium

Though summer break is a nice reprieve from the harsh winter weather, it’s no secret that summer temperatures and rainstorms can be pretty brutal as well. So if you’re looking for an indoor activity to add to your summer bucket list for kids, look no further than the aquarium.

  • Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Louisiana: Nestled on the Mississippi River right next to the iconic French Quarter, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is a great summer activity for the little ones (especially if the parents want to head to Bourbon Street!).
  • Georgia Aquarium, Georgia: Known for having the biggest aquarium in the United States and third-largest tank globally, the Georgia Aquarium has an incredible array of underwater species and state-of-the-art digital, immersive experiences for older kids.
  • Seattle Aquarium, Washington: The Seattle Aquarium is located on Pier 59 on the Elliott Bay waterfront, giving guests the unique ability to admire local aquatic wildlife as well as engage with a range of species from all over the world.

Teenagers prepared to rent a canoe holding paddles

Fun Summer Bucket Lists for Teens

After spending two of their precious teen years at home or on Zoom, it’s no secret that teenagers are longing for adventure. But is teen travel safe right now? Yes! Hospitality has been on high alert throughout the entire pandemic, which means as travel begins to perk back up, there will be enhanced cleaning measures, temperature checks, and even periodic testing in hotels and event spaces.

Pandemic safety aside, is it safe for teens to travel without parents? While it’s always a nerve-wracking experience for parents, it is safe for teens to travel without parents. However, before they embark on a summer bucket list for teens, have a serious conversation about personal safety and boundaries. Consider options such as “Share My Location” on mobile phones or the U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to help stay in touch no matter what.

Go Paddling

Paddling is an essential summer activity that helps teens stay active while soaking in the summer sun. If you want to add a bit more excitement to this classic summer hobby, try switching it up with a scenic location. Here are three to add to your summer bucket list for teens.

Visit a Farm

If you didn’t think visiting a farm could be one of the best summer bucket list ideas for teens, think again. These one-of-a-kind experiences paired with warm weather and great company could become some of your teen’s favorite memories with their high school friends.

  • Serenity Sheep Farm Stay, Belgrade, MT: Situated in the Gallatin Valley between Yellowstone National Park and Glacier, Serenity Sheep Farm Stay allows teens to spend the night in a tent or covered wagon while learning how to tend to the farm’s goats or spin wool.
  • Fickle Creek Farms, Efland, NC: Located in Orange County, North Carolina, Fickle Creek Farm is a primary supplier of local farmer’s markets and the farm itself is home to pasture-raised cattle, sustainably grown produce, and the cutest livestock guardian dogs.
  • Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm | Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM: Nestled in the heart of the Rio Grande River Valley, the Los Poblanos Historic Inn was designed in 1932 by the “Father of Santa Fe Style” and boasts 45 guest rooms, an organic farm, and 25 acres of lavender fields.

See a Drive-In Movie

Last but certainly not least, when the summer heat becomes too unbearable, or the mosquitos are simply unbearable, a drive-in movie is a great idea. Turn your average movie date into something spectacular when you travel to one of the locations from these summer bucket list ideas for teens.

  • Bengies, Baltimore, MD: If you’re looking for the largest movie screen in America, head over to Bengies, which is celebrating its 67th season this summer.
  • Four Brothers Drive-In, Amenia, NY: If you’re more into the food than the movie, be sure to visit Four Brothers Drive-In, that’s known for its pizza and pasta dishes and even has mini-golf.
  • Highway 21 Drive-In, Beaufort, SC: If you’re dreaming of a weekend-exclusive event, check out Highway 21 Drive-In, which has a rural location that’s ideal for admiring the stars.

What Happens When Your Bucket List Goes Wrong?

You can spend months planning your ultimate summer bucket list, just for your plans to be thwarted by something totally out of your control, like flight cancellations or bad weather. But, of course, you don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for accommodations or rental cars you can’t use because of a missed flight, and you certainly wouldn’t want to travel to Singapore during a monsoon.

If you have your heart set on a fun summer bucket list, seek the confidence and comfortability of travel insurance to protect your summer fun, no matter what. GoReady Travel Insurance, Miami, FL provides protection against last-minute cancellations, lost baggage, illness or injury, and yes, even pandemic-related cancellations. So get a quote today to enjoy your summer bucket list stress-free.

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