With days getting longer and fewer COVID restrictions impacting events lately, it’s time to make 2022 a summer to remember! A recent article in the Washington Post about the coronavirus shared that, “Fewer than 3 in 10 Americans say it is a major factor in their summer vacation plans.” However, the article goes on to share that it’s gas prices that are impacting many travel plans. With most COVID restrictions finally lifted, we know friends are ready to plan summer activities, and we’ve kept costs in mind when compiling this budget-friendly list of summer fun ideas.
See a blockbuster movie. After a long hiatus, blockbuster movies are back! There’s the recently opened Top Gun, Maverick, sequel to one of the most memorable movies I saw in high school. Other sequels (not to mention pre-quels) due out this summer include Jurassic World Domination, Lightyear and Minions: The Rise of Gru. I am personally very excited to see the new Elvis movie later this month, and thinking this may be a fun film to see at a drive in.
Watch a music icon perform live. Remember those Chris Stapleton and Ringo Starr tickets that sold out in 2020? Well, you may have another shot to see those and other acts this summer. Previously cancelled performances like these are finally back on the agenda and tickets may be found on reseller websites like SeatGeek. I was fortunate enough to catch a long delayed performance by Chris Stapleton, Willie Nelson and Cheryl Crow on my girls trip to Kentucky in April, and am hoping to find a way to get back to Kentucky in September for the amazing lineup planned at Bourbon & Beyond!
Go to a state or county fair. Load up the car with friends or family and head off to your state or county fair this summer! If the fried foods, animals, and games don’t entice you, many fairs are starting to attract popular music acts as well. Open to a visiting one in a nearby state? Here’s a list. And if you’re interested in flea markets or other events happening at fair grounds, look for websites like this one for Kane County near Chicago that hosts events ranging from a Hot Air Balloon Festival to the All Animal Expo.
Attend theater in the park. Spring heralded in the much-anticipated return of Broadway shows, and while some outdoor performances resumed last summer, 2022 is marking the full return for many venues. If you’re on the East Coast it’s worth a visit to New York City to see Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park. Tickets are free but must be reserved ahead. A unique outdoor venue in the Midwest is American Players Theater in Spring Green, Wisconsin. With several plays rotating throughout the summer, there’s a great mix of shows to pick from. And it’s near the famous Taliesen designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright that served as his home, studio, and school for many years.
Plan your 2023 National Parks visit! Maybe this was on your list in 2022. Unfortunately, it was on a lot of other people’s lists too and unless you booked several months ago, you’ll find most parks and nearby lodging is fully booked. However, if you are still intent on visiting a national treasure, consider Washington, D.C. The museums have reopened and many no long require timed ticket entry. And even very popular museums like the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and National Museum of African American History and Culture offer free same-day tickets each morning through the Smithsonian website.
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”John Steinbeck