You may have felt like it has been summer for a few weeks now, but today (June 20) is officially the summer solstice. Today, the sun travels the longest path through the sky, and the day has the most daylight. It’s certainly not a day to stay indoors and binge watch a show on TV.
This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may not be able to gather with friends for a barbecue or swim party, but there are plenty of other things you can do to celebrate summer. Just remember to wear a mask and practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently and take hand sanitizer with you.
Go for a hike
Arkansas has 300 miles of hiking trails, and it’s a great way to see the Natural State’s beauty. From mountain terrain to some of the country’s most scenic rivers and streams, hiking in our state offers trails from easy to strenuous so there’s no excuse not to explore one of them.
Visit a farmers market
Shopping at local farmers supports your community and small businesses, and it’s good for you. With the pandemic affecting the global food supply chain, farmers markets sell what is in season. When freshly picked, seasonal produce is at its peak in flavor and nutrition, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and it is full of good-for-you antioxidants. Take the kids, too. They can learn how food grows and pick out some new veggies or fruits to try in a new recipe.
Plan a picnic
Even as we social distance, you can still have a picnic with 10 or less friends and family. Pick an out-of-the-way park or ask if a friend has a big yard. Take your chair or blankets, food, drinks, utensils (don’t share with others) and pick a spot 6 feet or more from others. You can still visit, listen to nature’s sounds and connect with friends.
Play outdoor games
Invest in outdoor game set-ups with classics like badminton, lawn bowling, croquet and volleyball. You don’t have to go somewhere to have fun. Playing gives you a healthy dose of sunshine (vitamin D!) and exercise. These games also encourage your children to put away the technology and get active.
Be calm and create
The pandemic has slowed a lot of us down from living a go-go schedule to taking time to rediscover an old passion (like knitting or drawing) or a new one. Growing a garden, anyone? Try something new this weekend. Maybe it’s creating chalk art, planting a succulent, writing in a journal or listening to music.
You may not like the heat, but take a minute to venture outside and enjoy fresh air and nature whether you decide to road trip to a state park, walk around the market or play in your own backyard.