How to make the most of your summer

Malissa Larson

As finals week is approaching closer, so is something else: sweet, sweet, summer. The dreaded exams may be on our minds, but so are sunny days, BBQ’s, late nights, fun trips, new experiences, and more. With less than a month until spring classes are over, it’s time to start planning out some of the fantastic things you’re going to do this summer. And luckily, Oregon is the perfect place to experience all sorts of sun-filled activities. Here are some suggestions that you just might find necessary to incorporate into your upcoming months.

Picnics are good for so many different occasions: friend dates, significant other dates, adventuring, celebrating-the list goes on. And what’s great about it is it’s virtually cost-free, with unlimited destinations. Pick out your favorite spot by an old tree, at the coast, or on top of a waterfall after a hike, and share a meal with someone important to you. Want some extra picnic-greatness? Plan it just right to watch the sunset and stargaze. What could be more perfect? (Hint: Don’t forget the bug spray. Itchy bites can put a damper on a good time)

Great spot near WOU: Rickreall Creek (Just off highway 99)

road tripRoad-Tripping
Grab a car, a friend, and get going! Whether you’re using your day off to explore a few new destinations a couple hours away, or you’re planning a week-long trip down the West Coast with your friends, Summer road trips are a must! And luckily, Oregon has the perfect stops for an adventurous crew. Beaches, waterfalls, farmer’s markets, music festivals, and award winning chowder restaurants? Yes Please.

Worried about the cost creeping up? Figure out which friend has the most fuel efficient car and split the gas tab; Fill a cooler full of snacks and sandwiches to cut down on food stops; Pack a tent and stay in campgrounds instead of hotels.

Read that book you didn’t have time for
We all have it. That one book we’ve been meaning to read, but we just couldn’t get past the 15th page with the load of classes, work, and all of the other commitments we found our selves in. Now that Summer is here and the busy parts of life have hopefully slowed down (at least just a tad), use that Tuesday evening or Sunday afternoon to finally read that book sitting on your night stand.

Don’t have a boat? Don’t worry. Kayaking is the perfect way to get out on the water when you don’t have access to a boat, a trailer hitch, a dock, the works. You can find kayaks for as cheap as $50, strap it on the top of your car, grab a life jacket, and head out to the river. Check out garage sales, Craigslist, and second-hand stores for better deals. Still don’t have the means to buy your own equipment? That’s A-okay. Salem and Corvallis have plenty of sports shops that rent out kayaks for hours, days, and weekends. If your destination is a popular one, you’re likely to find some rentals there as well. Just remember to wear a life jacket–bronzed shoulders aren’t worth risking your well-being.

Oregon Country Fair
The Country Fair is an acquired taste, but just might be the ticket for a summer of new experiences. Get a camping pass or go for the day by bus from one of the many pick up sites around Oregon. Live music, henna tattoos, organic food trucks, painted bodies, hand crafts, and tons of outside activities for all ages might just be exactly what you need.

kiteKite festivals
All throughout the summer Oregon’s coastline is filled with beautiful kite festivals. Whether you go to watch, fly a kite, or compete, this is bound to be a summer day for the books. Want to be extra creative and daring? Look up ways to hand-make your own kite for the show! Check out Lincoln City’s Kite Festival if you’re looking for a near-by option!

Summer is the perfect time to get more experience in the fields that interest you, and to better your resume for job opportunities after you graduate. Internships are a great way to accomplish this. Whether you shadow for three weeks in an interesting field, or work hands-on all summer in the area you’re majoring in, it is the perfect time to take advantage of position openings. Make sure to check out Wolf Link on your portal for any openings posted.

Outside concerts
When warm weather starts making appearances, so do outside concerts and music festivals. Not much could be better than spending a summer afternoon on a blanket with friends listening to one of your favorite bands. Worried about prices? Check out social media accounts of the venues: often times they will have student specials and contests.

hot air balloonWatch hot air balloons
Watching hot air balloons light up the sky is amazing any time of year, but seems to be more popular in the summer months. If given the opportunity to watch one of these festivals, don’t pass it up! Want to fly in one of the balloons yourself? Check out Salem Hot Air Balloons to order your own ride!

Take a community class
Whether you’re looking to sweat it out in Pilates, make a vase in a pottery group, or impress your significant other with skills you learned in a culinary class, taking enrichment courses at your local park, event center, or community college is a fantastic way to broaden your horizons and stay busy this summer.

carnival ridesGo to an amusement park
Amusement parks and carnivals are the epitome of summer fun. Who can pass up curly fries, cotton candy, rides that have your head spinning, and games that make it impossible to win the large teddy bear? Oaks Amusement Park in Portland is a cost effective option with unlimited rides for one flat rate, and of course Salem hosts Oregon’s State Fair.

There’s not many Drive-ins left in the United States, but fortunately for WOU students, Dallas Oregon is home to the award winning drive-in: Motor-Vu. With different movies popping up all the time, it’s super easy to grab a friend, some chairs, pack up the cooler, and head out for a fun evening under the stars.

Most people in Oregon can’t imagine a summer without spending at least one weekend in a tent, free of cell-service, making s’mores. There are plenty of fantastic campgrounds in our own backyard too, so get out there and explore!

Whatever you end up doing this summer, make sure to share your photos with other students through the WOU hashtag: #HowlAboutIt. Good luck preparing for finals, and have a wonderful summer.

One comment on “How to make the most of your summer”

  1. Having fun during the summer months is a must for every student but don’t forget we always put aside all the housework we need to get done. Cleaning your room needs to be on your summer list as well.

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