Summer nights are perfect for getting outside and spending time with your friends and family. The heat of the day subsides after sunset to provide a comfortable environment to enjoy the night skies and sounds.
Below are some of our favorite outdoor activities to create summer nights you can look back fondly on for many years to come. From a home-based variation on the classic drive-in movie theaters, to a new twist on s’mores—our summer night suggestions will excite family members of all ages:
- ‘Drive-In’ Movies at Home – While drive-in theaters are hard to find now, you can share that experience with your kids in your own backyard. The projection screen is as simple as hanging a white sheet. Tip: Hang a dark sheet behind the white one to improve the display, or there are outdoor screens available at Amazon if you’re so inclined. The kids can ‘drive’ their bicycles up to the movie at sunset and use camping chairs or blankets for their movie seats. If space allows, park a truck with the bed facing the screen and line the bed with thick comforters and pillows for a more authentic ‘drive-in’ experience. Set up the digital projector to stream an online movie or connect to your DVD or Blu-ray player and sit back to relive the memories from your own childhood.)
- Backyard Camping – Camping is even more easy-breezy when you pitch the tents in your own backyard. Impose ‘camping rules’ such as no use of electricity (lanterns and flashlights only), have a cookout and grill dinner outdoors, and end the night with special s’mores.
- Sophisticated S’mores – Summer night campfires are not official until marshmallows have been roasted. In addition to traditional s’mores, impress friends and family by taking the sweet treat to another level. Try this Walkers Shortbread S’mores recipe and offer guests flavored marshmallows and chocolates to create their own signature s’more. Offer a variety of flavored marshmallows: Caramel and vanilla swirl, strawberry, chocolate, and more. White, milk, dark, mint, almond, berry or other flavored chocolates provide endless flavor combinations too.
- Stargazing – Keep an eye on the weather and wait for a clear night to view constellations and count satellites. Many modern binoculars provide great views of the stars, and are easier to travel with and often more affordable than a telescope. Moonless nights offer the best stargazing, so check a lunar calendar. You can also consult a dark sky map to find an area near home that has the lowest light pollution. Maybe plan a camping night around a meteor shower. Consult the American Meteor Society for a meteor shower list.
- Outdoor Concerts and Performances – Look for venues in your area that offer live music and movies al fresco. Outdoor summer music series are common in most cities. Many cities offer these events at no cost. New York, for instance, has free summer concerts. You can also find complimentary summer shows on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., dozens of free outdoor music shows in Charlotte, North Carolina, and more concerts in Seattle, Washington. Take advantage of the free entertainment by making sandwiches and snacks with family and bringing a picnic.
How do you like to spend summer nights with friends and family? Tell us your favorite summer memories on Twitter @Shortbread and Facebook, and share your adventures by tagging us on Instagram @walkersshortbread.