OK, so summer technically ended on September 22, and it’s always sad to say “so long” to its sweetness. But with autumn staring us down in a multi-color dream coat, we must take heed with unadulterated abandon (safely, of course) and celebrate the final days of warm, half-naked fun before it’s time to shovel coal into the fireplace. Here’s a few suggestions we think you should embrace to end the summer right.
Triple Threat: Camping/Hiking/Fishing
Nothing reeks of summer like a good, old-fashioned camping trip. Take the guys, your girl or the family out into the wilderness and experience a phone-free taste of nature while the weather is still nice. Plan ahead and pack those long johns for cool weather, as the nights slowly start to get a little brisk.
Try to go someplace you’ve never been before that requires a breezy drive and perhaps a hike at some point. Bring your camera (like a real one), some non-perishable snacks and fishing poles, if possible. Don’t forget that bears and mountain lions still exist, so pack wisely. This way you can stay entertained with food in your belly while making a memory and not being eaten alive.
Afternoon Drive/Bike Ride
Gas up the car, roll down the windows and hit the open road. Nothing is more refreshing than a quiet afternoon drive, so find a scenic road and beat any traffic so it’s all about relaxation - not about cussing out the cars riding your ass while you take your pretty time.
Then, park the car at night, whip out the blanket and take in the last of the summer nights. If you live in the city, get out of it and find a smog-free sky to enjoy some fresh air and stars. Sitting out by the lake or on the coast can really put everything in perspective and clean out those cobwebs. There’s nothing stronger than going into the week stress-free with a clear mind.
If you’re more of a tree hugger, then good for you. Help out the planet and take out the bicycles for some fresh air and exercise. Hell, toss a blanket on the back rack and make a night of it too. Ladies are suckers for green guys.
Rock a Show
We may have copious amounts of technology and convenience at our fingertips, which makes an old-fashioned idea seem pointless, but there’s nothing wrong with spending time away from the modern world. Head to the drive-in or cruise up to see a concert. There are still plenty of good shows left to see in 2012, so get out and get loose. Take whatever it is that interests you and go see someone do a wildly impressive job at it.
This is a no-brainer, so let’s be brief. It’s the end of summer, so go all out before you’re wrapping the windows in Saran Wrap. Head out on the water and enjoy some fresh playtime on a boat, board or inflatable banana. You work too hard to not be good to yourself, so don’t be cheap. Rent that $120 an hour jet ski and take advantage of the last days of warm water.
Stand up paddle boarding and kayaking are both a good time and a good work out, if you’re worried about being a slob. If you’re like most red-blooded, semi-obese Americans, you probably don’t care about health, so grab the fishing poles and head out with your boys for some afternoon lounging on the water. We’re not going to say you should bring a few 12 packs with you, but you know it’s a possibility.
Throw a Party
It’s as easy as that. The hiking, camping, driving and surfing thing may not be for everyone. Maybe you’re lazy and want to enjoy what’s left of the nice weather. Why not invite your friends to join you?
A party is solid move on your part, because it shows that you are selflessly offering your space to others and that you enjoy having a good time. It’s no one’s business to know that you’re actually an unmotivated, lazy drunk who is taking the easy way out. While you’re at it, ask everyone to bring booze and food so when they leave, you can have an unmovable feast on the couch. It’s good to be you.
What better excuse to get loaded than getting your lady out for a swell afternoon of fancy belligerence? A nice drive to a nearby vineyard or winery will set up the day nicely so you can learn a thing or two about grapes, the wine-making process and top it off by holding your lady’s hair back at the end of the trip.
If you’re smart, you’ll take notes and learn how to make your own. Beer tours count too, men. If DEA Agent Hank Schrader can brew his own, so can you (Man, "Breaking Bad" is awesome).
Hit up a Game
Regardless of whether or not you like sports, or if you’re a former Cubs fans who quit watching the game because you were tired of having a low self-esteem, it’s always fun to be there in person, especially if you take a group with you.
Most of the time people are having too much fun shoving nachos, beer and hot dogs in their faces to notice that there’s a game going on, but the sheer amount of camaraderie and fresh air of an outdoor sporting event are always exciting. There are two sports to choose from right now, too. One of those even employs professional referees!
Throw another log on the fire, because summer is never officially over without a friendly bonfire. Find your spot and get your friends and lovers together for a night of singing, dancing and of course, the car parked nearby with the radio blaring. Be American with it and drop down the tailgate, get out the lawn chairs and stay up as late as you need to make it count. Bonfires are the classic way to reminisce about old embarrassing stories, strum on that dusty acoustic guitar and howl at the moon.
Embrace Your Inner Child
Go wild. In fact, we recommend you do this while you’re tackling the rest of this list. Life is too short to be stuffy and boring, so fly your flag high and get weird. Catch lightning bugs in the night sky, play kick the can with your buddies and take yourselves back to the good days when living was easy and nothing else mattered.
It’s good to find a moment to stay in where you feel completely unencumbered by what others think or what bills you need to pay tomorrow. Spend a night with zero expectations of yourself and others and do all the things you never get to do, within reason, without worrying about every consequence. Just live, man. Live dammit!
Next: 10 Best Bike Trails in the U.S.
Drink Up All the Summer Beers
This is self-explanatory, men. Before they go off the shelf, make sure you get your fill. No worries though; the fall lineup will be even better.