Summer may be drawing to a close, but there’s still warm weather in the forecast. Here are some ways to make the most of the season before the rain has us shut indoors even more than we have been.
And if you’re not comfortable venturing out, each option has a stay-home alternative that still provides summer vibes.
1. Go to the drive-in
Movies have always been escapist: During the Great Depression, audiences flocked to cinemas in an attempt to forget their worries, at least for a while. Today, as the pandemic continues, drive-in theaters have been popping up all over.
Many drive-ins have created new rules for this season, including capacity limits and reserved parking. But even so, an evening at the drive-in can feel like a normal summer activity. Everyone is 6 feet apart, but it’s still a communal experience — a rarity right now.
The website driveinmovie.com is a good starting point to find a location near you.
If you want to stay home, try setting up a backyard movie screening with a sheet and a projector. Or just move the TV to a window and watch from folding chairs in the yard.
— Justin Redman
2. Cut your own bouquet
With large weddings and events canceled for the foreseeable future, many flower farmers across the country have opened their fields to people who want to cut their own blossoms.
Right now, visitors can enjoy clipping favorites such as dahlias, zinnias, sunflowers, celosia, phlox and marigolds. Most farms require masks and social distancing, and provide sanitized clippers and buckets.
Local farmers’ market networks are a good starting point when trying to find a you-cut field near you.
If you want to bring the late-summer flower bounty into your home with minimal contact, swing by one of the city’s drive-thru farmers markets or order a bouquet for delivery from Pike Place Market’s vendors.
— Christine Chitnis
3. Rent a backyard pool
If the thought of going a whole summer without taking a dip in a pool is adding to your pandemic malaise, there is still hope.
An app called Swimply allows you to book a private pool at someone’s home for an hour or more. You don’t have to worry about mingling with crowds and exposing your family to the coronavirus.
The service is surprisingly simple. You enter your ZIP code and scroll through a list of tantalizing pools across the country (yes, there are even some listings near Seattle!).
If you want to “swim” at home, inflatable pools are now available again online after being sold out for much of the summer.
— Emma G. Fitzsimmons
4. Visit a brewery with outdoor seating
Many breweries are revamping outdoor space for socially distant drinking, installing sanitizer stations and incorporating new protocols to put you at ease while hoisting pints.
Drinking beer at a brewery can “remind you of a time when things were normal,” said Chris O’Leary, a beer aficionado who runs Brew York, a guide to beer in New York City.
Many breweries now have limited capacity and require reservations. Also check the website for updated regulations; for example, kids may no longer be allowed. Expect to wear a mask whenever you’re not seated and to pay with credit cards or order through your phone.
These same breweries also have take-away cans available to enjoy at home, which can be preordered online for even less contact.
— Joshua M. Bernstein
5. Ride an electric bike
Sometimes, to get out of a rut, you need a little push.
Biking is a great mode of socially distant travel, but riding a bike can be tiring and limit you to your own neighborhood. An electric bike lets you travel much farther — and easily tackle one of the nastiest words in biking: hills.
And they’re a blast to ride. Hopping on one feels like taking your training wheels off for the first time — except that invisible push by a parent comes from a motor that powers the wheels.
E-bikes typically top out around 20 mph, depending on the type of bike, and they can usually run for about 40 miles on one charge. They can be rented from many bike rental shops and are part of many cities’ ride share programs.
Seattle’s Rad Power Bikes is open by appointment if you’d like to have one at home permanently.
— Jonathan Wolfe
6. Float down a river
Tubing is a refreshing way to spend a lazy day outdoors with a few friends or family while keeping socially distanced from others.
Trips range from three hours to all day, depending on the route and how many stops you make. With rafting outfits are located all across the country — including on the Snoqualmie River in Washington. Searching online by location is a good place to start.
Many tubing companies have taken extra health and safety precautions. You can often find what companies are doing to keep the activity safe on their website.
At home, the best way to get wet is to turn on the trusty hose. You can still stop for a picnic and cold drink in the yard, and you won’t have to deal with a shuttle bus or used life jacket.
— Christy Harmon