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101 Best Summer Bucket List Ideas for College Students

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Last Updated on October 19, 2023 by Alexandra Markin

It’s 2023 and summer has finally arrived! This post is a roundup of the best summer bucket list ideas for college students, covering ideas from attending special events to thrifty activities for students on a budget.

If there’s one thing both traditional and online college students share, it’s checking off activities on their summer bucket list.

Even if you are taking courses this summer, it’s essential to create a healthy study-life balance. The whole benefit to online learning is the freedom to study anywhere, so pack up your study backpack and hit the road!

Click in the table of contents below to jump to any section that sparks your interest.

Summer Event Bucket List Ideas

1. Attend a parade.

4th of July and the Pride parade are milestone summer events. I’ve attended countless pride parades and had some of the best times of my life. Tip: don’t miss the daytime after parties!

2. Go to a baseball game – a local college team or major league.

3. Spend the day at a state fair.

Ride the rides, visit multiple food trucks and stay for the night lights and fireworks.

summer-bucket-list-ideas-sate-fair-at-night

4. Attend a summer festival.

5. Complete a 5k or 10k run.

From 5k fun runs to full marathons, experience the amazing energy that surrounds these events. You can even choose a race that awards metals to all finishers so you can hang it on your wall.

6. Attend an outdoor live music concert.

7. Participate in an obstacle course race.

Test your limits at a Tough Mudder or Spartan event.

8. Go to a karaoke or trivia night at a bar.

9. Attend a Comic-Con.

Most comic-cons are held in the summer, with the biggest one taking place in San Diego, California.

10. Watch an outdoor movie in your city.

11. Attend a school sporting event.

It doesn’t even have to be your school – half the fun is checking out another college!

Outdoor Summer Bucket List Ideas

12. Go hiking.

13. Spend a day at the beach.

If you’re feeling bold, seek out a clothing optional beach to spice up your summer. Wreck Beach in Vancouver, Canada, is famously located on the Endowment Lands of the University of British Columbia. How convenient for those students looking to check this item off their bucket list!

14. Go skinny dipping.

While you’re at the clothing optional beach, you may as well check this off your list too!

15. Test your balance with stand up paddleboarding.

16. Go kayaking.

17. Embrace your inner child at a waterpark.

You will never be too old for this. The age range at major waterparks still always shocks me!

18. Swim in the ocean or lake.

19. Take a day trip to a zoo.

Not only does The Living Desert in California allow you to see giraffes and rhinos roam on over 1,000 acres, you can also walk through mile-long trails of amazing desert gardens (don’t worry – there’s a train option too).

20. Visit (or hike to) a famous waterfall.

21. Go for a bike ride.

Don’t have a bike? Rent one in your favourite city and see the scenery on two wheels.

22. Try your hand at fishing.

Adventurous Summer Bucket List Ideas

23. Go skydiving.

24. Try geocaching

Geocaching is an outdoor adventure activity in which players actively hide and seek containers (known as caches) all around the world that are discoverable by using your phone’s GPS.

Read more on the Geocaching Official Blog and join millions of others by downloading the Geocaching app on Google Play or the App Store.

Sometimes the caches will literally lead you up the side of a mountain – I’ve run into people doing it while I was on a hike!

25. Sign up for scuba diving lessons.

26. Go white water rafting.

27. Climb a mountain.

This is a bit different from regular hiking in that you’ll need a backpack full of supplies and the better part of a day (or camping gear for overnight treks!)

grouse-mountain
Amazing views from Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, Canada, after hiking up the Grouse Grind trail.

28. Define new heights by trying ziplining.

29. Visit an amusement park.

See how many roller coasters and scary rides you can handle in a day! Think Six Flags or Walt Disney World.

30. Go water skiing.

31. Try hang gliding.

32. Learn how to surf.

33. Explore forest trails while mountain biking.

Travel Summer Bucket List Ideas

34. Go on a camping trip.

35. Explore a national park or two.

This can be a whole bucket list in itself. I’ve not only visited the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon, but hiked them as well!

bryce-canyon-national-park-spires
Hiking Bryce Canyon Peekaboo Trail with extraordinary views of the red rock spires next to the famous Wall of Windows. This photo doesn’t even do it justice!

36. Take a road trip cross-country or through your state.

37. Visit wineries for wine tasting.

I highly recommend checking out wineries in Nappy Valley, California and the Okanagan in British Columbia. Book a tour for extra tasting fun!

38. Take a vacation in your home state.

39. Rent an AirBnb in a city on your bucket list.

Download the Airbnb app and start making a property wishlist.

40. Visit a friend at a different school – in the next city or across the pond!

41. Volunteer abroad.

Check out the site Volunteer Abroad to find available programs.

42. Work and stay for free around the world.

Use the site Workaway to find opportunities that may just change your life.

43. Take a day trip.

44. Book a cruise.

Cruises to Alaska to see the icebergs only run in the summer. Round up your college friends and go!

Productive Summer Bucket List Ideas

45. Get a summer internship.

46. Read one non-fiction book per week.

47. Learn the basics of coding.

48. Master a new beauty skill.

Finally teach yourself that beauty skill you’ve been putting off: do your own gel nails at home, master the blowout or learn to tint your brows.

49. See if your school has a summer study abroad program.

50. Take a free course.

Check out Coursera for a list of free options on almost every topic.

51. Update your resume.

52. Learn a new language.

Start for free with apps like Duolingo or Babble.

53. Start a fitness routine you can stick to during the school year.

54. Find a podcast series to help you further your career.

Whether it’s entrepreneurship, nursing or writing, there is a podcast out there for every career.

55. Start a small business.

When you look back, you’ll be able to say that THIS was the summer you launched your business!

Want to maximize your summer break? Read the post productive summer ideas for college students for ways to get ahead in your studies, strengthen your resume or build an effective morning routine.

At Home Summer Bucket List Ideas

56. Teach yourself how to knit.

57. Have a college-themed movie marathon.

Save this this activity until right before you start your next course for some extra motivation. Legally Blonde will always be my favourite college movie.

58. Redecorate one room in your house.

59. Refresh your study desk setup.

If you’re new to online learning, prepare your study setup with all the necessary supplies by reading the post Online College School Supply List: The 14 Must-Have Items.

60. Try one new recipe a week for the entire summer.

61. See how many novels you can read in one summer.

62. Perfect making a summer cocktail.

Think mojito, strawberry daiquiri, margarita, piña colada or my personal summer favourite: pink lemonade with spiced rum.

63. Start an indoor herb garden.

64. Complete a 1,000 piece puzzle.

65. Have a self-care day.

Have a bubble bath with candles, do a face mask, treat yourself to clean sheets and binge watch your favourite shows.

66. Do yoga every single morning – master that sun salutation!

Activities with Friends Summer Bucket List Ideas

67. Host a barbecue.

Showing off your barbecuing skills while spending time with friends is one of the best things about summer.

68. Order a beer flight at a craft brewery.

beer-flight-pure-project
Enjoying a flight of IPA craft beers at Pure Project, San Diego, California.

69. Sip summer beverages on a sunny patio.

70. Hit up happy hour.

Save cash while sipping those summer beverages and check off two bucket list items while catching up with your college friends.

71. Be a tourist in your own city.

Jump on that Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour and plug in your headphones!

72. Play a round of golf, go to the driving range or hit up a mini course.

73. See how many new favourite restaurants you can discover.

74. Host a game night.

Board game or card game nights are always a hit!

75. Grab your best friend for a round of tennis.

76. Participate in an outdoor volleyball game.

77. Go boating.

Budget Summer Bucket List Ideas

78. Stock up on books from the library.

anna-karenina
Reading for pleasure is one the most underrated summer bucket list ideas for college students.

79. Watch the sunrise and sunset.

80. Volunteer.

One summer I volunteered at the Dragon Boat Festival. I got to spend time in the sunshine while cheering on the teams and meeting new people.

81. Find a new walk route in your neighbourhood.

82. Take $40 to a thrift store and see what treasures you can find.

83. Visit an art gallery.

Most galleries have free or student rate admission nights. Don’t forget to pack your student ID!

84. Watch fireworks.

85. Visit a farmers market.

86. Complete a DIY fix-it project.

Watch a YouTube to clean your chair casters, install new door stoppers or hang a picture.

87. Pull an all-nighter (and not to study!)

88. Clean out your closet.

Donate what you don’t wear anymore, or sell on platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark or eBay to make some extra cash.

89. Make the ultimate summer playlist.

90. Have a picnic.

In-Person Class Summer Bucket List Ideas

91. Challenge your flexibility with a ballet class.

ballet: summer bucket list ideas for college students
Ballet is amazing activity to counteract all the sitting online students do.

92. Book an archery class.

93. Save your future self some money by taking a basic sewing/mending class.

94. Try a pottery class.

And then make a meal to put in your handmade bowl.

95. Try aerial yoga, hot yoga, or yin yoga.

96. Take a bellydancing class.

97. Unleash your inner creative with a painting class.

98. Try a pole dancing class.

Warning – it’s hard and leaves bruises! If you want something sultry with a bit less effort…

99. Sign up for a burlesque class.

100. Take a photography class.

101. Try a cooking class.

Learn to make Italian cuisine or impress your friends at your next gathering by taking a charcuterie culinary class!

Summer Bucket List Ideas for College Students – Wrap Up

This list is just a small sample of things to do in the summer as a college student. For even more ideas related to starting a new hobby this summer, read these posts:

Now that you have your summer bucket list items lined up, you can return to your studies refreshed.

Share with us in the comments: what’s on your summer bucket list this year?

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