50 Things to See, Taste, Hear, Feel & Smell Between Memorial Day and Labor Day

published May 25, 2018
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(Image credit: Bijou Karman)

Just like New Year’s Day is a benchmark for the mind, the start of summer is a benchmark for the soul.

At some point in the calendar (Mother Nature waits not for the Summer Solstice), rain and blooms give way to hot, humid mornings. It’s around this time of year that you find yourself reaching more for shorts over jeans, and longing to introduce some simple pleasures in your day. A cool drink wet with condensation. A delicious waft of BBQ on the grill. The chance to just lay down in near-silence and feel the wind.

That’s how you know summer’s begun.

Only you can know what senses are going to stir your soul, but we’ve decided to jumpstart the season by making a list of the 50 things our editors are most yearning to see, taste, hear, feel, and smell between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

If you’re ready to stoke the embers of summer, try to fit one or more of these simple pleasures into your weekend…

(Image credit: Bijou Karman)
  • A movie in the great outdoors
  • A local landmark of historical significance
  • Artwork on free admission day at a local museum
  • A firework display
  • A local production (Shakespeare in the Park, anyone?)
  • Some architecture on a walking tour of your city
  • Fireflies at dusk
  • Your neighborhood through the lens of an old film camera (or at least a filter that simulates one)
  • How the sun peeks through the leaves of a tree when you’re laying down under it
  • A kite taking flight
(Image credit: Bijou Karman)
  • Pink lemonade
  • A regional outdoor summer meal (clambake, crawfish boil, etc.)
  • Iced tea while sitting in a rocking chair
  • An apple pie you baked yourself
  • A perfectly-toasted s’more
  • Some buttery corn on the cob
  • A perfectly ripe tomato
  • A slice of blueberry pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top
  • The perfect picnic pasta salad
  • Grilled burgers and hot dogs in the backyard
(Image credit: Bijou Karman)
  • Live music in the park that you didn’t necessarily plan to hear
  • A bird’s song (and see if you can identify it)
  • Conversations overheard at a favorite cafe
  • A speech or talk from someone in your community
  • Splashing/laughing/swimming sounds at a local watering hole
  • A summer jams playlist you curated with your favorites
  • Ghost stories (maybe even see if you can find a local ghost tour)
  • The crowd roaring at a local baseball or little league game
  • Water… find a river or a coast or lake and just listen
  • The music from an ice cream truck
(Image credit: Bijou Karman)
  • Linen on your skin
  • Sticky fingers from fresh fruit
  • The breezy air on a carnival ride (even if you’re scared)
  • Dirt under your fingernails as you plant something
  • Empowered by a protest or march (or at least a YouTube video of one)
  • The weightless feeling of swinging in a hammock
  • The splash from water balloons, a slip ‘n slide, or a plastic backyard pool
  • What it’s like to sleep with the windows open
  • A bug crawling on your skin (preferably a firefly)
  • Grass on your skin as you take an outdoor nap
(Image credit: Bijou Karman)
  • The petrichor scent from being outside in a rainstorm
  • The unmistakable summer scent of a BBQ grill
  • A campfire (and don’t forget to toast some marshmallows)
  • The oldest book you can find in your library’s archives
  • Fresh flowers from a farmer’s market
  • Different brews as you coffee shop-hop one morning
  • The ocean (or a candle that smells like one)
  • Some wildflowers you picked yourself
  • Fresh basil waiting to be made into pesto or a caprese salad
  • That ice cream shop smell (waffle cones!)

What are your favorite senses of summer? Share what’s on your bucket list in the comments!