19 sustainable summer activities to enjoy the sun and the planet


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This blog post is all about sustainable summer activities! 

Want to have fun and have an unforgettable summer this year?

There are tons of things we can do during the summer months to enjoy the sun and the warmer weather. 

But if you’ve clicked on this article, you probably want to make sure you’re doing them with the planet in mind. 

Whether you want to give sustainable living a try or you’ve adopted a zero-waste lifestyle a long time ago, this post is for you! 

I’ve rounded up 19 sustainable summer activities for you to try this season. 

Thanks to them, you’ll be able to spend a lot of time outdoors and have a great time while minimizing your environmental footprint.  

This blog post contains affiliate links which means that if you buy something through such links, I will get a small commission without any extra cost for you. Please read my Disclosure for more details. 

What are sustainable summer activities? 

Sustainable summer activities are things you can do this summer that are fun, relaxing, and/or exciting but that will also not harm the planet. 

Some of these activities are eco-friendly by nature. 

Others aren’t inherently sustainable, but I give you helpful tips to make them better for the environment. 

That way, you can still enjoy them but also feel good knowing they won’t contribute to pollution, waste, climate change, or other environmental issues.

All the sustainable summer activities I include in this article can be done both alone or with your family, spouse, kids, or friends.   

Read more:

In this blog post, you'll discover 19 sustainable summer activities to enjoy the sun and the planet.

19 sustainable summer activities to enjoy the sun and the planet

1. Relax by the water

During the summer months, many of us have extra time to relax and truly rest.

Even if you don’t have a lot of time on hand, make sure to find time to slow down a bit. 

What better way to do that than going to the beach or the lake and taking it slow by the water?

You can even do that by the pool if you have one in your garden or your city.

Take your beach towel and lay down on the sand or a lounge chair.

Take a nap or read a good book.

Of course, don’t forget to wear a hat and apply non-toxic, reef-safe sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.

Read more: 9 sustainable & organic beach towels for an eco-friendly beach trip 

2. Make homemade iced tea

Iced tea is one of the most refreshing cold beverages we can sip on all summer long! 

And the great thing about it is that we can make it healthy by choosing the ingredients with intention.

The Busy Baker has a great recipe that only uses three simple ingredients and it’s delicious. 

Making iced tea at home instead of ordering it at a restaurant also means that we create less waste (bye-bye single-use straws and cups!) and save money

3. Go on a picnic

Take advantage of the lovely weather to go on a picnic with your family or friends.

You can do it wherever you like, for instance by the river, at the park, or even at the beach. 

To make it more sustainable, try to bring package-free food with you and organic ingredients if you can.

Don’t forget to bring your reusable cutlery, food storage containers, and napkins to avoid disposable products.

At the end, make sure not to leave anything behind, including food or packaging. 

4. Plant flowers 

If you have a garden or even a balcony, consider planting some flowers this summer.

Flowers will make your outdoor space more colorful and incredibly beautiful.

Not to mention they’ll bring you joy and happiness every time you look at them.

Plus, bees and other pollinators are fond of them! 

You can also plant some herbs such as basil or chives so you‘ll have them on hand whenever you want to add them to your meals. 

Gardening is one of the best sustainable summer activities you can try!

5. Build a bee house

Here again, if you have a garden, even if it’s a small yard, you can make bees and pollinators happy by building a little home for them. 

This is a fun DIY project that will be very rewarding to do!

You can also do it with your kids while teaching them about the importance of protecting bees. 

This article shows you exactly how you can create different types of bee houses by using simple materials such as bamboo stakes, a mug, paper bags, or a plastic bottle.

How cool?! 

6. Go strawberry-picking 

One of the best sustainable summer activities is strawberry picking!

Choose a strawberry farm or orchard (ideally an organic one) that allows people to come and pick fruits themselves. 

You’ll be able to eat some delicious strawberries at the farm and come back home with a large supply for the following days. 

Going strawberry picking at a local farm ensures your fruits are grown locally, which reduces their environmental impact. 

7. Go star-gazing 

Invite some magic into your summer by going star-gazing with your loved ones.

Make sure to go somewhere farther from the city so that there is no light pollution around. 

And then, just admire the beauty of the night sky!

I don’t know about you, but I rarely look at the sky at night as it’s so dark. 

But I’ve realized that we miss out on such beauty when we don’t do it and it’s a shame.

Summer is the perfect time for star-gazing as we can be outside without being too cold at night. 

8. Have a low-waste, plant-based barbecue 

Many of us love having barbecues during the summer months.

However, these can be quite wasteful if we’re not careful! 

So consider organizing a low-waste barbecue this year.

Have all your reusable, zero-waste products ready, such as reusable napkins, stainless steel cups, and reusable cutlery and plates. 

If you want something more convenient, you can still use paper plates and wooden cutlery but make sure to compost them at the end of your barbecue. 

Make it even more sustainable by choosing to have a meat-free barbecue.

You can grill all kinds of delicious foods from vegetables to meat alternatives to tofu.   

Read more:

One of the best sustainable summer activities is to host a low-waste, plant-based barbecue.

9. Have a staycation 

If you have some time off this summer, consider having a staycation instead of traveling far away. 

Traveling is super fun and exciting, but sometimes, having a staycation is everything we need.

We don’t necessarily need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to have a great time and relax. 

We can do lots of things locally, like staying in a local hotel and exploring our own state.

We can also choose to stay home (even camp in our backyard if we have the space!) and prioritize rest and fun.  

Read more: 8 eco-friendly travel tips for sustainable tourism

10. Go camping 

If you want to spend a lot of time in nature this summer, go camping with your family or friends!

You’ll be able to disconnect from technology and reconnect to the rhythms of nature. 

Take advantage of this trip to explore the outdoors and fully immerse yourself in nature. 

Of course, pick up after yourself and do not litter.

Bring your reusables and some package-free food, and enjoy what the planet has to offer. 

11. Sustainable back-to-school shopping

If you have kids or are a student yourself, you’ll probably have to go shopping for school supplies this summer. 

Try to do it as sustainably as possible.

First, make sure to reuse the supplies and backpacks you already have from last year. 

For the items you need to buy, see if you can get a more eco-friendly version.

For instance, you can purchase plantable pencils, recycled paper notebooks, or scissors made of recycled plastic.

Read more:

12. Have an outdoor movie night

Check if your city organizes an outdoor movie night, and if so, take advantage of that opportunity and go there with your friends and family.

My city did that last year on a local beach and the experience was truly magical! 

You can also choose to host an outdoor movie night in your own backyard if you have a projector.

Hang a white sheet between two trees or on your house walls to create a DIY movie screen.

Use supplies, decorations, and chairs you already have at home, and you’re set for a fun night with your loved ones!   

Wondering what to do? Have an outdoor movie night!

13. Go swimming 

One of the best sustainable summer activities you can do is swimming!

Apart from your swimsuit, you don’t need any equipment. 

Swimming also comes with many health benefits!

It helps us move our whole body, boosts our mood, and reduces stress. 

Not to mention it’s incredibly refreshing and much more energy-efficient to go for a swim than to turn on the AC to cool down. 

Read more: 13 sustainable swimwear brands for a fun, eco-friendly summer

14. Go on a bike ride 

Another type of exercise I absolutely love to do, particularly in the summer, is biking!

Consider going on regular bike rides alone or with loved ones to explore your local environment.

Go biking in the forest, in the countryside, or even in the city. 

You can also choose to go to work or run some errands using your bike instead of your car if it’s safe to do in your area.  

15. Organize a beach clean-up

If you live near a beach or a lake, organize a beach clean-up with your friends and family. 

Take some gloves and trash bags and aim to collect as much trash as possible.

To make things even more fun and exciting, consider running a contest: the person who collects the most wins! 

Doing a beach clean-up will positively impact your local environment and wildlife, and this activity is incredibly fulfilling. 

If you don’t live near the beach or a lake, you can do the same in the forest or by the river.

Read more: 10 brilliant ways to help the environment 

16. Go on a hike

What better time to go on a hike than in the summer?

You can go on a hike in the mountains, in a national or state park, or even in the forest. 

If you live somewhere really hot and humid, prefer to do that early in the morning so you can then rest when the sun is high. 

Make sure to bring a lot of water (in a stainless steel water bottle), some package-free snacks (in reusable Ziploc bags), good hiking shoes, non-toxic sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the heat.

You may also want to adopt the Leave No Trace principles to protect the local wildlife and environment.

Go on a hike to immerse yourself in nature and explore  the outdoors.

17. Go paddleboarding 

Another great activity to beat the summer heat is paddleboarding.

You can do that at the beach, on a lake, and even on a river. 

To make it more sustainable, try to pick up trash that you find in the water.

That way, you’ll leave knowing you’ve had a great time and made a great impact at the same time! 

Read more: 20 easy ways to conserve water

18. Visit a museum

While the summer is the best time of the year to spend time outside, sometimes we like being indoors to escape the heat. 

Visit a museum to learn something new while staying cool.

Depending on what museums there are in your area, learn more about art, natural history, archeology, or history.

We can also find museums on more unique topics, which can be fun as well!  

19. Go on daily walks

Take advantage of the beautiful weather to go on a walk every day.

It will help you do some exercise and is great for your mental health. 

If it’s not too hot out, you can do it during the day.

But if it’s unbearable, opt for early morning or after dinner when the sun is setting.

Here again, if you manage to pick up some trash while walking, that’s even better!

Final thoughts on sustainable summer activities 

I hope you’ve found this article about sustainable summer activities helpful and that it inspired you to spend more time outdoors while protecting the environment. 

While doing these activities, don’t forget to bring your sustainable summer essentials with you to further minimize your environmental footprint! 

If you liked this post, you might want to read the following ones too:

What are your favorite sustainable summer activities to do during the warmer months? 

Please leave your recommendations in the comments! 

Don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends so they can have a fun, eco-friendly summer too. 

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