The Value of a Summer Bucket List

Published on June 14, 2021 - Updated on June 14, 2021

18 summers with our kids, how do we make them count?

There’s something magical about a summer bucket list and the inspiring annual reminder that time with my sweet, strong little girl won’t last forever. I’m teased often for being a bit over the top with all things parenting, and maybe so, but one of my favorite pastimes besides spending time with my daughter is planning our adventures! 

It’s my job to prepare her to “launch” and explore the world on her own. What better way to do that than to spend countless hours adventuring together, because in fact they aren’t countless at all. Our time together represents a critical building block of our family foundation, and while quality time is a priority year-round, building a summer bucket list is particularly important to us. 

Caitlin and Hanah hiking.jpg

For us, it feels especially important to embrace adventure this year after the challenging, restrictive summer of 2020 - so many adventures await! Often when people hear “bucket-list” they imagine extravagant trips and far-reaching ideas. For our family that is not the case. Building our bucket list together simply encourages us to think outside the box. 

It’s a fun family dinner conversation and the planning brings almost as much joy as the doing. You can start the list long and pare it down. That way you can let imaginations run free. Sometimes grand ideas make the cut, like a camping trip at your favorite national park. List items can also be super simple, such as a backyard picnic with ice cream for dinner. 

Summer Bucket List.pdf

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At happyly our team loves adventuring, exploring and creating bucket lists. I reached out to the team to see what’s on their families’ lists and here a few ideas to get your wheels turning: Visit one National Park one State Park and one County Park, Check out five new playgrounds, Catch fireflies, Go on three new hikes, Get to a new state this summer, Go to the beach, Find a waterfall, Spot a rainbow and much more.

Let your ideas be fun, don’t let them overwhelm or stress you out.

Civita Park 1.jpeg

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the happyly app to build a digital bucket list of outdoor adventures. You can save your list within the app, selecting adventures in one city or all over the country. Have the kids copy them onto a piece of paper to put on the fridge. It will serve as a reminder to get out, explore and mark adventures off one by one! 

For added fun, add drawings and photos of your summer adventures into a creative family scrapbook or Snapfish book that each member of the family can have their own copy of. Planning, doing and remembering these experiences will become cherished memories - enjoy the process!

using the happyly app .jpg

Does your family have a favorite summer bucket list item? Please reach out to and tell us about it, or share your highlights on Instagram @gethappyly for a chance to be featured!

Explore our blog for more inspiration such as The Ultimate Guide to RV Camping and Camping, Glamping or RV Travel: What Suits Your Family? or take a few moments to prepare with Five Healthy Homemade Snacks for On the Go and give summer all you've got!! 

Enjoying our content? Download the happyly app, the country’s only mobile-first family activity planning app, for fast access to all of our blog content, favorite activities, and expertly curated days, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country.

Thoughtfully captured by:
Caitlin Iseler
Caitlin Iseler, happyly founder and CEO, was born in New York and is one of eight children. Her favorite holiday is Thanksgiving and the chance to sit at one table with her favorite 40 people. Caitlin, her outdoor loving husband, Thomas, and daughter, Hanah, live in Virginia Beach. She is also blessed to be a bonus mom to 2 incredible humans, Max & Elizabeth. Being a mom has always been something she dreamt of and it brings her joy beyond measure. Before starting happyly, Caitlin spent 15 years working in executive search with technology companies, most recently with Korn Ferry. In what seems like a lifetime ago, she attended the University of Virginia and was a member of the National & ACC Championship Teams, a gift that keeps giving.
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