by Brett Leveridge
It's the simple pleasures—fireflies, going barefoot, a ice-cold glass of lemonade—that make summer such a special time of the year. Here are some of our favorite joys of the summer season; why not tell us about yours?
For many, summer means the beach, but if a sandy shore is out of reach for you, a trip to a nearby lake or even a nice, long splash in a pool can do the trick.
Sure, you can enjoy this refreshing drink year-round if you wish, but it'll never taste better than it does on a warm summer day.
No summer evening is complete without just a touch of magic, and few things in life are more magical than watching the fireflies come out just after dusk.
It's hard to beat a summer night at the drive-in, but if there's not one near you, no worries: Many cities and town offer al fresco screenings of family-friendly motion pictures in municipal parks, so grab a blanket and go!
The last day of school has long meant the first day of going barefoot. Kids everywhere look forward to kicking off those shoes and enjoying the feeling of turf or sand between their toes.
Nothing sparks the imagination of kids of all ages like spotting a falling star streaking across a summer sky that's ablaze with twinkling lights.
The refeshing whir of a fan is one of the treasured sounds of summer, and few kids can resist leaning in (but not too close!) to hear their voice made gravelly by the rotating blades.
No self-respecting youngster would ever say no to ice cream, even the store-bought variety, but there's something very special about homemade ice cream that's been hand-cranked in a bin full of ice and rock salt. Make ours peach, please!
Nothing tops miniature golf for a fun and affordable summer outing for the family. There aren't as many of these courses around as there once were, but that's all the more reason to treasure those that are still going strong.
This old-fashioned form of relaxation is among the simplest of summer's pleasures, but one of the most indelible ones, too. Anyone who's ever watched the sun go down, listened to one of Grandpa's stories or held the hand of someone special while swinging in a porch swing will never forget it.
Tossing a baseball or softball in the backyard can make for the best kind of quality time between a parent and child. No rules, no competition, just a gentle back-and-forth that has a way of opening the doors of communication.
Fourth of July celebrations are great, but nothing tops Nature's own fireworks on a warm summer night. Watching these atmospheric pyrotechnics inspires a special kind of awe.
The romance of loading up the car and heading for the horizon holds an allure for just about all of us, whether we yearn for a family vacation or a solo journey. There's an awful lot of country out there, and it just wouldn't be summer if you didn't hit the road to see at least a small part of it.
Pulling over while traveling a country road to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from the very people who grew them is a special delight of the summer season.
Nothing says summer like the intoxicating scent that accompanies mowing the lawn. It's (almost) enough to make a kid volunteer to do yardwork!