Summer does not necessarily mean perfect weather.
Sometimes it’s sweltering outside, but a record-smashing heat wave doesn’t have to limit your recreational activities.
There are plenty of fun things to do when it’s hot outside.
Some are inside, which is appropriate if the heat index is dangerous.
When the heat is more inviting, you can let your skin soak up the sun and breathe fresh air while having a good time.
51 Fun and Refreshing Things to Do on a Hot Day
On this list, you’ll see ideas for social and solo activities. Many you can do right at home, but others will expand your horizons.
Read on and pick out some new experiences that will make your summer one to remember.
1. Wash your car.
This works as a solo or group activity. Put on your shorts or bathing suit, fill up a bucket with soapy water, and turn on the hose. You can cool yourself off with the hose while you work.
2. Make milkshakes.
If you’ve got a blender, a luscious, cold drink is just a few steps away. Pick out your favorite flavor of ice cream and blend up an ice-cold treat.
3. Go to the beach.
Nothing cools you off like a dip in a lake or the ocean. Play in the water and lounge on the sand until the cares of the world depart your mind.
4. Travel to the mountains.
If you’re fortunate enough to live near a mountainous area, this is one of the things to do on a hot day with your boyfriend.
Simply head for the cooler air at a higher elevation. The drive will be scenic, and you can take a stroll at a local park.
5. Play games in the basement.
A home with a basement automatically has a cool place to escape the heat without turning on the AC. Get out your favorite games and forget about the scorching weather outside.
6. Drive with the AC blasting.
When your rising core temperature makes you fussy, indulge in an AC-chilled car ride. It’s pretty easy to get a vehicle frigid inside. Listen to music or podcasts until you feel refreshed.
7. Play water games in the yard.
A lawn sprinkler and kiddie pool offer the cheapest way to build your own personal water park.
A run in the sprinkler followed by sitting on a lawn chair with your feet in the pool will make you love a hot day.
8. Go kayaking or canoeing.
Look for a kayak/canoe rental in your local area and get out on the water. Be sure to wear a sun hat while paddling. You can stop and go wading any time you like during your excursion.
9. Go shopping.
Box stores, supermarkets, and malls maintain cooler temperatures. A leisurely stroll through the stores gets you out of a sweltering house and gives you time to find the best deals on items that you need.
10. Build a “hillbilly” air conditioner.
You make a hillbilly air conditioner by cutting one or more holes in a bucket or Styrofoam cooler, filling it with ice, and directing a fan into it. Cold air comes out of the holes. Check YouTube for instruction videos.
11. Make margaritas.
Whether you make these drinks with tequila, wine, or no alcohol, the citrus juice, ice, and salt are just what your body needs on a hot day.
12. Take a siesta.
When it’s too hot to do anything, take a nap. Cultures in hot climates have embraced the tradition of the afternoon rest period for centuries.
Lay down in front of a fan and grab a cat nap. The downtime will refresh you.
13. Watch movies outside after dark.
Wi-Fi usually reaches outside of your house. Move a smart TV outside or get an affordable Wi-Fi projector and set up a mini outdoor theater.
14. Visit an indoor ice-skating rink.
Some towns and cities have indoor ice rinks. You’re guaranteed a cool experience there. Rent some skates and forget about the summer heat for a while.
15. Have a snowball fight.
An ice shaver machine is for more than making flavored ices. Pack those ice shavings into balls and play like you’re five years old.
No one loses because everyone gets cooled off on a hot day.
16. Chill in a hammock.
Less is more when you’re looking for things to do when it’s hot. You can find inexpensive hammocks on Amazon – some for under $25. Put one up in a shady spot and relax in the breeze with a good book.
17. Have a picnic at a park.
Look for a shady area at a local park and spread out a blanket. You can make the food yourself or buy take-out.
Be sure to pack a cooler with cold drinks. Then, just kick back and enjoy a leisurely meal.
18. Visit a roadside attraction.
Give those tourist traps, strange local museums, or mini-golf courses that you normally drive by a second look. Take the time on a hot day to have a new experience at one.
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19. Repurpose old clothes for hot weather.
A pair of scissors transforms old jeans and shirts into a casual warm-weather wardrobe. Cut off the legs to make shorts and snip away sleeves to make tank tops.
20. Go berry picking.
Hot weather is when the berries ripen. Find a local U-pick farm and get ready to fill your baskets with sweet, juicy produce.
Wear old clothes because you might get a little dirty.
21. Invite friends over for BBQ.
Your barbecue saves you from heating up the kitchen when it’s scorching outside.
From simple fare, like burgers and hot dogs, to a big project like a brisket, barbecue delivers mouthwatering flavors. Enjoy dinner on the patio or inside with the air conditioning.
22. Play a geocache game.
When wondering what to do on a hot day, geocaching presents a change of pace. Most people use smartphone geocache apps to set up a game and communicate clues to seekers.
23. Gaze at the stars.
If you stayed in your air-conditioned cave all day, come out to observe the stars at night. The air will be cooler, and the night sky will be inspiring.
24. People watch at a busy air-conditioned location.
People watching at a busy venue is like watching a thousand stories all at once. Wander the stores and malls and see how many unique and interesting individuals you can encounter.
25. Take popsicles to an elderly relative or neighbor.
Hot weather is hard on the elderly population. Older people cooped up on a hot day in front of a fan might be bored and lonely. They’ll appreciate a friendly visit and a cold treat.
26. Organize pictures and order prints.
When you just want to avoid the heat outside, you can put your time to good use going through your digital pictures. As you enjoy the memories, upload your pictures to a cloud account and order some prints.
27. Give yourself an at-home facial.
An exfoliating scrub followed by a moisturizing application will brighten your face. Relax with sliced cucumbers over your eyes and get beautiful for when you do feel like going out.
28. Go to a casino.
This outing won’t be cheap because it’s a place designed to take your money, but the space is air-conditioned and fun. Stick to your budget when playing the games. Then grab dinner after at another cool spot.
29. Go to a movie theater.
Summer blockbusters are a thing because for generations, people went to air-conditioned theaters on hot days to escape the heat. It’s still a good plan on a hot day.
30. Check out library books and DVDs.
Local libraries often serve as community cooling stations. The climate-controlled interior will be comfortable, and you can borrow a new book or movie.
31. Work on a craft project.
Make the most of that heat wave by enjoying your favorite craft hobby or learning a new one. Think about crafting some holiday gifts so that you’ll be ready for the end of the year.
32. Play frisbee.
Frisbee is fun and doesn’t cost too much. If you’re sick of sitting home, go to a park and play a game that shouldn’t get you overheated.
33. Make a big batch of taco salad.
Summer is the time for eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Get the ingredients at a farmers’ market or supermarket and prepare taco salad. You won’t heat up the kitchen doing it.
34. Host an ice cream social.
Invite your friends over for ice cream. Prepare an ice cream bar with two to four flavors plus lots of toppings. Everyone will feel cooler after a big bowl of ice cream.
35. Attend a summer festival.
Your local area will offer a variety of outdoor events throughout the season, from county fairs to art festivals. Find one that interests you and get out of the house.
36. Go fishing.
Being near the water will refresh you on a hot day, and fishing is not an activity that is overly demanding physically. Just find a shady spot and put your hook in the water.
37. Plant a container garden.
For some people, sunshine and hot weather mean it’s time to grow plants outside. Visit a garden center and select some flowers and vegetables. Their beauty will please you through the whole season.
38. Attend an outdoor concert.
Municipalities often sponsor outdoor concerts because citizens will be looking for something to do outside. These concerts are often free. You should see if any are available where you live.
39. Feed ducks and geese at a pond.
Break up some stale bread and head to your local park. The waterfowl are always looking for a free meal, and feeding them is very relaxing.
40. Make tie-dye T-shirts.
Tie-dye can transform a stained shirt into something that looks good again.
A tie-dye project involves buckets of water and getting your hands wet, making it an excellent thing to do on a hot day.
41. Visit a winery or brewery.
Discover new brews by tasting wine and beer at your regional venues. The cost of sampling beverages is affordable, and you’ll learn what suits your palate the most.
42. Go tubing on a river.
Floating down a river with friends in an innertube is a simple activity that is surprisingly pleasurable. It’s like combining sitting in a recliner with swimming.
43. Go to a local baseball game.
For some people, summer is not complete without attending a local baseball game. Pick your seats carefully so that the sun is not in your eyes.
44. Have a water balloon fight.
The game is not very dignified, but few people can resist the joys of bashing each other with water balloons. It doesn’t hurt, but you will get wet and cooled off.
45. Chase fireflies.
As a blistering summer day comes to a close, the fireflies emerge in the night sky. They aren’t hard to catch in a jar, and you can marvel at their glowing bodies up close.
46. Make lemonade from scratch.
All you need is a bag of lemons and sugar to mix up a fantastic drink. You can control how sweet or sour you make the lemonade.
47. Make an icebox cake.
No-bake desserts have been around since the icebox, although you’ll hopefully have an actual refrigerator for chilling your sweet creation.
48. Go bowling.
A whole separate universe exists within a bowling alley where you can avoid any type of outdoor weather. A couple of indoor games will distract you nicely from the heat wave.
49. Throw a hot sauce party.
Spicy foods cause people to sweat, which has a cooling effect. Enlist one or more of your bold friends, buy a few different super-hot sauces, and some chips or chicken wings.
Everyone will have a good time laughing at each other’s reactions to the hot sauces.
50. Furnish your patio or balcony.
Take advantage of price deals on patio furniture and put together your outdoor haven. A comfy outdoor space will encourage you to unwind outside after work.
51. Paint with watercolors.
You can do this alone or organize a painting party. Watercolors are affordable and easy to use regardless of your artistic skills.
Hot weather can wear you down after a while unless you accept the season for what it has to offer. The long nights of winter are never far away. Enjoy these sunny days as much as you can.