Summer is in full swing, which means it’s light later, everyone’s in the mood to play, and party season is at its peak. But if you don’t exactly have the outdoor space needed to host a big backyard BBQ, that’s OK. Try one of these four off-site summer party ideas instead, no matter where you live.
Gathering around a bonfire is an age-old social tradition that still has loads of summer-party merit. Whether you live near the beach, a lake, or even a campground, invite friends to bundle up and join you for a ring around the fire.
Eat: Keep it simple. Roast hot dogs for dinner and ask guests to bring a side dish. Or, plan to meet up after dinner for drinks and s’mores.
Bring: Beach or camping chairs, so everyone has a spot to sit around the fire. And music is a must! Bring an iPod and docking station, or ask your musical friends to bring guitars for a good old-fashioned sing along.
Don’t Forget: Your swimsuit! If the weather is right, there’s nothing more fun than a night swim in the summer.
Music in the Park
One of my favorite summertime events is Jazz in the Park, where the entire community gathers in our local park and listens to some of the county’s best musicians. And many other cities across the country have similar (and often free!) events, including music or movies playing in an outdoor venue. Check out your local Conference and Visitors Bureau or Chamber of Commerce for dates and events.
Eat: Invite friends to join you for a picnic al fresco while you watch the show. Ask them to bring an appetizer to share and a bottle of wine, or host the wine and just have everyone pick up their favorite takeout on the way.
Bring: Beach chairs and plenty of blankets, some to sit on and some to snuggle under when night falls. And pack some extra plastic cups, plates, utensils, and napkins just in case others forget.
Don’t Forget: The wine key! There’s nothing worst than having to push the cork into the bottle with your thumb (well, except maybe having no wine at all!).
Whether you enjoy a leisurely game of bocce ball or a full-blown Beer Olympics, gathering at the beach or a local park for some outdoor games is a great way to make the most of summer’s beautiful weather. Plan a slosh ball or ultimate Frisbee tournament or set up several games, like bocce, croquet, horseshoes, and corn hole, and enjoy a day of friendly competition.
Eat: Choose something to throw on the grill, like burgers or BBQ chicken and corn on the cob. Or, if the location you choose doesn’t have grills, order pizzas to be delivered. Be sure to check about alcohol permits before you get there, but many parks allow you to bring coolers of beer or even a keg.
Bring: All necessary sporting equipment for your activities, including poster board and pens if you want to keep score. Also pack chairs and blankets so people can sit and relax while eating or taking a time out from the games.
Don’t Forget: Water! People need to stay hydrated while exerting energy in the sun.
Not in the mood to participate? Plan a spectator day at the ballpark or racetrack. Not every city has a professional baseball team or horse racetrack, but you might be surprised at what’s within a short drive of your town. Gather a group of friends, buy some tickets, and hop in the car for a little adventure.
Eat: Whatever vendors are selling. If you decide on the ballpark, it’s almost a crime not to indulge in a dog and a beer. If you prefer the racetrack, order something southern and enjoy a mint julep. Some parks and tracks allow you to bring in food depending on where you sit, so check websites for details.
Bring: A hat. Whether it’s Kentucky Derby-worthy or your favorite ball cap, you’ll not only fit right in, but you’ll be glad you have something to protect your face from the hours of sun.
Don’t Forget: Sunscreen! Your hat can’t protect your whole body, so don’t forget to lather on some SPF.