By: Melanie Gagon
Summertime in the mountains can feel like such a magical time of year. Whether you want to tackle a new challenge or spend more time relaxing in some amazing places - here are some of our can’t miss summer activities you need to add to your bucket list.
Beat the Heat and Go Caving
I used to be intimidated when I thought of caves, but it doesn’t have to mean you’ll be crawling around on your stomach in tight claustrophobic feeling spaces. There are a lot of family friendly caves you can hike to and explore and some even offer guided tours. Caves not only offer shade and cooler temps while you’re exploring inside, it’s also a great learning opportunity for kids. The prehistoric icicle looking formations inside most caves are iconic and something that they will never forget. I still remember learning about stalagmites and stalactites when I was little and explored the Mount Timpanogos Cave in Utah! A quick search on the internet can help you find some caves in your area. Just always make sure to be safe and use caution if you are exploring on your own.
Hike to a Waterfall
For us summer activities will usually involve some sort of water, especially if it's 100 degrees outside. We are always looking for ways to be outdoors and have a chance to cool off and get wet at the same time. We love waterfalls because it feels like a reward after a hike when you can splash around in the water and play in the falls before heading back down the trails. Plus the sight and sound of massive waterfalls can’t help but make you smile.
Sunrise or Sunset Hike
Going hiking early in the morning (or late in the evening for a sunset hike if that’s more your thing) lets you get outside before the scorching temps make the trails feel dry and miserable. You may even be hiking while it’s dark out which can feel like a treat if you don’t have the sun beating down your back. The mountains look and feel different when the sun is coming up and seeing the cotton candy sunset skies at night from the top of a peak is truly amazing!
Stargaze in the Desert
There is something special about summer nights in the desert! Even though the days can be hot, the nights are magical. Being able to see the stars scattered all over the sky is something you will never forget, and some photos just never capture everything you can see with your own eyes. If you want to experience the best way to stargaze look up some of the International Dark Sky Parks! You’ll get optimal stargazing without any city light pollution around. Utah has the highest concentration of International Dark Sky Association-certified locations. We love to camp in these areas as they are more remote and it gives you the optimal feeling for being in the wilderness.
Watch a Meteor Shower
Do you ever get excited when you see a shooting star? Staying up to watch a meteor shower and watching the stars streak across the sky can be so fun for the whole family. There are different meteor showers throughout the year, but we always make an effort to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower in August! It peaks in mid August and is considered to be the best one of the year because meteors shoot across the sky every few minutes. Stay up late, make a fun night of it for the family, have treats, turn it into a game for how many you can each spot, and enjoy. Just make sure you don’t stay up all night when you have things to do the next day! Don’t forget to add some of the typical summer activities to your list of things to do. There’s the thrill of catching a fish, kayaking on the lake, tubing down a river and if you haven’t tried making S’mores over the campfire with a Reses instead of regular chocolate you are missing out on one of the finer things in life!
About the Author: Melanie Gagon
Melanie was born and raised in Utah and has been exploring the outdoors and going on adventures with her family for years. She has a BA in American Literature and a passion for writing. She’s a mother of two energetic boys that love the mountains and Utah desert just as much as she does. Her and her husband enjoy the simple life and love raising their family in the wild outdoors.