30 Things to Do Before Summer Ends

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Who’s ready for summer to end? [crickets…crickets.] Lucky for you, it’s not quite over yet. While there are only a few weeks left of the season, there’s still a ton of fun to be had. End your summer with a bang (and rack up good memories) by doing some of the things on this list.

montgomery-county-fairPhoto: Lynn Willis via Flickr

1. Be a kid at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. What would summer be without fair food and riding the Ferris Wheel on a warm evening? This fair’s also got barnyard animals, hog races, and a horse riding show. Tip: If you’re not privy to large crowds, avoid the last night of the fair.

2. View a total eclipse at the National Zoo. On August 21, stop by the zoo to observe the solar eclipse through a safe solar telescope and free safe eclipse glasses provided by the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

3. Dip your toes in the water at Sandy Point Beach. If you can’t make it to one of the more popular beaches, take a day trip to Annapolis, Md! It’s only an hour away. Makes the hour packing up the kids and car almost worth it.

4. Watch ice cream being made right before your eyes. And then eat it too! All at the Nicecream Factory.

5. Getting hot out there? Go ice skating! Rinks open year-round can be found at Fort Dupont, Cabin John, and Fairfax.

6. Let the tots practice their (gutter) balls for free with the nationwide summer program Kids Bowl Free! Find a participating bowling center near ya!

7. If you ain’t afraid of no ghosts, go on a haunted tour of D.C.

8. Take a trip to a historic town like Frederick Md, Lancaster Pa, Annapolis Md, or Leesburg Va.

9. The animals are out to play at the Leesburg Animal Park, and Catocin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo. Join in on the fun!

girl-splash-parkPhoto: Ian D. Keating via Flickr

10. Get wet at a splash park! You can’t go wrong with a trip to one of these local faves: Bohrer Park, Pirate’s Cove, or Great Waves.

11. Head to Harper’s Ferry for a float down the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.

12. Enjoy an outdoor concert at Wolftrap. Don’t forget to bring a picnic basket filled with goodies and a blanket!

13. Cool off at Fort Dupont. We all know those D.C. summer days when the sun beats down a little too hard. Head to this indoor skate rink in Anacostia starting in July for a much-needed cool down. This skate rink is great for the pros and beginners alike. Check the calendar for open skate times.

14. Go to an old fashioned drive-in movie theatre. Adults are $8 and kiddos are $4. There’s even a playground where the youngins can burn off energy before the movie starts. For a place closer to home, check out the Comcast Outdoor Film Festival. Bonus, it’s FREE!

15. See a movie that the tykes will love for only $1. Regal Cinema’s Summer Movie Express will be showing the likes of The Lego Movie and Paddington.

16. For the history buffs in your crew, spend a few days in Colonial Williamsburg. You’ll explore the city and rub elbows with “residents” (er, actors dressed up to look like residents) living during the revolutionary time period.

17. Thrill seekers would be remiss if they didn’t go to Busch Gardens or King’s Dominion…or both!

18. Cheer on the Nats to victory. Join the Jr. Nationals Kids Club for $20 and get tons of free stuff and ticket discounts. Take your boys (and girls) to see our local boys of summer as they take us through another awesome season!

Haute Dogs and FriesPhoto: Haute Dogs

19. Nothing says summer like the smell of hot dogs on the grill. But why not give the pit master in your troupe a break and head to one of these haunts for a weiner that wows.

20. Get that summer reading list done, and get a free book from Barnes & Noble (for bookworms in Grades 1 and up).

21. Stay up late(r) and watch the sunset from the comfort of your backyard, or head to the Southwest Waterfront, Georgetown, or the Tidal Basin for sunsets with D.C. backdrops.

22.See the city from a Duck Boat. When you live in the area, it’s easy to take certain things for granted. A tour is always a great way to learn something new… but when there’s water involved it’s even better! You’ll see DC from a new vantage point. These tours are very kid friendly and usually involve duck whistles. What could be better??

23. Pick fruit, lots and lots of fruit. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and more can be found fresh at local farms. Make it a day by packing snacks to eat and games to play post-picking.

24. Go camping at Cherry Hill Park. Take your RV or pitch a tent. There’s mini golf, a playground, and arcade right on-site! Pets are even welcome.

25. Want to enjoy the stars but don’t want to sleep under them? Then visit a local planetarium and enjoy the stars bug-free and without breaking a sweat.

26. Ride a carousel with your preschooler. Some of the tried and true rides can be found at Wheaton Regional, National Harbor, and Glen Echo.

27. Speaking of Smithsonian, could the crew visit all 19 of them this summer? The price is right: FREE.

hot-air-balloonsPhoto: battlecreekcvb via Flick

28. For a bit of whimsy, watch as colorful globes fill the sky at the Hot Air Balloon Festival held at The Flying Circus Air Show (airshows held every Sunday).

29. The inevitable Back to School shopping will be here before you know it, so why not take advantage of tax-free shopping?! Maryland: August 13-19.

30. Pose at some of the less tourist-ey monuments. Washington Monument? Check. Lincoln Memorial? Check. But have you seen the Albert Einstein Memorial? How about the Titanic Memorial? The National Capitol Columns at the Arboretum? Step away from tourism-central and seem something new. And don’t forget to take a family selfie!

What do you think? Did we miss anything? What’s on your bucket list this summer? Share your ideas in the comments section below. 

—Besa Pinchotti and Lisa Ng

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