UPDATED with progress! Sun’s out, time for fun! Here’s my Summer Bucket List for 2023, including activities I can do solo as a Happily Single person to squeeze all the fun out of this fleeting season. What do you want to do? Free Bucket List template! This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that I get a commission if you take advantage of the offer (thank you!).

Summer Bucket List 2023

Ah, summer. That time of endless sunny days, swimming, and fun. Or, it used to be for me. This summer, one of my big goals is to become a summer person again. To that end, I’ve created a Summer Bucket List for 2023 to help me squeeze all of the fun out of this fleeting season. While I’m sure I’ll do some of these with friends and/or family, most of these are activities I can, and likely will, do solo. As the summer goes on, I’ll update this with my progress.

I’d love to hear all about your Summer Bucket List, and there’s a little something to help you create it below!

Summer Bucket List!

I want to be a summer person again

Growing up, if you asked me to name my favorite season, I would not have hesitated. Summer, hands down. Endless days of swimming, playing with friends, and lazing about. All of life before me in an endless sea of possibility. I continued to feel this way right up until I moved to Somerville, Massachusetts, in the mid-2000s. My home on the edge of Boston opened up so many other wonders, and I loved my time there, but summers?

They sucked.

Watching terrible movies, in a muumuu

Getting to the beach? A pain in the backside. Hanging outside in the baking city sun? The pits. Sweltering in my third-floor apartment? Deadly. Remind me to tell you the story of the Great Bat Incident of 2013 sometime.

I once watched Children of the Corn, Part V, while wearing a muumuu. Not because I wanted to be doing either of those things, but because changing the channel proved entirely too demanding for me in the city heat.

I would sing love songs to my air conditioner and utter incantations, lest it die

Singing love songs to my air conditioner

I grew to hate summer, hiding out in my room with the shades drawn, chanting incantations, lest my air conditioner give out. In my mind, I’d come up with all of these awesome summer things to do, and sometimes I’d get out to do them, but really, I was just hot and miserable.

Add to it: work stress

To make matters worse, my job usually had big deliverables due at the end of the summer. While everyone else went out on holiday, I had to stay behind and work so that they would have something to do when they returned. That meant that August, especially, was fraught with stress, which only added to the sweat.

Good Harbor Beach, tide coming in, and two bathers in the water. Rocks visible in the distance
Spending time at the beach in 2022

In 2022, I rekindled my love of summer

Last summer, I started to rekindle my love of summer. I left my job in July, and, while I traveled and moved, I still had more summer fun in August than I’d had in fifteen years. Between that and hanging out on the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, and Split, Croatia, through the end of October where summer just never seemed to end, I rekindled my love of summer. 

My Summer Bucket List for 2023 includes an ocean beach day

My Summer Bucket List for 2023

This summer I want more of summer fun, and I just so happen to be in a summer playground, so I am going to get it. This summer? One for the books.

Without further ado, here’s my Bucket List for Summer 2023.

1. Take the Mount Washington Cog Railway

I grew up in New Hampshire, and, while I have hiked quite a few of its peaks, I’ve never been to the top of Mount Washington. Sometime in my 20s, I realized that I don’t really like hiking that much, so I’m unlikely to huff and puff my way up there.

It just so happens that you can take a historic steam train to the top of New Hampshire’s highest peak (and the site of the worst weather ever recorded—it’s nicer in the summer)! This combines a few things I love—train rides, historic attractions, and amazing views. I’m taking the Mount Washington Cog Railway this summer.

Update: DONE!

What fun! SO WINDY! And absolutely gorgeous. A wonderful trip that I’ll be posting about soon.

Mount Washington Cog Railway steam engine from 1908 with a blue railway car on top of mount washington

2. Visit Castle in the Clouds

If memory serves me properly, I have only ever visited one of New Hampshire’s more beautiful homes once—in first grade. The main thing that I remember from my visit to the Castle in the Clouds is that the guy who built it ran out of money and that he died penniless (as a first grader, pennies still counted for something, so I felt his pain). That and a boy in the other first-grade class got to ride in Mrs. Bunker’s Corvette, and I still feel a bit bitter about this.

All this is to say that I don’t really remember Castle in the Clouds at all, certainly not the sweeping views that visitors rave about. I’d like to rectify that this summer.

Update: DONE!

What a beautiful day in the hills above New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee!

3. Book my next big trip!

I’ve dragged my feet a bit booking another trip, as I’ve very much wanted to take Ollie on the road with me, and that’s proving more challenging than I’d like (short version—he’s a smidge to big to take in the cabin on most flights and would not do well in the cargo hold at all). While I will not leave him again for months at a time, I do need to get out of here. I’m looking at Istanbul in September. If you’ve been, I’d love to hear about your experience!

Update: Due to a family issue, I need to hold off on booking this for the next month or two. I’m bummed, but excited to travel soon!

4. Watch Jaws while floating in the pool

If we’re friends in real life, something you know about me is that I absolutely love the movie Jaws. You might even wish that I’d shut up about it already. I make a point to see it every summer, outside whenever possible. Something I have never done, and have always wanted to do, is to watch the iconic classic while floating in a pool. Well, there’s a pool here. I have ordered a projector and a float (with a cup holder to hold my requisite Narragansett tallboy). Stay tuned.

Update: DONE!

Watching Jaws in the pool was SO FUN! I hooted and howled and had a grand old time. I even found the collectors ‘Gannsett cans!

It was so fun that I’m going to do a little outdoor film series with themed snacks and drinks. Stay tuned!

5. Go to a singular museum

I love a weird museum. The Libby Museum of Natural History, just outside of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, is such a place, and I have yet to go there. A rather eccentric man collected taxidermy and other artifacts and created a museum with them. Taxidermy in curio cabinets? Why yes, please.

Update: DONE!

What a delightfully odd afternoon of taxidermy and treasure!

6. A proper beach day (or days) at the ocean

These days, I’m going to need an umbrella and plenty of sunscreen, but I want to spend a good, old-fashioned day at an ocean beach. Or maybe two. I want to swim in the ocean, walk along the shore, collect seashells, eat a soft-serve ice cream, and fall asleep ridiculously early that night, because the sun just made me so happy tired.

Update: Attempted!

We had one rainy summer here in New England, and a proper beach day in summer just didn’t happen. However, I did put my toes in some sand, and I’m spending a few days on Ogunquit Beach in Maine the first week in autumn.

7. Bake a berry galette

If you’ve read along for a while, you might remember my baking fail from last year. Well, this year, I’m determined to succeed.

Update: Sad Trombone

I bought some glorious wild blueberries . . . and proceeded to eat them. Alas. Next year.

8. Go on a rollercoaster

You know what I haven’t done in ages? Gone on a rollercoaster. I absolutely loved them as a kid. Maybe I don’t now, but I’d like to find out. I want to go to an amusement park, get on a ride, and scream my fool head off. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Update: Done!

Under the wire, I got to Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire and rode the Yankee Cannonball (seen in the distance here form the Ferris Wheel).

Verdict: I do enjoy a good thrill ride, but not a terrifying one. The old-fashioned Yankee Cannonball was perfect; I did not attempt the more modern, terrifying roller coaster at the park. I’m cool with that.

9. Read more fiction

Summer is good for fiction, isn’t it? I have a pile of novels just waiting to be read, and I’m going to read them.


Light Perpetual. Read this book. It’s not a nice story, but these interwoven lives are very human ones. So very good.

The Haunting of Hill House, as chilling as expected!

The Sentence, intense and amazing.

Lessons in Chemistry, which  taught me not to judge a book by it’s cover.

Stay tuned for more books!

10. Lounge by the pool

I’ve spent so many summers holed up in a darkened bedroom, watching terrible television. There’s a place for summer lounging, but I want to do it outside, by the pool. If it’s a nice day, I want to just spontaneously decide that it’s a “pool day,” and proceed to lounge. And swim. And maybe float on that float I ordered.

Update: Perfection

I aced this one. Success!

I’m excited for my summer!

Just writing all this down has me excited for my summer! I can’t wait to begin. I’ll update my progress throughout the summer, so stay tuned!

Summer Bucket List
Click to create your Summer Bucket List!

Make YOUR Summer Bucket List!

How about you? What do you want to do this summer? If you haven’t made your Summer Bucket List yet, I have a little something for you! If you’re already a subscriber, grab your Summer Bucket List to either print out or fill in on your computer. If you’re not a subscriber yet, become one below! It’s free and comes with loads of other Wonders & Sundries!

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