Summer’s here and we have some cool ways for you to enjoy it

Tuesday is the first day of summer, a day that’s said to be the longest of the year, although it pretty much just ties all the other days in terms of duration.

Still, yes, we get the meaning: It’s the longest in terms of daylight. The sun will rise (we’re assuming) at 5:43 a.m. and shine relentlessly until 8:07 p.m. That’s a 14 hour and 24 minute blast of sunshine, a full four and a half hours longer than the winter solstice.

How are you going to fill up all that seasonal bonus time? How will you celebrate the “long days” of summer, especially today’s kick-off? We have some ideas.

Have a cook-out

Summer cookout essentials. Creative Commons photo.

And by “cook-out” we mean your basic barbecue with nothing fancier than hamburgers and hot dogs and your squeeze bottles of mustard and ketchup. Load up your cooler with soft drinks and whatever else you turn to to quench your thirst at cookouts, and head down to the beach—Mother’s Beach is your best bet if you have kids. If the beach is too sandy for your liking, try the park that’s nearest you.

Get a game going

Beach volleyball at Long Beach City College. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Softball is the classic summer sport, but if you can’t get 20 people together, we’d go with beach volleyball, paddle tennis, badminton, disc golf or pickleball. But take it easy, you’re not as young as you were last summer and the heat can be brutal when you’re in heated competition. Stay hydrated. Wear a hat. Take breaks.

Make ice cream

Long Beach Creamery’s Golden Mallow ice cream. Photo by Dina Amadril.

Nothing is better than homemade ice cream, unless it’s McConnell’s Eureka Lemon & Marionberries which, at $12 a pint, is about 16 times more expensive than gasoline. Every summer, our dad and uncle used to make ice cream in the backyard with an old wooden ice cream maker and a lot of cranking and rock salt involved. But if you want to skip ice-cream mechanics, all you need is a bag and follow the directions from Delish here. Is this our recommendation? No. We buy ice cream at the store. We’re not animals.

Get out the Slip N Slide

The classic, 1961 Slip ‘N Slide.

Admit it. You’re sitting on the lanai with your gin and tonic acting suave and debonair, but deep inside, you want to get out and join the kids by doing a running belly flop on the Slip N Slide. So do it. Put the drink down and take a flying leap. Nowadays there are lots of variations on the 1961 classic, with prices going up into the hundreds of dollars for an unnecessarily sophisticated version. But just go old school. It’s not like you’re going to carefully store it for future summers.

Go fly a kite

Vova, did not want to give his last name, and his mother flies a giant octopus kite while at the beach in Long Beach Thursday, May 14, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

This is another activity that’s fun, however briefly, for the whole family. You can make one or throw money at the problem. What you don’t want to do is listen to an old guy tell you how much kites cost when he was a kid (a quarter; or a dime if he’s really old). All you need is a bunch of string and a bit of a breeze. If you can’t find enough win, head over to the ocean side of the Peninsula. It’s windy there, we guarantee it.

Make a special Summertime Edition of your bucket list

Swim with the piggies at Pig Beach in the Bahamas. Creative Commons photo.

Helpful items include: learn to surf; scuba dive around the oil islands; swim with a dolphin; swim with a pig; jump off a 3-meter diving board; rent a Ski-Doo; go dancing in the street (the time is right).

Catch the sunset
Running

Runner jogs along the beach at sunset. File photo.

It’ll be a while, but the sun will slowly sink into the west like it always has. Make a picnic and get yourself to Bluff Park for a good view, or head out to the Peninsula. By 8:30 or 9 p.m. we should have you home and tuck you into bed. It’s been a long, long day.

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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