This post: Summer Bucket List for High School Seniors: 15 Fun Things to Do Before They Leave Home
Written by: Marybeth Bock
The summer before high school seniors venture off for their next chapter – whether it’s college, the start of a new career, military service, or some other new adventure – is truly a bittersweet time.
It’s not just us parents who are riding waves of conflicting emotions knowing life is about to drastically change. Our teens are also feeling a hefty dose of unsteady emotions, not only because they know time at home is limited, but also knowing that the friends they’ve spent the better part of their life with will soon be scattering in different directions.
The reality of this transition (although an exciting one) is that even though many of our kids’ friends from high school continue to stay close, there are always those few who seem to drift away and lose touch.
So, parents… let’s encourage our kids to make as many memories as they can with their friends this summer. Pass along our summer bucket list for high school seniors with 18 fun ideas to make the absolute most of this special time with their besties!
Summer Bucket List for High School Seniors: Fun Things to With Besties
#1 Create a “Best of High School” Playlist
One thing I know for sure… years down the road, you’ll hear a song and it will take you back to a meaningful high school memory. Parties, football games, singing in the car with the windows rolled down on a Friday night, boyfriend/girlfriend breakups – so many of the experiences you had in high school are tied to songs you love. So, why not cherish those songs by creating a playlist?
The cool thing is, it’s super easy for you and your friends to create a collaborative playlist on Spotify where everyone can add their favorite songs. (Click HERE for easy step-by-step instructions from Pocket-lint.com)
#2 Do a “Friends” Photoshoot
Grab all your besties and have a crazy, impromptu photoshoot. Hit all your favorite hangout spots like the football stadium, your favorite coffee shop or late-night “got the munchies” restaurant, friends’ houses, the beach, or anywhere else that holds memories. Use a selfie-stick or tripod to capture the best pics and don’t worry about looking posed… just be yourselves… silly, casual and carefree! (If you’re off to college soon, don’t forget to frame a few pictures for your dorm wall so you can reminisce if you’re feeling a tad homesick.)
#3 Make a TikTok or Music Video
Before life gets a little more serious, have some serious laughs with your friends by creating a TikTok or music video. Whether you choreograph a fun group dance or add antics to music, don’t worry about how many likes or shares you’ll get, just have fun and make memories!
#4 Make a Time Capsule
Capture memories and trends that take you back to fun high school days by creating a time capsule with your friends. Get together with your friends and have each of them add a few fun items to the time capsule, including things like photos, memorable quotes, lists of the top music, pictures or lists of movies, fashions, sporting, and cultural current events, and anything else you like! Each friend can also include a letter to the group or one to their future selves.
It’s also fun to throw in predictions of what each person thinks everyone else will be doing in ten or twenty years. Then, in 10, 20 or 30 years, open your time capsule with your friends! Not sure how to create a time capsule or need tips on what to include? Check out this YouTube video.
#5 Take a Road Trip
Don’t miss the chance to make lasting memories with your besties by hitting the road for a weekend or week-long road trip.
It can be somewhere a few hours from home or get really adventurous and take a cross-country trip. It doesn’t have to cost a ton of money if everyone pitches in for gas and hotel (or Airbnb) expenses. Be sure to take tons of pictures and reminisce about all the ridiculous things you did during your high school years.
#6 Host a Movie Marathon Night
Break out the snacks, comfy blankets and your favorite movies or Netflix series and have a movie marathon day with your friends for old time’s sake. Have your friends create a list of their favorite movies and/or shows from the last four years and let them stream to their hearts’ content. Just keep the pizza, popcorn, candy, and drinks flowing… you know… all your favorite junk food.
#7 College/New Apartment Shopping Trip
Some friends might be heading off to college, while others might be signing a lease for an apartment – either way, it’s an exciting time to finally get a place of your own! Get together and hit the stores to buy everything you need for your dorm or apartment. Then go to your favorite burger hangout or Mexican restaurant for chips n’ salsa… because, well, shopping makes you hungry!
Need tips on what to buy? Download our FREE Dorm Checklist or First Apartment Checklist! (Heads up, you don’t need to buy everything on the list. We tried to think of everything you might need OR want.)
#8 Be a Tourist in Your Hometown
Chances are, there are likely lots of fun things to do in your hometown that you’ve never done before. Before you leave for this new chapter in your life, take in the sights of the nearest city or check out the hokey touristy things to do near you.
Hit a national or state park, go to a museum, check out an attraction or just drive around and stop at random places that look interesting. That way when you tell your new friends where you’re from, you won’t have to sheepishly admit you’ve never done that famous touristy thing your town is so well known for.
#9 Plan a Day at the Water or Amusement Park
I’m pretty sure your friends won’t turn down a day at the water or amusement park. It’s a great way to make more memories, laugh ’til you cry (while listening to your tough guy friends scream on the roller coaster), and indulge in the best hotdogs and cotton candy in town. Don’t have the bucks to afford it? Have all your friends chip in and rent a tall (15′ or 18′) waterslide for the backyard. Spring for snacks and drinks and have a blast slippin’ and slidin’ in the summer sun.
#10 Walk the Halls of Your High School
SO many memories. So many laughs. SO many high fives when your team won on Friday night or you scored an “A” on that super hard chemistry test or because the girl you asked to prom said “yes.” SO many tears when you broke up with that guy, bombed a pop quiz or didn’t make the team. Take a walk down memory lane with your friends and stroll through the halls of your high school. Be sure to take a few pictures and stroll through the cafeteria, library, gymnasium and even a few classrooms.
#11 Go to a Concert
There’s nothing like attending a summer concert with your besties, especially when it’s your senior year of high school and you know (sadly) these carefree summer days with friends will soon be coming to a close.
Check the listing for upcoming concerts in your area and be sure to hit one or two before life changes. Sing at the top of your lungs, dance and enjoy the summer night.
#12 Have a Backyard BBQ with Friends and Their Families
The truth is, life is about to change big time for you and your friends, but it’s also about to change for your parents and your friend’s parents. In fact, there’s a good chance some of your friend’s parents love you like one of their own and you know your parents are going to miss the heck out of your friends. Make the most of these days by rounding up everyone for a fun day of grillin’ and chillin’. Trust me… the parents will cherish that day forever.
#13 Have a Friends’ Garage Sale
The summer before you and your friends move out is the perfect time to purge your closets and drawers, and get rid of all the stuff you’ve been collecting for years! Have a designated “purge” day and then organize, price and sell your items at a huge collective garage sale. Chat with your friends about how to disperse the profits and either donate your earnings to a great cause or use the funds to offset the cost of your dorm or new apartment.
#14 Have a Slumber Party
Grab a few more memories and laughs by planning a big sleepover party. Break out all the games you’ve played through the years, play truth or dare and maybe even pull an all-nighter. Be sure to make all your friends’ favorite snacks, crank up the music and talk about all the silly, crazy things you did in high school.
#15 Waste Less Time on Social Media
If you gave it some serious thought, I’m sure you’d look back and realize just how much precious time you wasted scrolling through social media over the last four years. Now is not the time to be watching what everyone else is doing. NOW is the time for you and your friends to be making those Instagrammable moments yourselves! So, skip social media and dive into life. You’ll have plenty of time later to catch up on what everyone else is doing.
#16 Host a DIY Dorm Decor Party
For teens venturing off to college, I’m sure they’ve realized by now how darn expensive it is to outfit a dorm room. Until you’re in the thick of shopping, you don’t realize how much you need and how much it’s going to cost! The good news is, there are so many amazing and inexpensive DIY ideas out there to make your dorm room look totally fab! If you’re looking for cool ideas, check out this post for inspo! 100 DIY Dorm Decor & Decorating Ideas
#17 Book a Spa Day (or Plan a “Pamper Day” at Home)
Like it or not, your life is about to be turned upside down. The sheer adjustment of the transition you’re about to go through can be stressful. That’s why you should pamper yourself now! If budget allows, spring for a day (or even a few hours) at a local spa. Grab your besties (guys, too) and get a facial, a massage or a mani-pedi.
If money is tight, you and your friends can still indulge yourselves right in the comfort of your own home. Stores like Bath and Body Works, Marshall’s, Target, Walmart, and even dollar stores are full of reasonably priced pampering products. Look for bath bombs, lotions, candles, loofahs, eye and face masks, body scrubs, hair deep-conditioners, nail polish, and cozy socks. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to make the day memorable.
#18 Plan an Epic Adventure
No summer bucket list for high school seniors would be complete with one last epic adventure! Before you and your friends scatter in different directions, plan one last crazy fun adventure.
Go camping, bungee jumping (check with your mama, first), catch a sunrise on top of a mountain, ride horses on the beach, rent a treehouse for the night, or go white water rafting. Get creative!
This time with your friends is precious and fleeting, so make memories that matter, memories that bring you closer together, memories that’ll make you look back and smile… you’ll be so glad you did.
Cheers to the Class of 2022! May they forever hold wonderful memories of high school and cherished friends, and may they soar during this new and exciting adventure in their lives!
Marybeth Bock, MPH, is Mom to two young adults and one delightful hound dog. She has logged time as a military spouse, childbirth educator, college instructor, and freelance writer. She lives in Arizona and thoroughly enjoys research and writing – as long as iced coffee is involved. Her work can be found on numerous websites and in two books. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
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