The Ultimate Late Summer Checklist – Thrillist

Don’t worry, it’s not too late to make the most of the end of the season.

Image: Shutterstock; Illustrations: Mia Coleman

When summer first arrives, it seems endless and full of possibilities. At the end of August, however, FOMO begins to take hold. Maybe your plan to climb a mountain got scrapped in favor of staying home in front of the AC, or maybe your travel plans got derailed. Don’t worry, it’s not too late to make the most of the end of the season. We’ve compiled a checklist of everything you need to do before fall, so you don’t feel like summer has eluded you. Here’s our guide to avoiding FOMO and maximizing your remaining summer days, plus tips to make them memorable:

Go to a concert

The concerts are back, and they’re back just in time so you can catch a few outdoor shows before we’re forced to go inside. The first step will be to determine the rules for masks and / or proof of vaccination in your area, as some concert organizers are getting strict. After that, however, it’s all about finding the best possible events. Track down your favorite bands to see when they’re back on tour, or just show up in the right place and see what happens. Be sure to pack earplugs – you’ll want to give yourself some time to readjust to the noise levels.

Learn a new skill or hobby

Do you know anyone who came out of confinement with a fully crocheted wardrobe or an award-winning script? Well, maybe it wasn’t you. But it’s not too late to pick something up! If you’re in the mood to get out and finally climb this mountain, we’ve got you covered with plenty of ideas. Or maybe you are ready to experiment in the kitchen, in which case you should check out our Weekend Project Center for inspiration. Whatever you choose, go for it hard and you’ll be a master as fall hits its peak.

Take a last minute vacation

Many employers, realizing that traveling in 2020 was not such a good idea, let their employees postpone vacation days into 2021. It could be you, in which case you are watching a PTO surplus by the time the month is over. August is coming. First of all: check the cheap flights. (If you’re more of a train nerd, that’s cool, too.) Now’s a great time to reconnect with friends you haven’t seen in a while, whether they’re near or far.



Getting the most out of your summer means accepting no compromises. This is also why there is Coke Zero Sugar, newly formulated to give even more Coca-Cola flavor, without any sugar. If you’re planning long nights and early mornings, you’ll need a drink that can follow. This is where Coke Zero Sugar comes in. Is this the best Coke ever? Try it out and see for yourself.

See a summer blockbuster

Huge fights and CGI are properly experienced on the biggest screen you can find. Once you have your must-see movie list, find a movie theater that is back in business. Our tip: find a drive-in. They are retro, often inexpensive and respectful of social distance.

Swim in the nearest body of water

Sooner than you think, that secret swimming hole might be frozen over, so pull out the sunglasses and go on a trip. Of course we have plenty of local spot guides whether you live in Portland, DC, Massachusetts, NOLA … the list goes on. Or maybe you fancy taking a longer trip, in which case you might want to visit one of America’s best beaches. It’s easy to get trapped in the cool late summer temperatures, but the UV rays are still going strong, so don’t forget the sunscreen.

Go out into nature

Camping, hiking, and outdoor adventure in general can be done year round, but it’s much easier in the summer. If you’re new to camping, we’ve got a guide to help you get started. Otherwise, it’s about finding the right new gear or the new favorite spot. Go out somewhere without cell service and you’ll be making more memories than ever.

Image: Shutterstock; Illustrations: Mia Coleman

Throw an all-out picnic or barbecue

If you’re like us, you’ve saved picnic tips and barbecue recipes all summer long, and now is the time to put them to good use. It’s time for a farewell barbecue in the summer that counts. Check out some guides and grilling recipes (like fried oyster tacos or those must-have sides) to get inspired. Make sure you have the right equipment and set the mood. After that, it’s all about grilling and cooling.

Organize a bonfire

It is best to tell ghost stories, cook s’mores, and generally relax around a bonfire. If you have a backyard or even a roof, you can get one of these fire pits and make it simple. Or, find a local beach or campsite that allows fires – just check your local laws to make sure you’re not risking nearby ecosystems. Once in place, discover the tips for perfecting an s’more.

Watch a sunrise or a sunset

You’ve probably already covered this if you’ve checked the camping or beach items off the list, but watching the sunset is the perfect celebration of the season. And the sunto augment viewing will make you want to take on the world. Catching a sunset with a drink doesn’t hurt either.

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