Summer Fun Growing Up

With no campers at Cedar Lake this week and our staff taking the holiday to recharge for the upcoming 4 sessions, I thought I would write a quick list about some things I grew up doing and you can still do with your kids to get them outside this summer. Here is a list of a few of my favorite activities that my family did with my brother and me growing up. I hope that it will give you a few ideas to get your kids out of the house.

1. Fishing- There is not much better than being on the water on a hot summer day. Dropping a bobber and a worm from a bamboo cane pole is where I cut my teeth in the outdoor world. Whether it was bobber fishing with Grandpa in the UP or trolling for salmon out of Manistee our family spent countless hours fishing together.

McKeon retying his line after snagging a tree branch while fishing with cousins. (1995)

2. Berry Picking- Berries are by far my favorite fruit. You could find our family picking berries all summer long. We picked strawberries outside Metro-Detroit, blueberries in Ludington, and raspberries from my grandma’s backyard. This is a great activity to enjoy a few hours outside and you get to snack while you pick.

3. Take a Hike- Spending some time on the trails is a great way to explore a new area or just to get some exercise. Whether it is in the National Forest, State Park, or County / City Park. We explored the Manistee National Forest on vacation and closer to home you could find us hiking through the Metro Parks system. Make sure you spend some time this summer taking a stroll through some trees or maybe along the shore of a lake/river.

4. Visit a Great Lakes Beach- Michigan is home to four of the five Great Lakes and their thousands of miles of shoreline. No matter where you live in Michigan, you are within 90 miles of one of the Great Lakes and the fifth, Lake Ontario is readily accessible if you have your passport. During the summer of 2011, I was able to visit not only the shorelines of all five Great Lakes, but I also went for a swim in each one.

5. Set up a tent in the backyard or go camping- While I would recommend everyone find time in his or her schedule to go camping at least once a year I know that isn’t always possible. However, setting up a tent in a backyard can still get some of the excitement of a camping trip without leaving home. I spent many summer nights sleeping out in a tent or fort I built with my brother just northeast of Detroit. Even though we were, only 100 feet from our house sleeping in a tent always seemed exciting.

These are just a few of the activities of how I spent summers back in the day. I hope that they will inspire you to create some outside family traditions of your own.

McKeon poses with the biggest fish of his life. A 28 lb Chinook Salmon caught when he was 11

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