by Sayaka Matsuoka

1. Go berry picking

There’s nothing like the sweet taste of a freshly picked strawberry or blueberry. The closest you can get is snagging some from a vendor on the side of the road, but why do that when you can drive to any number of places like Ingram Farm in High Point? While strawberry season is coming to a close, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are just around the corner.

2. Light up some fireworks

This one’s a no-brainer. Whether you light up for the Fourth of July or just because, take to the sparkler variety or the more obnoxious (and anxiety-inducing) grounded ones, fireworks are an essential summer treat. Just be careful when you light them (use a grill lighter) and know that your dog may not be as enthused with the whole thing as you may be.

3. Go to a baseball game

Even though the season started months ago, it’s never too late to drop into a local game at the BB&T ballpark or the NewBridge Bank Stadium to catch the Dash or the Grasshoppers. Just watch out for stray balls — a friend of a friend was almost hit by a homer while texting on the Grasshoppers’ lawn this season.

4. Check out the local lakes

Although they don’t allow swimming, Salem Lake in Winston-Salem and Lake Brandt and Lake Higgins in Greensboro offer excellent spots for fishing and that latter both sunset and moonlight kayaking sessions for pretty cheap.

5. Drink up at a beer festival

Summer and beer go hand in hand. And that explains the myriad beer festivals that pop up around the Triad this time of year. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, check out the Carolina Summer Craft Beer and Music Festival happening this Saturday in Winston-Salem. Later this summer, the 11th annual Summertime Brews fest kicks off at the Greensboro Coliseum next month and Hopfest in the ’Boro takes place in the heart of downtown Greensboro in August. Bottoms up.

6. Attend a cultural festival

For a festival that doesn’t revolve around drinking (but still includes it), check out the variety of cultural events that hit the Triad this summer. Faeries, dancers and bodypainters take over the Greensboro Arboretum in Lindley Park on June 20 during the annual Summer Solstice celebration. If you’re looking for something more artsy, check out the National Black Theatre Festival this August in Winston-Salem. It will feature productions, solo performances, workshops, film screenings and kids’ activities.

7. Find some live music

Whether you’re seeing a headliner or dropping in for some local talent, summer is the season for outdoor music. In Winston-Salem, you can check out the ongoing Second Sundays on Fourth, which brings great music in a free family-friendly event to the center of downtown. For classical enthusiasts, follow the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, which kicks off at the end of this month. While these performances are indoors, it might be a good excuse to escape the heat in the oncoming weeks.And finally for those yearning for some rock and roll, look no further than the Heavy Rebel Weekender that begins July 3 in Winston-Salem. Torn jeans and leather vests unite.

8. Go to an outdoor film screening

Going to a drive-in movie with a handful of friends, lying on a blanket or posting up in lawn chairs while watching a classic or recent hit is a must on any summer bucket list. While my personal favorite is the Eden Drive-in, there are several notable series more locally including Geeksboro or Center City Park in Greensboro and the Sunset Flicks series in Winston-Square Park starting July 19, the Innovation and Cinema series at Bailey Park or at the Reynolda House in Winston-Salem. Don’t forget to fill up on some popcorn while you’re there.

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