Only a few more weeks stand between us and the end of summer. September 21 marks the last day of the hot season, and already, summery things are starting to wind down. Bummer. It’s already starting to get dark a little earlier. The nights are cooling off at an alarming rate. And every store you enter seems inundated with Back to School messaging. But for those die-hard summer-lovers who hate to see a good thing end, here a few ways to get the most of out of what’s left of the summer solstice.

1. Sunbathe

That’s right. I said sunbathe. Just slather yourself in SPF 30 every two hours and get stretch out under the sun. The next few weeks are your last opportunity to get a good tan before autumn (without a winter trip to the Caribbean, that is). If sunbathing isn’t something you’d normally consider, that’s all the more reason to try it. Head to a local beach or park with a lawn chair, wear your bikini or a tank and shorts and relax with sunglasses and the very last “beach read” you’ll get to finish before the season for fluffy summer romance and mystery novels ends.

2. Mini-Vacay

Okay, so it’s probably too late to plan that trip to Ibiza you couldn’t swing earlier in the summer. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get a vacation in before the end of the season. Visit a friend in a nearby city. Road trip to a beach an hour or two away. Take in a couple museums the next state over. Hit up the end of a summer concert series and stay in the area for a few days.

3. Cookout or Camp Out

For some, this is inevitable. A Labor Day cookout is a tradition for a lot of folks. But in case you weren’t already hosting one and have yet to be invited to one, why not throw your own? Hit up a dollar-store for those kitschy luau-themed decorations, whip up some frozen cocktails with paper umbrellas, and bust out the Maze featuring Frankie Beverly tracks. It’s time for hot links and burgers (and/or their vegetarian equivalents).

If a cookout’s not your deal, but you wouldn’t mind camping, it isn’t too late to hit up a campsite. Get your hubby/lover/friend and a tent and you’re good to go.

4. Cartwheel Through a Meadow

Take it literally or figuratively. But get outside and do something childlike and whimsical. Hearken back to those days when you were pressed to squeeze every final bit of enjoyment out of summer before the dreaded start of a new school year shackled you to a desk for nine more months. Double-dutch. Hopscotch. Grab your niece, nephew, cousin, or kid and blow some bubbles. Roller-blade through a park. Kid-again euphoria: get into it.

What are your plans to mark the end of summer? Are you sad to see it go?

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