From biking to sailing, there are plenty of fun introvert-friendly summer activities to choose from (that don’t involve sweating with huge crowds).
For some, summer is about soaking up as many outdoor activities as you can before fall arrives. But some of the seasonal bucket-list activities — like ones that involve throngs of sweaty bodies packed into one place — may be a nonstarter for us introverts.
However, if you have extroverts in your life, there’s a good chance they are going to want to do some activities that feel like a bad sunburn to you. While the tension can be a challenge, it’s possible to do fun summer-y things everyone can love. Here are some of my favorites that I do with my husband and our four kids.
7 Fun Summer Activities for Introverts
1. The beach — it’s a great place to read
Hot, uneven ground, a landscape of people as far as you can see, and the occasional volleyball to the head is not the introvert’s idea of a good time. But my family loves a good dose of the sandy stuff now and again, so here we go. I survive the beach with a really good book and my ability to zone out in a crowd. You can also invest in a nice, shade-giving umbrella for maximum comfort. Pick a spot to spread out, wave to your loved ones prancing in the water, and sink into the pages. (Just keep a heads-up for a random volleyball.)
2. Outdoor music festivals — with wireless earbuds
Similar to the beach, I tolerate outdoor music venues and festivals with necessary introvert accessories, like noise-cancelling headphones and power naps. If you have a partner or group of friends that wants to catch every one of the 32 acts that are playing, wine works wonders. If I start to get overstimulated while waiting for the music, I slip on my wireless earbuds. I can close my eyes and decompress with a meditative app or an addictive round (or three) of Gardenscapes. If I can lie down on a blanket amid the crowd and close my eyes, I find that when the music starts, I’m in my very own “introvert zen zone.” However, if you are over the age of 30 and near a mosh pit (do they still exist?), I’d recommend staying fully alert and getting out as soon as possible.
3. Gardening — alone time and nature for the win
From the planning to the seeding to the weeding to the bouquets proudly displayed all over my house, gardening is one of my greatest joys. It is a hobby home-grown for the introvert. (Not to mention that nature is an elixir for us.) You can spend hours deciding on what flowers (or vegetables) to plant and where they’d look best in your backyard, deck, or porch. I love checking how things are growing each day with my morning coffee and soaking up those big mama nature vibes. Weeding and fertilizing, too, can be solitary and rewarding.
If you need some help in the yard, it’s easy to spread out your worker bees and still feel alone. Once the blooms start, I imagine I’m Snow White of the City as I welcome all the butterflies, bees, and a few rats to join me in the yard. Another enjoyable and solitary activity is harvesting your bounty. For me, it’s deep blue hydrangeas, dahlias, and daisies that I can spend a good amount of time arranging in various-sized vases. Being able to spread the love and gift your neighbors some bouquets is the blue ribbon prize of this summer garden fair!
4. Biking — the perfect way to be in the moment with the birds and the trees
My family likes to bike. When my kids were little, this was not a fun time at all. I was too worried about the cars, how fast everyone was going, who was trying to jockey ahead, and who was falling behind. Rather than hearing the sweet sounds of summer, all I could hear was the screeching of tires and soaring of arguing voices, which usually lead to a whole lot of swearing, unfortunately.
Now, as they are older and much better cyclists, the introvert in me has discovered the joy of biking. I can really be in the moment with the birds and trees. Plus, nature’s a great way to calm an introvert’s overthinking mind! If I’m disturbed by the boisterous voices of arguing teens and tweens, I can always speed up or slow down to where the flowers find me again.
Join the introvert revolution. One email, every Friday. The best introvert articles. Subscribe here.
5. Seeing a summer blockbuster — at a drive-in, of course
Add the word “drive-in” to “theater” and you have the introvert’s answer to movies! There’s always a big summer movie my family wants to see on the big screen. I agree that superheroes appear less super on a smartphone. However, going to a closed-in movie theater surrounded by a bunch of sweaty teens chomping loudly on nachos and Skittles could make even the bravest of soldiers turn tail and run. Drive as fast as you can to the nearest drive-in instead. If you can find one, it’s like striking golden artificial butter for your popcorn! You can have the kids set up blankets outside or on the roof of the car. While they swat mosquitoes like their favorite superhero swats bad guys, you can be snuggled up in the front seat falling quietly asleep.
6. Doing a water sport, like sailing — the more relaxing, the better
Not keen on jet skis or speed boats, I feel you. They’re loud and a bit too fast for me. I also don’t like being stuck in some place with no escape route. However, I make an exception when it comes to sailing. If you want to get out of the house and water sports are on the family’s bucket list, why not consider sailing? Here’s why it’s the perfect watersport for the introvert. It is a working cruise that requires concentration and teamwork. If you don’t get the sail up, you don’t move. Aside from having to work on a task, it’s quiet. There’s no loud motor. Best of all, you can serve wine, cheese, and crackers without worrying that a big wave will knock ‘em all away. You will need to know some basic sailing maneuvers, such as jibing and tacking (turning the boat so you can move), as well as rules of the water. You could go with an experienced sailor, take lessons, do research, or read a book (or six). Sailing is quiet and relaxing, two qualities that introverts hold dear.
7. Hosting backyard barbecues — at your place so you can plan everything
People may wonder how you can resist a grilled burger on a paper plate resting perilously on your lap while you fight to be heard over the summer sounds. What’s not to love? Barbecues are to summer what a nap is to my dog: a necessary evil that, as an introvert, I love to hate.
Still, I can’t resist sweet corn slathered in butter, seeing my kids running around the yard, and good talks with good friends. That’s why I volunteer to have barbecues in our backyard whenever it’s possible. To an extent, I get to plan everything (which we introverts love), I’m able to choose the volume of the music, the length of the event, the food, the seating, and the guests. And, if things start to get overwhelming, I can always disappear into the kitchen to make more potato salad.