The school bell has rung for the last time this school year and the kids are getting ready to enjoy a long, hot summer. What is there to do with kids, on a budget, that will keep them entertained and active?
The first thought that comes to mind is the beach. We have an abundance of public beaches that are free here in Maine. Norway Lake, Thompson Lake, Crystal Lake are just a few of the local ones. Venture a little further and pay a small fee to go to Range Pond or Sebago Lake. If the fresh water is not exciting enough for you, then head about an hour south and make your way to the ocean. Crescent Beach in Cape Elizabeth and Old Orchard Beach In Saco are two of the closest. Spend a day near the water searching the shores for shells and creatures. Turn it into a scavenger hunt and make a list of things to find before you even leave the house. Find something strange then just snap a picture and look it up on the next rainy day. Learn how to body surf in the waves or just dig in the sand making castles and forts. Notice the smells, the sounds and the atmosphere. Take a moment and enjoy the change of scenery.
If the water is not your cup of tea, then head to the hills. In the Western Foothills of Maine we are in an area that offers so much variety for walking and hiking. Take a stroll down the River Trail from the high school to the middle school. Want something a little harder? Head over to Cornwall Preserve in South Paris. Of course there is always Streaked Mountain, Hawk Mountain and any of the other steeper mountains that dot the landscape here in the Oxford Hills. Don’t just hike though. Stop and listen to the sounds, breathe in the fresh air, pick up a salamander. Watch the clouds pass by. Take it slow and enjoy the moment. Don’t overschedule your summer and leave time for last minute adventures. You never know where your next adventure will lead you too but take a chance and try something new.
Tennis and Pickle ball are two great sports that can be played at any of the local tennis courts. Grab your bike and head out for a cruise on one of the scenic back roads. Take your bikes to a different town and bike around, exploring new neighborhoods. Take the kids to the skate park where they can use their bike, skateboards or rollerblades in the bowl. Visit one of the many farmers markets and try something new to eat. Have the kids pick something new to try for dinner that evening. Make it an adventure.
Whatever it is that you decide to do this summer, make time to relax and enjoy the time with your family and friends. And don’t forget to stop by Healthy Oxford Hills next to Stephens Memorial Hospital to pick up maps for local hikes, walking routes, and biking.
Saara Leduc is the Spark Start Coordinator for Healthy Oxford Hills, your local Healthy Maine Partnership and a project of Stephens Memorial Hospital. You can connect with her at 743-6898 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthyOxfordHills
Reprinted with the Permission of The Advertiser Democrat