Bucket list: Where oh where did the summer go?


By Ruth Marvin Webster


It’s a subtle change of season, almost imperceptible at first. The ocean water temperatures, still pleasant at 70 degrees, will soon drop back to an earlier icy chill. Boogie boards and beach umbrellas, now at home in the trunk of the car, will migrate back to the garage.

For months now, we’ve fallen asleep with the windows left wide open and awakened to the sound of chirping crickets and the pft-pft-pft of lawn sprinklers.

White corn, cherries, strawberries and ripe white peaches have never been sweeter. And we’re getting used to the lingering aroma of grilling steaks and vegetables in the balmy air. Heck, we can’t remember when we last needed long sleeves or a jacket.

But be warned. Before you know it, the kids will be heading back to school and autumn will come again.

There are always so many things we’d like to do during summer. And so often, this summer of ours - the best of all seasons - slips away before we’re able to enjoy the activities that make our home the best place in the world to live.

So we suggest a list, filled with activities best enjoyed while the days are long and the temperatures warm. It’s a summer bucket list, of sorts.

Summer splash

Nothing says summer like getting in the water past your ankles. Rent a kayak and paddle around La Jolla’s sea cliff and caves. Learn to snorkel or scuba dive. Or simply get on a body board or go down to the bay and try water-skiing or rowing at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center.

Try a surfing lesson or standup paddleboarding.

Whatever you do, just take a splash into our beautiful coastal water while it’s still warm enough to enjoy without a wet suit.

Summer sails

There is no better time to get on a boat than summer. Try sport fishing with one of our local sport fishing companies such as Solana Beach’s San Diego Fly Shop, which operates a variety of expeditions from half days to multiday trips.

Rent a catamaran or sign up for a harbor sunset cruise. A number of companies in town will either take you out on their fleet or instruct you and put you behind the wheel. Sail San Diego leaves from Shelter Island and will customize a sunset sail to your liking. It also offers morning and midday sailing lessons.

And while many people think California gray whales can only be seen in San Diego during the winter months when they migrate to and from warmer Mexican waters, many passengers onboard Adventure Rib Rides’ Dolphin and Whale Ocean Safari Excursion see blue whales along with hundreds of dolphins all the way through September.

Summer strolls

The namesake trees of Torrey Pines State Reserve are more than 150 years old and found in only two places on Earth - in the stunning La Jolla reserve and on Santa Rosa Island off the coast of Santa Barbara. There are several trails that cut through the Torrey Pines Reserve, so try them, hiking or biking. But don’t forget to stop in the visitors center to get a map and learn more about the natural flora and fauna, or download the information at the reserve’s Web site,



Or venture farther north and explore the San Elijo Lagoon - one of the few remaining coastal wetlands of San Diego County and home to an exceptional number of animals and plants. It lies along the coast between the cities of Solana Beach and Encinitas, extending inland to Rancho Santa Fe, and covers 1,000 acres, with eight trailheads and more than seven miles of walking trails. For guided walks, bird counts and other activities, check its Web site at



Summer sunset songs

Music and long summer evenings are good for the soul. Catch one of the last remaining free summer concerts at La Jolla Cove or venture out and try one hosted by the Del Mar Foundation at Powerhouse Park. Bring your blankets, lawn chairs and picnic fixings. This year’s La Jolla Concerts by the Sea at Ellen Browning Scripps Park finishes up with Mariachi Real de San Diego this Sunday and Benny Hollman’s Big Band Explosion on Sept. 6. The Del Mar Summer Twilight Concert Series wraps up with Ruby and the Red Hots on Sept. 13.

Summer soirees

Move the dinner table out to the patio and stoke up the grill. Try badminton, croquet or bocce ball on the lawn. Now is a great time to invite friends and workmates over for a casual barbecue or to have a block party with the neighbors. And be sure to include local fresh summer produce such as white corn, cherries, strawberries and peaches while you’re at it.

Summer shops

Discover a new neighborhood. Some people call it a staycation.

If you live in La Jolla, hop over to Solana Beach for a bite to eat at the Beachwalk along the Coast Highway or wander through the shops in the Designer District on Cedros. Or sip a cocktail and enjoy a sunset dinner at Pacifica Del Mar or Il Fornaio in the Del Mar Plaza.

Or if you live in the Shores, why not brave the roundabouts of Bird Rock?

Tourmaline Beach is a favorite local surfer’s spot. Or experience the country club lifestyle by staying a few nights at the La Jolla Shores Hotel, which provides access to all of the hotel and La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club amenities.

Summer selflessness

Summer is a great time to give back to your community. Bring the children along and teach them the spirit of giving. Why not donate blood to the San Diego Blood Bank? Participate in a beach cleanup. Or simply donate old books to the library and furniture, clothing and toys to Goodwill, Amvets or your local church resale shop.