Last Minute Ideas for Summer Fun

Last Minute Ideas for Summer Fun

The summer days are waning and our children will soon return to school.

With this change in routine, we can also expect a little more rigidity in our daily lives. So, while we still have the flexibility and benefit of longer daylight hours, get out and enjoy some of the local summer activities our state has to offer. 

Here are a few of our favorite summer fun activities:

  • Trampoline parks

  • Amusement Parks

    • This one takes a little more planning, but can be done in a day for those living in the Corridor area. We have numerous days of great weather slated, so take advantage!
    • Adventureland 
    • Lost Island
  • Camping/Recreational Parks

    • There are so very many to choose from. Here are a few that also offer the option of water recreation. Our family is a huge fan of Lake McBride rentals (canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, etc.).
    • Lake McBride
    • Coralville Lake
  • Float trips:  Family or adult-only options alike!

  • Boat Rides 

    • While there are many options for this activity, having grown up on the Mississippi, I’m somewhat impartial to offerings near my stomping grounds. These options are not in our immediate surroundings but are close enough to be easily accomplished in a day outing. And, both options below come highly rated.
    • Le Claire, IA
    • Dubuque, IA
  • Drive-In Movies

    • Load everyone up, pack your favorite blanket(s) and head out the door to one of our local drive-in establishments. While few and far between, we are lucky to have two options close by that allow us to take in the gorgeous Iowa sunsets AND a family-favorite film.
    • Bluegrass, IA
    • Delmar, IA
  • City Pools 

    • If you only have a few hours and need to stick close to home, our local pools have been up and running all summer. NOTE: Be sure to check the city websites to be confident day/hour selections align with hours of operation, as some locations have run into staffing shortages. 
    • Marion, IA
    • Cedar Rapids, IA
    • You may also consider traveling to a smaller community for new scenery. Sometimes mixing it up is all it takes to drill up a little excitement!
  • Bike/Scooter/Motorized Bike Rentals

    • This is an easy, yet unique way to get your older kiddos out of the house, enjoying some fresh air, and possibly even support a few local businesses while out on your excursions. 
    • Cedar Rapids, IA now offers all three!

And, if all of these ideas are still not enough to excite your kids, try a “Yes Day”. But before you put that offer on the table, I recommend having parameters in place. Or, speaking from experience, you might end up backpedaling before you even begin. 

So far this summer, we’ve enjoyed having the chance to knock a few off our list, but still have a couple of others we look forward to squeezing in these last few weeks of summer fun vacation.


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Amber grew up Eastern Iowa. Coe College brought her to Cedar Rapids, but her love for the city and community made her stay. She and her husband of 15 years, Shannon, share a home in Marion with their two children (13 year old daughter & 10 year old son). Her passions include outdoor activities in our city’s many parks and trails, exploring unique, locally owned business, as well as all things creative. If you ask her about her bucket list, she’ll share endless travel destinations! Amber spends her days as the Director of Fundraising Marketing, leading a talented team of creatives for nearly 18 years. She is also a devoted advocate for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and other underrepresented causes.