Whether you’re newly sober or far along in your recovery journey, summer can present a special set of challenges.

Long days can stretch into long nights, bringing with them a sense of restlessness and that “fear of missing out” that can trigger a relapse. It doesn’t help that red solo cups seem to be everywhere. From cookouts to concerts, the alcohol seems to flow extra freely in the summer.

That’s why we’ve come up with five fun sober activities that will keep you smiling through those hot summer nights. Even better, you’ll end up with wonderful, vivid memories of these times— as opposed to vague and hazy flashbacks followed by hangovers.

Here are our five suggestions for how to make this year’s sober summer nights the best ever.

Sober Camping

If you think of camping as sitting around a campfire and chugging beers, you’re missing the full picture. Camping can be a wonderful sober activity for you and your other recovery buddies or with the whole family. Nature provides the perfect atmosphere for bonding and fellowship.

It’s also a great way to disconnect from the stressors of everyday life and focus on the simpler things; building a fire, setting up a tent, making a meal, telling stories, gazing at the stars.  

If you’re not sure where to go, start with your state parks or check out Reserve America for ideas. And if you can’t get out of town, try camping at home. The kids will love it and you’ll find a great way to escape in your own backyard.

Night Kayaking

If you’re the adventurous type, a sunset or moonlight kayaking voyage might be the ticket for you. This isn’t something we’d recommend doing on your own. Instead, see if any local paddling groups or businesses provide a guided tour in your area.

Some coastal areas, including San Diego, California and Manasquan Beach, New Jersey brighten the deal with bioluminescent beaches. In Florida, you can check out the bioluminescence kayak and rafting tours, where the luminous sea life lights up the water around you. This spectacle is best viewed with lots of moonlight, so check the calendar and weather report before booking.

A great thing about kayaking is that it engages your entire body so you can enjoy a natural endorphin rush as you convene with nature. Kayaking at dusk or in the dark just adds to the excitement and can be a great way to reconnect with your significant other.

Ghost Tour

If you’re looking for sober activities for couples, consider putting a spooky spin on your summer date night by going on a ghost tour. Some of the best ones are located in more historic cities, such as Savannah, Georgia and St. Augustine, Florida. But pretty much every major city in the country (and most smaller cities) offer a ghost tour you can hop aboard for a small fee.

The tours are typically walking tours, with a guide who tells the haunted history of the local area as you stroll through town. But some ghost tours try and bring a bit of Ghostbusters into the activity by providing you with paranormal equipment. Some cities brand these as pub crawls, so make sure that the one you choose is only focused on non-alcohol spirits.

Enjoy an Outdoor Movie

Summer movies in the park are an increasingly popular activity across the country and many communities choose to make these alcohol-free, family-friendly events. Movies under the stars are fun for everyone and can be a great low-budget affair. Don’t forget to pack up your blanket, beach chairs and picnic basket and you can turn it into a dinner/movie night.

If you’re not into the big crowds, and willing to make a small investment, you can even host your own outdoor movie event for friends and neighbors. For a few hundred dollars, you can purchase a video projector and outdoor projector screen that will turn your backyard into the local AMC.  With some popcorn and soda, you’ll be the sober hit of the neighborhood all summer long. Just make sure it’s ok with the HOA first.

Mini Golf

Sports entertainment venues like Topgolf and Drive Shack are popping up across the nation and renewing America’s love affair with the game of golf. But these venues also place a heavy emphasis on bars and drinking — not to mention can be pricey.

That’s why we like old-fashioned miniature golf. You can go alone, grab some pals or take the family — whatever suits you. Some mini-golf establishments offer special glow-in-dark mini golf at night. Whatever the case, it’s a great way to get outside and enjoy the summer night air.

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