06/17/2015 05:41 pm ET Updated Jun 17, 2016

How to Have the Best Summer Ever

The weather has warmed up, the sun is shining and summer vacations are just around the corner (or, better yet, you're on one right now). You've suffered through another cold winter and saved up those vacation days, and now is the time to make the most of the season.

Need some summer vacation inspiration? Here are some great ideas for having the best summer you possibly can:

1. Be a Little Lazy

The sky is a little hazier, the days are longer and all of your spring cleaning is done. It's time to relax. No, really -- sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to do nothing. You can fully embrace this concept by getting a hammock, hanging it in the backyard and taking a sun-filled nap.

2. Join a Sports Team

The warmer weather means that your local intramural leagues are teaming up. Whether you prefer kickball, soccer, tennis or softball, intramural sports are a great way to fit in a workout, enjoy friendly competition and meet some new pals along the way.

3. Go See the Shoreline

Whether you live by the ocean, a river or a lake, take some time to be near the water. It's a great way to get in touch with nature -- and most of the time you can do it for free. Whether you want to kick back in a floatie on a lazy river ride or get a bit more active with water skiing, the shoreline is a great place to be. Build a sandcastle while you're at it -- it doesn't get more summery than that.

4. Find Your Green Thumb

If you're not much for nature walks or trips to the beach, there are still ways that you can connect with the natural wonders of the season. One of these is definitely gardening. In an apartment setting, you don't have to plant a garden fit for royalty either. Just a few potted plants or herbs will do.

5. Go On a Road Trip

There is something really freeing about getting out on the open road with the windows down. You can make it a day trip by visiting a neighboring city or go on a weeklong camping excursion with a few of your friends.

6. Go See Live Sports

Sports fans, this is the best season ever. Whether it's soccer, baseball or hockey, there are several professional teams still playing competitively during the summer months. Grab a hot dog, wear your colors proudly and cheer your team on.

7. Visit Out-of-Town Friends (Or Have Them Visit You)

Those vacation days aren't going to spend themselves. If you have an old friend you haven't seen in a while, what are you waiting for? Or, have old friends come stay with you for a few days. This lets you explore a new place and catch up with pals you haven't talked to in ages. Summer also means that no matter where you go, the weather will almost always be agreeable.

8. Find a Hobby

Extra time and longer days means you have more hours in the day to be creative. Take up woodworking, photography, painting or astronomy. Learn a new language, invest in some guitar lessons or take a class at a nearby college. Expressing yourself is something we all like to do, and learning something new is a perfect way to get started.

9. Volunteer

Giving back is also important, and communities have tons of summer programs if you're looking to help out. Join a neighborhood clean-up committee, participate in programs that feed the homeless, volunteer at a local animal shelter or help plant a community garden with other residents.