No-Bummer Summer: How to Use your Car for Fun this Season


How an unlikely suspect—your ride—can help you have the #bestsummerever.

blue ocean small wave

Post Memorial Day Weekend, if you close your eyes, you can hear a classic summer-time movie voice-over: “Hi everybody, this is your cousin Brucie. Whoa! … Ping pong in the west arcade, softball in the east diamond … Complimentary dance lessons in the gazebo.” Summer has begun, and you’re ready for the usual suspects: swimming, barbequing, sports, camping. The usuals are great, but this year, Quoted has a way to mix up your summertime activities and avoid that inevitable mid-summer slump: this year’s fun is all about your car.

DRIVE-INS

If you haven’t been to the drive-ins since you were a kid, you’re missing out. Snuggling up to watch a movie on a giant outdoor screen with sleeping bags, plenty of snacks, and the soundtrack crackling over your radio is just as fun in adulthood as it was when you were a kid. One of the biggest perks is the double feature: most drive-in movies have two showings—a kid-friendly movie for the little ones, and after, usually something more grown-up. Follow our completely non-expert tips for making the most of your drive-in experience:

  • Arrive early enough to get a spot about halfway back, and about halfway in the row, not too close to the concession stand
  • Bring lots of snacks and drinks—the sweeter and saltier the better
  • You can never have too many blankets
  • Open the hatch if you have a larger truck and set up a little movie-watching love nest

Also remember that the experience isn’t just about the movie, so you can be less picky than you might in a theater.

DRIVE-UP RESTAURANTS

We think there’s something special about eating still-piping hot burgers and fries with ice-cold shakes in your car like you’re a too-cool teen in the ‘50’s—and doesn’t that mouthwatering combo just sound like summer?

Quoted scoured the web for the coolest local drive-up spots (because the chains just aren’t as much fun). If you live near one, you might consider loading up your family or friends and eating al fresco:

  • Dicks Drive-In: serving up the classics at six Seattle-area locations
  • Keller’s Drive-In: the Dallas, Texas standby serves up the classics—plus beer!
  • Sycamore Drive-In: a spot with many summers under its belt, you’ll find the usual fare with extra flair in Bethel, CT
  • All-American Drive-In: this Long Island, NY drive-in eatery lives up to its name in both food and decor
  • The Varsity: serving Atlanta classic drive-in diner deliciousness for 87 years
  • Frisco’s: located in Long Beach, Calif., this place has a huge menu and even huger following

Didn’t see your city on the list? Thrillist has a few more fun places to drive in and eat up. And if you know of a great drive-up restaurant for fantastic summertime car eating, tell us in the comments—you might help someone else crank their summer to eleven.

OFF-ROADING

Felicity Metzler, from 4 Wheel Online, told Quoted: “We’ll load up our Jeeps and SUVs with snacks and beverages, sunscreen and a change of clothes and go find a beach to drive along, find a trail to explore, or meet up with our local Jeep enthusiast club and find some muddy trails. When we’re all done, we’ll have a big barbeque/car washing party.”

If you don’t have your own Jeep, you can still get in on the offroading fun. From mountain trails to beaches, and SUVs to ATVs, there’s a rental out there for all types.

Consider changing the chore of car-washing into a meditative break.

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW

This summer, dust off your old childhood games for some contemporary fun. Just add some expert organizing and, of course, your car.

Heather Piper, co-owner of Thrill of the Hunt, gave Quoted the details: “Thrill of the Hunt takes a traditional scavenger hunt and incorporates social media and technology to make it interactive and even more exciting. Thrill of the Hunt personalizes each scavenger hunt for team building events, fundraisers, corporate outings, educational functions, public hosted events and birthday parties for all ages.” Piper also told us they’ve “Developed scavenger hunts to cover a large distance, either for historic value, to force individuals to get to know an area, or to increase the overall challenge. This scavenger hunt could also include a road trip or an overnight adventure. Pile a few friends in the car and partake in a scavenger hunt!”

CAR WASH

For car lovers—and clean lovers, and those looking for some novel entertainment for restless children—there’s nothing like an all-inclusive car wash to mix up your summertime routine, and even add a little fun. Really! Just picture yourself traveling slowly on the conveyer belt, those huge rollers banging and scrubbing, and all the poured soap and hose action–you could do worse on a slow and sleepy summer afternoon. And if you have restless kids to entertain, tell them a story about caves and witches, or heroes and adventurers fending off monsters. Or, if your kids are very literal, have them guess each step in the washing process—you can bet waxing will stump them. You’re sure to get at least a few fun-parent points out of the experience, with the bonus of a shiny-fresh car.

If you’re more of a DIY type of person, you might consider transforming the chore of car-washing into a meditative break. Hans Desjarlais from Import Insider tells us that washing his car “On a weekly basis is a way to relax and unwind after a busy work week.”

Quoted wants to know: how do you plan to spice up your summer routines this year, and how does your car fit in?