7 ways to celebrate the summer solstice

There's so much to do in the Gem City between Memorial Day and Labor Day -- here's ten ideas sure to wow your crowd (video by Tabatha Wharton)

Get out your tarot cards, cleanse your crystals and check your astrological birth chart. The summer solstice is once again upon us.

Regardless of your belief (or lack thereof) in the pagan traditions of old, the scientific summer solstice, also known as the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, occurs Thursday, June 21, at 6:07 a.m. EDT. That's when Earth reaches its maximum tilt and the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere, creating the maximum amount of daylight from sunrise to sunset.

We'll have 93 precious days until the autumnal equinox occurs at 9:54 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22. 

Summer goes fast, so let's make the most of it. Here are our seven favorite ways to celebrate the official beginning of summer and to keep celebrating all summer long.

>> 50 ideas for your Dayton summer bucket list

>> 50 things to do with the family in Ohio this summer

1.) Plan a picnic

Finding the perfect place to BYOB (bring your own basket) is a breeze with our favorite parks to spread out that blanket and relax with good friends and good food. (Video by Tabatha Wharton)

Take advantage of the near-endless sunlight and take your meal al fresco. Whether you’re in your back yard, at a nearby park, or make an adventure out of going somewhere new, nourishing your body in the basking glow of sunlight is a prime way to welcome summer.

>> MORE: Where to go for a picnic in Dayton

>> MORE: Where to find the best food for a picnic

2.) Get active

There is a full slate of local cycling events on tap for National Bike Month. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

The Dayton area is chock-full of great ways to become one with nature — if by becoming one you mean breaking a sweat while taking in some breathtaking views. 

>> MORE: The best biking trails in Dayton

>> MORE: Where to go hiking around the Miami Valley

>> MORE: Here’s your guide to where to paddle in the area

3.) Go swimming

If full-on pool days aren't quite what you want, these area splash pads are sure to help you beat the heat this summer. (Video by Tabatha Wharton)

Nothing quite says summer like putting on a swimsuit and getting drenched. Whether you fancy a leisurely jaunt through a splash pad or a relaxing day by the pool, let yourself commune with water (just as long as you remember your sunscreen)!

>> MORE: Dayton’s best splash pads and spray parks

>> MORE: 7 water parks worth the drive from Dayton

4.) Camp out

While the Hocking Hills State Park is beautiful any time of year, with its scenic waterfalls and caves, many additional activities are offered in the warmer months. Park goers can enjoy horseback riding, ziplining, canoeing, and other activities in the area.

Forego modern structural and technological conveniences altogether and become one with the woods (or campsite). Besides, nothing says earthy summer nights than a campfire and of course, s’mores.

>> MORE: The insiders’ guide to camping at the MetroParks

>> MORE: 10 Dayton camp locations that scream heaven on earth

5.) Become a kid again

Spending time with your kids can help you remember the summers of your youth during summer solstice. (TABATHA WHARTON)
Photo: Tabatha Wharton

Pay homage to Mother Earth by getting in touch with your inner child. Be silly with your kids, or call up your friends for some old school playground games like tag or red rover and bask in the unbridled joy of carefree summers, if only for a day.

One of the best playgrounds in the area is hidden up in the hillside of Carillon Historical Park. Watch our Tabatha Wharton and her kids take the crazy set of slides head on. (Video by Tabatha Wharton)

>> MORE: The best hidden playgrounds in Dayton

>> MORE: 20 free and fun things to do with the kids this summer

6.) Eat

The plane atop The Hangar greets you as you enter the Wing Walker Patio.
Photo: Jim Ingram

Fill your face and your soul with sweet treats and delicious delicacies best enjoyed while the weather is warm and the sun is bright. Bonus points for partaking in your food of choice while on a patio or other outside seating.

>> MORE: Where to get the best ice cream (and other frozen treats) in Dayton

>> MORE: Here are your best bets for outdoor patio dining

7.) Take a road trip

Crystal stalactite at Ohio Caverns.
Photo: submitted

Sometimes the best thing you can do is just get out of town. Go explore somewhere new, whether it’s across town or across the state. Use the sunlight to help you burn up the road and create memories you won’t soon forget.

>> MORE: 7 must-see sights worth the drive

>> MORE: 5 things you HAVE to see in Yellow Springs