Lifelong, Summer Memories Start With Parks and Recreation, Survey Finds

(August 2, 2021)

Top memorable summertime activities include going to the beach/lake and park  

The family-friendly summer activities offered by park and recreation professionals in communities nationwide are at the heart of many people’s favorite childhood memories, according to a newly released National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) poll. Ninety-three percent of U.S. adults say they attribute these feel-good memories to the summer activities provided by their local parks and recreation. The top three memorable activities include:

  • Going to the beach/lake
  • Going to the park
  • Playing at the playground

While people of all ages have fond memories of these classic summertime activities, parents, who also identify camping and hiking or walking in nature as a top activity, are most likely to hold these activities close to their heart. Other memorable activities include:  

  • Going to the pool
  • Going on picnics
  • Playing sports at a local ballfield or court
  • Attending summer camps or summer programs

“So many people rely on their local parks and recreation during the summer months,” said Kevin Roth, NRPA vice president of research, evaluation and technology. “The parks and programs managed by our dedicated members serve as a backdrop for endless summer fun, and it’s our goal to ensure every person in every community has access to these experiences, along with the people who create these lifelong memories.”  

In addition to these activities, park and recreation professionals work hard to ensure that parents and caregivers have access to safe and affordable childcare during the summer. Through a variety of park and recreation-sponsored, out-of-school (OST) programs, children of all ages have access to health and wellness activities, arts and cultural activities, social opportunities, peer support and more. To learn more about these life-changing programs, click here.    

To view the interactive charts with the survey results, click here.

To view the full-size infographic, click here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit   


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit