15 Summer Activities for Des Moines Families to Enjoy While Social Distancing

15 Summer Activities for Des Moines Families to Enjoy While Social Distancing

We might be missing some of our favorite summer traditions this year, but that doesn’t mean the season is canceled. As local attractions begin to reopen, there are plenty of summer activities to keep families entertained. We’ve listed a few of our favorite things to do with kids while social distancing in the Des Moines metro.

Be sure to check out our other ideas for seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide and Events Calendar.

[Editor’s Note: Due to COVID-19 precautions, some of the following venues and events may have adjusted their hours or programming. Please check with your destinations in advance to confirm your activity. Know of a free or cheap movie that is not included here? Send us an email and we’ll include it!]

1. See a movie in the great outdoors.

Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback and new pop-up drive-in theaters are also appearing like Drive-In Clive and Free Flicks: Drive-In Edition in Des Moines. Several local communities and churches are also hosting Movies in the Park and family movie nights outside.  

2. Take a hike or go for a walk.

After being cooped up inside our house for months, summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors. Polk County Conservation and Brenton Arboretum are hosting night hikes. Here are some tips for making family walks more fun.

3. Pick up a sweet treat.

Summer isn’t the same without some of these sweet treats to cool you off. You can find some cool ice cream shops and shave ice spots in the Des Moines metro too.

4. Hunt for outdoor murals.

The Des Moines Art Center has reopened but there’s also plenty of art to see outdoors in Des Moines! We’ve gathered some iconic kid-friendly murals across the city to pose in front of.  

5. Play mini golf.

Grab your clubs and hit as many of these outdoor mini golf courses as you can this summer. 

6. Go camping.

Camping seems like a fun way to social distance. Pack up your tents, snacks and masks before heading to these family camping sites. If you rather stay at home, opt in for backyard camping instead. 

7. Go on a bike ride.

Before heading out, gear up with these tips for biking with kids.  Then bike these family-friendly biking trails that promise you stunning views of our city and suburbs. 

15 Summer Activities for Des Moines Families to Enjoy While Social Distancing – dsm4kids.com

8. Go stargazing.

Turn your eyes to the night sky. You can take up astronomy as a family or attend a fun event like the Perseid Party in Brenton Arboretum.

9. Visit a nature center.

Nature centers like the Annett Nature Center and Prairie Learning and Visitor Center are perfect for families. While indoor facilities are closed until further notice, you can still take advantage of their outdoor trails and amenities to get some fresh air. 

10. Pick delicious berries.

Berry picking season usually begins in mid-June and continues through the end of August. We’re so lucky that many berry picking farms have adjusted their guidelines to keep families safe for this summer tradition. 

11. Drive to weird roadside attractions.

Up for a road trip? Track down these quirky roadside attractions such as Albert the Bull in Audobon and the Giant Volkswagen Beetle Spider in Avoca, IA.

12. Get out on the water.

Explore local water ways this summer as boat rental facilities are operating again. Stand up paddle boarding and kayaking are both excellent ways to get some exercise and be outside while social distancing. 

13. Eat outdoors.

Enjoy a family meal at a local restaurant with these outdoor options. Or, pack some sandwiches and go on a picnic.

14. Go fishing.

Fishing is a sport that lends itself to social distancing for sure. We’ve got some tips and great places for you to take the kids fishing.

15. See a waterfall.

If your family is obsessed with hiking, you can spot the most amazing cascades on a tour of Iowa waterfalls.



What summer activities has your family been doing while social distancing?

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