Eight things you need to do in Central Texas before summer gets here

Spring has sprung. This is old news, of course. Winter — what there was of it — has been in Austin’s rear view mirror for weeks. But don’t get too comfortable.

Summer is looming. In Central Texas, it’s that 5-6 month season when you can’t walk out barefoot to get something from the car. When you can’t check out a new park without setting your alarm clock. When you can work up a sweat just watering your grass.

It will be here before you know it. Here are 8 things you need to do in Central Texas before summer gets here …

1. TAKE THE KIDS TO THE PLAYGROUND

Children take a break from the Mighty Kite Flight Sunday on the playground in the in Bee Cave Central Park in April last year. Photo by Sue Knolle for Lake Travis View

There’s nothing like the sound of a screaming child who has discovered for you that the playground equipment is way too hot. Better find an overcast day and take them now. Repeat until the sizzle makes you stop.

2. GO TO A SHOW AT A CLASSIC HONKY-TONK

Sure Gruene Hall has air conditioning … they open up the windows!

Sure, I’m from here. I know full well that there’s something great about a hot summer night at a historic venue. But you just can’t hear Ray Wylie tell his stories when you’re surrounded by people whining about how stuffy and sticky it is.

3. GO FOR A NATURE HIKE

Patty Wilson surveys the water of Barton Creek on May 26, 2016 at Gus Fruh park. Photo by Laura Skelding, American-Statesman

If you think water obstacles are part of the fun while hiking through the Barton Creek greenbelt, you probably don’t want to wait until July.

4. SEE THE WILDFLOWERS

The Kelly family of south Austin have fun in a beautiful field of bluebonnets near the Point Community Church off of FM 1626 east of Manchaca despite an easy drizzle. Photo by Ralph Barrera, American-Statesman

Duh. They got an early start this year. It’ll be crispy grass and cracked earth soon.

5. GET A GOOD JUMP ON THE YARDWORK

Katherine Weil mows a lawn with an environmentally friendly mower in north Austin on Saturday, August 18, 2007. Photo by Ricardo B. Brazziell, American-Statesman

If oak pollen allergies allow it, best to get out there now and fight the bugs and the humidity.

6. GO CAMPING AT ENCHANTED ROCK

Leilani Perry sits by Moss Lake, a small lake on the back side of the huge granite hill at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Photo by Pam LeBlanc, Oct 2015

It takes a certain type of person to lie in a puddle of sweat in a tent at Enchanted Rock in July. If you don’t think you are that person, trust me, you are not.

7. GO EAT CHILI AT THE TEXAS CHILI PARLOR

The Texas Chili Parlor on Lavaca Street in Austin. Photo by Mike Sutter

Traditionally, Texas is still at risk for a cold snap until Easter. That might be optimistic thinking this year. Better get that bowl of XXX chili before the XXX weather hits.

8. BREAK OUT THE BUG ZAPPER

A well-worked bug zapper. Photo by Dave Thomas

Seriously. A friend gave me a bug zapper and two lawn chairs as a wedding gift. (A good friend who could get away with such a thing.) He said it was a “redneck entertainment center.” And so it has been. The zapping is good now. When it’s 110 degrees in July, the flying bugs will be dead. The bugs will be dead. They’ll all be dead.

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