17 Nostalgic Signs of Summer

17 Nostalgic Signs of Summer | The Nostalgia Diaries Blog

There you are at the pool or beach, lounging in your swimsuit, sipping a cold drink (preferably with a little umbrella in it, right?), and then you feel it: a small bead of sweat trickling down your back. You’re hot, but you don’t care, because guess what? The sun feels good, and a cool dip of water—that blissful sweet relief—is just a few feet away. Ah, summer, how we love you…

Summer is a season where all of your senses have a fun time coming out to play. Last week we had fun taking a nostalgic trip down memory lane with our favorite 7 Simple Nostalgic Sounds of Summer, and for this week’s Throwback Thursday post, we’ve rounded up 17 Nostalgic Signs of Summer—the things that emerge in all their glory during this happy season of sun. And for some added fun, we’re sharing an interesting fact about each of them in case you need a good ice-breaker at your next summer BBQ or get-together (Just make sure to use them sparingly—you don’t want to be that guy).

17 Nostalgic Signs of Summer

1) Flip Flops

Flip flops are considered to be the first form of footwear: According to Ancient Egyptian murals, the earliest use of this shoe occurred around 4,000 B.C. 

2) Convertibles

By 1950, every American car maker had a convertible in its lineup. This meant there were 33 different models in all!

3) Grills

In 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson hosted the first barbecue ever held at the White House. On the menu? Texas-style barbecued ribs.

4) Ice Cream Trucks

The first ice cream truck was credited to the creator of the Good Humor brand of ice cream, Harry Burt of Youngstown, Ohio. Burt was already delivering ice cream from a motorized vehicle when he had the idea to place chocolate covered ice cream bars on a stick. This new Good Humor ice cream “sucker” was easy and clean to eat, and ultimately gave him the idea to sell it directly from his truck to consumers on the street. We think it’s quite a cool scoop of history.

5) Sunglasses

Every 14 minutes an American loses, breaks, or sits on a pair of sunglasses.

6) Bicycles

Paved roads became mainstream not because of cars, but because of bicycles: while automobile could go across cobblestones fairly well, bicycles could not.

7) Picnic Baskets

Picnic baskets were originally called picnic hampers.

8) Wagons

The iconic Radio Flyer wagon got its name from inventor Antonio Pasin’s two favorite inventions: the radio and the airplane. Even during the Great Depression, Pasin and his crew cranked out 1,500 Radio Flyers every day, and production is still going strong—this year, the company celebrates its 100th anniversary!

9) Watermelon

Every part of this classic summertime vegetable (yes, vegetable!) is edible, even the seeds and rinds.

10) Sprinklers

About 65% of all water used in American households goes to watering lawns. (In summer, that’s about a whopping 238 gallons per person per day!)

11) Yard Sales

In 2012, a man bought a sketch at a Las Vegas yard sale that turned out to be an original Andy Warhol painting that appraised for $2,000,000.

12) Lightning Bugs

Fireflies have the ability to synchronize their flashing, and the light they emit can be yellow, green, or orange.

13) Skin (Lots and lots of skin…)

Sunburn is a visual reaction to the sun’s ultraviolet rays: the rays kill living cells underneath the top layer of your epidermis, and then your immune system speeds up the blood flow to send white blood cells in to try and repair the damage—hence the hallmark redness of sitting in the sun for too long. (Remember to wear sunscreen!)

14) Farmers Markets

The number of farmers markets in the United States has grown rapidly in recent years, from just under 2,000 in 1994 to more than 8,600 markets currently registered in the USDA Farmers Market Directory.

15) Open Windows

While it is estimated that the average US home is built with about 8 windows, the White House boasts a crazy 147 and Buckingham Palace has a whopping 760!

16) Popsicles

In 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson stirred a package of soda mix into a cup of water with a stick and accidentally left the concoction on his porch overnight. The temperature outside dropped enough that when Frank returned the following morning, he found a delicious frozen treat, complete with a handle. Voila—the first Popsicle!

17) Lemonade Stands

The earliest documented lemonade stands were introduced by young entrepreneur Edward Bok in Brooklyn street cars from 1873 to 1876.

Let Us know: What are some of your favorite signs of summer? What are the things that come out during the summertime months that take you back to your childhood?


At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.


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39 thoughts on “17 Nostalgic Signs of Summer

  1. Ooh watermelon. I had no idea it was considered a vegetable. I guess it’s similar to a tomato being a fruit. I love that an 11 year old invented the popsicle; I think I read that somewhere before.

  2. Sprinklers!! I grew up way out in the country and my mom didn’t want to take all five of us to a pool (it was probably way too far away, anyway), so we spent endless hours jumping through the sprinkler in our backyard. Such good memories!

  3. Love all the quirky facts! One of my favorite things about summer is the smells… fresh cut grass, salty ocean air, chlorine, rain, and even hot asphalt!

  4. I’m pretty sure I’m the one breaking my sunglasses every 14 minutes. Thanks for this great list! I’m going to wow my friends at our next BBQ. 🙂

  5. All of these things remind me of summer! They were all a part of my childhood – including catching lightning bugs! Great list – so awesome to hear about the Andy Warhol find too!

  6. I knew a blogger who told her kids the ice cream man played music only when he was out of ice cream. (Makes you wonder about heaven and hell, good and evil – and whether some ideas are just good in the moment!)

    A true sign of summer for me once was that the Colorado Rockies were already way out of contention for the playoffs. Not so this year! I associate music playing outside, from a boombox in the park or stereo in the garage, a sign of summer.

    Also, cookouts that begin in daylight and end way after the sun goes down. Day trips. Staying on the soccer field until the lightning chases us away. Cool desserts and air conditioning, and my wardrobe, which for summer hasn’t changed in 40 years!

  7. Ah…summer is the best! Watermelon, sweet fresh corn, and pool and beach time say summer to me! I sooooo wish my children could experience the ice cream truck!

  8. The ice cream truck’s song is my #1 nostalgic reminder that summer is here! I had no idea watermelon was a vegetable. And every 14 min with the sunglasses?! Glad it’s not just me- breaking/losing them is why I never bother to buy expensive ones! Great list!

  9. Yes to all of these! That picture of the rocket pop took me back to childhood summers before I even made it to the article! The sprinkler part made me smile because my daughter just started running through the sprinkler yesterday and now it is all she wants to do! I have so many fond memories of doing that as a kid. I actually ran through with her yesterday in my clothes just because!

  10. Oh the good old ice creams. Nothing more nostalgic than that. Got to love campfires, farmer’s markets, yard sales and the beach as well!

  11. It was SO cool reading about the history of some of these beloved summer symbols–especially the ice cream truck! I still feel that rush of excitement when I hear the music in the distance, even though I haven’t craved ice cream on a popsicle stick in years, hahah!

  12. Your list is the definition of summer. Lemonade stands, bike rides, just being outside and soaking up the warm sunshine. I love all things summer and thing list is the perfect reminder why.

  13. I absolutely love this fun facts about things that truly remind me of summer and make me smile! Thanks for sharing these!

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