The American Family and the Vehicles We Love

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The American Family and the Vehicles We Love

Summertime is all about ice cream cones, fireworks, ballgames, cook-outs and the most anticipated of all summer activities … road trips to the beach.

It’s also about family. Whether planning activities for kids who are home for summer vacation or who’ve been away at college, summer’s a great time to bring everyone together for some family bonding time.

To celebrate summer’s official start, I’d like to offer some fun family activities. (See if you notice a pattern.)

Host a tailgate party at your favorite ballpark. While the exact origins of the tailgate party aren’t well-documented, the practice started in the U.S. at a football game  and has since become a tradition before college and professional sporting events, and concerts too.

This summer, round up your closest friends and family and purchase a package of tickets to the Dodgers or Angels game. Then pack your vehicles with coolers of ice, soft drinks and water, lawn chairs and snacks, and head to the venue a couple hours before the game to spend some quality time with your favorite people.

Familiarize yourself with the venue’s policies on open containers ahead of time, if you opt to have alcoholic beverages on-h and for the over-21 crowd. Also, assign a designated driver for each vehicle in your party. Driving under the influence is dangerous and, according to insurance providers like Mercury Insurance, can greatly impact the cost of your auto insurance premium or your insurability if you’re convicted of a DUI offense.

More ambitious tailgaters should pack a grill and other essentials to enhance the experience (condiments, bins for trash, lawn games, etc.). Once the pre-game celebrating concludes, be sure to properly dispose of hot coals and allow time for the grill to cool down before you pack things up and head into the game.

Be safe, smart and responsible, but, most of all, have fun and cheer loudly for the home team!

Visit a drive-in movie theater. June marks the 61st anniversary of the drive-in movie theater, the first of which opened on June 6, 1933 in Camden, N.J. An icon of American culture, drive-ins were most popular during the 1950s and 1960s, with nearly 5,000 theaters located across the country. Now, fewer than 500 remain, so it’s a rare treat to see the latest blockbuster from the comfort of your vehicle. Usually less expensive than a regular theater, you also have the added bonus of not contending with distractions from other audience members and can keep your attention on the screen. is a good resource for locating drive-in theaters in your area.

Go car camping. Many of today’s vehicles have evolved to include the luxuries of home, like rear-seat entertainment screens and DVD players, as well as mini-fridges, but car camping doesn’t literally mean you have to sleep in your car. Unlike backpacking, driving to your campsite allows you to bring more equipment (e.g., air mattresses, coolers, plenty of water, pillows, camping chairs, etc.) to allow for a comfortable trip while experiencing nature first-h and.

Time at the beach with the car
Time at the beach with the car

Car camping is allowed at state and local parks throughout the country, but you can also research privately-owned campgrounds. Before setting out for your destination, Mercury Insurance recommends the following tips to keep you and your vehicle protected.

· Inspect your first-aid kit before you leave. Be sure your supplies aren’t too low and haven’t expired since you last used the kit.

· Purchase a bear-proof container in which to store and hang your food, or check your campsite to see if has bear-proof, locked boxes available. Storing your food in the car is a bad idea because enterprising bears can break car windows, or worse, to get to your stash. This could leave you without food for your trip, as well as a potentially expensive repair bill. (Comprehensive insurance coverage is necessary to protect against this type of incident and would cover vehicle damages, subject to your deductible. Talk to your local agent to make sure you’re properly protected.)

· Clear your fire pit of debris and maintain an eight- to 10-foot radius from tents, chairs and low-hanging branches. Make sure to keep water nearby, and extinguish all flames before going to bed.

If you haven’t picked up on the pattern (as if the title didn’t give it away), these activities all revolve around cars. We love our cars, often nicknaming them  and treating them as part of the family. We love our cars so much so that, throughout history, we’ve relished activities in which they play an instrumental role. So be kind to your four-wheeled friends and enjoy your time with your whole family this summer