50 Summer Traditions You'll Find Only in the South

We've fried plenty of green tomatoes and chased a few lightning bugs in our time.

Classic White Porch Swing
Kick back and relax! These inviting porch swings are the perfect spot to enjoy the view. Grab your sweet tea and sit a spell with us.A traditional wooden porch swing is cozied up with blue-and-white cotton pillows from HomeGoods. A rustic bench serves as a side table.Similar swing here. Photo: Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

A Southern summer is like no other season, no other place. Yep, it's hot out there. But sometime between the first chill of autumn and the last blast of winter, we forget all about the heat AND the humidity and start waxing nostalgic about summer traditions we grew up with. (Mosquitoes are a recurring theme.) Our Facebook Brain Trust just weighed in on their favorite traditions of Southern summertime. Here's what they said. Break out the Liberty National fans and tell us what we missed!

  1. Sparklers (for fun and as a mosquito deterrent)
  2. Ghost hunting
  3. Snipe hunting
  4. Catching crawfish
  5. Crabbing from a pier on Mobile Bay; catching supper
  6. Playing in the rain
  7. Making clover bracelets by tying the stems together
  8. Making powder puffs out of mimosa blooms
  9. Rocking, swinging, and talking on the porch until the mosquitoes finally chase you in at night
  10. Haint blue porch ceilings
  11. Going to the drive-in with a station wagon full of neighborhood kids—and plenty of mosquitoes
  12. Decoration day at the cemetery
  13. Making sage-grass tunnels to play in; swimming in creeks and springs
  14. Playing flashlight tag in the neighborhood at night
  15. Pinching off the end of a honeysuckle bloom and sucking the nectar
  16. Coming home from church in your Sunday best, taking off your patent Mary Janes, and going barefoot in a frilly dress (till Mama catches you)
  17. Playing under the garden hose
  18. Holding tinfoil boat races in the gutters during a "gully washer" rainstorm
  19. Turning a jarful of lightning bugs loose in a movie theater! (I think I was making a statement.)
  20. Staying out to play in the street with all the neighborhood kids till it got dark enough for the lights to come on (and the mosquitoes to get serious)
  21. Putting lemon juice on your hair to go a little blonde
  22. "Laying out" on an old cotton quilt to work on that tan (with an extension chord running a Westinghouse fan in the back yard)
  23. Picking blackberries for cobbler, with Mama warning "watch for snakes" every five minutes
  24. Speaking of which . . . snakes
  25. Picking strawberries from Papaw's patch (They never made it into the basket because they got eaten too fast.)
  26. Picking muscadines and making jelly
  27. Making sun tea
  28. Pineapple and mayo sandwiches
  29. Eating (in-season) tomato sandwiches and vegetables from the garden; putting up pickles and preserves; shopping at curb markets
  30. Fried green tomatoes
  31. Eating watermelon under a shade tree
  32. Watermelon+front porch+shaker of salt
  33. Kids stealing watermelons from a neighbor's patch (The neighbor always knew exactly what we were up to.)
  34. Holding off on buying watermelon till the Fourth, when local ones are in season
  35. Picnicking—and everything from the basket to the napkins to our YETI coolers is monogrammed
  36. Church homecomings and dinner on the grounds
  37. Homemade lemonade and tea cakes from your grandmother's recipe
  38. Outdoor fish fries with homemade hush puppies
  39. Shrimp boils served on picnic tables covered with newspaper
  40. Fishing with a cane pole
  41. Homemade cane syrup and mayhaw jelly
  42. Hand-cranking a freezer of homemade ice cream because your granddaddy says it tastes better that way
  43. Pouring a bag of Lance's or Tom's peanuts into an ice-cold (glass) bottle of Coke
  44. Making Kool-Aid popsicles in your Mama's ice trays
  45. Vacation Bible School with cookies and Kool-Aid for refreshments and lots of crafts that involved macaroni, Elmer's glue, and gold spray paint
  46. Piling into the back of a pickup with your siblings and cousins and going for a ride through a cotton field
  47. Making a "pool" with a tarp liner in the back of your pickup
  48. Driving around after a big rain and "muddoggin'" every puddle you find
  49. Sleeping porches
  50. Cicadas

WATCH: A Dermatologist Warns Against Using This Type of Sunscreen

Our grandmothers were right—skin should be protected from the sun, not fried under it. Shield yourself from all those harmful (and aging) rays, and get your tan the sunless way.

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