In recent years, it’s been my experience that when summer arrives, family members tend to disperse to their own respective activities. School’s out and kids are home during the day while parents continue to head to work. Sure, there are most likely a few weekend barbeques or sleepovers thrown in here and there, but summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the lake. Here are a few ways to do that.

If you’re an angler with a family, trying to get everyone in the household together for a family trip to the lake, or even for an afternoon on the water, can be tough. A big part of why we enjoy the outdoors is the opportunity to share that love with our family and pass it on to our children. Watching your kids learn, enabling them to enjoy nature, and helping them experience catching their first fish are the priceless rewards for taking the time to hit the lake with your family this summer.

During the year, it can be torture being confined to a classroom. I’ve been there. Between homework and studying—along with household chores if you’re in high school—it can be nearly impossible to find time to get out on the water. With school out for a few months, now is the time to do just that. Whether you can drive or not, heading out to the lake with a tackle box and a fishing pole will get your summer started right. Who knows? Master your tactics at a young enough age and you could be well on your way to becoming the next Kevin Van Dam.

Now, once you get out into the real world, working 40 hours a week can sometimes leave you tired and ready for a nap by the time Friday rolls around, especially if you’re also trying to keep expenses down to pay rent and utilities. From experience, though, I can attest to the positive impacts that taking a day to fish can have on your overall attitude and emotional state throughout the week. Look at it as a reward for a week of hard work and enjoy every minute of it. I promise you won’t regret it.

Whether you’re a nine-to-fiver, busy parent, or a teenager/college student with the summer off, making time to head to your nearest lake, river, or farm pond this summer is a great idea. It can grant you some bonding time with the family, offer a nice break from school for a few months, or just serve as a personal reward for putting in 40 hours during the week. Having some time to enjoy a favorite activity is a crucial part of enjoying life, and fishing is that activity for thousands of us. Don’t waste the summer indoors; air conditioning is overrated.