Happy official first day of summer! We're celebrating today by giving you 8 Great ideas for your summer vacation or "staycation" in Hamilton County, Indiana. Read on for these ideas and perhaps even a chance to win a summer prize package! For even more great events, check our online calendar of events.

1. Head to a festival! Hamilton County has many festivals that celebrate everything from the Fourth of July to local wines. Kick off this festival season right with a trip to the Fishers Freedom Festival this weekend where the whole family can enjoy food, a parade, and music. For the cork dorks there's the ever-popular Art of Wine event in the Carmel Arts & Design District in mid-July. If you'd like to literally dance in the streets, head to the annual Noblesville Street Dance to dance the night away on July 14. 

2. Take a dip in a local pool. Swim laps in true Olympic fashion in Forest Park's Olympic-sized pool. Head to the beach, yes, the beach! Morse Park and Beach hugs the beautiful water line of Morse Reservoir making it the perfect stop for dipping your toes in the water. Or head to the Monon Waterpark to try some surfing on the new FloRider.  

3. Eat some hand-dipped ice cream from a local sweet shop. Alexander's on the Water and on the Square offer two scenic locations for getting your ice cream fix. If custard is more your style, head to The Old Custard Stand. When you're on the go throughout the county, stop at one of Handel's Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt locations or one of the Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt locations. 

4. Go to an outdoor concert. There are FIVE communities offering free outdoor concert series! Whether you enjoy jazz or rock or pop, there's surely a show that will be a fit for you and your budget. Kick your summer concert outings off with Jazz on the Monon this Saturday or head to Symphony on the Prairie to experience a Hamilton County tradition.  

5. Eat local! Five Hamilton County communities offer seasonal farmers markets with local products and produce. No Indiana summer is complete without at least one taste of sweet corn! 

6. Get out and golf on one of Indiana's Premier Golf courses! Try your luck with a famed Pete Dye course from the Pete Dye Trail or even take a swing at holes located inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at the Brickyard Crossing. Book a Stay & Play package for even more value and a great weekend getaway. Also, stick around for the BMW Championship that's coming to Hamilton County in September! 

7. Don't miss Conner Prairie! This interactive history park is packed with summer fun activities. See what's new in Prairie Town, hop on the 1859 Balloon Voyage, and visit during August to Taste the Past with historic recipes. Also don't miss traditional events like Glorious Fourth that are full of history and family fun. 

8. Chow down in ChowTown! Celebrate the Indiana tradition of the Hoosier breaded tenderloin by dining at participating restaurants for Tenderloin Tuesdays. Each Tuesday in July participating Tenderloin Trail eateries will offer specials for their unique tenderloin sandwiches. These special deals will be posted in July, but these restaurants always offer the Hoosier favorite on their menus for your enjoyment!  

Celebrate the first day of summer today by entering our giveaway! Comment on this blog post with your favorite summer activity in Hamilton County- whether you've experienced it before or it's something you've always wanted to try. We'll pick 1 lucky winner to receive a summer prize pack consisting of 2 tickets good for any Symphony on the Prairie concert, a $25 gift card that can be used at Alexander's on the Square or Alexander's on the Water, and a $10 gift card to Zacky's Hot Dogs.

Congrats to the winner, Cindy! Here's what Cindy had to say about spending summertime in Hamilton County, IN:

"I never want to travel during the summer. Everything I could want is here. Friday night Westfield Farmer's Market - pick up all my food, live entertainment and meet up with great people. Then head to Cool Creek Concert Series. Saturday boating on Morse -lunch by boat at Wolfies, bike to Kelties on our new trails for dinner or catch a great show at Klipsh Music Center or the Palladium. Cool Creek Campfire series and Nature Center are so much fun for whole family. Pinheads, Snapperz, or Cooper's Stardust Bowl for rainy day fun. Westfield Rocks the 4th is fantastic, as are all the local special event festivals...almost impossible to choose to choose what fun to have most days! :) "