Summer vacation

Notes on Time Off

A special issue on summer vacation.

If you’re college-age or younger, summer is most likely your favorite season—an opportunity to forget everything you learned over the school year, flirt with fellow campers (or camp counselors), and get a tan. If you’re a working adult, the hottest months are a mixed bag. The weather’s great, but your boss won’t let you take the long vacation you deserve. You’re not sure what to bring to your neighbor’s backyard cookout, and you’re worried your kids will forget everything they learned over the school year. It’s the best of seasons; it’s the worst of seasons; it’s a Slate special issue. Yes, Slate’s devoting its creative powers to summer.

Sara Dickerman kicks off our summer issue with a pasta salad manifesto. “Pasta salad,” Dickerman contends, “is the wallflower of summer foods.” But it doesn’t have to be that way—with the right ingredients, “pasta salad can get out there and party with the stars of the cookout.” Emily Bazelon explains how to make trips to the museum fun for kids. She warns readers that while “the beach and the pool require only sun and sunscreen to be a good bet,” cultural “outings are more delicate creatures.” Also, the Green Lantern reveals whether gas grills or charcoal grills are better for the environment, and Dan Gross asks whether amusement park companies will be a victim of the decline in discretionary spending. On Slate V,Mark Jordan Legan tries not to drown in a sea of terrible beach movies, including Beach Blanket Bingo, Beach Girls and the Monster, and Blood Beach.

The Pasta Salad Manifesto: 12 steps to a better dish,” by Sara Dickerman. Posted June 23, 2008.

We’re Going on a Treasure Hunt: How to make a summertime museum trip with kids worthwhile,” by Emily Bazelon. Posted June 23, 2008.

The Great Barbecue Debate: Is charcoal bad for the planet?” by Brendan I. Koerner. Posted June 23, 2008.

Summer Staycation: Can Six Flags survive the economic downturn?” by Daniel Gross. Posted June 23, 2008.

Do Kids Need a Summer Vacation? Why schoolchildren get to take three months off,” by Juliet Lapidos. Posted June 23, 2008.

Under, Over, and Around the Boardwalk,” a gallery by Magnum Photos. Posted June 24, 2008.