The weather in East Texas is heating up. While many of us have come to accept our region’s blistering summers, others would prefer to skip ahead to Halloween. If you’re among the latter group, consider one of the many ways to enjoy the sunshine over the next few months.

Whether you venture to the Piney Woods that trace Tyler’s natural perimeter or walk alongside the Azalea Trails at heart of the city, this is a great time to get outside. You’ll enjoy the fresh air, and you might even drop a few pounds before the winter hibernation.

Here are five great activities you should try this summer:

1. Rent a kayak at Tyler State Park

What better way to beat the heat than by getting out on a lake? Just about 10 miles north of the city limits, Tyler State Park is an almost 1,000-acre natural refuge. The park features a lake where visitors can rent kayaks, canoes or pedal boats. Dads can enjoy an afternoon of fishing while kids swim and play on a man-made beach.

If you want to escape for more than a few hours, set up a tent at one of the park’s overnight campsites.

2. Go mountain biking

Tyler is home to a growing mountain biking community. Faulkner Park, the UT Tyler campus and the aforementioned Tyler State Park all offer top-notch trails. It’s a great way to get outside and exercise while taking in the scenic (and shady) landscape.

If you have questions about getting started, contact the Tyler Bicycle Club.

3. Go swimming

It’s a summer staple. Everyone should take a dip a few times this summer, and Tyler has plenty of places to do it. Admission is free at Fun Forest Pool and Sprayground and Woldert Park. Fun Forest, at 900 N. Glenwood Blvd. in Tyler, includes an Olympic-size swimming pool with a water slide and diving board. The public pool at Woldert Park, located at 701 W. 32nd Street, is adjacent to the Glass Recreation Center, which also includes basketball courts and playground equipment.

If you’re interested in joining a members-only pool, check out Apple Swim and Fitness or Tyler Tennis and Swim.

4. Send the kids to camp

Summer camp is a great opportunity for kids to meet friends and stay busy through the summer. Campers typically make crafts, swim, exercise and learn in an environment that is less formal than school. Some of the more popular camps for kids and young teens include Pine Cove, Rockin’ C Ranch and Sky Ranch.

Enjoy the break from the kids by getting outside yourself and doing one of the other activities we mentioned.

5. Get away from the pool and make a 'Splash'

You can stay in town and take your kids to the splash park at Faulkner Park in Tyler, or if you live in Longview, the new Splash Pad is set to open this summer in Spring Hill/Neal McCoy Park.

If you want to venture out a few miles, the Waterpark at the Villages Marina near Lake Palestine and Splash Kingdom in Canton are two "splash-tastic" destinations for any family looking for fun this summer.

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The summer doesn’t have to mean wasting the day away in the air conditioning. Tell us what you’re planning to do in the comments below.