Which Are the Best Summer Jobs?

By - March 24, 2015

If you need a temporary job you can pick apples in the fall, be a ski instructor in the winter, or prepare tax returns in the spring. But of all the seasonal jobs out there, the best ones are probably the summer jobs. Often you get to work outdoors, or at least in an area where you can enjoy the hiking or hanging out at the beach when you're not working. And the long days guarantee that you won't spend every last hour of daylight at work.

(Flickr photo by Artur Staszewski)

Perhaps you're a teacher or college student, and you want to make some money during your summer off. Or maybe you just want a fun way to pay the bills for the summer before you start a new career. Whatever your reason for seeking temporary warm-weather employment, you can get ready here, with my list of the best summer jobs.

Resort Jobs

Many resorts are either open only seasonally or add to staff for the summer. The jobs available are not typically high-paying positions, but you usually get to work in a beautiful setting. There is a nice collection of resort job postings on CoolWorks.com. Kitchen staff and wait staff seem to be the most common openings (and the latter might pay decently when you include tips).

Golf Caddie Positions

Being a caddie made Forbes list of best-paying summer jobs. They offer an example of a caddie who makes (with tips) $200 per round and does 2 rounds per day. They estimate the average pay at $16.67 per hour. You can find thousands of golf caddie jobs listed on SimplyHired.com.

Summer Jobs in National Parks

Google the park you're interested in along with "jobs" and you'll often find a National Park Service page devoted to employment in that specific park. For example, there's a page on jobs in Yellowstone, and one on seasonal jobs in Wind Cave National Park. Many of the jobs start around $15 per hour.

There are also summer internships for graduate and undergraduate students. These offer a chance to learn something and sometimes pay a stipend of $3,000 to $4,000.

If you're flexible about where you work, visit to USAJobs.gov. In the search form enter "summer position" where it says "Keyword," and pick a state to enter under "Location." Doing that for Colorado turned up 17 postings, some of which were in or near national parks. Most of the others were Bureau of Land Management positions, which are also in some beautiful areas.

Alaska Jobs

A search of "summer position" on AlaskaJobs.com turned up 5,600 jobs. Here's a short sample of the positions listed:

  • Summer grounds maintenance workers at the University of Alaska in Juneau
  • Oil field work on the North Slope
  • Paid 12-week management internship in Fairbanks
  • Night auditor at a hotel in Skagway
  • Biological technician in Girdwood

Summer Camp Jobs

If you like working with kids and being outdoors, being a camp counselor might be right for you. Other positions available in summer camps include:

  • Nurse
  • Camp director
  • Program director
  • Lifeguard
  • Cook

Some websites, like CampStaff.com specialize in camp jobs. Other sites list summer jobs just for campgrounds that are a part of an organization, like the summer job page of the American Camp Association. You can also search for them on any of the general job posting websites.

Tutoring Positions

For teachers and others working in education, tutoring can be a good way to bring in some extra income during a summer off. A search of "summer tutoring" on Indeed.com produced over 600 postings.

Trail Building Work

As a trail builder you get to work outside and stay in shape (or get in shape). You'll typically work just in the summer if you're in the mountains of the west. You can find job openings posted on the website of the Professional Trail Builders Association. At the moment the openings include positions in Vermont, New York, Colorado, North Carolina, and Idaho.

Requirements for these jobs vary. Pay varies too, but you often get more than just a paycheck. For example, if you've had a year of trail building experience you might qualify for a position as an "assistant trail crew leader" working on the Appalachian Trail in Maine. That job pays $10 per hour plus housing and meals

Finding Summer Employment

Here are a few of the websites that can help you find summer jobs:

CoolWorks.com - Cool Works specializes in postings for "jobs in great places." Their section on summer jobs is a good resource if you want a job that involves outdoor time or at least working in a place where you'll want to be outdoors on days off.

SummerJobs.com - This is "your resource for finding summer jobs and seasonal staff positions with camps, amusement parks, resorts, national parks, hotels, environmental organizations and more."

BackDoorJobs.com - This website specializes in "short-term job adventures" that include internships and travel opportunities.

The big job websites can work well too. Just search using phrases like "summer job," "summer position," or "seasonal work." Here are four of the biggest:

More Summer Jobs

Here are some other jobs that typically become more available in the summer, including a few that we've covered before on The Penny Hoarder:

Bartender - Look for positions on Alaskan cruises and at summer resorts if you want to work just for the season.

Forest Firefighter - The pay varies, and can be pretty low when there are no fires, but you can also make up to $40,000 in a busy season.

Construction Worker - In northern climates summer is the season for construction. Start with construction cleanup if you have no experience.

Tour Guide - Work where you are or get to know a summer tourist destination well enough to show it off to visitors.

Lifeguard - Busy beaches around the Great Lakes and in other northern areas typically need lifeguards from June through August.

Treasure Hunter - This is not exactly a job, but summer is the best time to try it.

Housekeeper - Hotels in northern resort areas hire for the summer season.

Casino Dealer - Cruise ship companies hire for the summer cruise season.

Landscaper - To make this a summer job, get hired at a seasonal resort.

National Park Scout - Openings for this cool position, offered by Backpacker Magazine, will probably be filled by the time you read this, but watch for future opportunities.

Beach Combing - This is another one that isn't really a job, but you can make money if you follow the advice in my post on the topic.

House Painter - Summer is the season for painting houses in the north, but in any case if you do this as your own business you can choose when you work and make good money.

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Every Way to Make Money | Summer Jobs