On the day of our micro staycation, six of us began walking along the Hudson River Greenway with our masks and strollers: Myself, my wife, our daughter, our friends and their 3-year-old son. We were thrilled to be going somewhere beyond the confines of our immediate surroundings, even though it was humid and 92 degrees.

When we finally arrived, the lighthouse was a humble sight: It appeared weatherworn. The door to the lighthouse had rusted, the red paint flaking off to reveal unsightly blotches. It is remarkable how it has endured. Were it not for fans of the picture book who rallied to save it, the lighthouse would have been auctioned off decades ago.

My wife and I sat near the water and watched our daughter play. It felt almost transformative to have a moment to ourselves.

“Remember how we used to enjoy each other’s company?” she asked, only half-joking.

We settled down on a patch of grass to have a picnic, making sure to spread out about six feet apart from our friends.

For many of us, the summer of 2020 will not be known for road trips, amusement parks, lakeside retreats or anything remotely aspirational. But families across the country are finding small yet meaningful ways to escape, have fun again and experience something new.

Summer memories don’t need to come with souvenirs that you can stick on a fridge, said Kiki Blazevski-Charpentier, 37, of Queens. She and her husband both work on construction projects in New York City brought about by the pandemic. They have no plans to leave for the summer, as other New Yorkers have done.

Blazevski-Charpentier said she and her husband and two children will often escape to their small balcony, which is furnished with tables and potted plants. In past summers, she said, they would only spend time on the balcony about two times a week because they were busy with other activities. Now it’s at least twice a day. A cardboard painter’s canvas hangs from the brick wall, attached with black duct tape. In the evening, after their art projects are done, the kids use the balcony to play with water guns.