The days are longer, the weather is warmer, most school-age kids are home, and families and individuals are finding themselves with more free time.

The resulting battle cry quite often is: "There's nothing to do."The fact is, there's a lot going on. One just has to know where to look - for clues, for information, for helpful hints.

You now can add the Deseret News to your reference list, as Utah County-based writers offer summer insights on local trails and tourist sites, hot spots and places to stay cool, and off-the-road locations and improvised recreational areas.

Some stories this summer will feature name attractions - locations and events well-recognized by locals who are still unacquainted with the area or activity. For example, how many folks - including lifelong or longtime residents - have yet to experience the likes of the Heber Creeper, the Timpanogos Cave, the Springville Art Museum or the Stagecoach Inn?

But there's more than the Bridal Veil Falls and the Brigham Young University tours - the types of sites and activities well-documented in travel brochures. How about enjoying the cozy confines or discovering abandoned silver mines in Rock Canyon.

Through the summer, the Deseret News will highlight some of the local sites and events that you might want to consider as possibilities for your recreational itinerary.

This weekly series will cover the unlikely and unknown places, as well as the obvious sites that so many have yet to visit. In addition, we'll chat with the folks nearby - whether they be neighbors, employees or visitors themselves.

Much of the large-scale events - such as the annual Freedom Festival and the individual city celebrations - will be coverage in separate stories.

We plan on providing our summer features - the people, sites, activities and events - at least once a week, generally in a Thursday or Friday issue.

Some of our suggestions may require paid admissions, while others will be free or inexpensive improvisations.

However, don't limit yourself to our weekly installments. More plentiful, in-depth resources include advertisements, travel brochures, newspaper coverage on individual events and reviews of summer theater and concerts.

Meanwhile, your best bet is chatting with friends, relatives and neighbors. You may not want to divulge your secrets in scheduling activities or selecting secluded sites, but such an exchange between friends and family results in suggestions offered and recommendations sought.

Got a spot you'd like to recommend? Want to suggest a certain activity that has been successful in the past? Make the Deseret News your makeshift neighbor and share your what-to-do-in-Utah-County-this-summer ideas by giving us a phone call or sending us a postcard. Mail ideas to Deseret News Utah County Bureau, 1 E. Center St., Suite 201, Provo 84601, or call 374-1162.