When the season first begins, it seems like there’s no end to the fun things to do in the summer. But all too often, a week at the beach — or even a day at the movies — depletes your entertainment budget. That makes finding free summer activities more pressing than ever. Looking for fun things to do in the summer at home with your kids? Need more cheap summer activities for adults? There’s more available than you might think.
Fun Things to Do in the Summer That Are Practically Free
1. Head Off into the Sunset
With luck, your budget allows for a night or two in a modest hotel and a few meals out at local eateries. If so, why not just point the car in the least explored direction and go wherever the road takes you? In this modern era of GPS and Trip Advisor, you’re hardly in danger of getting stranded in the boondocks without lodging!
Nose down all the interesting side streets, or stop at trails marked “Waterfall.” Visit quaint villages, and the goofiest roadside attractions you can find. Come home when your vacation time or your bank account runs out — whichever comes first!
2. Hit the Library
Is there anything the local library can’t provide for you — free? How about a fresh stack of mysteries or a bunch of new movies? Or story time and other free summer programs when the kids are restless? Talk about your tax dollars at work!
Often overlooked are the free and discount passes most libraries stock. These enable you to visit aquariums, museums, stadium tours, and other attractions in your region. The passes are usually first-come, first-served at the library. But chances are, you’ll find several intriguing options for a fraction of what you’d normally spend.
3. Have a Never-ending Fireworks Fest
Many neighboring towns hold separate fireworks shows on different nights before, during and after the July 4 holiday. Why not hit as many as possible? This after-work activity is a fresh take on things to do in the summer with friends. Let your gang know which firework shows you’ll be hanging out at next, and invite them to join the fun.
Pack up an inexpensive picnic, and plot out the no-cost, prettiest places to view them. Do you own a rubber raft or cheap kayak? Hit the lake with the family or that special someone — or with a flotilla of friends — to watch the fireworks reflect in the water.
4. Check out State and Local Parks
For those who live inland, a trip to the seaside to cool off usually involves a tank of gas and a huge parking fee. But many people forget there are plenty of low-cost or no-cost options to beat the heat, all within a relatively short drive.
Chances are, there’s a state lake or river near you, with public areas for swimming and wading. Even local forests offer the relief of a shady walk, and the chance to sink your feet in a stream. Look online before you go, to determine if you qualify for the state or municipal parking discount. In addition, check what facilities the park has. If it boasts grills and picnic tables, why not pack a cooler with hot dogs, cold drinks, and other cookout classics?
5. Start a Family Ratings Book (or Blog!)
Is there one inexpensive delicacy your whole family’s crazy about? Maybe it’s pizza or milkshakes — or a regional specialty, like crab cakes. Each weekend, take a trek to a locally famous eatery to try a new version of this family fave. Once you’re back home, each person in the family can give the meal a rating. Come up with a family average for each new place your visit.
This family project hits the “budget-friendly and fun” checklist in two ways. First, it gives you an inexpensive outing option, as you track down the next place to sample those milkshakes or pizza slices. Plus, creating the “guide” component of your family projects adds to your arsenal of fun things to do in the summer at home. The guide can be a booklet (or blog) with photos and individual comments from family members, on the pros and cons of each place.
If you’re on a really tight budget but you still want to look for fun things to do in summer, then look for free activities! Watch this video for more tips:
There’s no shortage of fun things to do in the summer without breaking the bank. Brainstorming and planning ahead helps tremendously. You’ll soon discover that there are plenty of free summer activities for adults and the entire family.
What are your plans for the summer? Share them in the comments section below!