We normally go on a week-long vacation, but with baseball and softball games, practices, volleyball camps and more, we just haven’t found a good time to go. Instead, we decided to fit in several short, mini-vacations over the summer.
Or, you might be feeling frugal and want to save some money this summer. You can find plenty of things to do that won’t break the bank while also entertaining your family.
Here are 13 cheap, fun things you can do this summer to keep the family busy and make great memories:
Have a picnic
Hang out at a local park for part of the day. You can grab a blanket, make some sandwiches and pack some snacks. Find a great spot and set up your picnic gear. You can even bring a frisbee, or ball gloves and a baseball, and play games.
Get a season pass
It may be worth getting a family season pass to the local zoo, community pool or amusement park. You can go in with friends or another family and split the cost of the pass. Season packages usually cover admission and park fees, so you can go anytime you want in the summer without taking a hit to your pocketbook.
If you have a tent and camping gear, going camping can be an extremely cheap getaway. Find a local campground or park that allows camping, and pitch your tent. It’s a great way to leave all of the stresses of modern life behind and get back to nature.
You may be surprised to learn that there are still drive-in movie theaters out there. You can visit driveinmovie.com to see if there are any drive-ins near where you live. You may also be able to find a neighboring town or city that holds summer movies in the park. You can even go old-school and create your own outdoor movie. Simply take the TV and DVD player outside, or borrow a projector from a friend and hang up a sheet.
Many museums have days that are free, or when they charge reduced admission. You can also get a membership to share with others and make it even more cost-effective.
Take a hiking or biking trip
Pack some water bottles and snacks and take off on an adventure. Find a local hiking trail or biking path and get out there. You can enjoy the weather, relax and get some exercise.
Attend a festival
Check the newspaper, your local historical society or the chamber of commerce to see if there are any festivals coming up in your area. Most activities are free, and you might learn something new!
Concerts in the park
Your city or a nearby city may offer free weekly concerts somewhere in town. You can pack a blanket and a picnic, and go enjoy live music.
I forget from summer to summer how much fun it is to play miniature golf. At least once when we play, the game will be interrupted by hysterical laughter. Mini-golf is relatively inexpensive and provides great entertainment. You may also be able to find batting cages in your area. If the weather is bad, you can take the fun inside and go bowling.
Visit a farm
Many areas have local farms that will let you pick your own fruits and vegetables. Others may have farm festivals that include petting zoos, free music or hayrides.
Make your own water park
I recently checked on ticket prices at a water park near us. It’s $40 a ticket! That’s $200 for a family of five. I am thinking about creating our own water park. We have a kiddie pool and a sprinkler. We can also get out the slip and slide, poke holes in an old garden house, and create our own fun!
Take a tour
There are many businesses and organizations that offer free tours. We once toured a dairy farm that walked you through how ice cream is made and then gave free samples. You may be able to tour a vineyard or brewery – obviously the kids won’t get samples there, but it’s still fun to see. You can go to your local police or fire station. Some factories will also give tours of certain areas of their operations.
You can find ways to volunteer in your community. See if your local humane society or animal shelter wants volunteers to come play with the animals or take them on walks. Or, visit a local nursing home or assisted living center and play games or do crafts with the residents. Help clean up local parks. You may find that volunteering does as much for you as it does for the organizations and people you help!
If you want to save money or you’re having trouble finding the time to go on a full-fledged vacation, then think about taking several mini-vacations. What cheap, fun things do you like to do in the summer?