It’s time to start planning for some cheap summer activities if you’re going to have any chance of staying on budget this summer.
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Are thoughts of all the added Summer expenses making you start to sweat? There are vacations, summer camps, trips to see the relatives, amusement parks, added daycare expenses, new bikes, beach trips, really the list could go on and on.
Is it even possible to stay on budget through the summer?
Frequently, we think of Summer as the time to head out on vacation. Summer, however, is really one of the best times to stay home.
Not only are the rates for nearly every tourist attraction higher in the summer, but so is lodging.
I know what you’re thinking – “Staying at home is boring … The kids will hate it … I just want to get away …”
Well, you’re in luck because there really are a ton of options for cheap and free summer fun.
And, it’s the ideal time to do some great activities right from home base.
I’ve created a Summer Fun Bucket List including 51 cheap summer activities to enjoy with your family. The download includes a blank list, too that you can fill out with your own ideas. Sign up below to get your FREE copy.
Cheap Summer Activities
1. Find Free Events
Most towns have all kinds of free events happening that are worth looking into. Some great places to check are at your local library. You can call them and ask about a local event calendar. They are usually a wealth of resources.
Also, look into your area’s Parks and Recreation agency for events. In our community, there are free concerts and movies in the parks. You can also look at the bulletin board at your public grocery store and community centers.
And, of course, don’t forget about Google. Just input Free Events followed by your city and state.
2. Go Swimming
It just wouldn’t be summer without putting on that bathing suit and getting wet. You can go to your local pool, or find a lake, stream or beach to swim at. And, the kids will never complain about swimming.
3. Host Parties at Home
You can totally skip dinners out with friends because everyone knows that a Summer BBQ is one of the best events ever. Don’t make it too complicated either. To make it extra affordable, you tackle the Main Dish, ie. grilling and let everyone else bring the side dishes. Provide some water toys for the kids and you’ve got the recipe for a great day for everyone.
4. Go Camping
Camping is a very economical way to get out for a summer vacation. Usually, state campgrounds are under $30 per night. Not only is the lodging inexpensive, but you get to cook your own food (which is a huge savings) and just being outside is the entertainment. If you don’t have your own camping gear, ask your friends and relatives to borrow theirs, or check Craigslist.
Related Reading: Camping Tips and Ideas Round-UP
5. Get Outside
There are so many possibilities for outside fun. Try to visit every one of your town’s parks, discover new trails, and go to the beach if it’s close.
6. Cheap Movies
Not only can you take advantage of the matinees during the summer, but many theaters have Family Pics for only $1. Check the links below for one in your area.
- Regal – Summer Movie Express
- Cinemark – Summer Movie Clubhouse
- AMC Theatres – Summer Movie Camp
- Cineplex – Family Favorites
7. Bike Riding
Spending the day on a bike ride is a glorious way to spend the day. If you can get outside the city it’s even better. Fortunately for us, there are lots of trails to ride not far from home. Check your local parks system for trails in your area.
8. Cook Outside
Make it a plan to do all your cooking outside this Summer. For some reason, food is just more fun when it’s made outside. In order to keep things cooler in the house, we cook many meals outside. Set up a table outside and use your:
- Instant Pot — This is my favorite kitchen appliance.
- Slow Cooker — I love the programmable feature and temperature probe on this one.
- Electric Griddle — You can cook so many different things on this.
- Panini Press — This is the one I have and LOVE
- Outdoor BBQ Grill — It’s just not summer without grilling
9. Eat lots of BBQ
Additionally, People love to eat food cooked on the grill. It’s a real sneaky way to get your husband to cook dinner, too. (Hint, Hint) Having people over for a potluck BBQ is a fun way to spend the evening or afternoon. Enjoy a cocktail outside and let the kids run around having a blast.
Related Reading: How to Plan a Backyard BBQ on a Budget
10. Attend the Fair
Your county fair can be a great option for fun, too. Our county fair has free admission and is filled with all kinds of fun. Not only can we visit all the animal exhibits, but there are foods and crafts on display, entertainment for the kids and even concerts for the adults.
The rides and food end up being the most costly parts of the fair, so we just avoid those. The kids save up their own money if they want to go on a ride and we bring in our own food for the day. I am a sucker for a good corndog, so that is one thing I usually purchase, but we keep things pretty tight otherwise.
11. Farmer’s Markets
Farmer’s Markets are a great resource for free and cheap entertainment. Not only can you get great prices on healthy produce through the summer, but they usually have music and other entertainment during the day. Just be careful not to overspend on all the other trinkets to buy and food booths while you’re there. Look for farmer’s markets in nearby communities, too. They may be hosted on different days and will have different entertainment.
12. Play In The Dark
You will make amazing memories by just spending an hour at night outside with your kids.
- Take a blanket outside and gaze at the stars while telling stories
- Play a round of flashlight tag, or
- Go on a nighttime stroll through the neighborhood with your kids
— The Kiwi Crate Family is offering 30% off right now. This is a great time to get signed up and do some activities with your kids. They have a variety of choices for kids 0-16. And, their kits are amazing! My kids have absolutely loved them, and as a non-crafty mom, I love them too. They come with everything needed for your kids to complete the projects. And, they’re learning something while they’re at it (BONUS!) Click the ad below and use the code: SUMMERTIME
— Hands On As We Grow also has 30% off their activity packs, too. Be sure to use the coupon code treasured30 at checkout to get your discount. If you ever find yourself running out of ideas for playing with your child, these are awesome. Quick, easy activities that will build memories and entertain your little one at the same time!
Overall, Summer is a great time to make lots of memories with your kids. Make sure you get a chance to take advantage of the great weather and slower schedules. While the kids are home, use the extra time to check out some local events and get out of the house. Remember, it is possible to stay on budget when you find these cheap summer activities.
Related Reading from Treasured Mom:
19 Simple Toy-Free Toddler and Preschool Activities
I Make My Kids Clean The House
9 Perfect Gifts For Preschoolers and Toddlers
Do you have Summer traditions that keep you occupied during the summer? Share with us what some of your favorite family activities are. Don’t forget to sign up for your Summer Fun Bucket List below.