If you follow me on social media, you may know that last week we took a family trip out to Minnesota to spend some much overdue quality time with my husband’s family. It was such a fun week, packed with all the fishing, boating, grilling, campfires, and games we could handle. And while it was absolutely a worthwhile expenditure, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s expensive to fly 8 people out for a weeklong vacation!
But the good news is that it’s not hard to find affordable ways to have fun during the summer. Some of the best experiences can be had without spending a fortune, and some can even be had without spending anything at all! Here are some of my favorite budget-friendly ideas for summer fun with family and friends.
10 Ideas for Budget-Friendly Summer Fun
- Enjoy your own backyard! We recently replaced our outdoor dining set with a conversation set, and we’ve found ourselves spending time out there almost every single night. A quality set of patio furniture, when properly maintained, can save you loads of money over time if you use it often, rather than going out!
- Search online or in your local newspapers for notices of “free admission” days to local attractions, like zoos and parks.
- Take advantage of any perks offered by your credit card company, including free or discounted access to museums, movie theaters, and more. Most people rarely think to take advantage of them! Check out these offers and discounts for Visa card holders and MasterCard holders.
- Invite a few friends along for additional savings. Special “group pricing” can save you quite a bit of money over buying things individually, and you often only need a group of 10 or more to qualify for it.
- Take public transportation to save on parking (and just as importantly, save on the stress of finding a parking spot!) Some bus depots or light rail stations have a “Park-and-Ride” option, where you can park your car in their lot for free while you’re out and about.
- Check your local library and parks for free events, like movie nights, book readings, kids’ crafts, or classes.
- If you have kids, you should definitely take advantage of the Kids Bowl Free program! Select bowling alleys and community centers around the country have come together to offer 2 free games of bowling (every day, all summer!) to kids, as a way to provide a safe and secure environment for kids to spend time during the summer. Click here to find participating locations near you.
- There’s plenty of free outdoor fun to be had during the summer. Go out on a nature hike, check out your local nature parks, and hunt down any splash pads in your area.
- Learn a new skill! Some stores, like Michaels and Home Depot, offer free classes on everything from jewelry making and paper crafting, to organic gardening and how to install lighting.
- If you and your family are the adventurous type, you’ve got to try Geocaching! Geocaching is basically a real-world treasure hunt, where you utilize a GPS tool to locate hidden objects in your town, your state, or all over the country! Some caches are small, like a little log book where people can write down their names and the date they found the cache, but some caches are larger, and could offer a little keepsake for lucky finders!
What are your favorite budget-friendly summer activities?