Summer Fun on a Budget

Summer is already half way over, but you still have at least one more month of fun in the sun to enjoy (depending on where you live). So whether you’ve already maxed out your summer budget, or are simply looking for some inexpensive activities to fill the rest of your summer with, here are some ideas to get you started.


Camping is a summer staple for many families because it remains an inexpensive alternative to an expensive vacation spent in a hotel. By camping somewhere relatively close to your home and sleeping in a good old fashioned tent instead of an RV, you can take your family camping while keeping the costs to a minimum (mainly camping fee, food and gas). If you don’t have camping gear, borrow some from a friend!


Especially when children are home from school all summer, eating at home can be boring. Make the inexpensive option of eating food from the fridge vs. eating out more fun by taking your food from home to a park and eating it there. All you need is a blanket and some plastic silverware (or even regular silverware if you don’t mind doing the dishes). Add a Frisbee or some kind of outdoor game and you have a fun date with your kids- or your spouse even! Even if you don’t have kids it can be fun to spend some quality time with your spouse and get back to your childhood roots by playing Frisbee. I have a friend who keeps a blanket and a Frisbee in the trunk of her car for impromptu picnics anytime!

Bike Rides

If you already have a bike and a helmet, then going for a bike ride can be a great free way to enjoy the nicer weather. You can explore a new area you’ve never been to or visit a popular park. It will save you gas and help you work off those extra summer calories.

Explore New Sites

There are bound to be many different sites and activities in your city that you’ve never seen before, especially if you haven’t lived there all your life. Get online and search for your city and see if you can find some new sites to explore. When you find something new in your city, it can be as exhilarating as being on vacation in a different place. I drag my husband to new places all the time. Most of the time he’s never been to them even though he grew up in the city we live in!

Neighboring Cities/Towns

If you’ve already explored most of the sites in your own city, or are feeling a bit more adventurous, you can go to a neighboring city or town and see what they have to offer. Often times another big city is less than an hour away and offers many activities and sights that are different from those in your own town.

Visit Friends & Family

If you have friends and/or family that live a reasonable driving distance away, summer is a great time to take a trip to see them. You get the benefit of seeing your loved ones and exploring the sites of a different city (which they likely know very well) but you also don’t have to pay for lodging if you can stay with them.

Swimming in Lakes and Rivers

Not everyone lives near a lake or a river to swim in, but if you do, take advantage of it! It’s free and the cool water feels great on a hot day. Just be sure that where you decide to swim is clean and safe.

Grow Your Own Garden

If you start in the spring, you can have vegetables and fruit growing in your very own garden by summer. Not only does maintaining the garden give you something to do, it can also produce exceptional tasting produce and help you save on your grocery bill.

Pick Your Own Fruit

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of growing your own garden, you can go pick from someone else’s. See if you have any farms/patches around you that grow different foods and allow you to pick them for a price. We have an area by us that has many different fruits during the summer and vegetables in the fall. We recently picked 11 pounds of strawberries for only $.99 a pound! Plus it was a lot of fun and we got to pick the berries we wanted, so no moldy ones for us. We froze the majority of them so we can enjoy them for months to come.


Become familiar with the parks in your area. If you have kids, parks are a great place for them to run and play and meet other children to interact with. If you don’t have kids, parks can still be a fun place to hang out at and sit in the sun or in the shade and read a book, people watch, or just have time to think.

It’s easy to let summer slip away and at the end of it realize that you hardly enjoyed it at all. Summer fun doesn’t have to be expensive or extremely time consuming. Plus, a day relaxing at the park can be a lot better for your health (and budget) than a full day at an expensive amusement park.

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3 Responses to Summer Fun on a Budget

  1. SaveForHouse says:

    One of my favorite things to do in the summer is go for long walks. It’s a great free activity where I stay in shape, get outdoors, get some sun, and best of all clear my mind. I have found that I come up with so many good ideas to make and save money during my walks. It’s really great. The other night, I came up with a business proposal and then called the other party while on my walk and sealed the deal. Overall, one of my favorite parts of the day and it costs nothing!

  2. AnneMarie Callan says:

    There are many farms around, some even hidden in the outskirts of cities, who have open days. A day browsing around watching the animals and possibly getting to feed them as well would be very memorable and a great day out for all the family.

    Check out at your nearest tourist information office for what is available because often a lot of events occur which are cheap but which you may miss by just relying on the local paper.

  3. Oasdg says:

    One of my favorite things to do is walk around checking out historic sites. Most cities have walking tour maps, and most historic sites are free.

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