Low-Cost Summer Fun

Looking for low-cost ways to enjoy the warm weather? Some of the best things in life are free. The rest don’t have to break the bank. Here are five low-cost activities for you and your whole family to enjoy.

  1. National Parks
    Do you live near a national park? When most of us hear the term “national park,” we may think of the big ones like Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon. According to the National Park Service, there are over 400 areas in the National Park Service! These parks and recreational areas are maintained by the federal government, so fees to enjoy them are very low. There may be a National Park area in your region you’ve never visited before. To search in your state, use the National Park Service “Find a park” tool.

  2. Public Libraries
    Sure, the first images that come to mind when you think of the library are shelves full of books. Libraries are much more than a place to check out a novel or biography. Public libraries typically have community programs all year long. With children out of school, summers are often focused on activities that provide kids with something to do. They’re not only fun, but often free and educational. Check your local library system’s official website and/or calendar to find out what summer activities they offer.

  3. Splash Around
    Many cities have a community or city swimming pool. The YMCA/YWCA may have low-cost swimming facilities as well. Search online for opportunities to take a dip in your community. Pools with a lifeguard on duty offer an added safety benefit. In addition to swimming, many parks also offer splash pads. These splash pads are especially great for smaller children. If you swim or splash outdoors, be sure to take precautions against damaging UV rays with sunscreen, hats, and other protective wear.

  4. Free Movies
    Many communities offer free movies in the park or other public spaces during the summer months as a community activity. A family movie under the stars in the open air can be a refreshing experience and a chance to say hello to some of your neighbors. If you’re a movie buff, one or two pictures may not be enough. Remember those libraries we talked about? Yep, they often let you borrow movies as well as books. It’s like a trip back in time to browse a video store - but without the rental fee!

  5. Take Pictures
    There’s an old saying: “The best camera is the camera you have on you.” Smartphone cameras have made leaps and strides in recent years. Even renowned photographers such as Annie Lebovitz, Ben Lowy and Jim Richardson use smartphones to capture professional work. With long days, golden sunsets and favorable weather, summer is the perfect time to develop your picture-taking skills. There are a number of instructional YouTube videos and web articles you can use to learn photographic skills. If you already have a smartphone with a solid camera, the time and the desire, you can start taking photos in your own backyard without spending a dime.

There’s nothing wrong with spending hard-earned money on summer activities, but plenty of summer fun can be had affordably as well. However you plan on getting your summer vacation started, manage your money wisely and don’t overspend.