Inexpensive Summer Activities for Families

Free, Cheap, and Worth-the-Price Summer Activities

Kids at a splash park.
Photo © ImagesBazaar/Getty Images

Summer days are filled with opportunities to have fun with your kids, but if you're not intentional about planning frugal outings, you can easily spend more money than you intended. Use this guide to free summer activities and inexpensive ideas to help you have fun with your kids and stay within your budget all summer long.

Free Summer Activities:

Plan to incorporate a few free activities into your family's routine each week during the summer.

  • Take a family walk
  • Play tennis
  • Go to the library
  • Run through the sprinkler together
  • Have a water fight using balloons, water guns, or spray bottles
  • Participate in free crafts at your local Michael's craft store or Home Depot
  • Paint each other's toenails
  • Go hiking in the woods
  • Have dinner outside at a nearby park
  • Participate in a free summer movie or concert series

Cheap Summer Activities:

Plan to include one or two of these cheap summer activities into each week during the summer.

  • Go out for ice cream
  • Go bowling
  • Rent a movie
  • Participate in a local movie theater's dollar summer movies for kids
  • Get slushies
  • Buy ice cream from the ice cream truck
  • Go roller skating
  • Buy day passes at a nearby pool
  • Drive to a lake or the beach for the day
  • Take a craft or art class together as a family
  • Visit a beading shop and make necklaces
  • Visit a paint-it-yourself pottery shop and paint mugs or plates

Worth-the-Price Summer Activities:

These outings may be more expensive, but if you choose just one or two to do together over the summer, it's worth the expense.

  • Go to a nearby theme park
  • Go to a major league or minor league baseball game
  • Go tubing or canoeing on a nearby river
  • Go camping
  • Go to the zoo or a museum

Finally, the most important thing to remember when planning cheap summer outings is to have fun. That's what it's all about! You're creating memories your kids will hold in their hearts for years to come. No matter how "simple" an activity may seem at the time, know that it matters to your kids.