Looking for some affordable outdoor summer activities? The summertime is quickly approaching, and most of us are already excited about all the fun things we plan to do, like lounging by the pool, going on vacation, and relaxing with friends and family.
But what about those who aren’t so keen on breaking the bank to live life to the fullest? You can still have fun this summer without spending tons of money. We’ve put together a list of affordable outdoor summer activities that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Even if you don’t live in the mountains, you can still have a fantastic hiking trip. You’ll be amazed at the number of trails you can discover in your neighborhood. It’s easy to find trails near you by visiting your city’s parks and recreation page or searching online.
This is a great yet free way to get out of the house and into the natural world. Hiking is an excellent way to exercise while enjoying the beautiful scenery. There are also many opportunities for camping along many hiking trails, so you could easily turn a day hike into an overnight adventure.
Try rock climbing if you’re looking for something more intense than just walking on flat ground. Rock climbing allows people of all ages and skill levels to enjoy being outside while challenging themselves physically.
Whether you’re looking for a new physical challenge or just want to enjoy nature, kayaking is a fun, low-cost activity that all ages can enjoy. The best part? Kayaking doesn’t require any special equipment—all you need is a paddle and life vest (both are available at local stores).
Don’t want to spend money on renting/buying equipment? Try checking out your local lake association website; many offer free kayak rentals during certain times of the year.
Various state and national parks offer affordable camping options, so you can still get out there and experience nature without breaking your budget. Try pitching a tent at a local park instead of renting a hotel room for a night, or try out one of many camping apps that help you find new campgrounds in your area.
And don’t forget about nearby National Forests. Most are free to enter, and many have developed campsites with basic amenities like picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and running water.
Just remember: you must pack everything in (including food) and pack everything out when you leave. If you plan on having a fire while camping—which is a great way to make food taste better—you’ll need a permit from your local forest service office before heading out into the woods.
One of my favorite activities, farmer’s markets, is a great place to shop for fresh produce, meat, and even handmade products. Farmer’s markets are typically very affordable (depending on where you live), so they can be great ways to save money while shopping.
Not only will you be buying healthy, organic food, but you will also be supporting local farmers, which is a fantastic way of giving back to your community.
For those who don’t mind getting dirty, you can have tons of fun with outdoor activities at night. Start by going stargazing. Here’s how to make your first outing a huge success. Try an evening bike ride or walk if you’re looking for something more active.
The extra darkness will give you a whole new perspective on your surroundings and allow you to see things that are usually hidden in plain sights—like fireflies. If biking isn’t your thing, why not try paddleboarding?
It is an excellent low-impact way to enjoy some water time after sunset.
Whether on a sandy beach or in your backyard, picnics are one of the summer’s most enjoyable experiences. They’re low-key, affordable, and a great opportunity for family bonding time.
If you want to save money while still having fun with your loved ones, consider packing a picnic instead of going out to eat. Pack healthy snacks like fresh fruit and veggies (or even trail mix) and cut down on costs by bringing reusable water bottles instead of buying plastic ones at restaurants.
Biking is an incredibly fun and inexpensive way to get outside and enjoy a great summer day. It doesn’t have to be competitive, but it can be if you want it. Get together with friends or family and plan your route ahead of time.
Take turns leading, so everyone can experience leadership while having fun outside together.
Swimming is an activity that everyone can enjoy, from children to elderly adults. Swimming is an excellent cardiovascular exercise and a good workout for your upper body and core muscles.
Additionally, swimming burns more calories per hour than most other exercises. Even if you’re a beginner, you can start swimming today. You can swim at home if you have a pool or access to a community pool or visit one of many local pools in your area.
If you live near water, there are plenty of lakes and rivers where you can go for a refreshing dip in nature. No matter what type of swimming environment suits you best, it’s likely that there are affordable options available near where you live.
Hiking and walking through nature is one of my favorite pastimes. It’s a great activity that doesn’t require much money, but it also helps make you healthier, feels more alive, and sleep better at night.
Find an old hiking trail or nature walk near you for a great (and free) way to enjoy summer. You can even bring your pet along.
There are so many local fairs and festivals happening all summer long that you really can’t afford not to visit at least once. It doesn’t matter where you live—there are events worth seeing, no matter where you are.
Many of these events also have special activities for kids so that it can be a fun but cheap activity for families. Looking at your state’s tourism site is a great place to start; most offer an event calendar for each region.
Paying for summer activities can be a burden on many families. But there are plenty of free or low-cost activities that provide tons of fun and entertainment. From parks to libraries to museums, you’ll find something here.
And don’t forget about all those great outdoors—you can have an entire day of affordable outdoor summer activities. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy your summer.
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