Full-blown vacations can be expensive but fortunately, cheap family fun is probably easily found in your community. Here’s where to look if you need a low-cost way to get out of the house and make a few more memories this summer.
Head to the beach
When the temperature peaks, there may be no place more refreshing than the beach or a local splash pad. No matter where you live, either the Great Lakes, the ocean or an inland lake are likely within driving distance. There may be a small admittance fee for some public beaches but otherwise, this can be a cheap day of fun for your family.
Raid your grocery stockpile to pack a lunch, dig out the sunscreen and throw a Frisbee or other beach friendly toys in the car and you are good to go!
Take in a free concert
Outdoor concert series have become a staple in towns across the country. Call your local municipality or search online for ‘free outdoor concerts’ to find what’s available in your area. Music selections can vary week to week and may range from blues to country to rock and more.
Often, you may have to bring lawn chairs or a blanket for seating, and many concerts have food trucks nearby. But to keep this outing totally free, put all that couponing to good use and pack food from your stockpile rather than buying a meal onsite.
Investigate discount days at a museum or zoo
Museums and zoos can be fun for families of all ages but once you add a couple kids into the mix, the admission fees can really add up. Instead of paying full price, look for discount days when reduced or free admissions are offered.
If your favorite institution doesn’t have a discount day scheduled in the near future, consider buying a membership instead. Depending on the size of your family, a membership may be only slightly more expensive than buying a one-time admission. Then, with a membership, you typically get free admission all year long plus other perks such as discounts at affiliate institutions or access to member-only events.
Check out library programming
Today’s libraries are more than a place to borrow books; they can be a portal to a whole slew of entertainment possibilities. Libraries may host magicians, outdoor carnivals and author visits. Or you can stop by and take an art class, learn to play chess or participate in an interactive story time.
Even if your kids aren’t avid readers, don’t overlook the free fun available at the local library. Check your local branch for a calendar of activities.
Sleep under the stars
Finally, it wouldn’t be summer if you didn’t spend some time in the great outdoors. Camping can be a little more expensive than some of the other options above, but if you are looking for the ultimate memory maker, this is it.
While camping in the backyard is a cheap option, state parks can be inexpensive as well. Camping newbies may be able to find help through the state park system too. For example,the Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers a Camping 101 program and for a mere $20, they will lend you all the equipment – tent included! – needed for a two night camping stay. A park ranger will even help you set up. Other states may offer similar programs as well.
Yes, the back-to-school sales have started, but don’t be too quick to shift to a fall frame of mind. There is still plenty of time to make this the best Family Fun Month ever!
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