Despite the fact that the sky spit SNOW on us just two weeks ago, the summer season is nearly here and I am so glad for it. While I love the beauty of winter and the clean feeling of spring (which we didn’t actually have much of around here), I also love the changing of the seasons and I’m already starting to make plans for our three warmest months. I try to find free or at least inexpensively-priced things to do as I like the challenge of finding cheaper summer activities and it always feels good to find a bargain. So here are a few ideas for some frugal summer activities.
1. Culture Passes
Many libraries offer culture passes where you can reserve free tickets to local museums, parks, or similar places. Our local library offers passes to the Firefighters Museum, a doll museum, Dinosaur Ridge (a local dinosaur dig site), a few history museums, the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, a ride on a trolley, and a quilt museum. All you have to do is reserve the tickets, which you’re able to do even the day of sometimes, print out the pass, and present it when you arrive at the destination.
2. Library Reading Programs
Another service libraries offer is summer reading programs. When I was in elementary school, we had a library within biking distance of my house that had a summer reading program every year. I’d load up my backpack with as many books as I could fit and ride home with it precariously perched on my back, probably more excited than I should’ve been at the prospect of spending my summer inside reading. 🙂 These days, our library also offers adult reading programs, so both kids and parents can be part of it, often earning prizes for how many books they read. Last year, our library had a contest for a free iPad for those who signed up and logged so many hours of reading.
3. National Forest Campgrounds
In terms of camping, you can’t get much cheaper than National Forests Campgrounds. Modern technology has made this little gem even more convenient and for many campgrounds, you can even make reservations online, allowing you to score prime camping spots without having to leave at the crack of dawn to make sure you arrive before anyone else. You generally won’t find flush toilets and showers, though a few do offer these amenities, but most of them have at least vault toilets and nice and remote locations.
4. National Forests Free Days
National Parks also offer free entrance days. Though not all parks offer this opportunity, there are some big-name ones listed such as Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone. Plan your location well and you could visit two in one day.
5. Discount Movies
Some movie chains offer discounted movie tickets specifically during the summer. Regal Cinemas has a Summer Movie Express program that offers PG and under movies starting at 10 am every Tuesday and Thursday with admission only $1. Cinemark offers Reel Family Time every Monday with tickets only $1 for parties of 3 or more. This is a great way to beat the heat on those sweltering days!
6. Plane Watching
Last summer, we started a tradition of either packing a picnic or picking up food on the way to one of the small local airports in Denver on Sunday afternoons. We found a prime spot near the runway (but not actually on airport property) and climbed into the back of E’s pickup truck with our food to watch planes, including old World War II fighters, land and take off. B enjoys the view and it gives E and I a nice chance to talk. This is not a fast-paced, high-action activity by any means, but it’s a fairly relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon with your family. 🙂
These are just a few ideas but I’m sure there are more out there!