Summer has finally arrived! I’ve been keeping a list of budget-friendly summer activities that I can reference when I’m feeling a little bored. Add some of these ideas to your summer plans and save a little cash!

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1 – Check Out Local Attractions

Most towns have different events and attractions going on throughout the summer months. Craft fairs, fireworks, festivals, concerts, 5-ks, etc. are all usually pretty inexpensive and can be a lot of fun. These types of events are really as expensive as you want to make them. Check out your town’s website or Facebook page to see if there’s a listing of events coming up.

2 – Go to the Park

Don’t underestimate your local park. There are some really pretty parks that are a lot of fun to explore in my town. One used to be a quarry so the water is always interesting colors since it’s so deep, and there’s a huge cliff in the back. Check out what parks you have in your area and go check them out!

This can be especially fun if you have a dog. I recently discovered that our old farm dog likes water. I’m planning a lot more trips to the park now so he can trot around in the lake and get to check out some new sights and smells.

3 – Read a Book

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, but I don’t always make as much time for it as I’d like. Summer is my favorite time to read because I can enjoy a good book and the amazing weather at the same time. More and more people are setting goals to read more and spend less time on their phones. If that sounds like you, find a great book you’ve wanted to read for a while and find a nice shady spot outside! (Need some reading recommendations? I’m planning on reading Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis and Don’t Keep Your Day Job by Cathy Heller this summer!

If you want to take it up a notch, I’m planning on getting a hammock this summer. Hammocks aren’t the most budget-friendly purchase, but I think it can be a good investment to make your outdoor space somewhere you really enjoy spending time. Brb, just dreaming of reading in a hammock in the shade all summer.

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    4 – Kiddie Pool Time

    Getting a kiddie pool is one of my summer goals. Both me and the dog want one to cool off in! A plastic kid’s pool is around $10 at Wal-mart (I checked). I’m planning on getting the pool filled up a little bit, parking a lawn chair in it, and dipping my feet while reading or writing this summer. This can be a great option if you have a small apartment patio or no community pool in your town (or don’t want to fight the public pool crowds)!

    5 – Netflix & Chill

    Summer is hot (duh). Sometimes it’s just too hot for me to function. Don’t be afraid to spend a day just relaxing with a good show and some snacks (ice cream maybe?). This can make me feel like I wasted a day of good weather, but sometimes you just need a good binge-watch to recharge. If you don’t want to feel like you’re wasting good weather, save this idea for a rainy day or after the sun goes down.

    6 – Mini Road Trip

    Find some attraction within 2 or 3 hours of where you live and take a mini road trip! You can keep it cheap by taking your own snacks and choosing an activity that doesn’t cost a ton. Activities like baseball games, brewery tours, and festivals are all good options that you can make as cheap or as expensive as you’d like.

    7 – Find a Lake

    If you live anywhere in the Midwest, I bet you can find a lake not too far away. I am always surprised by how many lakes I don’t know about that are close by. A lot of them have swimming areas that are CHEAP. Like, $3 cheap. I will gladly pay $3 to cool off for a few hours. Yes, you will have to deal with kids and crowds, but sometimes you just need to find some water!

    8 – Fairs and Festivals

    This is one of those activities that can be as expensive or as cheap as you’d like it to be. Other than paying for parking and admission, the main thing I buy at fairs is food (only carrying cash is a great way to limit your spending too). There is a lot to see and do at a fair, especially the larger ones, from rodeo events, quilt shows, 4-H, concerts, craft shows, and rides. It’s a great way to fill up a weekend if there are events going on you’re interested in.

    9 – Chase Some Waterfalls

    Being so serious. I have a coworker that looks up waterfalls in Arkansas and will go with a friend every weekend in the summer to hike out and find them. She has a great time hiking and spending time with friends, while also getting AMAZING pictures. It seriously looks and sounds like so much fun. I definitely want to try this out at least once this summer, even if I only go somewhere local.

    10 – Go For a Walk/Run

    I’m not just telling you to exercise. Sometimes in the summer, I get a little stir crazy because I always feel like I should be doing something outside. Taking a long walk or going for a run can be a great way to get this out of my system. I really enjoy going for walks because I can have time to just think and enjoy being outside without feeling like I have to be doing something specific.

    11 – Get Organized

    Organizing is free! I’m pretty sure you have a couple of places in your home that you always say you’re going to organize and never do. So let’s do it! I’m going to work on organizing my closet and our garage. The garage is a hot mess and has been on my clean-out list for a while.

    If you want to spend a little bit of money to do some organizing, the dollar store is a good choice. Getting up on a nice Saturday morning and getting some cleaning and organizing done before noon is honestly one of my favorite ways to start a weekend. I always feel productive but still have the rest of my weekend to relax and do other fun things!

    12 – Clean Out Your Car

    Not such a fun option, but I always feel super productive after I clean out my car. It just doesn’t get done very often. Constantly moving things around my car when people get in and out all summer isn’t my favorite. Summer is a great time to do some cleaning since the weather is nice and you can get out the vacuum and really do a nice deep clean. Plus, you can even get really wild and wash the outside of your car when you’re done to cool off!

    13 – Have a Bonfire

    Some people consider this as more of a fall activity, but I think a great bonfire in the summer can be a ton of fun. S’mores are good at any time in my book. We’re lucky enough to have a fire pit built in our yard so having a fire is pretty easy. If you live in an apartment, you can check on what your landlord allows. I lived in an apartment for a while that allowed me to have one of the smaller fire pits from the hardware store on my patio.

    You could also grill out instead of having a full-on bonfire. Hot dogs and burgers are pretty inexpensive and it can be a ton of fun to sit outside while someone grills.

    14 – Build Your Hobby

    Spend time working on a hobby you love! I love quilting and sewing. When we moved into our new house in January 2019 I got to set up an entire room in the basement as my sewing and crafting studio. I have so many things I’m excited about starting and working on in my new space.

    If you have a hobby that you love, make time for it! Even if you have to spend a little bit of money to keep it going, I believe spending time working on your hobbies is good for your mental health. Build some money for your hobby into your budget so you can balance both your spending habits and getting to enjoy your time.

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      15 – Volunteer

      Volunteering can be a great fun and free activity that has the added bonus of giving back to the community. I love animals, so I’m going to look into being a volunteer for my local animal shelter. There are tons of different places you can volunteer; I guarantee you can find something you would enjoy. Church programs, kids’ sports teams, summer school programs, and community outreach programs are just a few of the options I could think of that exist in my town.

      What budget-friendly summer activities do you have planned that weren’t on this list?

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      15 Budget Friendly Summer Activities