Summer Fun on a Budget
Can't afford airfare, time off work, and other travel expenses? That's okay! You'd be surprised at how many fun summer activities are waiting right in your backyard. Checking with your city's website or chamber of commerce/tourism office can lead you in the right direction if you're not sure where to start. In the meantime, here's a list to get you started:
1. Mini-road trips. Whether it's the neighboring city, a wilderness spot a few hours away, or your city's chamber of commerce building, you can get the feeling of a vacation by traveling near or far to do something out of the ordinary.
2. Museums. They come in all shapes and sizes, fit for all ages. Look up local children's museums, natural history museums, art museums, or traditional city historical museums in your area. Many are free, and others either charge a small fee or encourage donations.
3. Farmer's markets. What's better than biting into the crisp, fresh taste of summer? Lots of farmer's markets are open on Saturdays, and more often during the warm-weather season. Shop for groceries or simply sample the fresh produce, often for a fraction of the cost of the grocery store. Sometimes the little fruit stands on the side of the road have the best locally-grown stuff!
4. Hiking or biking. Trails can be a great way to spend an hour, an afternoon, or a week. Consider your health, stamina, and how much time you've got, and chances are you'll be able to find a trail to match. If you can't get out of the city, explore local parks or appealing neighborhoods.
5. Historical walking tours. At your city's tourism office, you're likely to find brochures detailing historically significant buildings, monuments, and other locations that offer tours. Many also have self-guided tour maps so you can see as much or as little as you want. Learning the history of the place you live can help you gain appreciation as you look at your surroundings with new eyes.
6. Food tours. Check out the mom-and-pop restaurants that the locals recommend. Visit a candy factory (you can often purchase your favorite items at a reduced cost). Dairy farms and flour mills could also surprise you with tours, free samples, and educational fun.
7. Outdoor entertainment. Find out if your city has concerts in the park with local bands. Maybe they have outdoor movie night for families at a reduced cost. If not, make your own! Set up a sheet and a projector, and show the movie outdoors for a unique entertainment experience.
Here are some other ideas to consider: small town annual festivals, bird watching, community recreation centers, parks, community education classes, local artists' galleries, and author signings at local bookstores. The options are endless! Every city has something unique to offer. Take a tour of your own backyard to appreciate the treasures you didn't know you had.