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10 Ideas for Summer Fun on a Budget

10 Ideas for Summer Fun on a Budget

It’s summer, which is synonymous with “Summer Vacation.” But travel, especially with a family, gets expensive. There are fuel costs, plane tickets, meals, hotels and activities along the way. The total, including taking time off work, can stretch the budget to the breaking point. Instead, a fun-filled staycation can beat the budget…and the boredom of staying home.

Here are 10 ways to spend less money while spending your summer having fun!

1.  Sports

Get everyone out for a softball game, some corn hole or a tennis match. Create your own family or neighborhood sports tournament by purchasing inexpensive sports games like disc golf, badminton, bean bag toss, lawn darts and more. Skip Amazon for a change and  check out your local 99 Cents Only or Five Below stores for cheap equipment and prizes.

2.  Block Party

Get the kids outside and meet your neighbors. Assign food by last name (i.e., A-F main dish, G-L salad, etc.), get the older kids to organize games and have everyone bring their own drinks and chairs. Contact local businesses or realtors to see if they’d sponsor the entertainment.

3.  Games

Remember life before video games? Introduce yourself, and your kids, to vintage favorites including Monopoly and Clue, or new favorites like Ticket to Ride, Codenames, and Settlers of Catan. Need a workout with a laugh? Try Twister.

4.  City Attractions

Be a tourist in your own town. Every city has museums, parks, public gardens, historic landmarks and other architectural attractions. Depending on where you live, you may find boat rides, whale-watching, horseback riding, railroad tours, walks and other events that are readily available. Check out sites like Groupon, Eventbrite, Airbnb Events and Yelp all provide suggestions and tickets (often free or discounted) for activities and events.

5.  Backyard Camping Trip

Take a hike…into your backyard. Set up a tent, have a cookout and make s’mores.

6.  Learn Something

Interested in becoming a better photographer? Want to train for a marathon? Not sure how to start meditating? Summer is a perfect time for you or a family member to hone a skill, pursue a new hobby or meet others with similar interests. Meetup provides over 200,000 Meetups in over 181 countries around the world, most of which are available for free or a nominal charge. Summer may not be long enough to explore them all!

7.   Music, Movies and More

Ring in the summer without ringing up expensive tickets. Check out your local events online (Hint: Search – Free Events in ________fill in your city) and you may find free concert series, movies in the park, fireworks displays, parades, animal shows, street fairs, food festivals, museum tours, art shows and more.

8.  Road Trip…For a Day

Going the distance…doesn’t have to be far. Exploring locales just an hour or two from home could give you the break you need. Leave early, stay late and be home before you have to pay for a hotel! A change of scenery can feel like a mini-vacation.

9.  Scavenger Hunt

This is the perfect entertainment for kids of almost any age…or their adult counterparts. The host makes a list of fairly-available, inexpensive items and players (in teams of 2 or 3) go door-to-door to request the items. All teams must be back within a set time limit; the winning team is the one that’s been able to collect the most items. Don't forget the prizes!

10.  Volunteer

Summer is a good time to give back -- volunteer opportunities are available for almost every age group and every ability. Whether you sign up for beach clean-up day, collecting hygiene items for the homeless or walking pets up for adoption, your efforts will be appreciated.


Take advantage of the summer sun and fun. Each of these activities goes perfectly with a Packband – whether you’re organizing your board or outdoor games, attaching a day-pack or securing Tupperware for your picnic. Enjoy!