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Frugal Summer Outings for Families on a Budget

Updated on October 1, 2012

Frugal and Fun!

A trip to the beach is the classic option, which costs nothing except maybe a parking place.

Of all the four seasons, Summer naturally lends itself to outings. School is out of session, people are more relaxed, vacation time is usually available. The weather forecast is usually sunny and warm.

It doesn't take a whole lot of time to discover “gold“ in the immediate environment, thus creating wonderful family memories and some treasured parent-child and/or brother-sister bonding. Shared experiences are tend to do that!

Just like going on a date with a loved one, an outing doesn't have to cost a lot of money. The main thing is to be together with that special person. Going out is important, though. Experiencing life on life's terms doesn't mean sitting at the kitchen table, watching cartoons or reruns of "I Love Lucy". It means getting out, doing something, and feeling more enriched for having done so.

Family outings are a great opportunity for improved communication and understanding with other family members. The usual distractions are gone, and the day takes on a new dimension. These little things consist the silver linings of a child's (and parent's) life, so, by all means don't miss out. Time passes by very quickly, and a day spent with family will live on forever.

Just Because

This man and his family are enjoying a summer day.  All look relaxed and refreshed.  Taken in Queensland between 1890-1900.
This man and his family are enjoying a summer day. All look relaxed and refreshed. Taken in Queensland between 1890-1900. | Source

Low Budget ideas:

Dozens of options are out there, and most all of them are right at your fingertips.

  1. Remember to use sunscreen, especially on little children's noses, and put a cap on everyone. Bring a water bottle, then spend an hour or so hiking and picking flowers and natural herbs growing along your path can be fun and educational. A pine cone makes a nice addition to your assorted wildflower bouquet.

The local firehouse


Just around town

2. Take your kids to tour a firehouse. Most kids are at least a little curious about them. Take a little time to see how the firemen live. With a little luck, the horn and bells can be sounded off. Most professionals are more than happy to share their unique professions with families, but be sure to call in advance to come at an appropriate time.

3. Libraries almost without exception host a special story hour at least once a week. Find out when it is and combine it with a trip to the ice cream parlor to extend it even further. Some libraries lend out oil paintings, too, so while you're there, see if you can decide upon a new masterpiece to grace the family living room.

4. Look at a local map of your area; is there a park you haven't had a chance to visit, yet? Find out the best bus route, prepare a picnic lunch and head out. Riding the bus can be a fun adventure for the people-watching aspect. Even adults will get a different perspective as a passenger instead of chauffer, riding in a comfortable air-conditioned bus and will feel more relaxed and chatty while enjoying the ride.

5. Take the train to the nearby zoo. Riding a train in itself can be an adventure. Give the kids the window seats so they can take in some scenery.

Arts and Crafts

6. Many towns realize that after the initial “school's out!“ euphoria, summer can be a little bit boring. It's not usual to have an art workshops planned, be it painting, ceramics, tie-dying, and more. Many times there will be an exhibition later. Contact the local Parks and Recreation Department what summer classes or workshops are available for antsy children who are used to keeping a schedule during the school year.

7. Dance, Performing Arts and other light instructional courses are usually available at your local Parks and Rec.

8. Free concerts are frequently held in the summertime, usually in outdoor locations. Bring along some popcorn to munch or bubbles to blow to prevent younger kids from getting fidgety. Try to find performances that would cater to children, like some audience involvement, clapping hands, songs they would recognize or feel comfortable with. Guitars, harmonica, accordian and country music - are particularly fun for kids to enjoy.

Live Sports!

Night games and the boys of summer go together well, like a baseball glove and a ball.
Night games and the boys of summer go together well, like a baseball glove and a ball. | Source

Cherish Your Day

Whatever you decide, be sure to snap plenty of photographs. Digital photos are very economical and can help you remember the wonderful summer you had. Your kids won't know the difference, but you will. Have a great summer, the frugal way!

Ey, Batter, Ey..... Swing!

9. Attending a local sporting event can also be a blast. It doesn't have to be major league baseball to be exciting. Just getting out in the stands, feeling the energy of the game and hearing the crickets croon can be a wonderful summer activity. Be sure to organize with friends to double the fun.

10. Fourth of July Picnics are usually held on the local level. See what's available and sign up for the pot luck dish of your choice. There will most likely be three legged races, funny events, contests, fireworks, and plenty of tasty treats. Go check it out and have a blast!

Nikon Cool Pix


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