13 Ways to Enjoy a Budget Friendly Summer

By Sara


Last Updated: June 24, 2023


It is officially summer and a time to enjoy the extra sunlight and warm weather. You may even find time for a summer vacation and other fun activities. This is a time of year when budgets can start to stray. You’ve been good for the first half of the year, and this is not the time to ruin all of that hard work. There is a balance between having a fun summer and maintaining a healthy budget. Here are ways that you can enjoy the season without breaking the bank. 



Enjoying the Great Outdoors

The best part of summer is the weather. It’s a great time to be outside and enjoy nature. Many people go on vacation to enjoy different climates and geographies, but there are so many options that are right in your backyard or a day trip away that won’t break the bank. 


Beach Trips

If you live near the coast, you can easily enjoy the beach for a low cost. Avoid buying food at the beach and pack your own food. You can also carpool with friends to lower your parking costs. 


Walking, Hiking, or Biking

Most cities and towns have access to trails. These trails allow you to walk, hike, or bike in beautiful parks and nature reserves for free.  



Camping is a great budget-friendly way to enjoy a day. There are great campsites that have a low entry cost or free admission. You can have a fun day camping to the campsite and spending the night under the stars. 


National Parks

There are 424 national parks across the United States, 38 national parks in Canada, and ten national park reserves in Canada. Take advantage of free entrance days to enjoy these reserved areas 



Local and Community Events

Many people think that you have to leave your hometown to enjoy the summer, but there are so many great local and community events that are free or low-cost. It also is a great way to support your community. 


Free local concerts

Many cities offer free outdoor concerts during the summer. If there are no free options, there may be some lower-cost concerts to attend. Most local concerts allow you to bring food and picnic blankets, and some even allow you to bring your own alcoholic beverages. Spend time with friends and family and enjoy local music. 


Art and Cultural Festivals

The summer is a great time for art and cultural festivals. These can be free to attend and have options for you to buy from food trucks and local vendors at these events. You don’t have to buy anything at these festivals, or you can budget a small amount to support local vendors. 


Local Fairs and Markets

The summertime is a great time to explore the farmer’s market. It’s a fun way to spend the morning, and you can find great deals on fresh produce. You can go to flea markets or other fairs as a way to spend the day. 



Inexpensive Summer Eats

Summer is the perfect time for picnics and grilling. These are low-cost things that you can do while enjoying great food. Avoid going out to eat if you are watching your budget, as this can really “eat” up a large part of your budget. 


Picnic at the park

Find a local park that you can go to or, even better, walk to bike to. Bring your own food, like sandwiches, cheese, or cured meat, for a light meal. You can even plan with your friends, and everyone brings something different. 



Grilling is a great way to enjoy the summer! It’s easy to host a dinner with friends and grill hotdogs and hamburgers while everyone else brings a side dish. You can enjoy dinner with the extra sunlight without the heat of the day. 


Homemade ice cream or popsicles

Ice cream and popsicles are classic summer snacks. While buying ice cream and popsicles is not expensive, it can be a fun and budget-friendly activity to do with your family. 



Educational Activities for Kids

Keeping your kids entertained in the summer can be a challenge. They aren’t in school, so you may have to find fun activities for the entire family. There are great low-cost to free activities for your children this summer. 


Summer Reading

Hit up your local library and sign up for their summer reading program. These are usually free and have prizes for your children if they read a certain amount of books. You can go weekly to check out books for them to help complete their summer reading goal. Libraries will also have activities that you can enjoy for free, like going insight a fire truck.


DIY Crafts and Science Experiments

When it gets too hot, keeping your kids entertained outside of TV and video games can be challenging. While this isn’t a free option, you can find low-budget crafts and experiments to do on those extra hot days. You can find videos on YouTube and buy supplies at your local Dollar Store. 


Museums and Zoos

Many museums and zoos offer free or reduced admission days. Children under a certain age may go for free on any day. This is a fun, educational way to get out of the house. You can try to go once a week or once a month. 



Final Thoughts 

The summer is all about enjoying quality time with your family and friends while spending more time outside. Your summer plans don’t have to throw off your budget if you come up with fun, budget-friendly activities. From enjoying parks, grilling, and spending time at the lake, you can have a memorable summer at a low cost.

Photo by Kateryna Hliznitsova on Unsplash


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