Fun free things to do this summer
Kids are out of school. What to do?
“Geocaching” is like a worldwide treasure hunt using a GPS or other mobile device to find secretly hidden containers called “geocaches.” The geocaches usually contain a logbook to let you say, “I found it!” before you re-hide it in exactly the same spot for the next geocacher to find.
Take a free factory tour.
From brewery tours to candy factories and candle makers to toy companies, hundreds of factories and other businesses across the country open their doors to visitors, often times for free or a nominal charge. Bonus: Some tours include free samples.
Visit county fairs instead of amusement parks.
Many county fairs offer rides and other fun activities, usually at a fraction of the cost of amusement parks. Some fairs also offer special discount days as well and will let you bring your own picnic or other refreshments. And, volunteering at the fair might get you a free pass.
Make homemade ice cream.
Homemade ice cream is easy and quick to make with a neat method using two different sized plastic bags, one placed inside the other along with ice and rock salt.
Go fly a kite.
Kite flying can make you feel like a kid again, and building your own kite from inexpensive materials you might already have around the house is half the fun.
Stage a summer film festival.
Choose a theme — like summer romance or vacation road trips — and have everyone bring their favorite flick for a weekend of binge watching with friends. You can borrow DVDs from some public libraries for free. Also, if you or one of your friends have an online movie streaming service, such as Netflix or Hulu, you can save money by watching movies that way.
Have an epic water gun fight.
Rinse out plastic squeeze bottles from dish soap and shampoo to use instead of store-bought squirt guns for a good old-fashioned backyard water fight.
Gaze at clouds.
There’s nothing more relaxing than laying on your back in the summertime on a lush, green lawn and gazing up at the clouds drifting overhead. Make a game of it by snapping pics of formations that remind you of something then playing 20 questions with your friends to see if they can guess what you’re thinking of.
Take a hike.
TrailLink.com, powered by the nonprofit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, allows you to search for trails in all 50 states and by different activities, including hiking, bicycling, running, horseback riding and even birding.
Camp for free.
Camping in the great outdoors is almost always inexpensive, and there are even plenty of places where you can camp for free — including in National Forests outside of designated campgrounds. Some restrictions might apply, however.
Take advantage of free admission at National Parks.
America’s 400-plus national parks are truly national treasures, and all but 127 of them never charge an entrance fee. On Aug. 25 — the birthday of the National Park Service — every national park will open its gates.
Explore your local library.
Libraries aren’t just about books anymore; they’re multimedia resources with computer access, e-books, audio books, DVDs and free programs for people of all ages. And why not use their air conditioning — rather than your own — to keep cool this summer?
Enjoy a free wine tasting.
If you’re a self-proclaimed wine connoisseur — or if you just love to occasionally indulge in a glass or two — see if there are any free wine tastings in your area. Some wineries in Sonoma County, Calif., for example, offer free tastings.
Learn how to DIY at free clinics.
Home improvement centers offer a wide range of free how-to clinics for folks looking to spruce up their abodes this summer.
Take the kids bowling.
Register with the website KidsBowlFree.com so the kids can bowl two games daily for free this summer at participating lanes. Some restrictions might apply.
Dive into a swimming hole.
Swimming in a natural lake, river, stream or hot spring is literally cool fun. Swimmingholes.org lists 1,600 natural swimming holes nationwide, most of them free and open to the public.
Play in your yard’s sprinklers.
Punch lots of small holes in a two liter plastic soda bottle, then attach it to the end of a garden hose with a male-to-male hose coupling. Hang the bottle over a tree branch, turn on the hose, and enjoy a refreshing outdoor sprinkler shower.
Play a round of disc golf.
Traditional golf is usually an expensive sport to pursue, but disc golf — aka “Frisbee golf” — costs very little and is great exercise. Many public parks have disc golf courses where you can play for free, and a professional quality disc usually costs less than $15.
Volunteer your time.
Volunteering is not only a great way to help others, but it can be a lot of fun and a chance to meet new friends. Visit VolunteerMatch.org for a nationwide listing of volunteer opportunities.
Remember, when outside in the sun during actives, keep hydrated and click here for proper sun screen protection.