Learn and Plan | Budget-friendly ideas for summer fun close to home
A young couple relax while watching a summer movie in the park.

Budget-friendly ideas for summer fun close to home

Jul 11, 2022, 3:57:43 PM | Reading Time: 4 minutes

With inflation rising and gas prices soaring to record highs, you may be thinking twice about summer vacations. Fortunately, there are a variety of fun things you can do close to home that won't require filling the tank and breaking the bank.

Host a barbecue

Summer is synonymous with barbecues, so fire up your grill and invite your family and friends over for a bite. Don't have a backyard? No problem. You can host a great barbecue on an apartment terrace or bring a small grill to other locations like a park or the front lawn of your building. To cut back on the costs (and prep time), make your party a potluck and ask your friends to bring a dish.

Enjoy your neighborhood park

Time to get outside! Your local park can be a great place for free or inexpensive summer fun. Many facilities have picnic tables, public grills, and bathrooms so it’s easy to spend the whole day out with your family for a low cost. Bring a Frisbee or other easily transportable game with you for entertainment. And don’t forget to pack a picnic basket for a fun summer staple.

Attend free local events and festivals

All summer long, cities and suburbs across the nation host street festivals featuring live music, local food, movies, and tons of other fun activities. These events are typically free, making them a great option for fun on a budget.

Walk or hike local parks

Get out and enjoy nature this summer by taking hikes on local trails at forest preserves or botanical gardens near you. Do a bit of research to find a trail that looks like it will be a good fit for your family.

Bike around town

Many cities and towns are bike-friendly, with lots of bike lanes and paved mixed-use routes that wind through diverse and interesting neighborhoods. Toss on a helmet and hop on your bike to enjoy a fun day of exercise and exploration. Don’t have a bicycle? Your city may offer pay-as-you-go bikes at stations in town.


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REV 6/2022