9 Free (and Low Cost) Family Summer Fun Ideas

Summer’s almost here and you’re committed to making more great memories with your family but you’re also committed to paying off financial debt. Don’t fret. Your family can still have a great summer. While searching for ways to fill our summer calendar we found loads of free and inexpensive ways to enjoy ourselves. There are lots of free and low-cost family summer fun ideas in this post.

Several family summer fun ideas demand that you get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

Get out your planners people!

9 Free (and Low Cost) Family Summer Fun Ideas:

#1 – Summer Movie Days

Cinemark offers discount movie days called the Summer Movie Club. As of spring 2022, their website says they are bringing back this summer movie series after a long Covid hiatus. (Horray!!!) If history is any indication, you’ll be able to pay a low-priced admission at the door. These films are rated G or PG. See their website for current details.

#2 – Library

Check your local library events calendar. We found ours has postings for free community concerts, free crafts, clubs, and contests. Our library always has a summer reading contest with prizes every week plus a free age-appropriate book at the end of the summer. If you still have a DVD or CD player, your kids can check out how we used to entertain ourselves in ye olden days.

9 Free (and Low Cost) Family Summer Fun Ideas

#3 – Local Parks

There are so many parks in our area that we didn’t even know about. Plan an excursion to a new park. Better yet head to your closest state park with a pre-packed lunch.

#4 – City Pools

We have a small pool in our community but seeing the same neighbors each time can get boring. Ask my son. Skip your neighborhood pool and opt for a city pool or local YMCA pool. We found admission to be between $2 and $5. Get out our pool toys!

*BONUS* These pools usually have slides. Our neighborhood pool does not.

#5 – Become a Tourist

Take a fresh approach to your hometown by checking out your local Chamber of Commerce. People who work there know the best free (or low-cost) forms of local family entertainment. They can also help you choose activities that appeal to your family’s specific interests. If you have a local history museum, it could also be fun to take a tour of your town’s history. These museums are normally free and open for limited hours.

#6 – Museum Days

Many museums offer free admission days once a month. Check your local museum for free and discount days.

*BONUS FIND* Be sure to ask for discount day details instead of asking if they have free admission on certain days. Just by asking the right question, we found that our local children’s museum offers an “admission by donation” day once a month.

#7 – Local Universities

Go on a self-guided tour of the school at no cost. Contact the admissions office for details. This is a great option if you have middle or high-school-aged kids who can benefit from touring a potential university they might like to attend.

#8 – Model Homes

I absolutely love looking at model homes. Over the years some of my favorites have been the ones that host free events. We’ve been to many that were catered by popular local restaurants or food trucks. All at no cost to the guests. The purpose is to get the word out about the new home community and what better way to do that than with free food. Check your Sunday paper for upcoming events.

#9 – Local Bookstores

While bookstores were a frustrating place during Covid with few if any chairs and closed cafes, I’m here to report that Barnes and Noble now have their cafes back open and seating in the store. (The angels are singing.) Our family loves Half Price Books. Where we can sell back books we no longer want and use the credit to buy gently used discounted books. My kids have found copies of their favorite books signed by the authors as well as special editions no longer available for sale. Many bookstores offer children’s storytime and perks to encourage younger readers.

By Lauren Hunter

I'm Lauren, and I've been on a journey to earn money and save money for most of my life. As the editor-in-chief of EarnItSaveIt.com, and as a freelance writer, coach, musician, and entrepreneur, I love looking for new ways to make money and better ways to keep it. I'm also a wife and work-at-home mom (WAHM) to four kids, so budgeting is my middle name. I'm excited to be on this money journey with you!