By Nick Kania • June 22, 2015
It’s that time of year – the birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the kids are home from school. It’s a great time to be alive, and in a world with so much to do, finding entertainment can be a little overwhelming. Planning things to do can also be, well, a bit expensive. Just paying for yourself to do things quickly gets pricey, but paying for your entire family can burn a hole in your pocket in a few mouse clicks. Luckily, with the summer also comes great deals and discounts. Even better? Some of the best things in life are free!
Both parks and beaches are classic locations to bring the family when the weather is nice. At a park, you can have picnics, barbecues, and reunions while playing backyard sports and enjoying time with as many people as you can invite. Most parks are free to enter, and provide lots of open space for the family to use. Additionally, many parks close at sundown, meaning you can spend an entire day there with your family!
Beaches are similar to parks in that they are also great for barbecues, sports, and the like with the additional benefit of having water close by. On particularly hot days, beaches may provide a fantastic alternative to parks. Although they can be a bit more crowded and cramped, beaches can be awesome places to take the greatest nap of your life. While they’re usually free for walk-ins, sometimes you’ll have to pay for parking.
For the music-loving family, outdoor concerts can be a blast. Usually, they go hand in hand with parks and beaches, where open-air stages and standing crowds provide a unique experience. Many outdoor concerts are either free or dirt cheap, and although the performers aren’t the hottest chart toppers, these are great opportunities to listen to some local talent. If you’re lucky, a concert by an older artist may open up near you. Chaka Khan recently performed by me in Brooklyn, and it was absolutely free!
Also related to parks and beaches is the barbecue. However, to have fun with a barbecue you don’t even have to leave your house! Wherever you decide to throw one, a barbecue is a chance to get your family and friends together to enjoy a hallowed pastime – eating good food. Although the food isn’t free, the price of having a barbecue can be as cheap or expensive as you like, depending on how many people you choose to invite.
Museums are wonderful places to bring the kids. Yet, any member of the family can have a fun time while learning something. There are museums dedicated to everything – art, history, nature, science, photography; you name it, and there’s a museum for it somewhere. Some museums are actually quite expensive, but the larger and more famous ones generally function on donations. This means that a family can pay whatever they’d like to gain access to some of the greatest museums in the world. Places such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History in New York City can only cost a few dollars per person!
Outdoorsy families will find hiking to be a very gratifying experience. Trails are usually free to enter, and a family can spend the day wandering through the beauty of nature. Oftentimes there is a great view at the end. This may not be suitable for families with smaller children and strollers, but for anybody willing to make a trek, hiking is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Bicycle trips provide a nice cross between hikes and road trips in that a family can enjoy the feeling of fresh air while going a reasonable distance. Whether you live in the city or the countryside, you can take your bicycle as far as you’re willing to go. The best part? Even if a family doesn’t have their own bicycles, bike rentals for a 24-hour period can be relatively cheap and easy to arrange.
If you're looking for other affordable ideas to entertain your family, be sure to check out the Groupon coupon and promo codes we offer. Groupon will tell you all of the specials that are going on in and around your area.
Check back in with me to find out reasonably priced ways to have some fun in the sun this summer with the whole family. In the mean time, try out one of these activities and let me know what you think. If you have any free activities that you love, share below.
Nick Kania Nick is our summer editorial intern who attends St. John’s University and lives in Brooklyn, New York. You’ll likely find him drinking his third cup of coffee somewhere, thinking about faraway places and how to get there.