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11 Seriously Cheap and Free Summer Fun Ideas

May 30, 2018

3 min read

Jetting out to the Hamptons this summer? Ha, neither am I. But I’m not going to let that stop me from having the time of my life. Once the weather gets warm and I start to feel the sun on my legs, I’m ready to party.

Here’s a list of great warm weather activities befitting every humble citizen of BrokeTown, USA.

Minor league baseball games

These guys may be famous one day! The good news is they’ll probably give you their autographs now. Get the John Hancock of a future Hall of Famer and your cheap day out could pay dividends in the future. Plus, you can eat hot dogs with your friends.


For the uninitiated, geocaching is when you download an app like this one that leads you to hidden “treasures” in your city. Geocaching is an excellent, cheap way to explore, get some exercise, and get an adrenaline rush when you find your treasure. Don’t forget to memorialize your win in the geocache log book!

Book signings and readings

Want to hang out with your favorite author? Many popular authors go on tour after their book comes out.  You can see them live and in person (and usually for free) at readings and Q&A sessions at your local bookstore. It’s a surprisingly fun, casual way to get insight into your favorite writers and meet fellow fans. Live near a college or university? Every week is a free literary feast! Another bonus: Air conditioning.

A competitive day at the park

Kan Jam. Volleyball. Cornhole. Bocce. Spike Ball. For the competitive types (like me), a highly organized day of sunshine and rivalry at your local park or beach is absolutely heaven. You can ask your friends to kick in $5 for the beverages and chips but the rest is 100 percent free!

Distillery tours

Distillery tours are like museum tours, except you end up with a serious buzz. I recently went on a $12 whiskey distillery tour that was both educational and extremely enjoyable. I walked, I smelled, I drank, I learned all about whiskey. It’s culture in a barrel. Plus, you can support a local business. Cheers to that!

Tree hunts

For top-level nerds only! Did you know that most cities keep downloadable lists of their oldest trees? You can usually find them on local websites, and you could make an entire weekend out of finding your town’s most notable trees. Your Instagram stories will “leaf” all your friends green with envy (sorry).

Drink and draws

Google “Drink and draw” + your city and you’ll probably come up with a few monthly opportunities to pay just $10 to draw live models in a casual environment. And if you stick to PBR or another cheapo beer, you can have an (arty) blast for under $20.

Walk shelter pups

Most shelters want you to go through a quick training before walking their pooches, but it’s totally worth the hassle when you realize that you’ve made a homeless dog’s day. Bonus: Despite the poop pickups, this is a great, free date idea that’ll make you look like a selfless, perfect partner.

Movies in the park

Almost every city’s got a summer movies series now, and they’re almost always free. All you need is a lawn chair, some cheese, and a plastic sack of Franzia (or reasonably priced bottle of chardonnay).

Have a white party

The 1990s are back! Hosting your own P. Diddy-esque White Party doesn’t have to be all about the benjamins. All you need is your best white t-shirt, a fired-up hip-hop playlist, and your favorite drinks on ice.

Tiny bites

Any food (frozen pizza, veggies, brownies) can be dainty finger food if you cut it into small enough pieces and put toothpicks in ’em. Serve on a platter and you’re instantly fancy.

Save it for later

Keep your summer fun cheap and you can save up for the big stuff in life, whether it’s down payment on a home with a pool or a stylish retirement.

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By Emily Winter
Emily Winter is a writer and comedian in New York. She's written for TV Land, Glamour and Fusion TV.

Stash is not affiliated with the Geocaching app. Nothing in this article should be construed as an adoption or endorsement of the Geocaching app.

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